“. . . Do not bury him, while his wounds/ Proclaim his testament of love . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

Mutaz Hussien Hilal Bani Shamsa, 23, who was shot and killed by an Israeli settler, May 18, 2017 (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

❶ Settler shoots and kills Palestinian during West Bank demo
❷ Israeli forces suppress solidarity events in West Bank, East Jerusalem

  • Background article from Boston University International Law Journal,

❸ Reconstruction of Umm al-Hiran killings disproves car-ramming claims
❹ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
+972 Magazine 
Natasha Roth
May 18, 2017
An Israeli settler shot and killed a Palestinian near Huwwara in the West Bank on Thursday, during a demonstration in solidarity with an ongoing mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israel. The dead man was named by the Palestinian Ministry of Health as Mutaz Hussien Hilal Bani Shamsa, 23, according to Ma’an News Agency.
___The settler also shot and moderately wounded Associated Press photographer Majdi Eshtayya.
___An IDF statement said that the protest had drawn around 200 Palestinians, some of whom had been throwing stones at passing Israeli vehicles. Photographs published by Walla show what is purportedly the car belonging to the settler in question, with its windshield heavily damaged. Palestinian media reported the demonstration as a peaceful march.
___The alleged shooter is a resident of Itamar settlement, near Nablus, who was detained for questioning following the incident.       MORE . . .  
Ma’an News Agency
May 18, 2017
Israeli forces suppressed at least two solidarity demonstrations on Wednesday in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in support of the some 1,300 Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike in Israeli custody, as one Palestinian was injured with a live bullet and tens of others suffered from tear gas inhalation.     ___A Palestinian was injured with a live bullet, while tens of others suffered from tear gas inhalation after clashes erupted with Israeli forces near the entrance of Qalandiya refugee camp in Ramallah when Israeli forces suppressed a peaceful march Wednesday night in support of the mass hunger strike among Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.       MORE . . .  
May 15, 2017
May 12, 2017

Omer-Man, Emily Schaeffer. “EXTRAJUDICIAL  KILLING  WITH  NEAR  IMPUNITY:   EXCESSIVE  FORCE  BY  ISRAELI  LAW  ENFORCEMENT AGAINST PALESTINIANS.” Boston University International Law Journal, vol. 35, no. 1, Spring2017, pp. 115-156.   COMPLETE ARTICLE
[. . . .]  In sum, Palestinians face regular violence from state actors alongside a lack of protection from violence by non-state actors. The degree of force used against Palestinians oftentimes far exceeds what is necessary to maintain safety and order in the area, as IHL requires; in many cases, this excessive force blatantly violates Israel’s own rules and regulations regarding appropriate law enforcement responses to civilian unrest, violence, and even mortal danger. A closer examination of the open-fire and safety regulations reveals that these are often ambiguously worded, and moreover, contradict the instructions and messages received by police and soldiers during briefings by commanding officers. Thus, the disparate treatment of acts committed by Palestinians versus Jews is consistent with the putative expectations of behavior of law enforcement personnel in Israel. Moreover, with negligible risk of facing punishment for deviating from the regulations, Israeli security personnel operate in a realm of practical impunity when using force against Palestinians.
Note:  A longer quotation from the article is below, after the poetry.
Note: The author holds a JD from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt), and is an American-Israeli human rights attorney at the Michael Sfard Law Office in Tel Aviv.

