“. . . My country is a desire in chains . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

❶ Ministry of Information: The occupation’s crimes require urgent international intervention
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) The EU already recognises Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, just more quietly than Trump
❷ Coming period is very critical, says Abu Rudeineh
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Group: Occupation constantly violating Palestinian rights, including freedom of expression
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Army  shuts  down  main  road  to  the  north  of  Ramallah
❸ Opinion/Analysis: Trump’s decision a reflection of the UN earlier colonial impositions
❹ POETRY by Mahmoud Darwish
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Palestine News Network – PNN
Dec. 11, 2017 ― The Palestinian Ministry of Information in a statement said it considers the terrorism spree that the Israeli occupation army continues to commit against Palestinian people and journalists, a crime that requires urgent protection for the people, as it considers silence on such crimes suspicious.
____“The Ministry affirms that Israel and its gangs and settlers won’t stop their brutal crimes by their own, but rater require urgent international intervention to end the occupation and bring lead the criminals the International Criminal Court,” statement said.
___“The Ministry considers that the struggle of our people and their quest for freedom and self-determination is based on our natural right and cultural heritage and right to statehood with Jerusalem as our capital, noting that our people will not be intimidated by the injustice that the occupation has resorted to, and that our people will have East Jerusalem as our eternal capital, with its Islamic and Christian shrines, as we historically and righteously did in the past,” it added.  MORE . . .
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO
Dec. 11, 2017 ― Viewers watching the televised emergency session of the United Nations Security Council on Friday may be forgiven for thinking the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) representative to the UN was trying to bore the Israeli ambassador into submission with his speech.
[. . . .]  In it he listed decades worth of UN resolutions and declarations stating that East Jerusalem should be the capital of a future Palestinian state with the Israeli capital in West Jerusalem – the long promised two-state solution.
[. . . .] . . . the US government has always sided with Israel. This alignment has been particularly strong since the 1967 war when Israel attacked its neighbours and swallowed up the remaining 22 per cent of Palestinian land, leading to a new wave of refugees and the fifty-year military occupation (of the West Bank – including East Jerusalem – Gaza, and Syria’s Golan Heights) which endures till this day.
[. . . .] …the disquiet currently being expressed against Trump by those European leaders who are lamenting damage to the non-existent peace process is entirely hypocritical. And in fact, the new Trump policy in Jerusalem is only a more open form of the same malign policy the European Union has been carrying out in practice for many years.
___Despite repeated expressions of “concern” by the EU over Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank, the EU in practice encourages the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.
___It supports and even bankrolls Israel to the tune of millions of Euros with programmes like Horizon 2020, which funds Israeli high-tech research, giving EU tax-payers’ money over to the apartheid regime and the arms firms who “battle test” their weapons on Palestinian civilians.    MORE . . .
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Dec. 11, 2017 ― The coming period is very critical and requires bold Palestinian and Arab decisions, Presidential spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said on Monday, stressing once again Palestinian rejection and denunciation of the US decision recognizing Jerusalem as capital of Israel.
___“Our message to the entire world is that Jerusalem is a Palestinian city and the US decision is rejected and denounced,” he told WAFA. “What is required now are bold Palestinian and Arab decisions for the coming stage, which is very important and very critical. The Palestinians and Arabs should stand together.”
___He said President Mahmoud Abbas is going to meet on Monday with his Egyptian counterpart Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo to discuss various issues, mainly those relating to the Palestinian cause and other common Arab concerns, as well as the agenda of the upcoming Islamic summit.   MORE . . .
Palestine News Network – PNN
Dec. 11, 2017 ― Sunday (10-12-2017) marked the 69th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, through which the United Nations established the foundations of the protected rights of all people. However, the rights of the Palestinian people have been flagrantly violated since the beginning of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories 50 years ago and all international resolutions on Palestine have remained dead on paper and on top of all that the president of United States a few days ago recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; in clear breach of several resolutions issued by the UN and the security council.
___The past few day’s four people were killed and hundreds of wounded Palestinians demonstrators who came out to protest against this decision, is only another chapter in the series of Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people.   MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴃ)  ARMY  SHUTS  DOWN  MAIN  ROAD  TO  THE  NORTH  OF  RAMALLAH
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 11, 2017  – The Israeli army used cement blocks to cut off the main road connecting Ramallah to Jalazoun refugee camp and the northern West Bank, according to local sources.
___They said closure of the road forced Palestinian cars commuting on that road to search for alternative longer routes, causing traffic jams and long delays.     MORE . . . 
The Palestinian Information Center 
Ramona Wadi
Dec. 11, 2017 ―   Since 1967, the UN regularly adopted resolutions concerning the status of Jerusalem, most of them dealing with withdrawing military forces, condemnation of land confiscation and settlement expansion, as well as requesting that Israel refrains from holding military activities in the city. A recurring warning was that no action should be taken to change the status of Jerusalem.
___US President Donald Trump exposed the fallacy behind international recommendations yesterday with his unilateral declaration of recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Away from the outpouring of indignation from Palestinians who have resisted the Zionist colonial project, the opposition to Trump’s declaration has been mostly diluted by statements that simply acknowledge the action taken as reprehensible, instead of focusing upon responsibility, accountability and ramifications – all of which should lead directly to the UN.
___The hype generated by Trump on previous occasions, which illustrated his administration’s support for Israel, is becoming a convenient tool for Israel, the PA and the UN, due to such tactics generating a fragmented response and one that strengthens reliance upon symbolism. Trump’s statement goes against UN resolutions. However, it is a known fact that UN resolutions are a façade for the allowance of international law violations.    MORE . . .    ..

