“. . . All that I love of my absent country. . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

Selected News of the Day

Israeli military uproot trees, raze wells in northeastern West Bank

WAFA
September 12, 2019
Israeli military today uprooted scores of olive trees and destroyed water wells in Um Kbeish area near Tammun town, south of Tubas, in the northeastern West Bank, said human rights activist.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Aref Daraghmeh confirmed that Israeli military arrived to Um Kbeish, where they uprooted scores of olive trees and destroyed four water wells used for irrigation by local Palestinian farmers. . . .
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ . . . . under the pretext that the land constituted “State land.” The family filed a complaint and had a court hearing set for June 24. Ignoring this, Israel’s demolition took place on June 11. . . .
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Designating an area as a nature reserve may convey the impression that Israel wishes to protest the environment. In practice, however, Israeli has been using such designations for advancing the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.  More . . . .

Netanyahu tells voters: If you don’t vote Likud, Arabs will ‘annihilate us all’

Mondoweiss
Yumna Patel
September 11, 2019
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is coming under fire again for anti-Arab comments made by his campaign, this time for a message on his official Facebook page telling voters “Arabs want to annihilate us all – women, children and men.”
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Israeli media reported that upon accessing Netanyahu’s official page, viewers are greeted with an automated popup message in Hebrew with a message to voters, imploring them to “make sure” their friends and family vote Likud.   More . . . . 

Abbas: If Israel takes Palestinian land, all deals off

Al-Hourriah
September 11, 2019
If Israel annexes parts of the occupied West Bank, all agreements signed with Israel will end, warned the Palestinian president on Tuesday, reports the Agency.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ “All agreements and their resulting obligations would end if the Israeli side annexes the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea, and any part of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967,” Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement, according to Palestine’s WAFA news agency.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Abbas’ remarks came in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that he would annex the Jordan Valley and a number of settlements if he wins next week’s election.   More . . . .

Israeli Army Launches Renewed Aerial Attack On Gaza

Days of Palestine
September 12, 2019
An Israeli warplane last night bombed a resistance site belonging to the Palestinian resistance in the north of the Gaza Strip.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙A reporter for the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that a warplane fired at least three missiles at a resistance post in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza, with no reported casualties.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ A spokesman for the Israeli occupation army claimed the air raid was in response to the launch of projectiles towards Israeli communities around the border with Gaza.   More . . . .

Poem of the Day

I  DEFY,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM

Talk about exile―I defy
silence my argument with chains
and a foolish prison cell
I defy

Turn plague and sadness against me
I remain defying

cut my wrist
with my bloody chest I defy
cut my leg
I mount the wound and walk
and with my violence I defy
with my forehead I defy
and with my teeth
and the teeth of songs―I defy

and kill me―I defy
I kill death
and come to you a defying God

All that I own of my father’s and grandfather’s
inheritance is to defy!

All that I understand from the
wind and the secrets of erased villages
and the songs of springs
on dying grass

a concealed sob
the roots of the tree
memorize it for me
a sob: To defy

All the eyes of children living within me
in bloody exile
All that I love of my absent country
in name and deed
a scream bruising me―to defy!
My anger drips oil and honey
my pain bears almonds, flouts and roses
so jail my piece of bread

I defy

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 Goodreads

“Do you remember your panic . . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

SELECTED NEWS OF THE DAY

After setting fire to olive fields in West Bank village, Israeli settlers return to chop down trees

WAFA
September 5, 2019
Extremist Israeli settlers last night chopped down Palestinian-owned olive trees in Burin village, in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, only days after they set fire to other trees in the same fields, reported Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activity.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ He told WAFA that a number of settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar sneaked into the land in the village during the night and started to cut down the trees.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ He pointed out that the settlers were riding motorcycles in the area, part of which has been seized by the settlers and planted with grape vines.  More . . . .

Switzerland should not bow to Israeli pressure to prevent war criminals’ prosecution, Euro-Med says

WAFA
September 5, 2019
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med) today called on the Swiss federal parliament not to bow to Israeli pressure to suspend the Swiss criminal legislation authorizing the country’s courts to prosecute Israeli politicians and military figures involved in war crimes against Palestinians.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ The Euro-Med said in a statement that it views with a great concern the Israeli delegation’s visit to Switzerland, headed by Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz and accompanied by a legal team to pressure the authorities to suspend a criminal legislation allowing bringing lawsuits against Israeli commanders and soldiers involved in violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙Switzerland was one of the first countries to include in its domestic legislation legal provisions allowing for the prosecution of major crimes perpetrators if they were not tried by the International Criminal Court.    More . . . .

MSF [Doctors without Borders]: Over 1,000 patients in Gaza suffering from ‘severe infections’ from gunshot wounds sustained in Great March of Return

Mondoweiss
Yumna Patel
September 4, 2019
In the year since the Great March of Return began, thousands of Palestinians, mostly young men, from the Gaza Strip have suffered life changing injuries at the hands of Israeli forces.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Now, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which has been treating hundreds of Gazans wounded during protests, says it is “dealing with immense challenges” when treating patients who were shot by the army.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙According to a new report released by MSF, more than 1,000 Palestinians who were shot by the Israeli army over the past year have developed  “severe bone infections” that are becoming increasingly difficult to treat. More . . . .

