“. . . what else can the light of heaven be . . .” (Reja-e Busailah)

Lydda_mosque_ii

Lydda (birthplace of Reja-e Busailah) mosque
after Operation Danny, July 1948
(Photo: Palmach archive Yiftach 3rd Battalion vol. 2 album).

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .
|   EGYPTIAN  SECURITY  DELEGATION  ARRIVES  IN  GAZA  STRIP  TO  ESTABLISH  THE  TRUCE
The Israeli Public Radio said, on Wednesday, that an Egyptian security delegation will arrive in the Gaza Strip on Thursday for talks aimed at stabilizing the ceasefire and discussing ways to improve the living conditions in the Gaza Strip.    ___The radio added that the delegation would be headed by the official of the Palestinian file in the intelligence service, Ahmed Abdelkhaliq, and expected that some Hamas leaders would go to Egypt in the next few days.    ___Egyptian mediation between the Palestinian Resistance and the Israeli occupation succeeded in reestablishing the cease-fire in Gaza after an unprecedented round of escalation that began on Sunday and lasted about 48 hours.     More . . .
|   ISRAELI  FORCES  OPEN  FIRE  AT  PALESTINIAN  FARMERS
Israeli forces opened fire, on Friday, at Palestinian farmers working in their lands, east of the al-Qarrara town in the southern besieged Gaza Strip.    ___Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces stationed at the Kissufim military site opened fire at Palestinian farmers for unknown reasons.    ___The farmers left their lands in fear for their lives. . .   More . . .
. . . . Related  SUFFOCATION  CASES  AMONG  PROTESTERS  NEAR  RAMALLAH  [RAS  KARKAR  VILLAGE]
. . . . Related  GAZA  FISHERMAN  SHOT,  KILLED  BY  ISRAELI  NAVY
|
  UN  SPECIAL  RAPPORTEURS  GIVE  ISRAEL  60  DAYS  TO  RESPOND  TO  ‘DEEP  CONCERNS’  REGARDING  JEWISH  NATION-STATE  LAW
Following a special request for action issued by  ADALAH – THE  LEGAL  CENTER  FOR  ARAB  MINORITY  RIGHTS  IN  ISRAEL, four United Nations special rapporteurs have given Israel a 60-day deadline to respond to their grave concerns regarding the Jewish Nation-State Law, adopted by the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, on July 19.    ___The 60-day period began on November 2 when [the four UN officials] sent a communiqué to Israeli authorities expressing deep concerns regarding the impact of the new law.    ___In their letter, special rapporteurs expressed “deep concern” that Israeli Basic Law appears “to be discriminatory in nature and in practice against non-Jewish citizens” . . .   More . . .
. . . . Related  KUWAIT  TRANSFERS  $42  MILLION  TO  UNRWA
. . . . Related  WORLD  BANK  WILL  CONTINUE  TO  PROVIDE  BUDGET  SUPPORT  TO  PA
. . . . Related  DIRECTOR  OF  GENEVA  CENTER  CALLS  FOR  ENDORSEMENT  OF  2018  WORLD  CONFERENCE  DECLARATION
. . . . Related  CZECH  REPUBLIC  TO  CONTRIBUTE  OVER  €200,000  TO  UNRWA

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
|   SUSTAINING  CYCLES  OF  ISRAELI  AGGRESSION  IN  GAZA 
Ramona Wadi
It is time, once again, for the hyphenated “Israel-Gaza” paradigm – an invention that suits mainstream narratives. As the media mulls the possibilities of another Israeli military aggression against Palestinians in Gaza . . .   since “Operation Protective Edge”, Israel regularly hinted at another, definite round of violence to eliminate Hamas . . .  inflicting a high percentage of collateral damage.    ___As speculation mounts amid reports of airstrikes and rocket fire; the latter enhanced through numbers that purposely render Israeli violence a purported retaliation, Israel is assured of an audience that is ready to absorb whatever trajectory it decides upon . . .    [. . . .] Yet, in terms of media depiction, there is already a premeditated slant . . .  Rocket fire is the subject of statistics while airstrikes imparted as an acceptable method of containment. The concept of involvement and, as a result, violence, is shifted upon Hamas, as opposed to the Israeli incursion in Gaza which the resistance had every right to disrupt.    More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .
|   AWARDS  SEASON  LAUNCHED  AT  MEMO’S  PALESTINIAN  LITERARY  EVENT
A packed audience hall gathered in London this evening [November 15, 2018] to listen to some of the  PALESTINE  BOOK  AWARD’S  shortlisted authors discuss their works ahead of the winners’ announcement tomorrow evening.    ___Tonight three of the shortlisted authors: Tareq Baconi, author of “Hamas Contained: The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance”; Maha Nassar, author of “Brothers Apart: Palestinian Citizens of Israel and the Arab World”; and  REJA-E  BUSAILAH,  author of “In the Land of My Birth: A Palestinian Boyhood.    ___The evening was chaired by Victoria Brittain and Ibrahim Darwish, two trustees of the Palestine Book Awards. Brittain opened the evening by reflecting on how the Awards are now in their seventh year, adding that when the event started back in 2011 she could not have expected the level of support there has been from publishers, authors and the general public.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“IN  THE  SHADOW  OF  THE  HOLY  HEIGHTS”  BY  REJA-E  BUSAILAH 

