“. . . Our roots are entrenched / Deep in the earth . . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

IMG_3349 - CopySt. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Beit Jala in Bethlehem Governate.
Priest greets parishioner after service.
Photo: Harold Knight, Sun. Nov. 8, 2015.


|   MYTHS  AND  FANTASIES  ABOUT  THE  PALESTINIAN  REFUGEES  AND  THE  UNITED  NATIONS     Andrew Whitley, former senior UNRWA official      The decision of the Trump Administration to halt all funding for UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for 5.4 million Palestinian refugees, and its attempts to redefine who qualifies as a “refugee” in this context, marks another egregious example of Washington’s disregard for international norms and humanitarian law in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.    ___The ultimate fate of those refugees who fled their homes or were forcibly expelled in the war that led to the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 – and of their descendants, now into third and fourth generations – has long been one of the most contentious issues in the conflict.    ___The “right to return” is seen by Palestinians and their supporters worldwide as a matter of natural and historic justice. After all, this is exactly the same right as all other refugees – for whom UNRWA’s sister agency, UNHCR, is their guardian – enjoy.    More . . .
|   MAYOR  OF  BETHLEHEM:  NETANYAHU’S  STATEMENT  ON  BETHLEHEM  AND  PALESTINIAN  CHRISTIANS  IS  ANOTHER  ISRAELI  ATTEMPT  AT  DISTORTING  REALITY  OF  ISRAELI  OCCUPATION     Mayor of Bethlehem, advocate Anton Salman said in response to Sunday’s statements by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Bethlehem and the situation of Palestinian Christians, that such statement ‘is another Israeli attempt at distorting the reality of the Israeli occupation and particularly the effects that Israeli policies have had on the Palestinian Christian community since 1948’.    ___“If Mr. Netanyahu was concerned about the situation of Palestinian Christians, particularly in the Bethlehem area, he would return the 22,000 dunums of Bethlehem land illegally annexed to Israel for expansion of colonial settlements. He would dismantle the annexation wall that divides Bethlehem from Jerusalem for the first time in 2000 years of Christianity and would stop imposing restrictions to Palestinian movement, including the thousand of Palestinian Christians living in exile and whose return is impossible due to the Israeli control over the Palestinian population registry,” said the mayor in a statement issued by the Bethlehem municipality.    More . . .
. . . . Related  New  Israeli  Laws  Enhance  Creeping  Annexation  Policy
|   ISRAEL  CONTINUES  AIRSTRIKES  OVER  GAZA    An Israeli warplane carried out an airstrike, on Tuesday, targeting a group of Palestinians east of Beit Hanoun in the southern besieged Gaza Strip.    ___A Ma’an reporter said that an Israeli warplane fired one missile towards a group of Palestinian youths in northern Gaza; no injuries were reported.    ___The Israeli army said that a warplane targeted a group of Palestinians who were launching incendiary kites into southern Israel.    ___Meanwhile, locals reported that Israeli military bulldozers entered dozens of meters into south of Gaza City, razed and leveled lands.    More . . .
. . . . Related   Israeli  Navy,  Soldiers,  Injure  19  Palestinians  In  Northern  Gaza


For a few short minutes last week, a group of Israeli activists managed to have a face-to-face conversation with Palestinian activists in Gaza, albeit through a militarized fence.    ___On Wednesday of last week, for the first time since the Great Return March began in March, a small group of Israeli activists approached the fence to speak with Palestinian demonstrators, standing just meters from them on the other side.    ___The Palestinians who approached the fence had been taking part in a cultural event near the village of Khuza’a in one of the nearby tent encampments, which was established as part of the Great Return March.    ___The rare meeting lasted only a few minutes, until Israeli soldiers arrived and ordered the Israelis to leave the area.    More . . .
|   PALESTINIAN  PRISONER  IN  ISRAEL  FOR  33  YEARS  WARNED  OF  PUNISHMENT  IF  HE  PUBLISHES  BOOK     A Palestinian prisoner who served 33 years out of a 39-year prison sentence in Israeli jails for resisting the Israeli occupation was warned by the prison administration of severe punishment if he publishes a book he wrote in prison, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said on Tuesday.    ___It said Walid Dakka, a Palestinian from inside Israel, who previously was severely punished after publishing a book in Arabic called “The story of the secret of oil”, was told that he would be put in isolation if he goes ahead and publishes another book.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

It is a thousand times easier
For you to pass an elephant through the needle’s eye
To catch fried fish in the Milky Way
To plow the sea
To teach the alligator speech, a thousand times easier
Than smothering with you oppression
The spark of an idea
Of forcing us to deviate
A single step
From our chosen march.
Like twenty impossibles
We shall remain in Lydda, Ramlah, and Galilee.