Soft rain in a distant autumn
and the birds are blue, blue
and the earth is a festival.
Don’t say that I am a cloud over the airport.
I want nothing
of my country that has fallen from the window of the train
except my mother’s scarf
and reasons for a new death.

Soft rain in a strange autumn
and the windows are white, white
and the sun is an orange grove in setting,
and am I a stolen orange.
Why do you run from my flesh?
I want nothing
from the home of knives and birds
except my mother’s scarf
and reasons for a new death.

Soft rain in a sad autumn
and the trysts are green, green
and the sun is clay.
Don’t say that we’ve seen you in the withering of jasmine,
saleswoman of death, and aspirin.
My face is a dusk,
my death is a fetus
and I want nothing
from the country which has forgotten the accent of its evacuees
except my mother’s scarf
and reasons for a new death.

Soft rain in a distant autumn
and the birds are blue, blue;
the earth is a festival;
the birds have flown into a time of no return.
Do you want to know my country
know what is between us?
My country is a desire in chains,
the kiss that I’ve sent in the mail
and I want nothing
from the country which has slain me
except my mother’s scarf
and reasons for a new death.

— From WHEN THE WORDS BURN: AN ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN ARABIC POETRY: 1945-1987. Translated and edited by John Mikhail Asfour. Dunvegan, Ontario, Canada. Cormorant Books, 1988. Available from Amazon

“. . . Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms . . .” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Israeli vandals, soldiers attack Palestinian schoolchildren at Qurtuba School, Al-Khalil, May 4, 2016 (Photo: Aljazeera)

❶ Israeli forces raid Al-Quds University, damage contents of book fair for the needy
❷ Yet another demolition hits Umm Al Khair; community continues to stand strong
❸ Statistics Bureau: About half the population are children
❹ The latest statistics show that 96.3% of the population of Palestine is literate.

  • Background from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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Ma’an News Agency
Nov. 19, 2016
Israeli forces on Saturday morning stormed the campus of Al-Quds University in the Jerusalem district village of Abu Dis, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Education.     ___The ministry said in a statement on Saturday that “large numbers of heavily armed” Israeli troops stormed the university campus at dawn and damaged the “contents of a book fair,” which students had been organizing to help their fellow students in need.     ___”All books, magazines, and stationery which are being sold to needy students at low prices have been either stolen or damaged [by Israeli forces],” the statement said.     More . . .

