“. . . Even her dreams are besieged . . .” (Samih Faraj)

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Members of delegation from Sabeel Liberation Theology Center, Jerusalem,
in Hebron’s al-Shuhada Street with gates closing the street and
Israeli soldier in guard tower above. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 7, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .

UN  APPOINTS  NEW  CHAIR  OF  COMMISSION  ON  VIOLATIONS  AGAINST  PALESTINIANS
The President of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) . . .  announced the appointment of Santiago Canton of Argentina to serve as a member and chairperson of the Council-mandated Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.   Canton . . .  will replace David Michael Crane of the United States who recently stepped down as a member of the three-person Commission.   ___The Commissioners have been mandated by the Human Rights Council to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the blockaded Gaza Strip. . .    More . . .

SPAIN  READY  TO  RECOGNIZE  PALESTINIAN  STATE
Spain has become the latest country to voice its readiness to recognize the State of Palestine and that it will promote a European Union (EU) move to recognize Palestine as an independent state.   ___Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, spoke at a conference of EU leaders in Austria, saying that the Spanish government will promote an EU move to recognize Palestine.   ___Borrell said that “if the EU is not able to reach a unanimous decision, then each to their own.”   More . . .
Related . . . MEMBERS  OF  EU  PARLIAMENT  CALL  ON  EU  TO  RECOGNIZE  PALESTINE

ISRAELI  FORCES  SEVERELY  ASSAULT,  DETAIN  HEBRON  RESIDENTS    Israeli forces raided a Palestinian home, on Wednesday night, the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, and assaulted its residents.   ___Locals said that Israeli forces raided the home of Palestinian, Ghaleb Abu Sbeih, in the Old City of HEBRON and thoroughly searched it, damaging most of his furniture and personal belongings.  ___Israeli forces assaulted two Palestinians, Shaher and Ibrahim Abu Sbeih, during the raid. . .   More . . .
Related . . . ISRAELI  FORCES  INJURE  DOZENS  OF  PALESTINIAN  STUDENTS  IN  HEBRON

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

HEBRON:  6  ILLEGAL  SETTLEMENTS,  95  PHYSICAL  OBSTACLES,  2200  ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  TO  PRIVILEGE  850  ILLEGAL  SETTLERS.
For centuries, Al-Khalil (Hebron) has been considered a holy city, primarily because of the Ibrahimi Mosque/The Tomb of the Patriarchs, which followers of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity consider a sacred site of pilgrimage. Today, Al-Khalil is an openly segregated city. The daily lives of its 215,000 Palestinian residents are severely disrupted to privilege just 850 hard-line Israeli settlers, enabled by hundreds of heavily armed Israeli soldiers. More . . .   Join  Visualizing Palestine . . .
Related . . .  OCCUPATION  CAPTURED  09/18:  PHOTOS  OF  PALESTINIAN  LIFE  AND  ISRAELI  OCCUPATION  IN  THE  WEST  BANK  CITY  OF  HEBRON
Related . . .  PALESTINIAN  POLICE  PAY  FIRST-EVER  SYMBOLIC  VISIT  TO  HEBRON’S  OLD  CITY

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .

ECUMENICAL  ACCOMPANIERS  PROGRAM  IN  PALESTINE  AND  ISRAEL  (EAPPI)    The World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) was created in 2002 by the WCC. . .    1,800 ecumenical accompaniers (EAs) have worked to create conditions for a just peace.   EAPPI advocates for justice and peace based on non-violence and a non-partisan approach. . . To insure adherence to these vital principles at a local level in Israel and Palestine, a Local Reference Group (LRG) with representatives from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities, is appointed . . .     More . . .   Donate . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“A WOMAN,” BY SAMIH FARAJ

Take one step towards the old house
And another down the stairs to the home
Where a woman sits in the early evening light:
Light, the radiance of a dove, shining;
Or light like the light from a shrine.
No one knows where she has come from –
Through which quarter or distant land she passed.
What shadow the light cast when she’d gone.
No one knows the flood she passed through –
The risks she took, the daily deluge.
No one can measure the vast sea she crossed,
The hazards she held in her small hands.
An ordinary woman: one step at a time, one step
On the land lacking, on the barren soil; one step
On the time passing; one step on the clock ticking.
Except for something in her now rising, hot, scolding,
Even her dreams are besieged, it seems; yet
In the middle of a siege it’s still possible to dream.
A dream of the old house, and her first step.
—Translated by Jackie Kay

Samih Faraj is a teacher in Deheishe Refugee Camp and a lecturer at HEBRON and Bethlehem Universities. He has been editor-in-chief of several journals, including VOICE OF THE NATION.
Poem from A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014).

“. . . In the middle of a siege it’s still possible to dream . . .” (Samih Faraj)

me-cremisan-001
The Apartheid Wall at Cremisan with Palestinian olive trees beyond and new construction in foreground. Israelis-only bypass road to illegal settlement above (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 8, 2015.)

