“. . . and struggle ardently for my liberty My liberty My liberty . . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)

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Jerusalem: Dr. Naim Ateek of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center
leads a group on the Via Dolorosa
(Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 4, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . . 
| PALESTINIAN  GOVERNOR  OF  JERUSALEM  RELEASED  TO  HOUSE  ARREST    A court in Israel has released the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem from detention to house arrest for three days as part of an investigation related to a land sale.    ___Adnan Gheith, who was arrested on November 25, was released on Sunday from prison, but will remain under house arrest until Tuesday, Jerusalem magistrate court justice Chavi Toker ruled.    __Police have been investigating Gheith over suspicions he was involved in the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) arrest in October of US citizen Issam Akel, who is accused of involvement in selling an occupied East Jerusalem building to Jewish buyers. . . More . . .
. . . . Related  Report: Israel Abducts Dozens of Palestinians in Crackdown on Palestinian Authority
. . . . Related  Top court gives Israel even broader powers to use torture
. . . . Related  Israel committed 355 violations against Palestinians in November
. . . . Related  Israel demolished 19 Palestinian facilities in November
| PRESIDENT  ABBAS  ARRIVES  IN  ROME  ON  AN  OFFICIAL  VISIT    President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday arrived in the Italian capital, Rome, on an official visit where he is scheduled to meet with his Italian counterpart, Sergio Mattarella.    ___President Abbas will meet with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, and Pope Francis during his official visit to Rome, to discuss the latest political developments in the region as well as bilateral relations between the two countries and ways to develop them.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Hamas hails Fatah’s criticism to US’ draft resolution condemning resistance at UN
. . . . Related  President Abbas meets Pope Francis at the Vatican
. . . . Related  Islamic Jihad delegation from Gaza heads to Lebanon through Egypt
|  TURKEY’S  RED  CRESCENT  DONATES  8.5  TONS  OF  MEDICAL  AID  TO  GAZA   The Palestinian Ministry of Health dispatched from its warehouses in the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus, about 8.5 tons of medical aid donated by the Turkish Red Crescent to the besieged Gaza Strip, on Monday.    ___According to the Palestinian Health Minister, Jawad Awwad, the ministry dispatched two truckloads of medical supplies worth $274,000, which included medicines to treat chronic diseases such as cancer and kidney diseases.    ___Awwad praised Turkey’s continued support to Gaza, pointing to the many vital projects that have been provided by Turkey to Palestine in all fields.   More . . .
. . . . Related  WHO: ‘Israel approved only 15% of medical permits for injured Gazans’
. . . . Related  Sharp rise in number of people with disabilities in Gaza Strip in last 10 years – statistics
. . . . Related  Israel undercover forces [in Gaza] posed as medical workers, used ID cards of real Palestinians

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . . GAZA  –  TWENTY  YEARS  LATER     By Mkhaimar Abusada     The Gaza Strip. . .  is no more than 365 square kilometers with two million people. Population pressure has been critical in an area with limited water and arable land, weak infrastructure. . .  and many internal and external barriers that have resulted from the Israeli siege and blockade, which has turned it into the largest open-air prison in the world.    ___The . . .  golden days of Gaza [were about] 1998. At that time, Gaza was the center of Palestinian politics after the signing of the Oslo Agreement in September 1993, and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1994. Gaza was promised by the international community to be the Singapore of the Middle East. . .  [. . . .] The outbreak of the second Palestinian Intifada in September 2000, and the ensuing violence and armed resistance against the Israeli army and settlers in Gaza triggered massive Israeli retaliation against infrastructure and the economy, and . . .  restricted the movement within and in and out of Gaza.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“MY  LIBERTY,”  BY  FADWA  TUQAN

My liberty―my liberty―my liberty,
a sound I repeat
with angry lips
under the exchange of fire
and flames
I run after it
despite my chains
and follow its tracks
despite the night
and struggle ardently
for my liberty
My liberty
My liberty