  •                 for Haniya Suleiman Zarawneh, killed by the Israelis
    at the age of 25, near Jerusalem, January 4, 1988

The sun came out that day from the depth of winter
like the rare orphan of good luck —
what else can the light of heaven be
on a day rising from the dead of winter?

And she had risen before the sun that day
and like her mother and grandmother before her
she washed by hand and wrung by hand
the linen for spouse and child,

and like mother and grandmother
she walked up the wooden ladder
with the pail onto the roof
into the shadow of the Holy Heights —
so clear was the sky
it almost recalled the sight and the scent of the sea down west.

Faithfully she hung her labors on the rope
article by article
that the good sun might dry them for her,
she clasped each with a wooden pin
as safeguard against the prankish wind —

it was no senseless nature that did it when she was done
just about to come down for other chores,
it was no fiendish Nazi,
it was one of the 
Chosen
selected her heart for his anointed lead
so that limp went the spring in the covenant
which joined soul and limb —

and the good sun shines
and the sheets and the skirts and the nightgowns
and the small socks
and the outfit for the wooden doll
they toss in the wind
and smell like linen hand-washed and sun-dried
they swing lighthearted on the rope
waiting for mother to collect them

Reja-e Busailah has been blind since infancy. At age 7, he and his family were forced marched by Zionist forces from their home in Lydda into exile. He was educated in Cairo and earned a PhD in English from New York University. He is the author of a collection of poetry, “We Are Human,” (1985). He taught at Indiana University for 30 years and is now retired. He recently published his memoir “In the Land of My Birth: A Palestinian Boyhood.”

From BEFORE THERE IS NOWHERE TO STAND: PALESTINE ISRAEL POETS RESPOND TO THE STRUGGLE. Ed. By Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012.  Available from B&N.

“. . . when Mother Earth runs out of room for you and me . . .” (Ramzy Baroud)

PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT-GAZA
Illustrative: Smoke from Gaza City after Israeli aircraft bombed it on November 30, 2017. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .
|     ISRAEL  CARRIES  OUT  CAMPAIGN  OF  AIRSTRIKES  ACROSS  GAZA
Israeli warplanes carried out an airstrikes’ campaign across the besieged Gaza Strip, on predawn Thursday.   ___Local sources said Israeli warplanes fired two missiles towards a military site belonging to Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, in Rafah district, in southern Gaza.    ___Sources confirmed that Israeli warplanes targeted a site in Khan Younis district, also in southern Gaza.    ___Israeli warplanes also targeted a site in al-Shiekh Zayid City, in northern Gaza.    ___No injuries were reported, however, the airstrikes led to extensive material damages in the targeted areas.    More . . .
. . . . Related   Israeli forces shoot, injure 8 Palestinians in Gaza
|   WEEKLY  REPORT  ON  ISRAELI  HUMAN  RIGHTS  VIOLATIONS  IN  THE  OCCUPIED  PALESTINIAN  TERRITORY  (18–24  OCTOBER  2018)     Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)
Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against unarmed civilians and peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip:   ___A Palestinian youngster was killed in eastern Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.   342 civilians, including 60 children, 4 women, 6 journalists and 3 paramedics, were wounded; 14 of them sustained serious wounds.    ___Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 6 others in the West Bank.    ___Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at the protestors and wounded two of them.   More . . .
|    ISRAEL  TO  CONFISCATE  THOUSANDS  OF  DUNUMNS  THROUGH  EXPANDING  BYPASS  ROAD
Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) on Wednesday approved the expansion of bypass road 60, which runs between Jerusalem and Hebron.    ___Head of the Wall and Settlement Resistance Committee in Bethlehem, Hassan Breijiya told WAFA news agency that Israeli Minister of Communications Yisrael Katz gave orders to start expanding the street according to a plan to surround Al-Arroub refugee camp. . .     More . . .
. . . . Related  IOF  seize  house  after  forcing  Palestinian  owners  to  leave  at  gunpoint

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
|   EMBRACING  THE  RIGHT  TO  EDUCATION:  A  STORY  OF  HOPE,  DETERMINATION,  AND  SUCCESS
Paula Malan
It all started 25 years ago when  Mr.  Heikki  Kokkala,  a  senior  education  specialist  from  Finland,  and the late Mr. Khalil Mahshi, then director general of external relations at the Ministry of Education in Palestine, met at a UNESCO conference on education. This was a time when educationists globally had started to pay more attention to the effectiveness of education systems and to the assessment of learning outcomes.    ___In Palestine, work had already started on developing the first-ever unified national curriculum which would replace the Jordanian and Egyptian curricula used in the West Bank and Gaza, respectively.  [. . . .] At the same time, the Finnish government was looking for ways to support the newly established Palestinian Authority and decided to direct its support to the education sector.    ___Thus, Mr. Kokkala and Mr. Mahshi, with their many colleagues, began to design the  first  cooperation  project  between  Finland  and  Palestine.    More . . .