The case of Mohammad El Halabi and the rabbit hole of Israeli “justice”

The Electronic Intifada
Amjad Ayman Yaghi
September 3, 2019
It’s been three years and there have been 119 court appearances. He has been separated from his family and lost his freedom. It’s been three years and there have been 119 court appearances. He has been separated from his family and lost his freedom . . . .   Mohammad El Halabi languishes in an Israeli prison, charged but not convicted, a Kafkaesque nightmare of the kind in which Israel – with its administrative detentions and separate laws for separate peoples – has become expert.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Mohammad was arrested on 15 June 2016 at the Erez checkpoint. He had been having meetings in Jerusalem at the offices of World Vision, a UK-headquartered global Christian charity for which he had worked some 10 years and whose Gaza program he had led since 2014.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Israel accused Mohammad of channeling World Vision money to Hamas, the movement that won the 2006 parliamentary elections and faced down a Fatah insurrection in Gaza the year after to leave it in charge of the occupied Gaza Strip. . . .
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ World Vision undertook a “forensic audit” of its spending in Gaza, and came up with nothing. In a February 2017 statement, the charity said its review had “not generated any concerns about diversion of World Vision resources”. . . .
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ The Australian government undertook its own investigation and concurred. In April 2017, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) found no evidence to back up the Israeli charges. More . . . .

POEM OF THE DAY

“BUCHENWALD,”  BY SAMIH  AL-QASIM
Have you forgotten your shame at Buchenwald?
Do you remember your flames at Buchenwald?
Have you forgotten your love in the lexicon
of silence? Do you remember your panic―
at the reign of death, in the nightmare of time―
that the whole world
would become a Buchenwald?
Whether you’ve forgotten or not,
the dead’s images linger
among the wreaths of flowers,
and from the dismembered corpses
a hand emerges,
a nail in the palm and tattoo on the wrist―
a sign for the planet.
Do you remember? Or not?
Buchenwald― whether or not you’ve forgotten,
the images of the murdered
remain among the wreaths of flowers . . .

From Al-Qasim, Samih. SADDER  THAN  WATER.  New  and  Selected  Poems.  Trans. Nazih Kasis and Adina Hoffman. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2008. Available.

“. . . You may take the last strip of my land. . .” (Samih al-Qasim)

SELECTED NEWS OF THE DAY

Anticipating Netanyahu’s visit, Israeli forces close down Hebron’s Old City

WAFA
September 4, 2019
Israeli forces today morning closed down Palestinian stores and ordered Palestinian students vacate their schools in Hebron’s Old City in anticipation of Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Jamal Sa’afin, an activist with the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, confirmed that Israeli forces tightened restrictions in Hebron’s old city, closing Palestinian stores along the area from al-Salaymeh to Tel Rumeida besides to Wadi al-Husayn and Jaber neighborhoods.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ He added that soldier ordered Palestinian students out of their schools in the old city, including Qurtuba School purportedly in preparation for the visit.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Netanyahu is set to deliver a speech at the Ibrahimi Mosque, which Jews refer to as the Cave of the Patriarchs, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the 1919 al-Buraq Uprising. The city of Hebron, which houses the Ibrahimi Mosque, is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and about 800 notoriously aggressive Israeli settlers who live in compounds heavily guarded by Israeli troops.  More . . . . 

  • Netanyahu’s ‘visit’ to Hebron will not change its fact as an Arab Palestinian city
    WAFA
    By Bilal Ghaith
    September 03, 2019
    Palestinian activists called for receiving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Hebron on Wednesday night with black flags on homes near the Ibrahimi mosque as observers, politicians and historians dismissed all allegations regarding the “visit” describing it as a provocation.
    ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ According to Maarive newspaper, Netanyahu will take part in a ritual in the Jewish settlement in the city on the steps of the Ibrahimi Mosque where the Palestinians were massacred in 1994 that left dozens dead at the hands of an extremist named Baruch Goldstein. An official ceremony will be held at the site to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the 1929 al-Buraq uprising. These rituals will be held in the presence of Netanyahu, government ministers and Likud Knesset members, on his first official visit to Hebron in 13 years.   More . . . .

Palestinian refugee students must not be incidental to humanitarian endeavours

Al-Hourriah
Ramona Wadi
September 4, 2019
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Despite financial setbacks caused by political agendas and misconduct allegations, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) ensured that its schools opened on time for the new academic year. Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl described education as central to UNRWA’s mandate, yet the agency is not past attaching importance to symbolism and, despite its work, normalise the violence inherent in Israel’s settler-colonial project.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ The opening of the new school year in Silwan, for example, publicised due to renovation works carried out during the summer recess, was lauded by Krähenbühl. “This return to school is also a symbol of preserving normalcy and a safe learning environment,” he remarked.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ The safe learning environment rhetoric, favoured by international organisations, is replete with discrepancies, and can have severe repercussions. A joint statement published by UNICEF in January 2019 focuses on the impact of Israeli state and settler colonial violence as regards access to education and safety for Palestinian students. If there is still need for UN statements to remind us that children “should never be the target of violence and must not be exposed to any form of violence,” it stands to reason that Israel is not facing any deterrent to its destabilisation of Palestinian education.  More . . . .

West Bank village courts tourists with eggplant, stone terraces

Al-Monitor (Palestinian Pulse)
Ahmad Abu Amer
September 3, 2019
Locally grown eggplants have earned a significant place in the Palestinian cuisine, heritage and economy and is celebrated every summer in Battir, a historical village in the West Bank, 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) west of Bethlehem. Light purple, large or small but always fragrant, eggplants make up an essential part of the Palestinian kitchen from makdous, a pickled stuffed eggplant dish, to maqluba, a traditional dish with chicken, rice and eggplant.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ The annual Battir Eggplant Festival, which took place on Aug. 17-19, is not just an occasion to celebrate the popular crop; it highlights just how this historical village — known for its 4,000 years of terraced cultivation of vines and olives — has suffered, first by plans of an Israeli separation barrier that could have been built right across the historical terraces, then under the restriction of movement and nearby Israeli settlers.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Battir, located on the Green Line, won the 2011 UNESCO-Greece Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes. The site was recognized for aesthetic and symbolic value . . . .   In June 2014, the village was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage in Danger. The UN cultural body described the village as “a major Palestinian cultural landscape,” due to its complex and unique irrigation system.  More . . . .