And the Holy River
and Bridge repeat:
my liberty
and the two banks reiterate:
my liberty
and the raging wind and thunder,
tornadoes and rain
echo the sound:
my liberty

I shall carve its name
while I resist
on the land
by the walls and the doors
in the Temple of the Virgin
in the altar
and in the field,
on every hill
and every valley
and every curve
and road
in prison
in the torture rooms
and on the gallows
Despite the chains
and the house demolition
I shall carve its name
until I see it again
extending to my Homeland
and flourish
and flourish
until every inch of the land is covered
until every door is opened
by red liberty.
And the night vanishes
and the day breaks
My liberty―my liberty―my liberty

From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY  OF  THE  SUN:  POETRY  OF  THE  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE. Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970.   Available from abebooks.com

“. . .Make hummus not walls. . .”

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From the Bethlehem Wall Museum. SEE DESCRIPTIONS AT END OF THIS POST.

❶ Palestinian teen shot dead after alleged attack near Tulkarem
❷ Army Kills a Palestinian Teen in Bethlehem
❸ 13-year old Palestinian Boy has Court Appearance; Trial will Begin in January
❹ Five Projects That Are Leading Bethlehem Into a Brighter Future
❺ Opinion/Analysis: RELIGION,  THE  SCAPEGOAT  OF  THE  ISRAEL-PALESTINE  CRISIS
❻ Personal statements by Bethlehem Young People
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `

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Bethlehem Wall Museum (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 6, 2015)

MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
PALESTINIAN  TEEN  SHOT  DEAD  AFTER  ALLEGED  ATTACK  NEAR  TULKAREM
Dec. 1, 2015
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli military officer shot and killed a 19-year-old Palestinian woman at a checkpoint east of Tulkarem on Tuesday, saying that she had attempted to stab him, Israel’s army said.
___An Israeli army spokesperson said that the officer killed the young woman at a checkpoint near the illegal settlement of Enav east of Tulkarem because she posed an “immediate danger” to him.
___The Israeli officer was not injured during the encounter. A spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent said that one of their emergency teams arrived on the scene shortly afterward. She confirmed that the young woman had no vital signs.
___The team was prevented from taking away her body, which was instead taken away in an Israeli army medical jeep.
More . . .
IMEMC-INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
ARMY  KILLS  A  PALESTINIAN  TEEN  IN  BETHLEHEM
Dec. 01, 201
The army claims he “attempted to stab a settler”; Israeli soldiers shot and killed, on Tuesday morning, a Palestinian teen, sixteen years of age, near the Gush Etzion settlement block, built on Palestinian lands, south of Bethlehem.
___Palestinian medical sources said the slain teen has been identified as Ma’moun Raed al-Khatib, 16 years of age, from Doha city, in the Bethlehem district.
___According to the Israeli army, al-Khatib “approached a settler with the intention to stab him,” before a soldier shot and injured him.
___The slain Palestinian was left bleeding on the ground, and died of his wounds.
___Israeli sources said the army also accidentally shot and injured one settler in his arm, suffering a mild wound, and that no Israelis were hurt in the reported “stabbing attack.”
More . . .

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Bethlehem Wall Museum (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 6, 2015)

