“The messengers of peace here weep for the bitterness and the malice . . . .” Samih Al-Qasim

NEWS OF THE DAY

Netanyahu trial to begin on 17 March, says Israeli court – Prime minister expected to attend initial hearing, where indictment will be read

The Guardian
Oliver Holmes in Jerusalem
Feb 18 2020
Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to appear at a court hearing on 17 March for the start of a corruption trial against him, the Israeli judiciary has announced.
– – – – The first day of the case is scheduled just two weeks after a national election on 2 March in which the prime minister is fighting to remain in power, despite the damning charges levelled against him.
– – – – After a three-year police investigation, the country’s attorney general indicted the 70-year-old leader in November in all three of the major cases against him.   More . . . .

Newspapers review: Plan to build new settlement near Jerusalem focus of dailies

WAFA
Feb 20 2020
The Israeli plan to build thousands of new colonial settlement units on the former Qalandia airport near the Jerusalem neighborhood of Kafr Aqab dominated the front page headlines in the dailies.
– – – – The dailies reported that Israeli occupation authorities have prepared a master plan to build 9,000 new colonial settler units on the former Qalandia airport to the north of Jerusalem.
– – – – Al-Quds quoted observers saying in this regard that this project is second largest settlement construction project following the Maale Adumim settlement, which would undermine the prospects for the creation of the Palestinian state.
– – – – Al-Ayyam added in this regard that this huge settlement project is intended to consolidate the separation of Jerusalem from the West Bank.    More . . . .

In an attempt to prevent education in Area C of the West Bank, soldiers seize a classroom

WAFA
Feb 19 2020 – In their efforts to prevent education in the Palestinian areas classified as C, Israeli forces today seized a caravan used as a school classroom in the village of Susiya, in Masafer Yatta cluster to the south of the occupied southern West Bank city of Hebron, according to a local source.
– – – – Fouad al-Amoor, an activist, said that Israeli soldiers seized the classroom caravan under the pretext of construction without permit.
– – – -Israel never gives Palestinians permits to build in Area C of the occupied West Bank, which is under full Israeli military rule and make over 60 percent of the area of the West Bank.    More . . . .

  • Israeli forces detain seven Palestinians, ransack houses in West Bank raids
    WAFA
    Feb 19 2020
    Israeli forces Wednesday overnight detained seven Palestinians and ransacked a
    number of houses and stores across the West Bank, said the Palestine Prisoners’
    Society (PPS).    More . . . .
  • Israel Shuts Down Bakery Shop, Detains Owner In Jerusalem

    Days of Palestine
    Feb 19 2020
    On Wednesday, the Israeli occupation police shut down a bakery shop and detained the owner in the Old City of Jerusalem. Local sources confirmed that Israeli occupation police shut down a bakery shop in Bab Hutta neighborhood, citing the distribution of ka’ek, a crusty bread with sesame seeds, to Muslim worshipers on last Friday free of charge as a pretext.    More . . . .

In Wake of Trump Peace Plan, EU Countries Pushing for Recognition of State of Palestine

Israel is attempting to squash the initiative, claiming that EU opposition to the Trump Mideast plan would only encourage Palestinian rejectionism
‘Whether they accept it or not, it’s going to happen’ — Netanyahu lays out Palestinian submission to Trump plan
Mondoweiss
Philip Weiss
Feb 18, 2020
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told American Jews that he and the Trump administration are moving ahead with plans to remap the West Bank to give Israel sovereignty over large portions of occupied territory, and Palestinians are going to have to live with that plan “whether they accept it or not.”
– – – – Netanyahu’s discussion of Palestinian submission to the “radical” and “historic” terms of the Trump “peace plan” including annexation of all “Jewish communities” and military control of the West Bank sounded very much like surrender.
– – – – He spoke in Jerusalem two days ago to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, a rightwing Israel lobby organization.    More . . . .