International Solidarity Movement   
November 19, 2016
On November 15th, the Bedouin community of Umm Al Khair experienced the fifth wave of demolitions by Israeli forces on their structures to take place in the past year. The most prominent of the two structures demolished on Tuesday was their community center, which was also the space used for their Kindergarten classes.       More . . .

STATISTICS  BUREAU:  ABOUT  HALF  THE  POPULATION  ARE  CHILDREN      Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Nov. 20, 2016
The estimated number of children less than 18 years old mid 2016 is about 2,207,535 children in Palestine, representing about 45.8% of the population, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said on Sunday.
[. . . .]  The number of students for 2015/2016 academic year in Palestine reached to about 1.193 million students, (1.053 million in the elementary level and 140 thousands in the secondary level).  While the number of children enrolled in kindergarten in the same academic year arrived at about 141 thousands boy and girl.
___The drop-out rate from elementary school for the 2014/2015 academic year was 1.5% among male children compared to 1.1% among females.  In the secondary level, the rate was 2.1% of males compared to 1.8% of females.
____Failure rate at elementary schools during 2014/2015 was 1.2% of males and 0.9% of females. The secondary level rate was 0.4% of males and 0.3% of females.   More . . .

Palestinian students at Mahfouz El Nahnah high school on the first day of the new school year in Gaza City, Gaza on Aug. 28, 2016. (Photo: Getty Images

The 2014 Palestine Human Development Report (UN)―United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
The latest statistics show that 96.3% of the population of Palestine is literate.  This rate is even higher than that of the UNDP 2014 HDI “high human development” category average.     More . . .   
Note:  The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the United Nations’ global development network.     Headquartered in New York City, UNDP advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. It provides expert advice, training, and grants support to developing countries, with increasing emphasis on assistance to the least developed countries.        More . . .

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
[. . . .]    Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
[. . . .]   Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms.
Article 26: Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

The CONVENTION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN EDUCATION is a multilateral treaty adopted by UNESCO on 14 December 1960
Note: the signatories include nearly every member of the UN, including such nations as China, Russia, Israel, and Iran.  
There a a very few nations not signatories, including the United States and Syria.

“. . . stateless people could see . . . that the abstract nakedness of being nothing but human was their greatest danger. . .” (Hannah Arendt*)

Children in the Rafah Camp, one of the eight Palestine refugee camps in the densely populated Gaza strip. Circa 1955. (Photo: UNRWA by M. Nasr)

❶ Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian farmers, bird hunters, and fishermen in Gaza

  • Background: “The Palestinian Refugee Camps: The Promise Of ‘Ruin’ And ‘Loss’.” Rethinking History

❷ Why is Israel tightening the Gaza blockade?
❸ UNRWA Condemns Killing of Four Palestine Refugees, calls for Full Humanitarian Access to Khan Eshieh Refugee Camp in Syria

  • Background: “Refugees And Social Theory: From The Politics Of “Bare Life” To Refugees As Political Subjects.” Acta Academica

*Hannah Arendt, “The Perplexities of the Right of Man” (1951)

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Ma’an News Agency     
Oct. 22, 2016
Israeli forces Saturday morning opened live fire at Palestinian farmers, bird hunters, and fishermen in the eastern and northern part of the besieged Gaza Strip.
___Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli forces deployed at the eastern border near the neighborhood of al-Shujaiyeh opened live fire at Palestinian farmers and bird hunters, forcing them to flee the area.
___Meanwhile, Israeli naval forces opened live fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Beit Lahiya north of the Gaza Strip early in the morning.      More . . .

  • Abreek-Zubiedat, Fatina. “The Palestinian Refugee Camps: The Promise Of ‘Ruin’ And ‘Loss’.” Rethinking History 19.1 (2015): 72-94.   Source.