IMEMC-INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
13-YEAR  OLD  PALESTINIAN  BOY  HAS  COURT  APPEARANCE;  TRIAL  WILL  BEGIN  IN  JANUARY
Nov. 30, 2015
A 13-year old Palestinian boy accused of stabbing and wounding a 13-year old Israeli boy had a court appearance Thursday. On October 11th, Ahmad Manasra was run over by a car and beaten nearly to death by a group of Israelis, then subjected to brutal interrogation with no lawyer or parent present.
___Ahmad Manasra’s lawyer presented evidence contradicting the Israeli government’s claims that the boy stabbed an Israeli.
[. . . . .]
___A video of Ahmad lying injured and bloody on the ground after being hit by the car was uploaded to social media and went viral. In the footage, a settler onlooker can clearly be heard saying: “Die, you son of a whore! Die!”, while another tells the police officer to shoot the boy until he dies.
More . . .
THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
FIVE  PROJECTS  THAT  ARE  LEADING  BETHLEHEM  INTO  A  BRIGHTER  FUTURE
Natalie Morcos
Dec. 1, 2015
The municipality of Bethlehem is an institution with a great history, one of the oldest in Palestine. It has conducted projects on various scales over time, starting under the Ottoman Occupation, to the British Mandate, Jordanian Rule, and then the Israeli Occupation. The municipality has been and remains steadfast in its dedication to the development of Bethlehem by aiming to preserve its rich heritage of more than two thousand years and its outstanding historical value as the birthplace of Jesus Christ. Its constant vision toward the city is to raise the level of wellbeing of the citizens through infrastructural, educational, cultural, and environmental interventions. The municipality has an ongoing cycle of projects that aspire to improve different sectors such as the road network, public buildings, historical architecture, and more.
More . . .
❺ Opinion/Analysis
THE MIDDLE EAST MONITOR (MEMO)
RELIGION,  THE  SCAPEGOAT  OF  THE  ISRAEL-PALESTINE  CRISIS
Megan Hanna
Nov. 30, 2015
The sirens had barely stopped wailing before commentators started exploiting the terror attacks in Paris on 13 November, twisting the horrific event to serve a range of varying political agendas. . . .
___Given his tendency for making tenuous connections between Israel’s plight and disparate foreign events, it’s no surprise that Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was one of the first to climb up on France’s bloodied bandwagon to make hasty links between Paris and present-day Israel. . . .
claiming “the terrorists who attack us have the same murderous intent as those in Paris”, saying that world leaders should condemn the “radical Islam” as effected by Palestinians.
[. . . . ]
___To compare the actions of ISIS with those of dispossessed Palestinians – who are resisting in an anti-colonial struggle against a brutal military occupation – is intentionally deceptive . . . .
More . . . 

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Bethlehem Wall Museum (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 6, 2015)

STORIES FROM THE WALL MUSEUM 

All photographs are from the  WALL  MUSEUM  in Bethlehem, a section of the Apartheid Wall on which are posted statements by Palestinians about their personal experiences living under the Occupation. The display is a project  AEI-OPEN  WINDOWS,  an Arab-Palestinian NGO affiliated with Pax Christi International and established in Bethlehem in 1986 by a group of Palestinian educators. These photos are by Harold Knight, Nov. 6, 2015. The title of this post comes from the graffiti on the Wall.

FADED  DREAMS
I just finished my university and I have my degree to become a doctor. But that was not what I wanted to become in life. I wanted to become an artist and inspire people and tell the story of Palestine. But my parents didn’t see any future in that and I was forced to study medicine. Now I have my degree but there’s no work. I have lots of time now because I can’t find work. I decided to pick up my faded dream and work on my art. Finally I’m an artist.
BY  HANNA,  FROM  BETHLEHEM

FIRST  DREAM. . .  AND  THEN  THE  REST
Ruaa always dreamed of a world filled with love and compassion. She loved studying. Her father’s retirement payments got delayed. Her mother was determined to help her to stay in school and started selling fruits and herbs to help Ruaa pay for school. One day, Ruaa was wearing a slightly different uniform, so the principal told her she will be expelled if it happens again. When she arrived home, she saw her parents in the cold collecting plants to sell, and all she could do was cry. Ruaa promised herself to study and repay her parents for all the hardships they have gone through. She attended university and she is about to graduate now. She still dreams of the demise of the occupation, and to live in a beautiful world filled with love and tolerance. Since her first dream came true, she believes the rest can and will.
BY  LEYLA,  A  FRIEND  OF  RUAA,  FROM  AL-KHADER