POEM FOR THE DAY

“PSALM  OF  ISAIAH’S  GRANDCHILDREN,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM
We are Isaiah’s grandchildren
calling out to him now,
calling out to his kind face,
our dreams trembling, behind crimson tears!
We are Isaiah’s grandchildren―
and we call to him now―crying in anger:
Isaiah who has slept for ages!
How has this village become a whore?
Its silver has been debased.
They’ve treated it with disdain,
mixing the wine of its people with water.
Why don’t you tell them of the widows’ claims?
O Isaiah of the struggle―
Hallelujah!
The messengers of peace here weep
for the bitterness and the malice,
after the pretenders to right,
the enemies of culture,
severed the heads of the peaceful!
O sad Isaiah!
Rise up now, and cry through a village
that’s falling upon the slope of peril:
“May God show you the error of your ways!
Why, after seventy years, have you resorted to trade
with merchants from every kingdom?
Rise now and cry out through Tel Aviv:
“A thousand woes on those
who do not seek the Lord. And go to Egypt
bearing the wooden boards
of the Orient’s cross!”
O beloved Isaiah!
That revelation comes from Tayma,
From the lands of the Arabs: People!
Bring out the water to the refugees,
provide the long-hungry with bread,
bandage the wounds of those who have fled,
escaping the edge of the sword.
O brave Isaiah!
Rise up now so that
Palestine’s children will be able to play
without fearing the vipers’ fangs,
so two lambs might feel safe
in the lions’ jungle.
Hallelujah!
Then justice will reign among the nations
without the annihilation of right,
without silencing any tongue.
O Isaiah of the struggle!
The swords will be turned into plowshares
and the people’s spears be molded
into scythes, and then―
no nation will raise a sword to fight!
Little people know not war,
nor what bloodshed is.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
God of glory!
Our fight has been long,
and we were slaughtered and slaughtered in turn,
and have shed our blood for ages.
God of glory!
We were tried for long, and rested. . .
Hallelujah! . . . Hallelujah! . . . Hallelujah!

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

“The ink of the spirit burns on the shore of meaning. . . ” (Yousef El Qedra)

Khirbet Susiya, village under threat of demolition. Photo: Ann Pack, Activestills.org, 15 June 2012
Khirbet Susiya, village under threat of demolition. Photo: Ann Pack, Activestills.org, 15 June 2012

❶ From B’TSELEM – THE ISRAELI INFORMATION CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
STOP THE EXPULSION #SAVESUSIYA
Last Friday B’Tselem organized a visit to the Palestinian village of Khirbet Susiya in the South Hebron Hills. Dozens of Israelis joined us to express solidarity with Susiya’s residents who are facing the threat of imminent expulsion from their land.
At any moment the Israeli Civil Administration (CA) might demolish all homes and structures in Khirbet Susiya leaving the villagers with no shelter in the harsh desert conditions. The threat of demolition looms large following a decision by Israel’s High Court of Justice to deny the residents’ request for an interim injunction on demolition by the CA. For more on the risk of demolition faced by Khirbet Susiya, see B’Tselem’s website page.
(More. . .)

❷ From PALESTINE INFORMATION CENTER
ISRAELI OCCUPATION KEEPS JORDANIAN-CANADIAN BUSINESSMAN IN CUSTODY, DENIES HIM LAWYER
May 18, 2015
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM –The Shin Bet security service has arrested a Jordanian-Canadian millionaire and held him for 12 days without permitting him to see a lawyer, Haaretz reported Monday.
___58-year-old Ibrahim Seyam was invited by Abbas to attend a conference in Ramallah on developing the PA economy. But when he arrived together with a group of other Jordanian businessman at the Allenby Bridge border crossing about two weeks ago, he was arrested by the Shin Bet and taken to the Kishon interrogation center for questioning.
___Seyam is a businessman of Palestinian descent. He left the country some 30 years ago and moved to live between Canada and Jordan.
(More. . .)