EDUCATION  IN  EAST  JERUSALEM
– There are 87,277 students enrolled in schools, including basic education (grades 1 to 10) and secondary education (grades 11 and 12).
– Approximately 4,300 children are not enrolled in any educational institution.
– Thirty-three percent of children in East Jerusalem fail to complete a full 12 years of schooling.
– Provision of education is fragmented across five different providers: the Palestinian Ministry of Education operating under the Jordanian Islamic Awqaf umbrella, the private sector, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality, and the contractor’s schools that are financed by the Israeli Authorities.
– There is a chronic shortage of classrooms, estimated at around 2,200, with an anticipated annual growth rate of 3 to 4 percent.
– The area available in class for every student is approximately 0.5 square meters, less than the international standards that recommend at least 1.25 square meters.
– Twenty percent of students and teachers and 40 percent of school staff cross a checkpoint on a daily basis to access their schools.
Source: 2016 Jerusalem Directorate of Education Statistics/Geo-mapping Data

. . . . Related    ‘A  cruel  choice’:  Why  Israel  targets  Palestinian  schools

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“LULLABY,”  BY  RAMZY  BAROUD
I’ll etch your name
on a secret star
we’ll both go there
on frightful nights

when Mother Earth
runs out of room
for you and me

I’ll hold you tight
and sing you songs
of a distant land
beyond the stars

and watch you grow
between my heart
and the highest high

I’ll draw your face
on a single seed
and hold your palm
to face the sun

when you’re awake
and call out my name
don’t moan or cry

I’ll return
to raise your hand
at a shooting star
and with for you

another day
another sun
another world

where Palestine
is a mountain top
of soil and air
and a purple sky

For (Miriam), a refugee child from Palestine

From: I  REMEMBER  MY  NAME:  Poetry  by  Samah  Sabawi,  Ramzy  Baroud,  Jehan  Bseiso. Vacy Vlanzna, ed. London: Novum Publishing, 2016. Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . He renovates a memory demolished like a wall . . .” (Ibrahim Nasrallah)

WEb-wo24-israel-demolition
Khan al Ahmar Village with illegal Israeli settlement Kfar Adummim in background. (Photo: Reuters, in The National, Sept. 23, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .

|   AL-MALKI  ON  CLOSURE  OF  US  CONSULATE:  US  HAS  ADOPTED  THE  AGENDA  OF  FAR-RIGHT  ISRAELI  SETTLER  MOVEMENT 
Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Malki strongly condemned on Thursday the recent US’ decision to close the US consulate in East Jerusalem, which mainly serves Palestinians, and merge it with the US embassy in the city.    ___“Closing of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem, which has operated independently since in 1844, and turning it into a unit in the illegally placed American Embassy in Jerusalem reflects the US administration’s determination to entrench its illegal embassy move and force its functions on the Palestinian side,” he said in a press release.    ___Al-Malki stressed that decision clearly “proves that the US administration has adopted the agenda of the far-right Israeli settler movement, treating the entire area of historic Palestine as one political unit under Israeli control.”    More . . .
|   UNRWA  DISMISSES  ISRAELI  THREATS  OF  CLOSING  ITS  JERUSALEM  OPERATIONS
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) dismissed on Thursday threats by the Israeli mayor of West Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, to close down its operations in occupied Jerusalem.    ___Barkat submitted to a parliamentary committee a plan to end UNRWA operations in Jerusalem and to turn over its services in health and education to his municipality.    ___UNRWA spokesman Sami Mshasha told WAFA that while these threats are worrying, they will not change facts on the ground since UNRWA exists based on international resolutions and binding bilateral agreements.    ___UNRWA was created in December 1949 by a United Nations resolution. . .    More . . .
|   122  DAYS  OF  DEMOLITION  THREATS,  ISRAEL  SEALS  OFF  KHAN  AL-AHMAR    Israeli forces assaulted protesters inside the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem in the central occupied West Bank, on Friday.   ___Israeli soldiers fired tear-gas bombs and pepper-sprayed Palestinian and international protesters and activists as they attempted to protest at the main road leading to the village, preventing them from doing so.   [. . . .] Large numbers of Israeli forces surrounded Khan al-Ahmar and sealed off its main entrance, declaring it a closed military zone.   [. . . .] The seal off came as an attempt to prevent hundreds of protesters and journalists from reaching Khan al-Ahmar to show solidarity with the residents of the village after 122 days of being under threat of demolition. . .  as part of an Israeli plan to expand the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Kfar Adummim More. . .
. . . . Related   Theresa  May  Condemns  Israel’s  Planned  Demolition  of  Khan  Al-Ahmar  (VIDEO)
. . . . Related   Israel  demolishes  7  structures  in  Jordan  Valley