+972 Blog
By Yael Marom
May 18, 2017
The results of a police investigation into the January 18 events in Umm al-Hiran, during which — prior to a slate of home demolitions — a Bedouin man who was shot by police ran over and killed an Israeli policeman before succumbing to his wounds, have yet to be published. But it’s already clear that every detail the Israel Police tried to pass off to the public and the media was incorrect.
___The reconstruction also proves that Abu al-Qi’an was still alive after his car had stopped, as the autopsy findings showed. He even opened his car door before falling out of the vehicle. An eyewitness testified to investigators that he saw a police officer pointing his gun at Abu al-Qi’an while the latter was still alive, strengthening the claim that the already-injured Abu al-Qi’an was shot again after his car had stopped and he did not pose a threat to anyone.Forensic Architecture, in partnership with Activestills, has now managed to put together a reconstruction of what happened in Umm al-Hiran that day. Their work proves that contrary to police claims, Yaqub Mousa Abu al-Qi’an did not intentionally accelerate his car, but rather it picked up speed and went down the slope only after police had opened fire and hit Abu al-Qi’an’s right leg. As a result, his car struck and killed police officer Erez Levi.      MORE . . .  


Leave the martyr shrouded in his garments,
Lay him at the foot of the mountain: for it knows his sorrow.
Do not bury him, while his wounds
Proclaim his testament of love and suffering.
Do you hear?

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

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

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

Huwara town just 9km south of Nablus, surrounded by four Israeli settlements. (Photo: Welcome to Palestine)

Omer-Man, Emily Schaeffer. “EXTRAJUDICIAL  KILLING  WITH  NEAR  IMPUNITY:   EXCESSIVE  FORCE  BY  ISRAELI  LAW  ENFORCEMENT  AGAINST  PALESTINIANS.” Boston University International Law Journal, vol. 35, no. 1,

Spring2017, pp. 115-156.  COMPLETE ARTICLE
[. . . . ] According to a poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute in August 2016, nearly half of the Jewish population in Israel, which comprises around 80% of the Israeli population, and nearly all of the security forces command structure and politicians charged with supervising and directing security forces, support a “shoot-to-kill” policy in handling suspected Palestinian assailants, “even if [they have] been apprehended and clearly [do] not [pose] a threat.” Statements by the most senior Israeli political leaders . . .  reflect similar attitudes either explicitly or impliedly. These attitudes seemingly substitute legal punishment with extrajudicial killing by security personnel, a situation that Jelani Jefferson Exum called “the death penalty on the streets.”
[. . . .]   Since the start of the Second Intifada in late 2000, Israeli security forces have killed more than 2 thousand Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in law enforcement scenarios alone (excluding those deemed by Israel to have been civilians DPHing [civilian directly participating in hostilities} combatants, or collateral damage in military operations). This figure does not include some 3 thousand official complaints of injuries to Palestinians by IDF soldiers alone during the same period.91 According to IDF data, beatings and injury of Palestinians comprised more than half of all investigations into incidents raising suspicion of unlawful conduct by soldiers in 2015 (and roughly two-thirds of investigations over the previous decade). Injuries from shooting and beatings in law enforcement contexts typically are documented during demonstrations and riots, at checkpoints throughout the West Bank and crossings to and from Israel, during arrests and searches of homes and businesses, and, in certain cases, after detention of suspects.
[. . . .]  The level of restraint and protection demonstrated by law enforcement personnel in the West Bank and East Jerusalem toward the more than 585 thousand Israeli civilians living in those territories contrasts starkly with the force exhibited toward Palestinians—including situations when Israeli civilians are the perpetrators of violence against Palestinians. The rules of engagement, both officially and in practice, differ greatly based on ethnicity or “nationality”—i.e., Palestinian or Israeli. For instance, the “Suspect Arrest Procedure,” in which every IDF soldier is trained, requires a soldier to conduct an arrest in stages as necessary, beginning with verbal warnings, followed by warning shots into the air, graduating to shooting the suspect’s legs in order to neutralize and, in the case of imminent mortal danger, permitting the soldier to shoot to kill. The Suspect Arrest Procedure applies whether responding to Jewish civilian suspects or Palestinian suspects. However, with regard to the former, soldiers are trained not to escalate the procedure beyond the firing of a warning shot. Additionally, although official regulations applicable to both police and soldiers authorize the use of certain CCWs against Israelis, the practice when it comes to handling settler unrest in the West Bank and East Jerusalem dictates showing great restraint toward this population.
___Accordingly, the idea that police and soldiers would use live ammunition against the Jewish population in the occupied territory is inconceivable, although regulations provide for its use in situations posing mortal danger. This restrained approach is deeply ingrained in Israeli society, dating back to decades of IDF and Israel Police’s delicate relationship with the settler population, the delicate relationship arising due to numerous factors: political pressures to maintain overall “peace” with the settler population, the desire to preserve order on the ground, and attempting to address mounting local and foreign pressure to curb settler violence against Palestinians.
[. . . . ] In sum, Palestinians face regular violence from state actors alongside a lack of protection from violence by non-state actors. The degree of force used against Palestinians oftentimes far exceeds what is necessary to maintain safety and order in the area, as IHL requires; in many cases, this excessive force blatantly violates Israel’s own rules and regulations regarding appropriate law enforcement responses to civilian unrest, violence, and even mortal danger. A closer examination of the open-fire and safety regulations reveals that these are often ambiguously worded, and moreover, contradict the instructions and messages received by police and soldiers during briefings by commanding officers. Thus, the disparate treatment of acts committed by Palestinians versus Jews is consistent with the putative expectations of behavior of law enforcement personnel in Israel. Moreover, with negligible risk of facing punishment for deviating from the regulations, Israeli security personnel operate in a realm of practical impunity when using force against Palestinians.
[. . . . ]   Palestinians living under occupation have few means of calling for accountability. Unlike their Israeli neighbors, such Palestinians are neither afforded the right to assemble, nor participation in electing the Israeli government officials who dictate the policies to be applied in the West Bank. Their tools for seeking accountability are limited primarily to international media, the few available avenues for external judicial review, and mostly ineffective direct legal channels within Israel that focus on individual investigations and specific aspects of investigation policies but rarely address the overall systemic obstacles to protection from violence. Thus, lack of accountability creates and perpetuates a culture of impunity that emboldens Israeli police and soldiers to use excessive violence against Palestinians, whether they are non-violently protesting or carrying out acts of violence.  [. . . . ] 

