“. . . in old age you have been crowned with humiliation . . .” (Tawfiq Sayigh)

❶ [Palestinian] Presidential spokesman: White House statements incorrect and rejected
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Rajoub: The President’s [ABBAS] speech at the Islamic Summit establishes for a national strategy

  • Background: “Israel or Occupation?.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture

❷ Israeli navy opens fire at Gaza fishermen
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli settlers break into Solomon’s Pools site in Bethlehem
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ)  Israel raids Birzeit University at dawn
❸ Opinion/Analysis: Did Trump’s Jerusalem decision revive support for Palestine?
❹ POETRY by Tawfiq Sayigh
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ PRESIDENTIAL  SPOKESMAN:  WHITE  HOUSE  STATEMENTS  INCORRECT  AND  REJECTED
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 14, 2017 ― Presidential Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina Thursday said the Palestinian leadership rejects and deems incorrect the latest White House statement saying President Mahmoud Abbas’ rhetoric prevents peace.
___He said, “These statements are entirely wrong, since President Abbas always reiterates that he is committed to a just peace on the basis of international legitimacy, Security Council resolutions and world’s recognition of the State of Palestine as an observer in the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, based on the 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital.”
___Abu Rudeina added that this was confirmed by the Arab peace initiative, and on these bases the Palestinian leadership has been involved in the Oslo accords based on the two-state solution, including resolutions 242 and 338. The previous US administrations have engaged in negotiations based on these rules.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴀ)  RAJOUB:  THE  PRESIDENT’S  [ABBAS]  SPEECH  AT  THE  ISLAMIC  SUMMIT  ESTABLISHES  FOR  A  NATIONAL  STRATEGY
Palestine News Network – PNN 
Dec. 15, 2017 ― Fatah Central Committee’s secretary general Jibril Rajoub, described the speech by President Mahmoud Abbas at the Islamic summit as bold and establishes for a national strategy, pointing out that the president’s decision to form a committee to formulate a steadfast resistance strategy in Jerusalem aims at people, land, holy places, dignity of citizens and their ability to remain steadfast and resist.
___Rajoub stressed that all Palestinians must realize the strategy to build full national partnerships that keep Palestine on the agenda of the world, pointing out that the president’s speech at the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation reflects the greatness of the Palestinian people and expresses their ambitions and aspirations.  MORE . . .

(NOTE: Apparently Mr. Bahour was mistaken.)

Bahour, Sam.
“ISRAEL  OR  OCCUPATION?.” 
PALESTINE-ISRAEL  JOURNAL  OF  POLITICS,  ECONOMICS  &  CULTURE, vol. 22, no. 2/3, July 2017, pp. 15-17.
[. . . .] Today’s Palestinian leadership is waging an uphill battle to achieve some form of appropriate reconciliation of the historical injustices done to Palestine and its people. Palestinians went to Madrid, Oslo and Camp David and put on the table the greatest concession ever voluntarily made by an indigenous people: to relinquish 78% of their ancestral homeland so the Jews of the world could fulfill their own dream of a homeland. In return . . . Palestinians received instead [ ] a package of Israeli aggression like never before: collective punishment, imprisonment, political assassinations, uprooting of trees, burning of schools, maiming of children, economic blockades, tanks, helicopter gunships, F-16s and much more. Today’s highly sophisticated military occupation . . .   suffocates and humiliates each and every Palestinian, day in and day out, in hopes that each individual and family will ultimately decide to leave voluntarily or turn to violence.
[. . . .]  It took the Palestinians, as victims of a prolonged 20th century colonization project, 45 years to absorb the fact that they had become objects in a history that was not theirs — and thus, to accept Israel’s political existence. If today or tomorrow all hope is lost, if Israel finally yields fully to its illegal settlers and Jewish extremists and remains bent on the obliteration of Palestinian national identity, no one ought to be surprised if it takes Palestinians perhaps 45 hours to reinstate a political platform anchored by their legitimate collective memory – call it “One State” or what you will. If 21st-century diplomacy and politics fail to serve justice and restore Palestinian dignity, however fractured by all that has occurred, the Palestinian collective memory can be expected to make its presence felt again, to provide at least the comfort of justice as a vision, as an oral tradition. Israel knows this, and none of its leaders dare to unilaterally rip up the Oslo peace agreements, not even hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. THE  PUBLIC  AND  DIPLOMATIC  LEADERSHIP  IN  THE  UNITED  STATES  KNOWS  THIS  EVEN BETTER  AND  DOES  NOT  DARE  TO  DISREGARD  THESE  AGREEMENTS,  NO  MATTER  HOW SHATTERED  THE  STATUS  OF  THEIR  IMPLEMENTATION,  AND  NO  MATTER  HOW  UNSCHOOLED THE  CURRENT  U.S.  ADMINISTRATION  MAY  BE  ON  THE  ISSUES.      SOURCE . . .

