“. . . An Arab who has refused to sell his soul . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

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Sunrise over Nazareth (Photo: Harold Knight, November 9, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY   
| NETANYAHU:  EFFORTS  UNDER  FULL  SWING  TO  NORMALIZE  TIES  WITH  ARAB  WORLD    Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday evening said Israeli relations with Arab countries have been increasingly normalized.    [. . . .] “What is happening at the moment is that we are in a process of normalization with the Arab world without progress in the diplomatic process with the Palestinians,” continued Netanyahu.    ___“Today we are going there without the Palestinians being involved and it is much stronger because it does not depend on their caprices. The Arab states are looking for links with the strong. Cultivating strengths gives us diplomatic power.”    More . . .
| ISRAEL  DEMOLISHES  FAMILY  HOME  OF  PALESTINIAN  ATTACK  SUSPECT  IN  TULKAREM   Israeli bulldozers demolished the family home of Ashraf Naalwa, a Palestinian suspected of carrying out a shooting attack killing two Israelis in October and who was killed by Israeli forces during the past week, in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tulkarem, on predawn Monday.    ___Dozens of Israeli soldiers raided Naalwa’s family home in the Shweika village of Tulkarem, on predawn Monday, in preparation to demolish the building.   [. . . .] Dozens of Palestinians had gathered around Naalwa’s family home, since late Sunday, in an attempt to prevent the demolition.    More . . .         
~~ OVER  180  PALESTINIANS  DETAINED  IN  LAST  FIVE  DAYS,  SAYS  PRISONERS  COMMISSION    The Israeli military detained 183 Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the last five days while the number of those detained since the beginning of the month has reached 330, the Palestinian Authority’s Prisoners Commission said on Monday.    More . . .
|  AS  NAZARETH  PREPARES  FOR  CHRISTMAS,  ISRAELIS  SPRAY  PAINT  HATE  GRAFFITI  ON  WALLS    Extremist Jewish Israelis from the terror group “Price Tag” Monday spray-painted racist, offensive and anti-Arab slogans on the wall of a building in the Arab Christian city of Nazareth in northern Israel as the city prepares for Christmas, according to witnesses.    ___The slogans included terms such as “The land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel”, and “death to Arabs”.  More . . .
~~  ISRAELI  SETTLERS  ATTACK  PALESTINIANS  ON  WEST  BANK  ROADS,  INJURE  ONE    A Palestinian man was injured on Monday after he was attacked by Israeli settlers while driving near the southern West Bank town of Tuqa, to the east of the city of Bethlehem, Palestinian security sources said.    [. . . .] Israeli settlers have escalated their attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank by either throwing rocks at their cars as they drove on the roads or by attacking their villages while the army either watch or encourage them.    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
| ITALY’S  SALVINI  SAID  WHAT  THE  INTERNATIONAL  COMMUNITY  CAN’T  SAY:  ‘SUPPORT  ISRAEL’
Ramona Wadi
It is no secret that the right wing has appropriated and manipulated the definition of “peace” in today’s poisonous political climate. Peace  is  now  synonymous  with  power, and little is being done to challenge this notion on a political level, to the point that one can speak of collusion between the right wing and the alleged peacebuilders.    ___Consider, for a moment, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s recent statement during a press conference on a visit to Israel: “Whoever wants peace, needs to support Israel.”    __Whatever happened to the right of people living under a brutal military occupation to seek their liberation by all possible means? We are, surely, entitled to a reasonable answer to this question.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“BECAUSE  I  AM  AN  ARAB,BY  FOUZI  EL-ASMAR
I sit in preventive detention.
The reason, see, is that I am an Arab.
An Arab who has refused to sell his soul
who has always striven, sir, for freedom.
An Arab who has protested at the suffering of his people
Who has carried with him the hope of a just peace,
Who has spoken out against death at every corner
Who has called for and has lived a life of brotherhood.
That is why I sit in preventive detention
Because I carried on the struggle
And because I am an Arab.