Israel Confiscates Palestinian Lands To Expand Illegal Colonies In Bethlehem 

IMEMC News
September 4, 2019
The Israeli authorities in the occupied West Bank, issued three orders for the illegal annexation of Palestinian lands in Beit Jala city, Teqoua’ and Rashayda towns, in Bethlehem governorate, south of occupied Jerusalem in the West Bank.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Hasan Breijiyya, the coordinator of the Wall and Colonization Commission in Bethlehem, said the first Israeli order targets Palestinian lands in Basin 2 of the al-Makhrour area Beit Jala, west of Bethlehem, and are owned by residents from Beit Jala and al-Khader.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Breijiyya added that Israel wants to confiscate lands in that area to expand colonialist bypass road #60, linking between occupied Jerusalem and Gush Etzion colony, south of Bethlehem, which effectively means annexing hundreds of Dunams of Palestinian agricultural lands.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ The second order targets lands in the Rashayda village, east of Bethlehem, and aims at expanding Maali Amos illegal colony.  More . . . .

POEM OF THE DAY

“ENEMY  OF  THE  SUN,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM

I may―if you wish―lose my livelihood
I may sell my shirt and bed.
I may work as a stone cutter,
A street sweeper, a porter.
I may clean your stores
Or rummage your garbage for food.
I may lie down hungry,
O enemy of the sun,
But
I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins
I shall resist.

You may take the last strip of my land,
Feed my youth to prison cells.
You may plunder my heritage.
|You may burn my books, my poems,
Or feed my flesh to the dogs.
You may spread a web of terror
On the roofs of my village.
O enemy of the sun,
But
I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins
I shall resist.

You may put out the light in my eyes
You may deprive me of my mother’s kisses.
You may curse my father, my people.
You may distort my history.
You may deprive my children of a smile
And of life’s necessities.
You may fool my friends with a borrowed face.
You may build walls of hatred around me.
You may glue my eyes to humiliations,
O enemy of the sun,
But
I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins
I shall resist.
O enemy of the sun
The decorations are raised at the port,
The ejaculations fill the air,
A glow in the hearts,
And in the horizon
A sail is seen
Challenging the wind
And the depths.
It is Ulysses
Returning home
From the sea of loss

It is the return of the sun,
Of my exiled ones
And for her sake, and his
I swear
I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins
I shall resist.
Resist―and resist.

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

 

 

“. . . in the street there’s nothing but a beggar . . .” (Samih al-Qasim)

SELECTED NEWS OF THE DAY

Merkel, Abbas Meet for Talks in Berlin

Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper
August 29, 2019
Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany continues to believe a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinian is the only way for both peoples “to live in peace and security.”
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Merkel stressed her support for a two-state solution ahead of talks Thursday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Chancellery in Berlin.   More . . . .

Israeli Forces Close Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslim Worshippers

The Middle East Monitor
 August 29, 2019
Israeli forces today closed the Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslim worshippers for 24 hours, in preparation for a Jewish settlers raid to mark a Jewish holiday, said a Waqf official.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Director of the Hebron Waqf Directorate’s Public Relations Department Raed Maswadeh told WAFA that Israeli soldiers closed the mosque to Muslim worshipers, while they allowed Jewish settlers to access it. Maswadeh added that the settlers also set up tents just outside the mosque.    More . . . .

  • In Hebron, Tlaib and Omar would have seen Israel’s apartheid city

    +972 Magazine
    By Avner Gvaryahu
    August 28, 2019
    Had Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar been allowed to visit Hebron, they would have seen Israel’s official policy of discrimination and segregation for the city’s 215,000 Palestinian residents.
    Outside the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron lies a beautiful leafy garden. In it stands a large stone with the names of the donors – Chicago Friends of Hebron. Even if U.S. Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib had not been barred from visiting the occupied territories earlier this month, Breaking the Silence, an Israeli organization comprised of former IDF soldiers working to expose the realities of military occupation, would not have been able to take them there. Since Omar and Tlaib are both Muslim, they not only would have been unwelcome — Israeli Border Police soldiers stationed around the park would have stopped them from entering.
    ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Discrimination and segregation are unpalatable wherever they exist, but in Hebron’s city center, they have been the official policy for the 215,000 Palestinian residents – especially since the Tomb of the Patriarchs massacre in 1994, in which a Jewish nationalist fanatic shot dead 29 Palestinians while praying at the holy site.   More . . . .     

Israeli Colonists Invade Archaeological Site Near Nablus

IMEMC-International Middle East Media Center
August 29, 2019
A group of illegal Israeli colonialist settlers, accompanied by many soldiers invaded, on Wednesday evening, the archeological area in al-Mas’udiyya, north of Nablus, in northern West Bank, and prevented the Palestinians from entering it.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors Israel’s illegal colonialist activities in northern West Bank, said dozens of colonists and soldiers invaded the archeological area, and its park, in al- Mas’udiyya.   More. . . .

Israeli Troops Abduct Two Married Couples, Journalist in Early Morning Raids

IMEMC-International Middle East Media Center
August 29, 2019
Early Thursday morning before dawn, Israeli troops invaded several parts of the West Bank and abducted five Palestinians — two married couples from Jerusalem, and a photojournalist from the village of Ni’lin.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ According to the Palestinian Wafa News Agency, Israeli forces abducted on Thursday two Palestinian citizens and their wives from the town of Silwan, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. More . . . .