❷ ISRAELI  NAVY  OPENS  FIRE  AT  GAZA  FISHERMEN 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 15, 2017 ― Israeli naval boats Friday opened fire at fishermen’s boats while sailing in the Gaza waters; offshore Beit Lahia town to the north of the Gaza Strip, said sources.
___Fishermen were forced to return back to shore for fear of being detained, injured, or killed. No injuries were reported among the fishermen.
___Israeli navy and troops routinely open fire on fishermen sailing within the six-nautical-miles zone and farmlands along the border, flagrantly violating the ceasefire deal that was reached in August 2014.
___The current six-nautical-mile fishing zone falls drastically short of the twenty nautical miles allocated to Palestinian fishermen in the 1993 Oslo Accords.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴀ)  ISRAELI  SETTLERS  BREAK  INTO  SOLOMON’S  POOLS  SITE  IN  BETHLEHEM 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 15, 2017 ― Israeli settlers Friday broke into Solomon’s Pools archaeological site, south of Bethlehem, and performed religious rituals there, said security sources.
___At least 40 settlers broke into the site under tight protection by Israeli forces, and carried out talmudic rituals there.
___Earlier in February, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah stressed in a cabinet meeting that was held at the site in defiance to repeated attempts by Israeli settlers to take over it that the pools, ancient water reservoirs located south of Bethlehem, are an Islamic waqf (trust) and considered as an archaeological reserve since 1929.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴃ)    ISRAEL  RAIDS  BIRZEIT  UNIVERSITY  AT  DAWN  
Days of Palestine
Dec. 14, 2017 ― Israeli occupation forces raided on Thursday at dawn Birzeit University in occupied West Bank, ransacked campuses and student union offices.
___A statement released by the university said: “A large number of heavily armed Israeli forces stormed Birzeit’s campus at dawn, raiding the headquarters of the student council in Sheikh Rashid bin Said al-Maktoum Building, Kamal Nasir Hall and the Faculty of Science.”
___The statement added: “The Israeli occupation forces ransacked the campuses and the different offices they raided and damaged much of the furniture.”   MORE . . .
❸ Opinion/Analysis: DID  TRUMP’S  JERUSALEM  DECISION  REVIVE  SUPPORT  FOR  PALESTINE?
Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse) 
Daoud Kuttab
Dec. 14, 2017 ― Without knowing or planning it, the decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has resulted in renewed interest in Palestine and brought back to the top of the agenda the question of Jerusalem.
___George Irani, a social science professor at the American University of Kuwait, told Al-Monitor that Trump’s decision helped bring the world to Palestine’s side. “With his foolish decision, Trump has rallied the global community with Palestinians.”
[. . . .] Botrus Mansour, a Palestinian lawyer and citizen of Israel, told Al-Monitor that through his declaration, Trump “did put the Palestinian issue in the news again”. . .  However, Mansour, who is the director of the Nazareth Baptist School, questioned whether Palestinians can use this to their advantage. “The question is whether Palestinians will be able to leverage this opportunity, which I doubt, in light of the current political balance of power in the region.”
___Dozens of protests took place in Jordan when Deputy Prime Minister Mamdouh al-Abadi said Dec. 7 that people should go out in the streets to demonstrate, and the Jordanian parliament took the unusual step of revisiting agreements with Israel that had been untouchable before.     [. . . .] The unexpected nature of this “gift” from Washington has been reflected in many ways. Local, regional and international demonstrations have taken place, and emergency meetings of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation have been held.  MORE . . .

“A  NATIONAL  HYMN,”  BY  TAWFIQ  SAYIGH
Is it true that you were young,
And that your wavy hips
Caused seduction among young men?
And that fashion magazines
Devoted their numbers to your dresses?
I do not believe.
Is it true that you turned your husband into a leader and he led
And built you hanging gardens,
O my country?

Is it true that he who sang you with burning love
Sang you with high esteem,
Is it true that you led the horses,
That your sons rode to them in distant pastures
And that they did not open their mouths to nibble
But opened them to emit a neigh like hymns of the minarets?
I do not believe
I do not believe, O my country.

Not because you have become old:
For there is dignity in gray hair
And wrinkles have an effect unequaled by soft skin.
Not because you have become secluded:
If only when limelights receded from you
You sponsored institutions,
Opened orphanages or collected donations.
No, my country:
For then I would have loved you
And sung for a beauty that gradually changes but does not die,
And I would have visited you
And would have done so in awe.

But in old age you have been crowned with humiliation
And you brushed off the memory of your husband and of youth
As if they were dust on your soiled body.
You have castrated your sons
And I saw them droop their heads for your memory;
You wallowed with this and that person of immoral character
(How would I believe what is said about your past
O my country
I who saw your house and its dim lights?)
If lovers turn away from you
You have been prostituting your daughters
O my country
O my country.

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.
About Tawfiq Sayigh

“. . . and homelessness has worn me out. . .” (Tawfiq Sayigh)

Inside Hawara checkpoint, in the occupied West Bank, Palestine. Photo by Wikimedia Commons.
Inside Hawara checkpoint, in the occupied West Bank, Palestine. Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

THE PALESTINIAN INFORMATION CENTER
IOF  ROLLS  INTO  WESTERN  NABLUS,  TIGHTENS  MILITARY  GRIP
August 31, 2015
NABLUS ― The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at noontime Sunday rolled into western Nablus city, in the northern West Bank, and imposed tight security measures around the area.
____Eye-witnesses said an IOF patrol stormed western Nablus city and were deployed on the main road to An-Najah University.
____The IOF patrol broke into Ourata, to the south east of Nablus, and sealed off the main road to the village before they blocked the movement of Palestinian vehicles and passengers out of and into the area.
____The IOF further closed the Hawara checkpoint and Beit Furik, where Palestinian vehicles and IDs were meticulously inspected.
More. . .

INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER (IMEMC)
ARMY  SUMMONS  FIVE  PALESTINIANS  FROM  JENIN,  DEMOLISH  STRUCTURES  NEAR  JERUSALEM
August 31, 2015
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday morning, the villages of Rommana and Zabbouba, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, stormed homes and searched them, and handed five Palestinians military warrants for interrogation in the Salem military base. Soldiers also demolished fifteen structures near Jerusalem.
____Media sources said the summoned Palestinians . . . were all summoned after the soldiers invaded their homes, and violently searched them.
[. . . .]
____In related news, soldiers invaded Jaba’ town, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, and demolished fifteen sheds and structures, belonging to Bedouin families of the al-‘Ara’ra family. Most of the demolished structures were installed in 1975 and 1976.
More. . .

PALESTINE NEWS & INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA.
ISRAELI  ARMY  PREVENTS  REHABILITATION  OF  HEBRON  ARCHAEOLOGICAL  SITE
August 31, 2015
HEBRON – Israeli army and Jewish settlers on Monday hindered ongoing renovation work at an archeological site in the town of Bani Na’im, to the east of Hebron, according to local sources.
____The sources told WAFA an Israeli army force accompanied by staff from the so-called Israeli Civil Administration, as well as Jewish settlers, broke into the area and ordered all the workers at the site to leave. The site consists of an archeological house, revered by local Palestinians as Maqam en-Nabi Yaqin (Shrine of Prophet Yaqin).
[. . . .]
____Mahmoud Manasrah, mayor of Bani Na’im, told WAFA that the rehabilitation of the site, which overlooks the Dead Sea, is . . . part of an effort to protect local cultural, religious and historical heritage, he said.
More. . .
Related. . . 

❹ Human interest
MIDDLE EAST MONITOR (MEM)
CAMPAIGN  FOR  PALESTINIAN  REFUGEE  SELLING  PENS  IN  BEIRUT  GOES  VIRAL
August 29, 2015
An internet campaign to raise funds for a Palestinian refugee filmed selling pens in Beirut with his daughter asleep on his shoulder has raised more than $100,000 within hours. The campaign went viral on its first day.
____Abdul Halim Attar, who fled from the Syrian regime’s bombardment of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, started selling pens in order to feed himself and his two children, Abdelillah, aged 9, and his daughter Reem, aged 4.
____An Icelandic man who helps to run Conflict News and a Lebanese broadcaster Tweeted Attar’s image hoping to raise just $5,000 to help him start a new life.
More. . .

The Telegraph: Abdul Halim Attar, a Palestinian-Syrian with two children, was reportedly living in the besieged Damascus refugee quarter of Yarmouk before fleeing to Lebanon three years ago Photo: @GissiSim
The Telegraph: Abdul Halim Attar, a Palestinian-Syrian with two children, was reportedly living in the besieged Damascus refugee quarter of Yarmouk before fleeing to Lebanon three years ago Photo: @GissiSim

❺ Opinion
ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER (AIC)
SETTING  THE  REGION  ON  FIRE
Eli Aminov
August 31, 2015
(The current situation is reminiscent of Israeli and American actions on the eve of the 1973 Middle East war. Eli Aminov explains.)
Netanyahu’s war against the Iran deal reached a new level last week: Israel began to heat up the northern border, together with feeding the media, which feared such a move, conspiracies and plots appropriate to spy novels from the Cold War period. The dangerous battle began last week, when Netanyahu and his defense minister toured the Golan border, had their picture taken and declared absolute preparedness for anything bad coming from the north. The next day Alex Fishman, the military and security correspondent of Yedioth Ahronot, wrote: “it appears we have those who would not object should a few rockets fly here from Lebanon or Syria, that the border would heat up a bit, perhaps fighting for a few days – just so it will be possible to put this on the Iranians and prove to the world how dangerous the Iranian threat is to the region, especially following the nuclear agreement. But what can we do, the Iranians and Hizbullah are not dishing up the goods” (Yedioth Ahronot, 19 August 2015).
More. . .
Related. . .

“LONGING,”  BY  TAWFIQ  SAYIGH  (1923-1971)
My feet are torn,
and homelessness has worn me out.
Park benches have left their marks
on my ribs.
Policemen followed me
with their suspicious looks.
I dragged myself from place to place,
destitute except for
day-long memories of a home
that yesterday, only yesterday,
was mine,
and except for evening dreams
of my dwelling there again.

Sulaiman, Khalid A. PALESTINE  AND  MODERN  ARAB  POETRY. London: Zed Books, Ltd. (1984).
Available from Amazon
About Tawfiq Sayigh (very brief)
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