“. . . In the framework of international law . . . Palestinians are virtually nowhere . . .” (Laurie King-Irani)

Jan, 15, 2014. A sports uniform is accused of “fomenting terrorism” and inspiring “violence and hatred”. The team is a Chilean soccer club called CLUB DEPORTIVO PALESTINO, and their offense was incorporating an image of historic Palestine on their jerseys. (Photo: Portside.org)

❶ . Chile-based court files war crimes lawsuit against Israeli Supreme Court justices
❷ . Human Rights Watch: Arabs face imminent displacement in Israel
❸ . IOF closes main road in Ramallah

  • Background: “Exiled To A Liminal Legal Zone: Are We All Palestinians Now?” Third World Quarterly

` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency     
Nov. 29, 2016
A Santiago-based court in Chile on Monday filed a war crimes lawsuit against three Israeli Supreme Court justices for approving the construction of the Israeli separation wall, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2004.
___According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the lawsuit was filed by six Palestinian landowners in Beit Jala in the occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem and alleged war crimes, including crimes against humanity, against former chief Justice Asher Grunis, and Justices Neal Hendel and Uzi Vogelman.
___The claimants reportedly own the land that is expected to be cut off from their village by the separation wall, while five of the plaintiffs are Chilean nationals, Haaretz reported.
___Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians migrated to Chile over the last century, resulting in a large Palestinian diaspora community in the South American country, while many Palestinians with Chilean nationality also reside in the West Bank, particularly in Beit Jala.      More . . .