❸ From PALESTINE INFORMATION CENTER
PALESTINIAN DETAINEES AT OFER JAIL ON TWO-DAY HUNGER-STRIKE
May 18, 2015
RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Islamic-Jihad affiliates held at the Israeli Ofer jail on Monday initiated a two-day hunger-strike in solidarity with their fellow who has been tortured by the prison wardens.
___Palestinian detainees at Ofer lock-up urged the Israeli prison authorities, in a statement, to launch a probe into an attack on their fellow Adel Musa and to take a tougher line against the perpetrators.
___The detainees announced their decision to go on a two-day hunger-strike in protest at the attack.
(More. . .)

❹ From ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
WILL ISRAELIS FILMED KILLING PALESTINIAN TEENS ON NAKBA DAY GET AWAY WITH MURDER?
By Olivia Watson
May 14, 2015
On 15 May 2014, an Israeli Border Police officer took aim at Nadim Nuwara and pulled the trigger of his M16 rifle.
___The live bullet struck Nuwara, 17, in the chest and exited through his back, killing him at the scene. CCTV cameras captured the shooting, allowing for detailed forensic video, sound and spatial analysis to be used to identify Nuwara’s killer. Despite seemingly clear evidence, systemic impunity for Israeli military violence continues to be an obstacle to justice for Palestinian families living under prolonged military occupation like the Nuwaras.
___Nuwara’s death appears to be the direct consequence of a de facto policy pursued by the Israeli military that permits the use of live ammunition, even against children, with almost complete impunity. The families of those killed are left to live with this injustice.
(More. . .)

Nadim Siam Nuwara
Nadim Siam Nuwara

❺ From MONDOWEISS
‘SO WAIT, THE NAKBA IS…?’: LISTENING TO ISRAELIS DISCUSS THE NAKBA
By Yara Dowani
May 15, 2015
How interesting it was to read the answers of Israelis who were asked about the Nakba for the video “So wait, the Nakba is…?”, done by De-Colonizer. Interesting but yet kind of disturbing.
___The interesting part was the idea of going around in Tel Aviv and asking random Israelis about this topic. In my opinion this step taken by De-Colonizer is really brave, because one has no idea what and how their reactions would be. I wonder what would be the answers of Israelis living in other cities and in the settlements?
___The disturbing part was reading the answers of the people who had no clue what the word Nakba means. How can a word, event, hold so much pain and suffering to some people and yet means nothing to the other people who were part of making it happen?
(More. . .)

“I HAVE NO HOME,” BY YOUSEF EL QEDRA
I saw clouds running away from the hurt.
I have no language.
Its weight is lighter than a feather.
The quill does not write.
The ink of the spirit burns on the shore of meaning.
The clouds are tears, filled with escape and lacking definition.
A cloud realizes the beauty she forms—
beauty which contains all good things,
for whom trees, gardens, and tired young women wait.

I have no home.
I have a night overripe with sweats caused by numbness all over.
Time has grown up on its own without me.
In my dream, I asked him what he looks like.
My small defeats answered me.
So I asked him again, What did he mean?
Then I found myself suspended in nothingness,
Stretched like a string that doesn’t belong to an instrument.
The wind played me. So did irresistible gravity.
I was a run of lost notes that have a sad, strong desire to live.

Translated by Yasmin Snounu and Edward Morin

Yousef El Qedra is a young poet and playwright living in Gaza. He has his BA degree in Arabic Literature from Azhar University, Gaza. Since 2006 he has worked as a project coordinator of theater and youth groups for the Cultural Free Thought Association in Gaza City. He has written several books and plays and published four volumes of poetry, translated into French and Spanish.
From BEFORE THERE IS NOWHERE TO STAND: PALESTINE ISREL POETS RESPOND TO THE STRUGGLE. Ed. By Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012.

Palestinians packed into Ofer Prison
Palestinians packed into Ofer Prison