POEM OF THE DAY

“A HOMELAND,” BY SAMIH AL-QASIM

So what,
When in my homeland
The sparrow dies of starvation,
In exile, without a shroud,
While the earthworm is satiated,
Devouring God’s food!

So what,
When the yellow fields
Yield no more to their tillers
Than memories of weariness,
While their rich harvest pours
Into the granaries of the usurper.

So what,
If the cement has diverted
The ancient springs,
Causing them to forget their natural course,
When their owner calls,
They cry in his face: “Who are you?”

So what,
When the almond and the olive tree have turned to timber
Adorning tavern doorways,
And monuments
Whose nude loveliness beautifies halls and bars,
And is carried by tourists
To the farthest corners of the earth,
While nothing remains before my eyes
But dry leaves and tinder!

So what,
When my people’s tragedy
Has turned to farce in others’ eyes,
And my face is a poor bargain
That even the slave-trader gleefully disdains!

So what,
When in barren space the satellites spin,
And in the street there’s nothing but a beggar, holding a hat,
And the song of autumn is heard!
Blow, East winds!
Our roots are still alive!

From A LOVER FROM PALESTINE AND OTHER POEMS, An Anthology of Palestinian Poetry. ed. Abdul Wahab al-Messiri, Free Palestine Press, Washington D.C. 1970.

“. . .strangers with their rifles’ muzzles . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

IMG_3215 - edited resized
Israeli Occupation Forces bunker and watchtower in Central Hebron. (Photo: Harold Knight, November 7, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY
|  ISRAEL  DEMOLISHES  HOME  IN  JERUSALEM  –  143  DEMOLISHED  IN  2018  
Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian-owned house in Qalandiya north of occupied East Jerusalem in the central West Bank, on Wednesday morning.    ___Owner Hamzeh al-Mughrabi told Ma’an that Israeli police forces escorted municipality staff into Qalandiya, where they surrounded the house, emptied and evacuated residents before starting the demolition.    ___Al-Mughrabi added that the Shweiki family of 6 members, including a man with disability, live in the 100-square meter house.    More . . .
~~ Jerusalem  mayor  plans  to  reduce  the  sound  of  mosque  loudspeakers     More . . .
|   WEEKLY  REPORT  ON  ISRAELI  HUMAN  RIGHTS  VIOLATIONS  IN  THE  OCCUPIED  PALESTINIAN  TERRITORY  (20–26  DECEMBER  2018)
Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against the peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip.     ___4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and a person with mobility impairment were killed.   142 civilians, including 30 children, 2 women, 2 journalists, and a paramedic, were wounded; the injury of 2 of them was reported serious.    ___A child was killed and 5 civilians were wounded, including a Journalist, in the West Bank.    ___Israeli forces conducted 66 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 2 limited incursions into the northern Gaza Strip.   More . . .
~~  Scores  of  Palestinians  injured  by  Israeli  bullet  fire     More . . .
~~  Civilians  kidnapped,  homes  ransacked  by  Israeli  army    More . . .
|  ISRAEL  AND  THE  UNITED  STATES  FORMALLY  QUIT  UNESCO
More than a year after announcing their withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Israel and the United States’ decision officially went into effect at the last second of December 31, 2018.   ___UNESCO was the first UN body to grant full membership to Palestine in 2011, which led the Obama administration to stop paying its annual contributions. In 2017, the UN heritage agency passed a resolution designating the Tomb of Patriarchs in  Hebron  as  a  Palestinian  World  Heritage  Site. The decision was opposed by the Jewish community because of the holy cave’s significance in Judaism.     More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
NOT  WELCOME  IN  HEBRON:  ITS  ORIGINAL  RESIDENTS  AND  BREAKING  THE  SILENCE
Jonathan Cook
Ido Even-Paz switched on his body camera as his tour group decamped from the bus in Hebron. The former Israeli soldier wanted to document any trouble we might encounter in this, the largest Palestinian city in the occupied West Bank.    ___It was not Hebron’s Palestinian residents who concerned him, however. He was worried about fellow Israelis—Jewish religious extremists and the soldiers there to guard them—who have seized control of much of the city center [. . . .]  ___For more than 15 years, Israel has forbidden entry for Palestinians to what was once Hebron’s main throroughfare and central shopping area along Shuhada Street. Now it has been rebranded in Hebrew as King David Street, and declared what the army terms a “sterilized area.” The closure severs the main transport routes for Palestinians between north and south Hebron.    ___Most of the Palestinian inhabitants have been driven from the city center by endless harassment and attacks by settlers, bolstered by arrests and night raids conducted by the army, says Even-Paz.    More . . .
~~  Gaza  march  leader  to  conscientious  objectors:  ‘Turn  your  words  into  weapons’    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“STORY  OF  A  CITY,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM
There was a blue city
that dreamt of foreigners wandering
Around and spending their money
day after day.

But it became a black city
despising strangers
with their rifles’ muzzles
making the rounds of its cafés.

From: Al-Qasim, Samih.  SADDER  THAN  WATER.  New  and  Selected  Poems.  Trans. Nazih Kasis and Adina Hoffman. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2008. Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . Lay him in the sun; his face caressed By the winds . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

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Muhammad Youssef Rabba Nakhleh. Murdered by Israeli Occupation Forces. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency, Dec. 14, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .      
ISRAELI  FORCES  KILL  YOUTH  IN  AL-BIREH
A Palestinian youth was shot dead by Israeli forces and six others injured in clashes with Israeli forces at the north entrance to Al-Bireh city in the occupied West Bank.  More . . .
~~ ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  KILL  60-YEAR-OLD  PALESTINIAN  BUSINESSMAN,  SMEAR  HIM  AS  TERRORIST 
Israeli forces shot and killed 60-year-old Palestinian business-owner Hamdan Al-Arda yesterday, during a raid of Al-Bireh, in the central West Bank.    ___Al-Arda was driving in his car when soldiers opened fire, killing him.    More . . .