GIVING  UP  ON  MY  FIRST  DREAMS
I finished last year of high school (tawjih) with a grade of 94 out of 100. At the time I aspired to study law to defend the rights of the Palestinian people, especially women’s rights. However, my parents didn’t let me study law. So, I decided I wanted to study nursing, but again my parents rejected the idea because of the work shifts I would sometimes be required to do, as they do not feel that it is appropriate for a woman to work at night. Finally I got frustrated and I gave up on my dreams. In the end, I studied social education because it is very disciplined, which is fitting for girls as it prepares students to be a teacher, and I like it. I believe I will be a successful teacher.
BY  RANEEN,  FROM  BETHLEHEM

AEI-OPEN WINDOWS Contact information:
info@aeicenter.org – tel-02-2744030

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The Apartheid Wall, Bethlehem (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 6, 2015)

“. . . The joy of daylight embraces the darkness . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

Perhaps the Palestinian proverb “Olive oil is the mainstay of the house” reflects the role that olive oil plays in the lives of the Palestinians. Photo by Rami Rishmawi (Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation Archives).
Perhaps the Palestinian proverb “Olive oil is the mainstay of the house” reflects the role that olive oil plays in the lives of the Palestinians.
Photo by Rami Rishmawi (Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation Archives).

❶ Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian teen in Tulkarem clashes
❷ Red Crescent declares ‘state of emergency’ after attacks on staff
❸ Soldiers Kidnap Nine Palestinians, Many Residents Injured
❹ Al-Shajara al-Mubaraka (“The blessed tree”
❺ Opinion/Analysis: Why Israel wants a religious war over Al-Aqsa
❻ Poetry by Fouzi El-Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  KILL  PALESTINIAN  TEEN  IN  TULKAREM  CLASHES
Oct. 5, 2015
TULKAREM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian teenager during clashes in the northern West Bank village of Bala, east of Tulkarem, overnight Sunday, medics said.
____Red Crescent officials told Ma’an that 18-year-old Huthayfa Othman Suleiman was shot in the chest during clashes and died in the operating room.
____Three other young men were shot with live fire during the clashes and taken to Thabit Thabit hospital to be treated for their injuries.
[. . . . .]
“What happened in Tulkarem is clear evidence that the Netanyahu government is trying to escalate the situation in the West Bank to torture angry Palestinian citizens who protest what is going on in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as settler attacks against Palestinian towns,” a senior Fatah official in Tulkarem, Muayyad Shaaban, told Ma’an.
More . . .
Related . . . VIDEO:  AL-MAYADEEN  JOURNALIST  INJURED  BY  ISRAELI  FORCES  IN  JERUSALEM
Related . . . RED  CRESCENT:  96  PALESTINIANS  WOUNDED  BY  LIVE,  RUBBER  BULLETS
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
RED  CRESCENT  DECLARES  ‘STATE  OF  EMERGENCY’  AFTER  ATTACKS  ON  STAFF
Oct. 4, 2015
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestine Red Crescent Society on Sunday declared a state of emergency across the occupied Palestinian territory following an upsurge in violence by Israeli soldiers and settlers, including 14 attacks on the society’s ambulances in just three days.
____The society said in a statement that it was declaring a level 3 state of emergency and putting all its staff, teams and volunteers on standby.
____The society decried Israeli violations of international humanitarian law, saying that in a 72-hour period, it had faced 14 attacks against its staff and vehicles “in a serious escalation of violations against PRCS, its teams and the humanitarian services they render.”
More . . .
INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER (IMEMC)
SOLDIERS  KIDNAP  NINE  PALESTINIANS,  MANY  RESIDENTS  INJURED
Oct. 05, 2015
Israeli soldiers invaded, earlier Monday, several Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, violently searched homes and property, and kidnapped nine Palestinians. The army attacked and injured a woman in her home, while many residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation.
____The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported that the soldiers invaded the home of Badea’ Shafiq Snober, 47, in Yitma village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and kidnapped him, after violently searching his property, causing damage.
____The soldiers also attacked Badea’ wife, Eman ‘Othman, 45, as she tried to stop them from ransacking her home and kidnapping her husband, causing various cuts and bruises.
____Dozens of army vehicles also invaded the towns of Huwwara, Beit Forik, Osarin and Qabalan, searched and ransacked several homes, and withdrew without conducting any arrests.
More . . .
Related . . . PCHR:  “ISRAELI  FORCES  ESCALATE  THEIR  ARBITRARY  MEASURES  IN  THE  WEST  BANK”
Related . . . SEVERAL  PALESTINIANS  INJURED  IN  JENIN,  ONE  KIDNAPPED  IN  BETHLEHEM
THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
AL-SHAJARA  AL-MUBARAKA  (“THE  BLESSED  TREE”)
Nada Atrash and Sami Backleh
The Olive Tree is a synonym for Palestine, and Palestine is a synonym for the Olive Tree. They exist together. They have formed a confluence for eternity, and they still maintain the passion between them. Never a morning or an evening passes, unless the Olive Tree, or ‘the Tree of Light’ as it is called by the Palestinians, is a part of it in one way or another.”
[. . . . . ]
____ Although universally regarded as the symbol of peace, the olive tree has become a symbol of steadfastness in Palestine. Since the Nakba in 1967, Israel has uprooted more than 1.5 million olive trees. Moreover, farmers are forbidden to pick olives from their trees that are located near the Wall or close to the settlements.
More . . .
❺ Opinion/Analysis
AL JAZEERA
ANALYSIS:  WHY  ISRAEL  WANTS  A  RELIGIOUS  WAR  OVER  AL-AQSA
The struggle over Al-Aqsa Mosque is a colonial and not a religious one, Palestinian experts say.
Sep. 21, 2015
Much of the media coverage of recent raids and protests by Israeli police and settlers at Al-Aqsa Mosque have focused on the “exclusive Muslim control” over the compound in Israeli-occupied Jerusalem, and Palestinian fears of the demand by Jewish settlers to “divide it”. Lost in the religious warfare narrative is the colonial impulse governing both Israeli actions and Palestinian reactions. Where does the struggle for Al-Aqsa fit within the wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
____Four leading Palestinian figures give their take on the latest round of Israeli violence at Al-Aqsa.
More . . .