From: El Asmar, Fouzi. POEMS  FROM  AN  ISRAELI  PRISON. Intro. By Israel Shahak. New York: KNOW Books, 1973.  Available from biblio.com

“. . . people to carry the cross for a guilt-ridden West . . .” (Lahab Assef Al-Jundi)

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Shops along main street of Shufat Refugee Camp, Jerusalem (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 5, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .
 TRUMP’S  PEACE  DEAL  ‘WASTE  OF  TIME,’  ISRAELI  MINISTER  SAYS
Israeli-Palestinian peace plan being prepared by US President Donald Trump is “a waste of time,” extremist Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said on Wednesday.    ___Speaking before hundreds of ambassadors and attaches at the Jerusalem Post Diplomats’ Conference in Jerusalem, Shaked added that the differences between Israelis and Palestinians are too great.    ___”I want peace like everyone else,” she said, “but I do not believe an agreement can be reached. I would tell Trump: ‘Do not waste your time.'”   ___Shaked also spoke about the demand made by her party, the Jewish Home, to appoint party leader Naftali Bennett as defence minister – an ultimatum that threatened the stability of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Israel  refuses  to  sign  international  migration  pact (“Israel has to follow a special migration policy specified by its circumstances as a small state which aims to maintain its Jewish nationality.”)
. . . . Related  Ashrawi  of  PLO  urges  Slovenia  to  recognize  state  of  Palestine
|    ISRAELI  DEMOLITION  CAMPAIGN  IN  SHUFAT  REFUGEE  CAMP  COMMENCES
Israeli bulldozers demolished dozens of Palestinian-owned shops in the Shufat refugee camp, in occupied East Jerusalem, on Wednesday.   ___Israeli forces along with the Israeli Civil Administration staff stormed the Shufat refugee camp earlier and delivered demolition notices to more than 20 Palestinian shops, with only 12 hours to evacuate the premises before the demolitions commence.    ___Thaer Fasfous, spokesperson of the Fatah movement in Jerusalem, said that hundreds of Israeli forces and Israeli Civil Administration staff members were deployed across the area, while bulldozers began to demolish the shops.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Israeli  Soldiers  Abduct  Two  Palestinians  In  HEBRON
. . . . Related  Army  Abducts  A  Legislator  In  RAMALLAH
. . . . Related  Israeli  Soldiers  Demolish  A  Residential  Shed,  Retaining  Walls,  Near  NABLUS
. . . . Related  Soldiers  Detonate  Doors  Of  Homes  And  Stores,  Before  Invading  Them,  Near  TULKAREM

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Home demolition by Israelis in Shufat Refugee Camp (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 5, 2015)

|    KRAHENBUHL  APPLAUDS  INTERNATIONAL  EFFORT  FOR  KEEPING  UNRWA  AFLOAT    Addressing the delegates at the Advisory Commission of host governments and leading donors of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Pierre Krahenbuhl, applauded the resolve and creativity with which the agency and the international community addressed its “greatest financial predicament ever.”    ___Krahenbuhl thanked the many partners who “rose to the occasion” to help, collectively, to reduce the staggering shortfall of $446 million at the start of this year and said, “Today, I am very pleased to announce that, overall since January, donors contributed or pledged an additional $425 million, bringing our shortfall down to $21 million.”     More . . .
. . . . Related  Erekat: ‘Israel should be condemned at UN, not Hamas’

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
   HOW  ISRAEL  WEAPONISES  ANTI-SEMITISM  TO  BLOCK  MIDDLE  EAST  PEACE
By Ray Hanania
One of Israel’s most powerful weapons against the voices of Palestinian rights has been the exploitation of Jewish history — the Holocaust included — to justify its own atrocities against non-Jews. The Holocaust is undeniably one of the worst human tragedies in human history, an evil horror in which Nazis sought to cleanse the world of Jews and their religion.    ___The hatred that fuelled Nazi atrocities before and during World War Two were undoubtedly driven by anti-Semitism. Since then, though, anti-Semitism has been weaponised by Israel, not just to confront the Holocaust deniers, the neo-Nazis and the hate filled anti-Semites, but also to undermine the righteous movement of justice to restore the inalienable rights of Christians and Muslims in Palestine.    ___Any criticism of Israel is now being denounced as “anti-Semitism”.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“ANY  REFUGEES  IN  THE  WORLD,”  BY  LAHAB  ASSEF  AL-JUNDI

what is the first thing that comes to mind
when you hear of refugees?
what terror trove them out of their homes?
are they getting help?
what is being done for their safe return?