Here upon your chests
We shall remain
Like the glass and the cactus
In your throats
A fiery whirlwind
In your eyes.

Here we shall remain
A wall on your chests.
We wash dishes in the hotels
And serve drinks to the masters.
We mop the floors in the dark kitchens
To extract a piece of bread
From your blue teeth
For the little ones.

Here, we shall remain
A wall on your chests.
We starve,
Go naked,
Sing songs
And fill the streets
With demonstrations
And the jails with pride.
We breed rebellions
One after another.
Like twenty impossibles we remain
In Lydda, Ramlah, Galilee.

Here, we shall remain.
You may drink the sea;
We shall guard the shade
Of the olive tree and the fig,
Planting ideas
Like the yeast in the dough.
The coldness of ice is in our nerves
And a burning hell in our hearts.
We squeeze the rock
To quench our thirst
And if we starve
We eat the dirt
And never depart
Or grudge our blood.

Here―we have a past
―a present
―and a future.
Our roots are entrenched
Deep in the earth.
Like twenty impossibles
We shall remain.
Let the oppressor review his account
Before the turn of the wheel.
For every action there is a reaction:
Read what is written in the Book.
Like twenty impossibles
We shall remain―in Lydda, in Ramlah
And Galilee.

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.

“. . . These are actions aimed at liquidating the Palestinian issue completely . . .” (Mustafa Barghouti)


The United States (US) officially cut all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), on Friday, calling the agency an “irredeemably flawed operation.”     ___The statement, issued by US State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert, said “the administration has carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA.”     ___According to the Washington Post, the statement added that the US remained “very mindful of and deeply concerned regarding the impact upon innocent Palestinians, especially school children.”   More . . .


With the United States administration’s recent decision to cut funding to UNRWA by $300 million (83%) [NOW  CUT  IT  COMPLETELY], the Agency faces an unprecedented funding crisis and millions of Palestine refugees could lose access to UNRWA services.     ___It’s going to take all of us standing together to FUND UNRWA’S WORK so the Agency can continue serving Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.     MORE . . .


[. . . . ] For nearly 70 years, UNRWA has provided lifesaving assistance to more than five million Palestinian refugees in the occupied territories, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.    [. . . .] Mustafa Barghouti, a former Palestinian information minister and secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative, said “The US . . . want[s] to kill UNRWA with the aim of killing the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.  These are actions aimed at liquidating the Palestinian issue completely while trying to normalise relations between Israel and Arab countries.  This will fail and what the Americans have done will make us more determined to stick to the rights of Palestinian refugees, especially after their nationalistic law, which is nothing but a system of apartheid”.   MORE . . .


Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Member, Hanan Ashrawi, said in a statement on Saturday that the United States (US) administration’s decision to end all funding to United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is “a cruel and irresponsible move targeting the most vulnerable segment of Palestinian society.”    ___Ashrawi said that “Palestinian refugees are already the victims who have lost their homes, livelihoods and security as a result of the creation of the state of Israel, and once again, they are being victimized by the US administration in support of Israel’s decades-long military occupation and impunity.”   More . . .


United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed deep regret towards the United States’ decision to end all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), on Friday.     ___The spokesperson of Guterres, Stephane Dijarric, said in a statement “we regret the United States’ decision to provide no further funding to UNRWA, which provides essential services to Palestine refugees and contributes to stability in the region.”     ___He added that “UNRWA has a strong record of providing high-quality education, health and other essential services, often in extremely difficult circumstances, to Palestine refugees who are in great need.”   More . . .

UNRWA USA supporters can help protect the fundamental right to education for 526,000 Palestine refugee girls and boys. Your $100 donation can cover the education costs of an UNRWA student for a month as well as a back to school kit.