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Hamdan Al-Arda. Killed by the Israeli army on December 13. (Photo: Palestine Chronicle via Twitter)

~~ IN  VIDEO  –  ISRAEL  BLOWS  UP  ABU  HMEID  FAMILY  HOME  IN  RAMALLAH
The Israeli army blew up the home of the Abu Hmeid family, in the al-Amaari refugee camp  south of Ramallah City, in the central occupied West Bank, after surrounding it for more than 5 hours.    ___More than 56 Palestinians were injured during clashes that erupted with Israeli soldiers around the building, as dozens of activists and supporters had gathered for a vigil to prevent the demolition of the family’s building.    ___The Israeli court had given the army the green light to demolish the building as a form of collective punishment, as Israel accuses one of the family’s sons, Islam, of having killed an Israeli soldier during an Israeli raid to the refugee camp.    More . . .
~~ ISRAELI  NAVY  KIDNAPS  TWO  GAZAN  FISHERMEN
The Israeli occupation navy on Saturday morning kidnapped two Palestinian fishermen during their presence off the coast of Gaza City.    ___Chief of the fishermen Nizar Ayyash told Quds Press that the brothers, Mohamed and Atef Abu Riyala, were kidnapped after Israeli naval forces opened machinegun fire near their fishing boat, which was also confiscated.    ___Ayyash added that the fishermen were working within four nautical miles from the shore of Gaza City.    More . . .
| ‘DETENTION  IS  AN  INSTRUMENT  OF  ISRAEL’S  OPPRESSION’
In the dead of night, Israeli forces knocked on the door of Salah Hamouri’s apartment in Jerusalem, he told me. “When I opened the door they told me they were looking for me and began to search the house. . . for something; I don’t know what. Of course, they found nothing, but they took me away anyway.”    ___That was on 22 August 2017. Over a year later – thirteen months to be exact – Hamouri was finally released from administrative detention, a status Israel uses to imprison Palestinians indefinitely with neither charge nor trial.    More . . .
|  ISRAEL  TO  LEGALIZE  2,000  UNAUTHORIZED  SETTLER  HOUSES
Israel is to authorize thousands of settler houses built illegally in the occupied West Bank, according to Haaretz.    ___The Hebrew newspaper said that Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, in coordination with Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked, had approved the use of a legal tactic that would allow the legalization of about 2,000 illegally-built Israeli houses throughout the West Bank.    ___This move followed an earlier announcement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlining a series of measures he would take in favor of the settlement activity in the West Bank.    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
|  THIS  DOESN’T  END  WELL 
Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
One of the most depressing things about Israel-Palestine is just how predictable and cyclical the violence can be. The almost-war in Gaza, the new wave of shooting, ramming, and stabbing attacks in the West Bank, the nightly Israeli army raids deep into Palestinian cities, the clashes that will soon become a regular feature of the coming months, the vigilante settler violence — it’s almost identical to the year before and the year before and the year before.    [. . . .] So where do we go from here? There are only two things we can be sure of these days. The first is that, tragically, there will be more violence, from both sides. The second is that change is not going to come from an Israeli government which sees the status quo as an acceptable reality.    More . . .
| ‘ISRAELIS  DON’T  WANT  TO  HEAR  WHAT  I  HAVE  TO  SAY’ 
___Over the past few months, Israeli authorities, along with radical settlers, have turned Guy Hirschfeld into a public enemy of sorts for his activism in the Jordan Valley. In an interview, Hirschfeld talks about building solidarity with Palestinians, why his brash style has turned him into a target, and whether things are getting worse for left-wing activists.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“THE  MAN  WHO  VISITED  DEATH,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM
Leave the martyr shrouded in his garments,
Lay him at the foot of the mountain: for it knows his sorrow.
Do not bury him, while his wounds
Proclaim his testament of love and suffering.
Do you hear?

Let him take leave of his friends,
A bleeding eagle among the rocks.
Lay him in the sun; his face caressed
By the winds, redolent with the fragrance of the land of his youth.

Do not close his eyes; a final
Red glimmer still shines in them.
His call reverberates in the golden valleys:
“You who fear death, I fear it not;
Take me to my home
To rest my cheek upon its threshold,
To kiss the doorknob,
Take me to my vineyard, I would die, with the pangs of my love in my heart,
If my eyes do not feast once more on the sight of its soil. 

From THE  PALESTINIAN  WEDDING:  A  BILINGUAL  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE  POETRY. Ed. and Trans. A. M. Elmessiri. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2011. Reprint from Three Continents Press, Inc., 1982. Available from Palestine Online Store.