are Palestinians any different from any other refugees?
is it not their simple right
to return to the land they were driven from?

why are they being asked to settle
for money?
who designated the Palestinians as the chosen people
to carry the cross for a guilt-ridden West?
why do politicians tell them
too much time has passed
when their grievance
is with people who went back after 2000 years?

between continued warfare and annihilation
coexistence beckons
as the only
honorable
demographic.

time for peace
now.

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.  Available from B&N.

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Shufat neighbors explaining home demolition to members of Sabeel, Jerusalem, delegation (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 5, 2015)

“. . . Your trees shade strangers who oppress and occupy . . .” (Diab Rabie)

❶ ‘You choose apartheid’, Netanyahu told in Knesset session
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Settler celebration of life of Sarah turns into a torment for Palestinians in Hebron

  • Background:  “Opposed or Intertwined? Religious and Secular Conceptions of National Identity in Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”  Politics, Religion & Ideology.

❷ Israel to seize Palestinian land for settlement expansion
❸ Tension hits peak as Israeli army browbeats Palestinian resistance
❹ POETRY by Diab Rabie
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‘YOU  CHOOSE  APARTHEID’,  NETANYAHU  TOLD  IN  KNESSET  SESSION
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO 
Nov. 14, 2017 ― Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was accused of choosing “apartheid” and permanent military occupation of the Palestinians during a special session of the Knesset yesterday.
___The debate focused on “the Israeli government’s political challenge in light of new opportunities that have been created”, and was initiated by opposition party Meretz.
___Speaking at the session, Joint List leader Ayman Odeh stated that “we are at a crossroad where it is clearer than ever that we have only two options: peace or apartheid”.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) SETTLER  CELEBRATION  OF  LIFE  OF  SARAH  TURNS  INTO  A  TORMENT  FOR  PALESTINIANS  IN  HEBRON
Mondoweiss
Nov. 12, 2017 ― Hebron activist Badee Dwaik sent us the video below showing a group of settlers celebrating the “feast of Sarah” on Thursday night in Hebron by threatening Palestinians who live in a locked-down portion of the city. Dwaik said some of the settlers carried guns, according to Palestinians who witnessed the action, and chanted “Am Yisrael Chai” — the people of Israel live.
___“Israel is the only state in which there are two armies, namely the organized official army and the army of settlers armed with weapons,” Dwaik said. “Where Jewish settler festivals have become a hell for Palestinian families.”    MORE . . .