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

|  THE  UN  ‘SHERIFF’:  NIKKI  HALEY  ELEVATED  ISRAEL,  DAMAGED  US  STANDING
Ramzy Baroud
US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has made her post a “more glamorous” position than her predecessors – as President Donald Trump [said] following her resignation announcement.    ___. . . we certainly know that, during her relatively brief stint, Haley has further diminished her country’s struggling reputation, entrenching US isolation in the world’s most vital international political body.    ___In her own words, Haley concluded that her mission at the UN was accomplished, commending herself on three achievements: the US has become more respected; it saved a lot of money and vigorously defended Israel against UN ‘bias.’   [. . . .] Nothing could be further from the truth and Haley, who is suspected of engineering a run for the White House in the future, has no evidence to back up her claim of new-found ‘strength’ and ‘respect’.   ___During his speech before the General Assembly on September 25, Trump’s outrageous claims were not met with thundering applause but humiliating laughter. So much for respect.    More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .

Eyewitness  Palestine  PALESTINE  2.0  DELEGATION  WINTER  2019  For  Returning  Delegates  and  Previous  Travelers
___Co-sponsored by the Hebron Freedom Fund, this delegation is meant for alumni of previous Eyewitness Palestine delegations, as well as other delegation programs.   ___Delve deeper into the issues and spend more time with specific Palestinian communities. Explore the current realities for Palestinians, including the repression of Palestinian strategic organizing, the separation and segregation of the Palestinian population, and creative ways communities are continuing to resist.   More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“RENOVATION,”  BY  IBRAHIM  NASRALLAH

He renovates a tin window
to open it for the morning birds.
And renovates some stars that have burned out
in the streets, and a woman massacred in the neighborhood.
He renovates a memory demolished like a wall,
a bird’s scattered ashes,
light reflected off a blade in the dark,
a woman lost in a spacious bed
and a bellow.
He renovates a friend’s face as the sea breaks over it
and the singer who no longer resembles his songs,
the wind when it sleeps forgetting the immensity of an orbit,
the taste of words in conversation,
the taste of air and fruit
and two legs that have never carried a planet
while destruction prevails.
He renovates a womb, subdues horses
and poems that beg for livelihood in the shade
before slipping into a chicken coop or blowing by
like a steaming train.
He renovates pillars, neighs,
guns covered with moss from waiting.
He renovates a promise, roots, clouds,
and in the end he is slain alone like a lighthouse.

From Nasrallah, Ibrahim. RAIN  INSIDE:  SELECTED  POEMS. Trans. Omnia Amin and Rick London. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 2009.  Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . The ink of the spirit burns on the shore of meaning . . .” (Yousef El Qedra)

12a5e63c766e45fdbf63dad4c913b527_18
Israeli bulldozers enter Khan al-Ahmar in advance of demolition. (Photo: Al Jazeera, Oct. 16, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .

 PALESTINE  CINEMA  DAYS  PROMOTES  RESILIENCE  THROUGH  CINEMA          This year’s Palestine Cinema Days is focused on promoting Palestinian films and stories in the face of increasing pressure on Palestine and its people wherever they may be.    ___From the United States moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, to cutting financial funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Palestinians have greatly suffered for seven decades since the start of the Israeli occupation.    ___Palestine Cinema Days brings to the Palestinian audience important stories of suffering, resilience and the human condition shared by us all.    ___The festival will open on October 17th with the screening of The Tower at the Ramallah Cultural Palace, with more than 60 films from Palestinian, Arab and international filmmakers.    More . . .
. . . . Related  What  it  takes  to  organize  a  film  screening  in  Gaza
|   AGREEMENT  SIGNED  FOR  BUILDING  LARGEST  INDUSTRIAL  CITY  IN  WEST  BANK     The Palestine Investment Fund (PIF) and the Palestinian Industrial Estates and Free Zones Authority, represented by the Minister of Economy Abeer Odeh, signed on Tuesday the concession agreement for the development and operation of a multi-sector industrial area in Tarqumiya, in the south of the West Bank, a PIF statement said on Wednesday.    ___The Tarqumiya industrial city project is expected to be the largest among industrial cities and is planned to utilize a total area of 1542 dunums of lands in Tarqumiya and Beit Olla in the Hebron Governorate,  the largest part of which is located in areas designated as Area C, that is under full Israeli control. Cost is also estimated at about $160 million.    More . . .
|   ICC  PROSECUTOR  WARNS:  DEMOLISHING  KHAN  AL-AHMAR  A  ‘WAR  CRIME
Prosecutor of the International  Criminal  Court  Fatou Bensouda issued a stern warning to Israel officials on Wednesday, saying she will not “hesitate to take any appropriate action” should they demolish the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar and forcibly transfer its residents.     ___Bensouda’s warning comes as Israeli authorities ramp up their attempts to destroy the village and remove its residents, who have lived in Khan al-Ahmar for over 40 years.     ___The ICC prosecutor also expressed concern about the continued violence at the Gaza-Israel border, several hours after a rocket fired from the Strip struck a home in the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva. In response, the Israeli Air Force struck 20 targets it said belonged to Hamas.   More . . .
. . . . Related  Everything  you  need  to  know  about  Khan  al-Ahmar