Days of Palestine
Nov. 30, 2016
More than 80,000 Palestinians in Negev are currently under Israeli threat of displacement Israeli occupation authorities should revoke plans to forcibly displace Arab residents from the Negev village of Umm al-Hiran, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.
___The American human rights group said that the Israeli occupation is planning to force the Arabs, the indigenous Palestinian resident who remained home after the Israeli occupation of Palestine, in the village to build a new Jewish community in its place.     ___According to a statement by HRW, the Israeli Execution and Collection Authority on November 20, 2016, approved a request by the Israeli Land Authority to forcibly demolish two homes and approximately eight surrounding structures at the entrance of Umm al-Hiran.
[. . . .] Adalah, a nongovernmental legal centre that advocates for Arab minority rights in Israel and represents Umm al-Hiran residents, fears that the evictions will take place before the November 30 deadline.
___In a statement to Human Rights Watch, the lead Adalah attorney on the case, Suhad Bishara, said they would continue to “seek all available legal channels” to halt the displacement and support the “existential, moral and legitimate right” of the villagers to “continue living on their land.”
___In conditions similar to those in Umm al-Hiran, about 80,000 Arabs live under constant threat of home demolitions in 35 villages that Israel does not recognise in the Negev.     More . . .    Related . . .    ETHNIC  CLEANSING:  NEGEV  IS  A  BATTLEFIELD  FOR  A  VERY  FIERCE  STRUGGLE    Palestine Chronicle    Nov 29 2016

May 06, 2015. Court rules that Umm al-Hiran in the northern Negev is built on state land, paving way for construction of Jewish community of Hiran. (Photo: Ha’aretz)

Alray-Palestinian Media Agency 
Nov. 30, 2016
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) closed on Wednesday morning the main road between Silwad town and Ain Yabrod village east of Ramallah city in the center of the West Bank with cement cubes.
___Local sources said that the IOF closed the bridge connecting Ain Yabrod village with Silwad town and forced Palestinian citizens to take other long alternative roads. More . . .

(Note: While the article below is 10 years old and some of the legal issues it discusses have been decided, it is still an insightful and compelling study of the Palestinian Diaspora. I have included a much longer quotation than I usually do. Unfortunately the article is available online only through EBSCO databases or Research Gate.)   

  • King-Irani, Laurie. “Exiled To A Liminal Legal Zone: Are We All Palestinians Now?” Third World Quarterly 27.5 (2006): 923-936.   SOURCE. 

As a diaspora of over nine million people, Palestinians are everywhere: second-class citizens of Israel, stateless residents of fragmented and walled-in Bantustans in the occupied West Bank, refugees residing inside and outside of camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan; and immigrants, students, professionals and nationalised citizens in virtually every country in the world. Palestinians dwell in the ‘First’ as well as the ‘Third’ worlds, economically speaking. Among the far-flung Palestinian diaspora are some of the poorest as well as some of the wealthiest people in the world. In the framework of international law, however, Palestinians are virtually nowhere. As stateless persons they occupy a liminal and interstitial space in the international legal and political order, an order that (contemporary discourses of cosmopolitanism, globalisation and emergent transnational organisations aside) remains founded upon and grounded in the interests of sovereign nation-states rather than in the claims of sub- or transnational actors, whether individuals or groups.
___Palestinians reaped few if any benefits from the late 20th century florescence of international humanitarian law (IHL), an era that witnessed a serious international focus on human rights and ‘policing the past’, as well as the establishment of the first ad hoc international criminal tribunals in half a century to address massive human rights violations (including genocide) in Africa and Europe. The defining event of the 1990s for Palestinians was the signing of the Oslo Accords and the now-famous handshake  between PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and the late Israeli Prime Minster Yitzhak Rabin in 1993.
___Oslo, however, was not founded on international law or treaties but, rather, constituted a negotiated agreement between unequal partners. It was an agreement that side-stepped the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (concerning the rights of Palestinian refugees), UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 (censuring Israel’s acquisition of territory by force), the Fourth Geneva Convention’s limitations on the actions of an occupying power, and a bevy of annual reports, issued by such bodies as the UN Human Rights Commission, the International Jurists Commission, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, emphasising Israel’s duty to uphold IHL and to abide by all of international treaties it has signed.
___The Oslo Accords (the Declaration of Principles— DOP) did not represent a legally binding, international document, but a slippery ‘deal’ or ‘understanding’ brokered by the USA, a superpower actor with a long record of supporting Israel regardless of its failure to comply with international humanitarian norms. Rather than being empowering, conciliatory, or liberating the Palestinians from a chronic state of legal and political liminality, the Oslo process ultimately proved to be a coercive set of mechanisms that further entrenched Israeli control over Palestinian land. It also set precedents for a dangerous attenuation of IHL’s relevance to the overall Israeli – Palestinian conflict.
___Following the Al-Qaida attacks on New York City and Washington, DC on 11 September 2001, IHL’s growing focus on the needs of individual victims was eclipsed once again by the interests of sovereign states, or, as Hajjar terms them, hyper-sovereign states.10 The USA and its ally, Israel, are the chief embodiments of hyper-sovereignty, a political and military stance characterised by pre-emptive policies, a distaste for multilateral legal frameworks to counter emerging extra-state threats, and a pronounced reliance on overwhelming unilateral force that often violates IHL, international human rights law (IHRL) and UN resolutions, while rendering international diplomacy beside the point. The travails of the Palestinian people since 1948 offer a disturbing, though highly instructive, reverse-image view of the contours and limitations—as well as the possibilities—of an international legal order. The ongoing Palestinian tragedy also illuminates serious contradictions in prevailing discourses of human and civil rights, exposing ambiguities in prevailing legal definitions of, and guarantees for, human beings.
[. . . .]