Baumgart-Ochse, Claudia.
“OPPOSED  OR  INTERTWINED?  RELIGIOUS  AND  SECULAR  CONCEPTIONS  OF  NATIONAL  IDENTITY  IN  ISRAEL  AND  THE  ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN  CONFLICT.”
Politics, Religion & Ideology
, vol. 15, no. 3, Sept. 2014, pp. 401-420.
[. . . .] When Israel’s founding elite institutionalized the role of religion in the new State of Israel by way of consociational governance, they could not foresee that religion would ever become such a powerful force as it is in contemporary Israel. Rather, Ben-Gurion and others acted on a common belief of the time that religion was on the retreat in the wake of the economic and political modernization of societies around the world. Granting religious parties and communities a special status served the short-term goal of integrative state- and nation building, Mamlachtiyut, but was not deemed dangerous as religion was expected to fade into insignificance sooner or later anyway. The consociational arrangement rather helped to keep the domestic peace and turn the state’s energy towards the integration of an enormous influx of immigrants from all over the world. Thus, instead of simply being ‘hijacked’ by religious actors, the Zionist elite of the Yishuv and of the early State deliberately aimed to integrate the diverse religious groups. But the close entanglement of Zionism and Judaism, of secular nationalism and religion, did not only express itself in institutional and political arrangements which allowed for the inclusion of the Orthodox in the statebuilding process.
[. . . .] Contrary to the state’s founders’ expectations, religion did not disappear – it became even more important. The immigration of Jews from Arab countries in the 1950s and 1960s gradually changed the demographic makeup of the young nation. Therefore, in order to live up to the task of integrating the new immigrants into Israeli society, Jewish tradition regained new significance for national identity during that time. The influx of these immigrants created a new category of Jewish identity in Israel: in addition to the distinction between ‘Datiyim’ (Religious) and ‘Chiloniyim’ (Seculars), a third segment of ‘Masortiyim’ (Traditionalists) was added, a Jewish religiosity which was less rigid in observing Jewish commandments and studying the Torah, but more based on communal customs and traditions.
___The rapprochement of Zionism and religion as well as the common theme of Messianism, early indicators for the intertwining of religion and secular nationalism, intensified when Israel won the war in 1967. The State of Israel experienced what some authors have called a ‘second republic’. It moved from the dominance of the secular-socialist concept of the state to one which emphasized the ethno-religious boundaries of membership in the nation. This process was driven by both religion and secular nationalism: Religious actors, the settlers in particular, underwent a process of politicization after the war; and the secular state began to use the religious settlement movement as a tool for its mundane politics in the occupied Palestinian territories.    SOURCE . . .

❷ ISRAEL  TO  SEIZE  PALESTINIAN  LAND  FOR  SETTLEMENT  EXPANSION     Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Nov. 14, 2017 ―  The Israeli military authorities notified Palestinian farmers on Tuesday that they intend to expropriate plots of land near the village of Shofeh, to the southeast of Tulkarm, in order to expand the nearby illegal settlement of Avnei Hefetz.
___The farmers told WAFA that the Israeli military informed the Palestinian liaison office that it intends to expropriate land in the village of Shofeh in order to open roads and build playgrounds and other recreational facilities for the benefit of Avnei Hefetz settlement.   MORE . . .
❸ TENSION  HITS  PEAK  AS  ISRAELI  ARMY  BROWBEATS  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE 
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom) 
Nov. 14, 2017 ― A number of Iron Dome missile defense batteries were deployed in central Israel on Monday by the Israeli army, amid heightened tensions with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad since the army blew up the group’s resistance tunnel last month.
___The Israeli occupation army confirmed the anti-missile systems had been installed in central Israel. On Sunday Iron Dome batteries were spotted on the outskirts of Occupied Jerusalem allegedly in anticipation of retaliation attacks by the Palestinian resistance.
___The occupation army claimed that the Iron Dome system, which is designed to shoot down short-range rockets and, in some cases, mortars, was deployed to counter the threats made by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance group, which has vowed to avenge its members killed in the tunnel blast.   MORE . . .

“SWEARING BY YOUR JERUSALEM,” BY DIAB RABIE
The nightingale stopped singing and mourned the lost land;
It wandered into spaces where winds held command.
Tired by many nights of flight, it took its rest,
But not at wondrous sites or near a female breast.
It once rejoiced in singing, now it merely cries
All night till morning, and it will not shut its eyes.
Memories with bleeding wounds cried out in disgust:
How could you leave the country and abandon your trust.
Your trees shade strangers who oppress and occupy.
Rise, throw off the veil of shame none can justify.
Can the oppressed despise sharp swords and keep their pride?
Face daily insults silently and step aside?
You will regain your land only by sword and spear;
With their help people will see justice reappear.
Youth came into this world to battle with their hands;
Brook no pollution in this holiest of lands.
I swear by “Your Jerusalem,” maimed Palestine,
That Arab flags will wave above you for all time.