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

|   THE  US  MAINSTREAM  MEDIA  IS  IGNORING  THE  ISRAEL-SAUDI  ARABIA  DE  FACTO  ALLIANCE      Over the past week or so, Saudi Arabia has gotten more U.S. mainstream media coverage than at any time in decades. But conspicuously missing has been any reporting on the kingdom’s growing friendship with Israel — a de facto alliance that may help explain why Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman thought he could get away with ordering the murder of the dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.    ___Madawi Al-Rasheed is a Saudi Arabian woman professor, presently at King’s College London, who has written or edited more than 13 books on her home nation. Particularly valuable is her recently edited (2018) collection about the kingdom’s new leadership, entitled Salman’s Legacy: The Dilemmas of a New Era in Saudi Arabia.     ___In that book, she is clear about the growing Saudi rapprochement with Israel. She writes that the Crown Prince “has continued to clandestinely cooperate with Israel on security and economic matters”. . .   More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .

|   International Solidarity Movement:  ISRAELI  AND  INTERNATIONAL  ACTIVISTS  JOIN  GAZAN  PROTESTERS  IN  THE  GREAT  RETURN  MARCH       On the morning of October 10, 2018, ten activists from around the world delivered messages of support to the Great March of Return in the Eastern Gaza Strip via Skype, as a part of a ‘virtual rally’ entitled “Words Over Walls.”     ___The speakers hailed from countries as diverse as the US, UK, Brazil, South Africa and Norway. They included authors Mike Peled, Denny Cormier, Robert Martin, Mike Farah, and Peter Cohen and International Solidarity Movement volunteer Kristin Foss. Participants expressed their solidarity with the Marchers, their tactics and their goals. Musician and composer Mike Farah then sang an original song about the Palestinian’s Right of Return.     ___“All people of conscience, all people who have a heart, regardless of nationality or religion, must stand with the brave people of Gaza and support their demand to be free and to return to their land and homes in Palestine. The siege on Gaza must be broken and the prison walls that surround Gaza must come down. Palestine must be free,” said author Mike Peled.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“I  HAVE  NO  HOME,”  BY  YOUSEF  EL  QEDRA

I saw clouds running away from the hurt.
I have no language.
Its weight is lighter than a feather.
The quill does not write.
The ink of the spirit burns on the shore of meaning.
The clouds are tears, filled with escape and lacking definition.
A cloud realizes the beauty she forms—
beauty which contains all good things,
for whom trees, gardens, and tired young women wait.

I have no home.
I have a night overripe with sweats caused by numbness all over.
Time has grown up on its own without me.
In my dream, I asked him what he looks like.
My small defeats answered me.
So I asked him again, What did he mean?
Then I found myself suspended in nothingness,
Stretched like a string that doesn’t belong to an instrument.
The wind played me. So did irresistible gravity.
I was a run of lost notes that have a sad, strong desire to live.
――Translated by Yasmin Snounu and Edward Morin

――From BEFORE  THERE  IS  NOWHERE  TO  STAND:  PALESTINE  ISRAEL  POETS  RESPOND  TO  THE  STRUGGLE.  Ed. By Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012.  Available from University of Washington Press.

“. . . 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.

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .

|   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

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

|   WATCH:  ISRAELIS  AND  PALESTINIANS  MEET  FACE  TO  FACE  AT  GAZA  FENCE
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. . . . 

“WE  SHALL  REMAIN,”  BY  TAWFIQ  ZAYYAD  – 1970
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.