“. . . There’s enough room for both of us in the field . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

A boy drinks from emergency water supplies being distributed by the UN in Gaza. (Photo by crazy_inventor Oct. 02, 2014)

❶ PM: Israel’s suspension of West Bank water supplies ‘inhumane and outrageous’
. . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) EU: 95% of water in Gaza ‘unfit for human use’
❷ WATCH: What life looks like in an unrecognized Bedouin village
❸ Turkish Electric Company to be established in Gaza
❹ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
June 16, 2016
The Palestinian Prime Minister’s office on Thursday slammed Israel’s decision to cut off water supplies for tens of thousands of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank this week as “inhumane and outrageous.”
___Rami Hamdallah issued a statement in response to the move by Israel’s national water company Mekorot, which saw water supplies suspended in the municipality of Jenin, several villages in Nablus, as well as the city of Salfit and its surrounding villages.
___“Israel wants to prevent Palestinians from leading a dignified life and uses its control over our water resources to this end; while illegal Israeli settlements enjoy uninterrupted water service,” Hamdallah said. “Palestinians are forced to spend great sums of money to buy water that is theirs in the first place.”       MORE . . .  
. . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) EU:  95%  OF  WATER  IN  GAZA  ‘UNFIT  FOR  HUMAN  USE’      MORE . . .  

(Dr Yousef Abu Safieh is a former Palestinian minister for the Environment and chairman of the Environment Quality Authority of Palestine)

Have you  heard  of a  report  that said  by  2020  there  will  be  no  clean water left in Gaza?  If you made a report like this for the West Bank, what would its conclusions be? That report was done by the United Nations.  It shows that by the year 2020 the Gazan people will not have enough water to sustain the life of about 2.5 million inhabitants. But the water situation in the West Bank is different. There, renewable water is enough to sustain the life of all the Palestinian people for the next one hundred years [. . . .]
___I recall the letter sent to Lloyd George, the British prime minister in 1919, after the First World War, by Chaim Weizmann, requesting the extension of the British mandate over Palestine by an extra 40km   north of the Galilee Panhandle into Lebanon, so as to include the Litani and Wazzani rivers. His reasoning was that to create a homeland for the Israelis and implement the Balfour Declaration, they needed three things: land, water and energy. This would therefore increase the available water resources, and electricity, too, is generated by the power of the waterfalls [. . . .]