Translated by George Khoury and Edward Morin.
This poem was published in the Arabic language newspaper, Sameer, in New York City one month after the UN resolution in 1947 to divide Palestine.
“Diab Rabie (1922-2010) was the last of a group of five Diaspora poets which included Kahlil Gibran, Michael Naimeh, and Elie Abu-Madi. A newspaperman assigned to New York, he was prevented by the Israelis from reentering his homeland and settled in North Carolina. His poems were published in major Arabic newspapers and magazines around the world throughout his life. His collected poems, Shetharat El-Rabie were edited by George Khoury and published before his death (The Birzeit Society, 2010).” Before there Is Nowhere to Stand. Palestine/Israel Poets Respond to the Struggle. Ed. Joan Dobbie & Grace Beeler. Sandport, Idaho: Lost Horse Press, 2012.)  Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . No stone to bear their names . . .” (Samih Al Qasim)

❶ Commemorating 61th anniversary of Kafr Qasim Massacre

  • Background: “I was in a war, and in a war things like that happen”: On judgments and ethical investigations in Israeli law and literature.” Jewish Social Studies.

❷ Israeli settlers fire at Palestinian farmers in Masafer Yatta
❸ PPS: Israeli Soldiers Abduct 25 Palestinians In The West Bank
❹ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
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❶  COMMEMORATING  61TH  ANNIVERSARY  OF  KAFR  QASIM  MASSACRE 
Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
Oct. 30, 2017 ― On 29 October 1956, Israeli border police carried out a massacre in the Palestinian village of Kafr Qassem, situated on the Palestinian occupied territories at that time of the de facto border between Israeli occupation and the Jordanian West Bank.
[. . . .] [A]s farmers came back from their fields and workers from the workshops, the soldiers gathered them in small groups on the entrance to the village. Then the officer ordered to “mow them down” and they were shot dead, their bodies piled in heaps at the side of the road. Fourty-nine people were killed in cold blood without any provocation, for violating a curfew order that they were not aware of. Twelve of the martyrs were women and girls, 17 children, the youngest of them only 7 years old.
[. . . .] The massacre of Kafr Qasim was not an isolated incident. It was intentionally planned by elements in the Israeli occupation army command as part of a much bigger plan to complete the ethnic cleansing of 1948.     MORE . . .

Keydar, Renana.
“I WAS IN A WAR, AND IN A WAR THINGS LIKE THAT HAPPEN”: ON JUDGMENTS AND ETHICAL INVESTIGATIONS IN ISRAELI LAW AND LITERATURE.”
Jewish Social Studies, vol. 18, no. 3, Spring/Summer2012, pp. 212-224.
On April 9, 1948 . . .  the Israeli paramilitary organizations Lehi and Etsel attacked the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin . . . [resulting] in many civilian casualties, with accounts estimating the death toll to be more than one hundred, many of them women, children, and the elderly. . .  The Deir Yassin attack was immediately denounced as a massacre by various parties, including the Jewish-Israeli leadership. The attack on Deir Yassin remains at the heart of historical and political debate. . .
“___ It is beyond debate that in the dominant and pervasive Israeli narrative of 1948, as it was determined in the official account and as it was disseminated later on by the educational and communication systems, . . . the uprooting of the Palestinians and the destruction of their society is not discussed and is not even mentioned as an important aspect of the war or as one of the consequential outcomes of it.” [Uri Ram, “Ways of Forgetting: Israel and the Obliterated Memory of the Palestinian Nakba.” Journal of Historical Sociology 22, no. 3 (2009): 366-9.]   
[. . . .] Eight years after the events of Deir Yassin, news reached the public of another traumatic event involving extreme and morally questionable violence against civilians by Israeli soldiers: the Kefar Kassem [KAFR QASIM] massacre. On October 29, 1956, the eve of the Sinai War, a battalion of Israeli border police was ordered to enforce an unusually early curfew . . .  The battalion commander . . .  instructed his soldiers to kill anyone found outside his or her house in violation of the curfew. The order was given despite the fact that many villagers who worked outside the village could not know about the new curfew. In one of the villages, Kefar Kassem . . .  more than 40 villagers were shot and killed by the soldiers, among them women and children as young as eight years of age.
[. . . .] One crucial distinction between the two events—Deir Yassin and Kefar Kassem—lies in the fact that . . .   the soldiers involved in the Kefar Kassem massacre were brought to trial and eight soldiers from the border-police unit were found guilty of murder as a result of obeying a manifestly illegal order.    SOURCE . . .     …