“. . . I loved life, from the bottom of my heart . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

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Israeli Field executions: Ashraf Na’alwa, Saleh Barghouthi, Majd Mteir. (Photo: Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, by Quds News, Dec. 13, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .    
PLO:  TIME  FOR  INTERNATIONAL  COMMUNITY  TO  PROVIDE  PROTECTION  TO  PALESTINIANS
Azzam al-Ahmad, member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, said that the leadership has reached several regional and international stakeholders “to put an end to the escalated violence by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank,” on Thursday.     ___Al-Ahmad spoke to Voice of Palestine radio and stressed, “The time has come for the international community to shoulder its responsibility to provide protection to our people from the (Israeli) violations, which include field executions of Palestinian citizens and incitement (by Israeli settlers) to kill President Mahmoud Abbas.”    ___He added “this incitement was met with international condemnation,” noting that the Palestinian people “will not stand idly, but will confront the Israeli occupation until they fulfill their rights.”    More . . .
. . . . Related  IOF  Assassinate  Three  Palestinians  They  Claim  Were  Involved  In  Anti-Israeli  Attacks
. . . . Related  Settlers attack in Nablus and Hebron
. . . . Related  2 Palestinians injured by Israeli  Forces in al-Mughayyar
. . . . Related  Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations In The Occupied Palestinian Territory (06– 12 December 2018)
| UPDATE  |  ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  100  PALESTINIANS  IN  WEST  BANK
Israeli forces arrested more than 100 Palestinians, including lawmakers and former prisoners, during large-scale raids that targeted many areas across the occupied West Bank throughout the past two days, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).    ___Last night alone, the forces detained at least 46 Palestinians, including two lawmakers and a journalist, during a large-scale detention campaign across the West Bank.    ___Israeli forces conducted multiple overnight raids in Hebron city in addition to the nearby towns of Idhna, Beit Kahel, Yatta and Adh-Dhahiriyya, ransacking civilian houses and interrogating families.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Ramallah City Sealed Off For Second Consecutive Day
. . . . Related  Entrance to Al-Arroub Refugee Camp Sealed by Israeli Forces
. . . . Related  Israeli army raids headquarters of Palestine Olympic Committee in Al-Bireh

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
| ISRAEL’S  EXECUTIONS  CAN’T  KILL  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE:  REMEMBERING  ASHRAF  NA’ALWA,  SALEH  BARGHOUTHI,  MAJD  MTEIR  AND  HASAN  ARDA
On 13 December 2018, Israeli occupation forces shot down four Palestinians, including several resistance fighters who had evaded their pursuit for months.    [. . . .]  These killings were carried out in a coordinated fashion, alongside the arrest of dozens of Palestinians on the same night. Clearly, these were intended to be a deadly blow not only against these strugglers, but also the Palestinian resistance as a whole.    ___Nevertheless, ensuing events made clear that the military power of the occupation and its extrajudicial executions would only inflame Palestinian resistance further.    More . . .
|  PALESTINIAN  SOLIDARITY:  IS  SOUTH  AFRICA  IN  THE  DRIVER’S  SEAT?   Recent events in South Africa have had a profoundly positive impact on Palestine.    ___It may not be music for this country’s [UNITED STATES] pro-Israel lobby but certainly welcomed by the broad spectrum of solidarity movements active in pursuit of freedom and justice for the Palestinian cause.    ___These milestone events have provided Palestinian Resistance Movements, particularly Hamas, as well as solidarity activists, renewed hope that the pendulum is slowly but surely swinging away from the colonial settler regime Israel.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“HE  WHISPERED  BEFORE  HE  TOOK  HIS  FINAL  BREATHS,”
BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM

Don’t honor me with a monument
and song!
Of all the sad songs,
I prefer my mother’s sadness.

Do not pay your last respects
with laurel and a royal display!
Of all the tender wreaths
I prefer my mother’s palm.

Don’t glorify me by giving my name
to a city square
or a street and public garden!
I’d rather a grapevine be planted
(in my name)
and grow into a vineyard and farm!

Do not preserve my memory
by giving a speech each year in my honor!
I’d rather a fine machine
pounding away in a factory
speak in my name.

Tell my mother―
tell her what you plant in my name,
tell the factory’s machine
that I loved life, from the bottom of my heart,
and therefore took my final breaths
at peace and happy.

From: Al-Qasim, Samih. SADDER  THAN  WATER.  New  and  Selected  Poems. Trans. Nazih Kasis and Adina Hoffman. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2008. Available from Barnes and Noble.

 

“Have you forgotten your shame. . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

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Esther Bejarano, Auschwitz survivor, 2015. (Photo: Uwe Zucchi DPA- German News Agency)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .
|  TENTS,  SCHOOL  FURNITURE  SEIZED  IN  SOUTH  OF  WEST  BANK
Israeli soldiers raided a village in the south Hebron hills on Monday and seized tents and furniture brought for a local school the Israeli army had demolished last week, according to the local education department.    ___The Israeli army demolished the school built near the town of Samou, south of the West Bank, on Wednesday and seized its furniture after destroying the grounds.    ___Residents, along with the Ministry of Education and solidarity groups, brought tents and furniture to rebuild it, but an army force broke into the area during the night and seized everything.    [. . . .] The school, referred to as Challenge School 13, serves 35 students up to grade six from two Palestinian communities living in that area. Its construction had cost 40,000 euros.    More . . .
. . . . Related  IOF raids homes, kidnaps citizens in different W. Bank areas
. . . . Related  Thousands of settlers storm different West Bank sites for rituals
. . . . Related  Israeli settlers break into Palestinian archaeological site [Beita Town, Nablus]
. . . . Related  Israeli forces raid outskirts of Ramallah, seize surveillance cameras
. . . . Related  Farmer Mansour Marayta mourns his stolen land
. . . . Related  IOF storm Ramallah villages after shooting of Ofra settlers
|  SCORES  OF  AMPUTATIONS  IN  GAZA  AS  ISRAELI  TROOPS  AIM  AT  LEGS
Israeli forces deployed along the fence that separates Israel from the Gaza Strip have fired live rounds at rock-throwing Palestinian protesters ever since demonstrations demanding the right to return began in March.    ___And for eight months, Israeli snipers have targeted one part of the body more than any other – the legs.    ___The Israeli army says it is responding to weekly assaults on its frontier by Palestinians armed with stones, grenades and firebombs. It says it opens fire only as a last resort and considers firing at the lower limbs an act of restraint.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Report: Palestinian Prisoners In Israel Jails Suffer Medical Negligence
. . . . Related  Palestinians injured after Israeli settlers break into Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus
|  SENIOR  ISRAELI  LAWMAKER  CALLS  FOR  KILLING  ALL  PALESTINIANS
Chair of the Defence Committee at the Israeli Parliament Avi Dichter has called for killing all the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.    ___As he was commenting on the peaceful protests of the Great March of Return taking place along the eastern fence of the Gaza Strip, he said: “The Israeli army has enough bullets for every Palestinian.”    ___Dichter is a senior member of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party, which is a right wing one. [. . . .] He later added: “The number [of peaceful Palestinian protesters] killed does not mean anything because they are just Nazis anyhow.”    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
WHY  AUSCHWITZ  SURVIVOR  ESTHER  BEJARANO  SUPPORTS  BDS
Esther Bejarano learned to love music from her father Rudolf Loewy, a cantor in the Jewish community of the southwest German town of Saarlouis, where she was born in 1924.  That was lucky for her, because music literally saved her life.     ___Bejarano recently spoke to The Electronic Intifada at her home in Hamburg.  [. . . .] After the war, Bejarano emigrated to Palestine, but her aversion to Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians eventually led her to return to Germany.  [. . . .] But Bejarano knows no fear and continues to raise her voice, calling Israel’s government “fascist” and saying she supports BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – if it helps challenge Israel’s persecution of Palestinians.   More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .
| MEDICAL  AID  FOR  PALESTINIANS
Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) works for the health and dignity of Palestinians living under occupation and as refugees.  We provide immediate medical aid to those in great need, while also developing local capacity and skills to ensure the long-term development of the Palestinian healthcare system.  Donate