“. . . And the tyrant’s fear of songs . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

unnamedThe Nessan Band performing at the Said al-Mishal Cultural Center in 2015.
(Photo: Tamer Institute for Community Education. Electronic Intifada, Oct. 10, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .  

|  ISRAELI  ARMY  KILLS  7  PALESTINIANS  IN  GAZA  PROTESTS
At least 7 Palestinians were killed and dozens injured on Friday when the Israeli occupation forces heavily opened fire at the peaceful protesters taking part in the GREAT  MARCH  OF  RETURN.   ___[. . . .] Gaza’s Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qedra said that 192 protesters were injured, 140 of whom by live ammunition and three are in critical condition. There are 45 children, eight girls, and two paramedics among the injured.    ___ Thousands of Palestinians marched in the afternoon along the border between the Gaza Strip and the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories to take part in the protests of the 29th Friday of the Great March of Return.  More . . .
. . . . Related  Egyptian  Al-Azhar  [University]  condemns  Israel’s  killing  of  Gaza  protesters
. . . . Related  Palestinian  Woman  Killed  as  Israeli  Settlers  Attack  Vehicle  in  Nablus 
|  NEW  REPORT:  ISRAEL  PUNISHES  AL-AQSA  WORSHIPPERS,  ESCALATES  HARASSMENT  OF  PALESTINIANS  IN  OCCUPIED  JERUSALEM
The Israeli authorities are taking accelerated and unprecedented measures against Palestinian residents of occupied Jerusalem throughout September, reveals a New Report by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor.   ___The report concluded that Israel is punishing Al-Aqsa worshippers, and is following a number of policies to suffocate Palestinians through arbitrary detention, night house raids and searches, home demolitions, and orders to banish them from Al-Aqsa mosque, Euro-Med’s team has documented.    ___Titled “Banned: Expulsion, Displacement, and Arbitrary Prosecution of Palestinians in Jerusalem during September 2018,” the report shows the escalating Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the Holy City during last September, which are very much coinciding with the Jewish holidays.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Palestinian  farmers  barred  from  harvesting  their  olive  crops  in  land  near  Jewish  settlement

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

|  A  CRIME  AGAINST  CULTURE  –  ”I  was  deeply  shocked  when  I  heard  that  the  Said  al-Mishal  center  had  been  bombed.  I  could  not  understand  why  a  place  that  was  so  important  to  me  had  been  destroyed.”
Mousa Tawfiq
I clearly remember the first time I learned about the Said al-Mishal Cultural Center.   ___“Haven’t you seen it yet?” asked Muhammad, a boy older than me. “It’s the most beautiful stage in Gaza. It has a shiny wooden floor with fancy red chairs. When the curtains open, the audience goes completely silent.”   ___The conversation took place in 2008. Muhammad and I both played oud. We were taking lessons at a summer camp run by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees.  More . . .
|  GENERAL’S  FINAL  CONFESSION  LINKS  1956  MASSACRE  TO  ISRAEL’S  SECRET  PLAN  TO  EXPEL  ARABS
In mid-July, a strange performance played out in the Military Court of Appeals at the Kirya, the defense establishment’s headquarters in Tel Aviv. The judge, an Israel Defense Forces general, called Meretz MK Esawi Freige, from the Israeli Arab town of Kafr Qasem, to the witness stand, and asked him just one question: Would publication of classified documents relating to the massacre in his village in 1956 be likely to stir up its residents?      [. . . .Brig. Gen. Issachar “Yiska”] Shadmi, the highest-ranking officer to be brought to trial after the event, lives. Shadmi told us that the trial, in which he was initially accused of murder but later acquitted, was intended to mislead the international community with regard to Israel’s ostensible pursuit of justice. For his part, Raz is convinced that the background to ostensibly staging the trial was pressure from above to conceal “Operation Mole” (Hafarperet), a secret program to expel to Jordan the population of the so-called Triangle of Arab towns, located southeast of Haifa – details of which have never been revealed.   (From Haaretz. Copied here )

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“ON  THIS  LAND”  BY  MAHMOUD  DARWISH
We have on this land that which makes life worth living
We have on this land all of that which makes life worth living
April’s hesitation
The aroma of bread at dawn
A woman’s beseeching of men
The writings of Aeschylus
Love’s beginning
Moss on a stone
Mothers standing on a flute’s thread
And the invader’s fear of memories
We have on this land that which makes life worth living
September’s end
A woman leaving ‘forty’ behind
with all of her apricots
The hour of sunlight in prison
A cloud reflecting a swarm of creatures
A people’s applause for those who face their own erasure with a smile
And the tyrant’s fear of songs.
We have on this land all of that which makes life worth living
On this land
The lady of our land
The mother of all beginnings
And the mother of all ends
She was called Palestine
Her name later became Palestine
My lady….
Because you are my lady
I have all of that which makes life worth living.