“TO  THE  BELOVED  MOTHERLAND,”  BY  FOUZI EL-ASMAR
Night in my cell
is life still in bud.
Beloved, you are like the breaking of light,
Like truth
Like a song dissolved into longing
Tearing apart the draped evening
Wrecking the flow of moans.

Beloved,
The joy of daylight
embraces the darkness
in my cell;
persistent silence here
will turn back the blade
of the swindler, the torturer
the thief of my childhood dreams
in the day’s heat.

Beloved, in your name
dusk has touched my forehead
grey dreams flooded my head
But my will remains uncowed
for since I came to manhood
with my eyelashes
I have borne your ancient love
You remain my lighthouse
and only refuge.

Beloved,
we are here to nurse at life
Your full breast
stretches are lightening
of hope and will
It shall flower a new prophecy
in our souls
It shall loosen the chains
and hurl light over our love.

Beloved,
The prison is a brief cloud
The bitter winds
of a cold journey
which we must accomplish.

Our road is wrapped in sighs, tears, and thorns
In all that dark claws can weave
but our love shall triumph
At the end of the road.

There
We shall meet with the sun
Its rays shall enter every house
Fill every crack
Flooding mountains, hills, and plains.

As I sit in a corner of my dim cell
lacing the seeds of the little light
stretching them to these lines for you
I am struck with the joy of a child:
Beloved,
With all that tears this life apart
They forget they cannot put
my mind in jail.

El-Asmar, Fouzi. THE  WIND-DRIVEN  REED  AND  OTHER  POEMS. Washington, DC: Three Continents Press, 1979.
Available at Amazon. 
About Fouzi El-Asmar.

Israeli soldiers as they appear confronting unarmed Palestinian civilians throughout the Occupied Territories and East Jerusalem. (Agence France‑Presse/Photo)
Israeli soldiers as they appear confronting unarmed Palestinian civilians throughout the Occupied Territories and East Jerusalem. (Agence France‑Presse/Photo)