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(Photo: “Kafr Qasim,” Donia Al Watan, Blog, Oct. 31, 2016)

❷ ISRAELI  SETTLERS  FIRE  AT  PALESTINIAN  FARMERS  IN  MASAFER  YATTA
Palestine News Network – PNN
Oct. 30, 2017 ― Israeli settlers fired at Palestinian farmers in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron. The coordinator of the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission, Rateb Jabbour, told the official News agency, Wafa, that the Israeli settlers from the illegal West Bank settlement of Ma’on fired at the Palestinian farmers while they were harvesting their olive trees in ​​Al-Hamra area near at-Tawani village next to the settlement.
___Jabbour pointed out that a state of panic and fear hit the Palestinian farmers, but no injuries were reported.   MORE . . .
❸ PPS: “ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  ABDUCT  25  PALESTINIANS  IN  THE  WEST  BANK”
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC 
Oct. 30, 2017 ― The Palestinians Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted, earlier Monday, twenty-three Palestinians, including one woman, after invading and violently searching their homes, in different parts of the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem.
___ The PPS office in Tulkarem governorate, in northern West Bank . . .
___In Jenin governorate, in northern West Bank . . .
___In Nablus, also in northern West Bank . . .
___In Salfit, in northeastern West Bank . . .
___In Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted a woman . . .
___In Ramallah governorate, in central West Bank . . .
___In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank . . .   MORE . . .

“REMEMBERING KAFR QASIM,” BY SAMIH AL-QASIM
There is no monument, no rose, no memorial―
neither a line of poetry to delight the murdered
nor any curtain for the unveiling.
There is no blood-stained shred
of a shirt our upright brothers wore.
No stone to bear their names.
Nothing. Only the shame.

Their spirits are hovering still,
digging graves in the rubble of Kafr Qasim.

(A different publication of the poem includes the sentence, “The last eight lines of this poem were deleted by a decision of the [Israeli] censor.”)

Samih Al-Qasim
. . .
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

“. . . is it my country or the source of my exile? . . .” (Zuhair Abu Shaib)

ramallah
Israeli forces activated all military checkpoints around Ramallah — many of which are normally open with no soldiers present — in addition to new flying checkpoints set up throughout the area. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

❶ Israeli forces kill Palestinian youth near Tulkarem
❷ Israeli forces tighten grip on Ramallah as closure continues
❸ Analysis: Reflections on Food Security under the Conditions Prevalent in Area C
❹ Israeli Soldiers Kidnap Ten Palestinians in the West Bank
❺ Opinion/Analysis: WHEN  EQUALITY  IS  THE  BIGGEST  EXISTENTIAL  THREAT  OF  ALL
❻ Poetry by Zuhair Abu Shaib
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  FORCES  KILL  PALESTINIAN  YOUTH  NEAR  TULKAREM
Feb. 1, 2016
A Palestinian youth was shot dead by Israeli forces on Monday after he allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli soldier south of Tulkarem.
___Palestinian medical sources identified the teenager as 19-year-old Ahmad Hassan Tuba from the village of Kafr Jammal near Tulkarem.
___An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that Israeli forces found Tuba near the illegal settlement of Salit, south of Tulkarem, adding that Tuba “drew a knife and attempted to stab” an Israeli soldier.   More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  FORCES  TIGHTEN  GRIP  ON  RAMALLAH  AS  CLOSURE  CONTINUES
Feb. 1, 2016
Israeli forces continued their blockade on Monday of the central West Bank city of Ramallah and its neighboring villages and towns for the second consecutive day, after a shooting attack at a military checkpoint on Sunday.
___Israeli forces initiated the blockade hours after the shooting near the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El north of Ramallah, in which a Palestinian Authority staff sergeant shot and injured three Israeli soldiers before being killed at the scene.   More . . .