  • Abu Zayyad, Ziad. “How The Occupation Affects Palestinian Natural Resources. An Interview with Dr. Yousef Abu Safieh ” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture 19/20.4/1 (2014): 140-150. SOURCE.  

+972 Magazine
Social TV
June 14, 2016
Approximately 90,000 Bedouin live in “unrecognized villages” spread across Israel’s Negev Desert. Because the Israeli government refuses to recognize them, they receive no municipal services, such as connection to the electrical grid, water mains or trash pickup, and are constantly at risk of demolition. Maryam Tarabin, the head of Umm al-Hiran‘s Women’s Committee, speaks about the discrimination facing Israel’s Bedouin population on a daily basis.
___”I lived in the village for 60 years. Why don’t I have electricity? Why don’t I have roads?”       MORE . . .

[. . . .] Throughout the last century, water legislation in Palestine has reflected the political agenda of the governing regime. During the Ottoman Era water resources were considered private property, in the form of ground water wells, springs and the utility of surface water, and these regulations are still valid. Legislation during the British Mandate period can be divided into two levels, the regulation level (licensing, taxation), which was under the control of the high commissar, and the level of the local management, which included the allocation of water resources, distribution and pricing under municipal control. During the Jordanian period, water legislation was issued to improve domestic and agricultural sectors in the West Bank; in addition, governmental water institutions were established in order to control and sustain water resources.
___Finally, Israeli military orders since 1967 have aimed to control the allocation, development and use of water resources in Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). These Israeli orders have been especially aimed at limiting the use of water for agricultural purposes in the OP. These orders have indirectly given Mekorot, the Israeli semi-governmental company, the right to explore, distribute and develop water resources in the OP solely for the advantage of Israel and the Jewish settlers. (Acknowledgment: This study was funded by the UNESCO/Water History project.)

  • Marei, Amer, Imad Abu-Kishk, and Huda Radaydeh. “Review Of Water Legislation from The Pre-British Mandate Period Through The Israeli Occupation.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture 19/20.4/1 (2014): 42-48.  ARTICLE.
A Palestinian man from the West Bank pulls his donkey loaded with empty bottles and a jerrycan, as he makes his way to fill them with drinking water. (Photo: Reuters, June 15, 2016)

International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
June 15, 2016
According to Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth (Ynet), new agreements between Turkey and Israel included the allowance of Ankara, by Israel, to establish a new electricity company in the Gaza Strip.
___Ynet, on Tuesday morning, said that both parties have reached a new settlement in which Israel finally refrained from its request to expel Hamas from Turkey. The aim is to prevent Hamas from attacking Israel.
___Turkey also refrained from its demand to lift the siege completely after Israel agreed to allow the establishment of a new electricity company, and to supply the Gaza Strip with goods.      MORE . . .  

(Scene: a Field on the Eastern Shore of the Mediterranean)

EAR OF CORN: Don’t kill me before my time is up.
JERUSALEM ROSE THORN: To kill for nothing is my only profession

EC: But your lovely flower
Is honey . . .
JRT: My unchecked desire
Is a road . . . its end is your death

EC: Live and die as you wish
With your sad flowers
And the gloom of your cursed desire
Live and die . . . but spare me
JRT: It’s our fate . . . I die so you may live
Or you die so I may live

EC: There’s enough room for both of us in the field
JRT: It’s our fate neighbor
It’s our fate
(Enter Fire and Fear jumps up)

EC & JRT: Don’t kill us fire
We are young and pretty and we grew up together
Don’t kill us
Don’t ki . . .
(Ashes, EC & JRT on the horizon)

From by Adonis, Mahmud Darwish, Samih al-Qasim. VICTIMS  OF  A  MAP:  A  BILINGUAL  ANTHOLOGY  OF  ARABIC  POETRY.  London: Saqi Books, 2008.
Available from Amazon.
About Samih Al-Qasim