❶ Palestinians mourn final Cremisan Valley olive harvest

  • Background: “Bethlehem’s Wall.” America

❷ Zionist Settlers Assault 3 Palestinian Farmers in West Bank
❸ Extremist settlers reap profits from occupied Jerusalem sites
❹ POETRY by Samih Faraj
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
PALESTINIANS  MOURN  FINAL  CREMISAN  VALLEY  OLIVE  HARVEST  
Al Jazeera English
Extension of Israel’s separation wall will soon cut Palestinians off from the valley’s distinctive olive groves.  
Sheren Khalel
Nov. 4, 2016
The rocky terraces of the Cremisan Valley are mostly overgrown and wild these days, as local landowners say they have lost all hope of keeping control over the more than 300 hectares of olive trees and orchards along the sloping mount, confiscated by the Israeli government earlier this year.
___”I haven’t been here at all this year. Look how the weeds have grown over, and trash from the street has piled up,” Ricardo Jaweejat said, motioning towards the vast olive grove that has belonged to his family for generations.
___”What’s the point? When we learned the Israelis were taking the land, I avoided doing anything with it. It’s a little bit dangerous to be here now.”
___Beit Jala olives are known by Palestinians around the world for producing the finest olive oil, and the oil from the city’s Cremisan Valley is considered to be the best of Beit Jala, a district of the Bethlehem municipality in the southern occupied West Bank. This year is expected to be the last chance to harvest olives from the valley, which will soon be blocked off by an extension of Israel’s separation wall.  More . . .

  • Ivereigh, Austen. “Bethlehem’s Wall.” America 199.5 (2008): 15-17.  Full Article 

The Salesians who make wine at the Cremisan estate, located on the terraced hillsides to the west of Bethlehem, live in the path of the wall. They cannot stop its expansion; they have a settlement behind them, far into the West Bank, and the wall is designed to ensure that the settlements are included within the Israeli border—when that is finally agreed upon. The Vatican has added its voice to the international condemnation, but until Israel implements the 2001 Fundamental Agreement with the Holy See, the juridical status of the Catholic Church is at best fragile and its power to negotiate limited. Israel has agreed to a Vatican request not to divide church lands that lie beneath the path of the wall, so when the wall is extended later this year, Cremisan will be cut off from Bethlehem—depriving the town of one of its oldest and popular landmarks—and from the Palestinian workers on whom the winery depends. “We are negotiating to allow the workers to come each day through the wall,” says Father Luciano, an elderly Italian Salesian at Cremisan. “But everything is very uncertain. It is a great weight on us.”
[. . . . ]  The wall is strangling Bethlehem and its Christian population. It will come down only when Christian public opinion in the United States awakens to that fact and issues an S.O.S. for the birth town of Christianity, putting pressure on Washington to enforce international law.
___But that means dispelling some deeply held myths. A 2006 Zogby opinion poll commissioned by the campaign organization Open Bethlehem found that only 15 percent of Americans know that Bethlehem is a Palestinian town with a mixed Christian-Muslim Arab population in the occupied West Bank. Bethlehemites, when asked why Christians are leaving, point to the wall and speak about the land confiscations; yet most Americans believe Christians are being pushed out by “radical Muslims.” Most Americans simply do not realize that the wall is responsible for the destruction of the town’s Christian population; instead, they accept Israel’s argument that the wall was built to protect Israel from terrorist attacks, not to consolidate the illegal settlements and land annexations.

ZIONIST  SETTLERS  ASSAULT  3  PALESTINIAN  FARMERS  IN  WEST  BANK
Middle East News 17
Nov. 5, 2016
Three Palestinians were wounded, one critically, after being attacked by Israeli settlers on Saturday in the village of al-Janiya in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah.
___According to locals, Israeli settlers assaulted and threw rocks at members of the Abu Fekheideh family while they were picking olives on their land in the al-Batha area of the village, near the illegal Israeli settlement of Talmon.
___Jaber Barakat Abu Fekheideh was critically injured in the head, while his brother Hassan and cousin Muhammad were reported as mildly wounded.  More . . .

olive-injuries
Jaber Barakat Abu Fekheideh being treated for critical wounds in a Ramallah hospital after being attacked by Israeli settlers, Nov. 5, 2016 (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

EXTREMIST  SETTLERS  REAP  PROFITS  FROM  OCCUPIED  JERUSALEM  SITES    Electronic Intifada  
Charlotte Silver
Nov. 3, 2016
Israel’s state comptroller has sharply criticized three government agencies for outsourcing the management of major archaeological excavations and sites in Jerusalem to Elad, a private organization that settles Jews in the militarily occupied eastern part of the city in violation of international law.
___The report says the Israel Antiquities Authority has not supervised Elad’s archaeological work, nor has the Israel Nature and Parks Authority supervised Elad’s management of the so-called City of David, a settlement containing an archaeological museum catering to tourists.
___The City of David settlement is located in the middle of the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem, and Elad asserts it is the ancient biblical City of King David mentioned in the second book of Samuel.    More . . .

“A WOMAN,” BY SAMIH FARAJ

Take one step towards the old house
And another down the stairs to the home
Where a woman sits in the early evening light:
Light, the radiance of a dove, shining;
Or light like the light from a shrine.
No one knows where she has come from –
Through which quarter or distant land she passed.
What shadow the light cast when she’d gone.
No one knows the flood she passed through –
The risks she took, the daily deluge.
No one can measure the vast sea she crossed,
The hazards she held in her small hands.
An ordinary woman: one step at a time, one step
On the land lacking, on the barren soil; one step
On the time passing; one step on the clock ticking.
Except for something in her now rising, hot, scolding,
Even her dreams are besieged, it seems; yet
In the middle of a siege it’s still possible to dream.
A dream of the old house, and her first step.
—Translated by Jackie Kay

Samih Faraj is a teacher in Deheishe Refugee Camp in Bethlehem and a lecturer at Hebron and Bethlehem Universities. He has been editor-in-chief of several journals, including VOICE OF THE NATION.
About education in Deheishe Refugee Camp.
Poem from A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.