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“BUCHENWALD,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM

Have you forgotten your shame at Buchenwald?
Do you remember your flames at Buchenwald?
Have you forgotten your love in the lexicon
of silence? Do you remember your panic―
at the reign of death, in the nightmare of time―
that the whole world
would become a Buchenwald?
Whether you’ve forgotten or not,
the dead’s images linger
among the wreaths of flowers,
and from the dismembered corpses
a hand emerges,
a nail in the palm and tattoo on the wrist―
a sign for the planet.
Do you remember? Or not?
Buchenwald― whether or not you’ve forgotten,
the images of the murdered
remain among the wreaths of flowers . . .

From:  Al-Qasim, Samih. SADDER  THAN  WATER.  New  and  Selected  Poems.  Trans. Nazih Kasis and Adina Hoffman. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2008.  Available from Barnes and Noble.

 

“. . . Do you remember your panic― at the reign of death . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

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Israelis escorted through Al Aqsa Mosque courtyard, Jerusalem, by IOF soldiers (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 5, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .
   DEFENSE  MINISTER  AVIGDOR  LIBERMAN  RESIGNS  OVER  HAMAS  CEASEFIRE
Claiming that the government has capitulated to terrorism, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced his resignation on Wednesday, one day after Israel agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.    ___“I have tried to remain a faithful member of the cabinet and to make heard another view, even at a great electoral and political price,” Liberman said at a news briefing immediately following the faction meeting. However, Tuesday’s ceasefire with Hamas “cannot be interpreted in any way other than a capitulation to terrorism,” he added. “This will severely harm our security in the long run. The response that we gave to the 500 rockets shot from Gaza was not enough, to say the least. The South should come first. Our weakness is being broadcast to other fronts.”    More . . .
|    PLO:  30  YEARS  AFTER  DECLARATION  OF  INDEPENDENCE,  OCCUPATION  STILL  LINGERING
Thirty years after the historic declaration of Palestine’s independence, the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land is still lingering, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said on Thursday marking Palestine’s Declaration of Independence Day.    ___The Palestinian National Council issued the Palestinian Declaration of Independence on November 15, 1988 in Algiers, declaring an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.    [. . . .] PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement on this occasion. . .   “Thirty years later, following this historic and painful compromise, the longest occupation in modern history still continues and holds an entire people captive, willfully stealing their land, resources, freedom, and rights with full impunity. . .     More . . .
. . . . Related  A  FAMILIAR  INVASION:  SETTLERS  TAKE  ANOTHER  MOUNTAIN  TOP,  SOLDIERS  FOLLOW,  AND  PALESTINIANS  DEMONSTRATE  FOR  THEIR  RIGHTS
|    ISRAEL  BANS  JERUSALEMITES  ENTRY  AS  SETTLERS  STORM  AL-AQSA     Israeli authorities banned six Jerusalemites, on Thursday, from entry to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, for one consecutive month. . .   [. . . .]  two days prior to the ban, the six Jerusalemites were detained by Israeli forces during predawn raids of their homes in East Jerusalem.     ___Meanwhile, about 35 Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound through the Moroccan Gate and “provocatively” toured the compound, according to local sources.     More . . .
. . . . Related  GAZA  IN  PHOTOS:  CEASEFIRE,  MOURNING  AND  PROTESTS  OF  THE  DESTRUCTION  OF  A  TELEVISION  STATION