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A Palestinian citizen of Israel waves a Palestinian flag during a protest against the police killing of Khir Hamdan in Umm al-Fahm. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

ANALYSIS
THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
REFLECTIONS  ON  FOOD  SECURITY  UNDER  THE  CONDITIONS  PREVALENT  IN  AREA  C
Roubina Bassous Ghattas
Feb. 1, 2016
Although it is difficult to ascertain the exact size of the Palestinian population that resides in Area Ci due to the large number of communities whose boundaries overlap areas A, B, and C, it is estimated that, as of 2015, as many as 40,245 Palestinians, 1.4 percent of the West Bank population, live. . . in Area C. . . .
___. . . the farmers and herders who live in Area C tend to experience worse conditions than the general population because they usually live in small communities located in remote areas that are under-served not only with respect to public services (such as education, water and sanitation, and health care) but also in terms of infrastructure. . . . struggle for access to basic assistance and services such as water/sanitation, primary education, and basic safe shelter.    More . . .
IMEMC-INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  KIDNAP  TEN  PALESTINIANS  IN  THE  WEST  BANK
Feb. 01, 2016
Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Monday at dawn, at least ten Palestinians, in numerous invasions and searches of homes, in different parts of the occupied West Bank. One Palestinian was kidnapped on Sunday evening.
Several army vehicles invaded the northern West Bank city of Nablus, searched homes, and kidnapped two Palestinians . . . .
In addition, dozens of soldiers invaded the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, broke into and ransacked many homes, and kidnapped four Palestinians. . . .     More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
+972 MAGAZINE
WHEN  EQUALITY  IS  THE  BIGGEST  EXISTENTIAL  THREAT  OF  ALL
Natasha Roth
Jan. 31, 2016
In these days of entrapping human rights activists and blacklisting ‘traitors,’ the concept of equality has become as radical as it gets — and a threat to everything the governing regime stands for.
Last week Israeli lawmakers had the opportunity to take a first step towards enshrining equality in the law. They rejected this opportunity, voting down Joint List MK Jamal Zahalka’s proposed amendment to include a clause on equality in Israel’s Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.
___ The vote was taken on a preliminary reading of Zahalka’s bill, meaning that it was shot down before it even left the starting blocks.    More . . . 

“NAME  OF  THE  SOIL,”  BY  ZUHAIR  ABU  SHAIB

what is its name?
what is the name of the soil
that falls from my withered body?
what is its name as it drifts and gathers
under my clothes
while, slowly, I build wall after wall?

I picture a sky full of clouds
I see it as I wish it to be
when night falls, I gulp my fill of springs
in darkness I lift my latch
to wise men

I ask my guests
who imprisoned the soul in rock?
who left prophets spread-eagled on doorsteps?

who risks everything to capture the earth?
a man who does not know his own shadow

what can I call this rug of soil?
is it my country or the source of my exile?
is it my miracle or my cross?

what is its name?

Zuhair Abu Shaib was born in Deir al-Ghusun and studied at Yarmouk University. He was a teacher and journalist in Yemen, and a book designer. He was also editor of the journal Awarq.
From A  BIRD  IS  NOT  A  STONE:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.