According to the political theorist Hannah Arendt, a ‘refugee’ is a ‘stateless’ or ‘non-citizen’ person who threatens the nation-state system. Consequently, countries have acknowledged the need for a solution to the refugee problem, whose status is considered temporary, with two possible options: return to the homeland or country of origin, or naturalization in the host country. Historically, both solutions have failed. Arendt views the refugee camp as a ‘final solution’ involving the incarceration of refugees after denying their citizenship. Only then do they become homo sacer in the sense implied by ancient Roman law: destined to die, with their life defined as ‘bare’.
[. . . .]
___ The Palestinian Arab residents who were uprooted, forced out, or compelled to flee from their homes became ‘stateless,’ as Arendt defines it, even before becoming refugees. According to Azoulay . . .  the Arab residents of Palestine should be acknowledged not solely as refugees but as ‘non-governed,’ in a way to link their expulsion from their homeland to the regime responsible to their state within the framework of the new diplomatic, military, and political map of the UN: ‘The U.N. Partition Plan from November 29, 1947 was a crucial moment in the founding of the enterprise of destruction responsible for turning vast sections of Palestine into ruin’.

The Middle East Monitor – MEMO 
October 21, 2016
Let us begin with the facts: Israeli authorities have, over the course of the last year, tightened the long-standing blockade of the Gaza Strip.      ___Even before these more recent restrictions, the Israeli blockade – an illegal policy of collective punishment in the words of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – was continuing to severely harm the lives of Gaza’s two million residents, furthering the enclave’s de-development.      ___In April of this year, the UN was clear that the most urgent step required for the reconstruction of Gaza remained “the removal of [Israeli] restrictions on the import of building materials, towards a full lifting of the blockade.” Instead, things have gone backwards.       More . . .    

Destruction inside Khan Eshieh camp for Palestine refugees, located south of the Syrian capital, Damascus. (Photo: IRIN, 2015)

Gaza.Scoop.ps – Real Time News From Gaza
Oct. 21, 2016
Four Palestine refugees were killed on the night of 18 October as they attempted to leave the Khan Eshieh Palestine refugee camp, south of the Syrian capital, Damascus, to which access has been highly restricted. Nofeh Mohammed Jarad, who was in her 60’s, her daughter Ibaa Saeed al-Nader, 22, their driver and a one-year old baby were all killed when their vehicle was shelled around 10 p.m. The mother of the baby, a Syrian citizen, also died in the incident.
___UNRWA condemns this attack and the killing and wounding of all civilians including Palestine refugees. It calls on those responsible to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law and demands that the parties to the conflict do their utmost to protect civilian life in accordance with international law.  More . . .   Related . . .   

  • Williams, Christian. “Refugees And Social Theory: From The Politics Of “Bare Life” To Refugees As Political Subjects.” Acta Academica 46.4 (2014): 117-131.   Full article.

Since the mid-twentieth century, nation-states and international organisations have developed an integrated system for governing people displaced from their countries of origin by social upheavals occurring there. This system became standardised in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War when the Allied powers created a constellation of refugee camps, government bureaucracies and legal/moral norms aimed at managing the throngs of people whom the war had displaced in Europe. Among the incipient norms was refugee law, part of the broader field of human rights law emerging at this historical moment. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (1948) not only compelled nation-states to intervene in the affairs of other sovereign countries committing genocide, but also to grant people “asylum from persecution”. . . . this “right” to asylum . . . became the human rights framework for addressing mass. . .  “refugee problem” across much of the post-colonial world.
___At the centre of this framework and problem stands “the refugee”. With great consistency, human rights law and other bodies of knowledge have presented “the refugee” as a kind of victim – one who has been expelled from a national and natural “home”. It follows that refugees’ problems may be solved through proper management of the international system, including nation-states, United Nations (UN) bodies, humanitarian agencies and the sites where refugees live that they administer . . . .
[. . . .] as early as 1948, Hannah Arendt argued that refugees, the very people whom the then new UDHR ought to protect, are people without rights, because they have been excluded from a nation-state. Without a sovereign government, through which to claim their rights, refugees are rendered “nothing but human.” More recently, Giorgio Agamben captured widespread scholarly attention for drawing connections between “the concentration camp” and “the refugee camp”, both of which are inhabited by people who have been subjected to “biopolitics”, a politics that excludes them from active participation in a political community and reduces them to “bare life” (Agamben G [1998] Homo sacer: sovereign power and bare life).