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
|    ISRAEL’S  NEXT  ELECTIONS  WILL  BE  ABOUT  WHO  IS  MORE  VIOLENT  TO  PALESTINIANS 
Israel appears to be going to early elections. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday announced that he is resigning from his post, and that his party, Yisrael Beytenu, will leave the ruling coalition over what he called Netanyahu’s “surrender to terrorism.” The surprise resignation came just a day after Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire, ending the most violent flare-up the Gaza border has seen since the 2014 war.    ___Immediately following his announcement, the right-wing Jewish Home party . . .  released a statement that it too would leave the coalition unless party leader Naftali Bennett replaces Liberman as defense minister. It is unlikely Netanyahu will agree to such conditions, which means that his coalition will probably fall apart, ushering in early elections in the spring of 2019, instead of their original date in November 2019.    ___Liberman’s move makes perfect sense, if one considers that his party, which holds only five of 120 seats in the Knesset, might not make it past the election threshold, as several polls have indicated . . .  Liberman also used his podium to attack Netanyahu for backing down on the demolition of Khan Al-Ahmar, allowing Qatari cash and fuel into Gaza, and the latest cease-fire.    More . . .
. . . . Related POLL:  64%  OF  ISRAELIS  SEEK  TO  ESCALATE  AGGRESSIONS  ON  GAZA
. . . . Related  WHAT  NETANYAHU’S  IDEA  OF  PEACE  LOOKS  LIKE
. . . . Related   IN  BREACH  OF  HUMAN  RIGHTS,  NETANYAHU  SUPPORTS  THE  DEATH  PENALTY  FOR  PALESTINIANS

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“BUCHENWALD,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM

Have you forgotten your shame at Buchenwald?
Do you remember your flames at Buchenwald?
Have you forgotten your love in the lexicon
of silence? Do you remember your panic―
at the reign of death, in the nightmare of time―
that the whole world
would become a Buchenwald?
Whether you’ve forgotten or not,
the dead’s images linger
among the wreaths of flowers,
and from the dismembered corpses
a hand emerges,
a nail in the palm and tattoo on the wrist―
a sign for the planet.
Do you remember? Or not?
Buchenwald― whether or not you’ve forgotten,
the images of the murdered
remain among the wreaths of flowers . . .

From Al-Qasim, Samih. SADDER  THAN  WATER.  New  and  Selected  Poems.  Trans. Nazih Kasis and Adina Hoffman. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2008.  Available from Barnes and Noble

“. . . When the almond and the olive have turned to timber . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

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THE VILLAGE OF BURIN. PHOTO BY SALMA A-DEB’I. B’Tselem Website, March 27,2018.

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .

|  IN  VIDEO  –  ISRAELI  SETTLERS  ATTACK  PALESTINIAN  FARMERS  IN  NABLUS       Video footage showed how several Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian farmers, on Saturday, while they were harvesting olive harvest on Palestinians lands belonging to the residents of the Burin village, south of the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus.    ___According to local sources, Israeli settlers from the illegal Givat Ronin settlement attacked two Palestinian farmers by throwing rocks at them and chased them out of their own lands.    ___The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem reported that “Settler violence and vandalism takes place with full backing by the Israeli authorities. Sometimes soldiers take part in the assault; at other times, they stand idly by.    More . . .
|  VIDEO:  AS  THE  OLIVE  HARVEST  BEGINS,  SO  DO  THE  SETTLER  ATTACKS     The time had finally come: the residents of Turmusayya, a lush Palestinian village nestled in a valley between Ramallah and Nablus in the central occupied West Bank, had gotten permission from Israeli authorities to go harvest their olive trees. This chance only came twice a year: two days in the spring to cultivate their land, and two days in the fall to harvest the olives.     ___When they arrived, they were devastated to find dozens of trees chopped down, uprooted, and rotting.     More . . .
. . . . Related  Israeli forces chase Palestinian herders out of grazing land
. . . . Related  Settlers chop off olive, grape trees near Bethlehem
. . . . Related  Settlers attack civilians in Hebron
. . . . Related  Israeli army destroys water pipeline in Kafr Qaddoum
. . . . Related  Israeli Soldiers And Settlers Uproot Trees In Silwan
. . . . Related  PHOTOS: Israeli bulldozers demolish homes in West Bank villages
. . . . Related  Israeli fanatics break into Aqsa Mosque
|  ISRAEL ORDERS IMMEDIATE HALT OF FUEL DELIVERIES TO GAZA    Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has ordered an immediate halt to fuel deliveries headed to besieged Gaza in response to what he claimed attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians.    ___The announcement on Friday follows the killing  of  seven  Palestinians  by  Israeli  forces  during the ongoing March of Return protests.   ___”Israel will not tolerate a situation in which fuel tankers are allowed to enter Gaza on the one hand, while terror and violence are used against [Israeli] soldiers and Israeli citizens on the other,” the statement from Lieberman’s office read.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“A  HOMELAND,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM
So what,
When in my homeland
The sparrow dies of starvation,
In exile, without a shroud,
While the earthworm is satiated, devouring God’s food!

So what,
When the yellow fields
Yield no more to their tillers
Than memories of weariness,
While their rich harvest pours
Into the granaries of the usurper!

So what,
If the cement has diverted
The ancient springs
Causing them to forget their natural course,
When their owner calls,
They cry in his face: “Who are you?”

So what,
When the almond and the olive have turned to timber
Adorning tavern doorways,
And monuments
Whose nude loveliness beautifies halls and bars,
And is carried by tourists
To the farthest corners of the earth,
While nothing remains before my eyes
But dry leaves and tinder!

So what,
When my people’s tragedy
Has turned to farce in others’ eyes,
And my face is a poor bargain
That even the slave-trader gleefully disdains!

So what,
When in barren space the satellites spin,
And in the streets walks a beggar, holding a hat,
And the song of autumn is heard!
Blow, East winds!
Our roots are still alive.

Samih Al-Qasim 
From 
THE  PALESTINIAN  WEDDING:  A  BILINGUAL  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE  POETRY. Ed. and Trans. A. M. Elmessiri. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2011. Reprint from Three Continents Press, Inc., 1982. Available from Palestine Online Store.