“. . . How has this village become a whore?. . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

tulkarem
Israeli forces maintained a complete closure Thursday of the occupied West Bank city of Tulkarem. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency, Dec. 10, 2015)

❶ Tulkarem completely sealed as Israeli forces search for gunman
❷ US nonprofits ‘donate over $220 million’ to West Bank settlements
❸ ‘I am a mother amongst hundreds, we are all worried about our children’: The systemic incarceration of Palestinian children
❹ Soldiers Kill a Palestinian in Hebron
❺ Opinion/Analysis: TRUMP  IS  NO  MORE  RACIST  THAN  MAINSTREAM  ISRAELI  POLICY
❻ Poetry by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
TULKAREM  COMPLETELY  SEALED  AS  ISRAELI  FORCES  SEARCH  FOR  GUNMAN
Dec. 10, 2015
TULKAREM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces maintained a complete closure Thursday of the occupied West Bank city of Tulkarem in the search for a gunman who injured a former member of a Jewish terror group and his wife, locals said.
___Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces on Wednesday night raided Tulkarem and surrounding areas directly after the shooting, closing entrances leading into the city with cement blocks.
More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
US  NONPROFITS  ‘DONATE  OVER  $220  MILLION’  TO  WEST  BANK  SETTLEMENTS
Dec. 9, 2015
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Over $220 million has been given in tax-exempted US funds to illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank over the last five years, according to an investigative report by Israeli news site Haaretz this week.
___Haaretz published the findings after analyzing thousands of documents from filed taxes as well as official papers from dozens of US and Israeli nonprofit organizations, several of which were directly involved with raising money to support settlements.
[. . . . ]
Through its designation of such organizations as nonprofits, the daily said, the US government is “incentivizing and indirectly supporting the Israeli settlement movement.”
More . . .
MONDOWEISS
‘I  AM  A  MOTHER  AMONGST  HUNDREDS,  WE  ARE  ALL  WORRIED  ABOUT  OUR  CHILDREN’:  THE  SYSTEMIC  INCARCERATION  OF  PALESTINIAN  CHILDREN
Reem Abd Ulhamid
Dec. 9, 2015
Palestinian children’s rights of survival, protection, education, health and development have been dramatically violated by Israel since the first Intifada. Palestinian children stand defenseless against Israeli policies that target them as potential “terrorists” and continue to justify and legalize a system in which child imprisonment and persecution is enforced under the umbrella of defeating “terrorism”.
___For Israel, throwing stones is a serious security offense, and one of the most common accusations leading to the arrest of Palestinian children in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The number of arrested Palestinian children has been escalating for the past two months.
More . . .

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Members of SABEEL JERUSALEM WITNESS VISIT near barricade and IDF surveillance tower American contributor to Israeli settlements, Brooklyn-based nonprofit Hebron Fund, transferred $5.7 million to the illegal Jewish settlement in Hebron between 2009 and 2014. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 7, 2015)

IMEMC-INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
SOLDIERS  KILL  A  PALESTINIAN  IN  HEBRON
Dec. 09, 2015
Israeli soldiers killed, Wednesday, a young Palestinian man in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, after an alleged stabbing attack targeting an Israeli soldier and a settler. The slain Palestinian’s cousin was killed, near the Ibrahimi Mosque, Monday.
___Medical sources said the Palestinian has been identified as Yosri Zakariyya Miswada, 21; he was shot in the Shuhada Street, in Hebron city.
[. . . . ]
___It is worth mentioning that, ON MONDAY, ISRAELI SOLDIERS KILLED YOSRI’S COUSIN, Ehab Fathi Miswada, near the Ibrahimi Mosque, in Hebron.
More . . .
Related . . . Hebron: Another Palestinian Killed Under Stabbing Pretext
Opinion/Analysis
+972 MAGAZINE
TRUMP  IS  NO  MORE  RACIST  THAN  MAINSTREAM  ISRAELI  POLICY
Mairav Zonszein
Dec. 9, 2015
Israeli politicians are joining the global pushback against Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim racism. But guess what other country bans Muslim immigration?
More . . .

“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 she 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.
About Samih Al-Qasim.

IMG_3195
The Palestinian village (left) near the Tent of Nations, surrounded by 5 illegal Israeli/Jewish settlements. (Photo: Harold Knight, November 6, 2015) http://www.tentofnations.org/

 

“. . .Make hummus not walls. . .”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STORIES FROM THE WALL MUSEUM 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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