(Source)

“. . . What sacred verses can explain Sniper fire . . .” (Samah Sabawi)

Soldiers
Israeli snipers seen on the border with Gaza during the Great March of Return, March 30, 2018. (IDF Spokesperson)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .

|  UNRWA  DEPLORES  PALESTINE  REFUGEE  FATALITIES  AND  THE  DETERIORATING  HUMANITARIAN  CRISIS  IN  GAZA
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) deplored in a statement on Sunday the rise in fatalities among refugee students killed in the Israeli army crackdown on March of Return . . .  and the deteriorating humanitarian crisis.        [. . . .] This latest death brings to 13 the total number of UNRWA students who have been killed since 30 March . . .   Between 31 March and 30 September, UNRWA’s 22 health centers across the Gaza Strip have provided 4,104 consultations for injuries . . .  more than 770 of which related to children. The majority of these (86 per cent) have been gunshot injuries. . . for casualties of such violence and all involved in their care, the effects are lasting; rehabilitation is often long, costly and uncertain, said the UNRWA statement.   More . . .
. . . .Related:   PCHR:  “Two  Fishermen  Arrested  and  One  of  Them  Wounded”
. . . .Related:  Egypt  opens  Rafah  crossing  after  3  days  of  closure 
. . . .RelatedPalestinians  protest  high  unemployment  in  Gaza
|  WB:  IOF  ARREST  19  PALESTINIANS,  CONTINUE  COLLECTIVE  PUNISHMENT  POLICY
Israeli occupation forces have launched a large-scale campaign of arrests, taking at least 19 Palestinian civilians throughout the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, including raids on dozens of Palestinian homes.     ___The arrests were concentrated in Tulkarm, Nablus and Qalqiliya, where the Israeli occupation forces launched raids and searches and closed roads as a form of collective punishment, in response to the operation in Barkan settlement on Sunday, in which two Israeli settlers were killed.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Settlers  destroy  40  olive  trees  in  village  near  Ramallah
. . . .Related:  Settlers  say  they  plan  to  take  over  Palestinian  land  to  open  a  road  for  themselves
. . . .Related: Israeli  army  prevents  farmers  from  harvesting  their  olive  crops  in  Tulkarm  area

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

|  ISRAELI  PM  SHOULD  KNOW,  ‘IT  TAKES  TWO,  NOT  THREE,  TO  TANGO!’
By Mahmoud el-Yousseph, Retired US Air Force Veteran
They say it takes two to tango, but if one of them is Benjamin Netanyahu, then you need three. . .  the Israeli Prime Minister saw fit few days ago to plead with the UN Secretary General to urge the international community to put pressure on Hamas in order to release the remains of two IOF soldiers killed in Gaza during the 2014 assault . . .  [. . . . ] Israel is currently holding the remains of 261 Palestinians. Those were people who were killed during the fighting, killed during midnight raids or at checkpoints.   More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .

The Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development  presents “THE  HISTORICAL  ROOTS  OF  CHRISTIAN  ZIONISM,  ITS  THEOLOGICAL  BASIS  AND  POLITICAL  AGENDA.”
October 24, 2018 12:00 PM.  Reverend Dr. Stephen Sizer is the founder and director of Peacemaker Trust, a charitable organization dedicated to peacemaking . . .   The Palestine Center, 2425 Virginia Avenue, NW; Washington, DC 20037 USA   Information . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . .

“GOD  FORSAKEN,”  By  SAMAH  SABAWI

  • In the aftermath of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, codenamed Cast Lead in 2009, in which 1400 Palestinians were killed, some IDF soldiers wore t-shirts depicting a pregnant Palestinian woman with her belly in the crosshairs of a rife with the caption, “1 SHOT TWO KILLS.

What is a life worth?
A grain of earth
A drop of oil
A flag on a hill of holy soil
A cross…a star…a crescent moon…
Is it worth ending a life too soon?

What sacred verses can explain
Sniper fire. . .
And white phosphorus rain?
What Holy Scripture gave the command
“Thou shall wipe out they villages
And scorch their land”

And after the massacre
Did they lament?
Did they seek forgiveness?
Did they repent?
Did they try to sanctify their burdened souls
While besieging a people behind their walls
Or did they wear with pride their murderous skills:
A pregnant woman with a caption “1 SHOT 2 KILLS”

No rest for the less sacred, no safety, no light
No benediction no prayer no end in sight
No bread, no medicine no shelter no salvation
No angels can survive this holy Occupation

TELL ME THIS:
What is the life of a Palestinian worth,
In your God forsaken earth?

—From Palestine Chronicle.

“. . . Searching for a home between Haifa and Eternity . . .” (Ramzy Baroud)

354825C
“. . . minors. . . were held at Ofer military camp, near Ramallah, of whom four were detained during night raids from their homes, 20 taken from the streets . . .” (Photo: Ma’an News Agency, Oct. 5, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .

DESPITE  HIGH  HOPES,  MERKEL  CALLS  VILLAGE’S  DEMOLITION  AN  ‘ISRAELI  DECISION’ 
Ever since Israel’s Supreme Court gave its final stamp of approval to demolish the village of Khan al-Ahmar last month, residents of the hamlet . . . have been hoping that international pressure . . . will delay or prevent the demolition. . .   [. . . .] Angela Merkel’s visit over the past two days provided some clarity regarding the possibility of German pressure on Israel on Khan al-Ahmar, and from the perspective of the villagers, things seem gloomy.     ___In a meeting held Thursday . . . [Merkel said] “This is an Israeli decision” . . .  in line with the Israeli government, which insists that foreign countries should not intervene in matters relating to the occupation.  More . . .
|  NETANYAHU  BANS  PUBLICATION  OF  ARCHIVE  MATERIAL  ON  DEIR  YASSIN  MASSACRE
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to sign an order extending the secrecy of the information stored in the security services’ archives from 70 to 90 years, including the Deir Yassin massacre carried out by Zionist gangs in the Nakba.     ___This came at the request of security agencies and other bodies to extend the confidentiality of this information to prevent the publication of part of the information during the current year.      More . . .
. . . Related . . .  The  Sabra  and  Shatila  Massacre:  New  Evidence

2016-635958137777584713-758
From PHOTO GALLERY: Deir Yassin. (Ahram Online, 2010)

|  THREE  PALESTINIANS,  INCLUDING  CHILD,  KILLED  AT  GAZA  BORDERS 
Three Palestinians were killed and dozens of others were injured, on Friday evening, as Israeli forces suppressed protests at the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip.    ___The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that 12-year-old Fares Hafeth al-Sarsawi was shot and killed by Israeli forces in eastern Gaza City.    More . . .
. . . Related . . .   Committee:  Israel  Detained  35  Palestinian  Minors  In  September
. . . Related . . .   Israeli  forces  shoot,  injure  13-year-old  Palestinian  in  Kafr  Qaddum 
. . . Related . . .   Five  Palestinians  injured  during  Ramallah-area  clashes

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

PALESTINIAN  REFUGEES  ARE  THE  ULTIMATE  BATTLEGROUND  FOR  THE  INTERNATIONAL  COMMUNITY
Through U.S. diplomatic sanctions and dramatic cuts of financial aid to Palestine, Palestinians are being punished because the Palestinian Authority (PA) broke off diplomatic relations with the U.S.—in response to the illegal U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and its objections to Trump’s peace prospects for the region, referred to as the “deal of the century.” This retaliatory fury has not spared Palestinian refugees or . . .  (UNRWA), the agency that has served them for seventy years.     ___In fact, cutting U.S. support for the Agency ($125 million USD) is no more than a side effect of the retaliation against the PA, UNRWA, and Palestinian refugees, the intended targets of a campaign aiming to stop calling 5.5 million Palestinians “refugees” and annihilating the entities that support them. The goal is political: helping Israel resolve . . .  one of the most intractable issues in its dealings with the Palestinians: the right to return.     More . . .
. . . Related  US  WANTS  TO  ANNUL  THE  LEGITIMATE  PALESTINIAN  RIGHT  TO  RETURN

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“NAKBA,”  BY  RAMZY  BAROUD

The bones of my ancestors are the foundation
On which the mountains of Galilee stand.

Our ruggedness might not suit your taste
But we inherited the language of trees.

I am the root of a thousand olive trees
A legacy that will grow through my children

I will fight to preserve my essence until my son
Is old enough to inherit his grandmother’s Thoub*

She lost her childhood amidst dying peasants
Before walking the beaten road of exile and hope

Pleading at every checkpoint, she was the face in her photo
Searching for a home between Haifa and Eternity.

So, don’t talk to me about the Pharaoh: My
Father’s blood drenched the skin of Jesus

After the Romans caught him at a checkpoint
Hiding a recipe for revolution, and a love poem

And all the love letters of refugee women
Sent to men suspended on crosses

Overlooking the Martyrs Graveyard
Echoing the battle cries of Jaffa.

From I  REMEMBER  MY  NAME, ed. Vacy Vlanza. London: Novum Publishing, 2016.
*Dress, garment

“. . . In the rubble I rummage for light and new poetry . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

Art-8bisCanaanite teacher from a school at the archaeological site Tell Balata
near Nablus asks for his salary in a letter dated to around 1400 BC
(Photo, This Week In Palestine, October 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .

|  EMBRACING  THE  RIGHT  TO  EDUCATION:  A  STORY  OF  HOPE,  DETERMINATION,  AND  SUCCESS
It all started 25 years ago when Mr. Heikki Kokkala, a senior education specialist from Finland, and the late Mr. Khalil Mahshi, then director general of external relations at the Ministry of Education in Palestine, met at a UNESCO conference on education.   . . .  work had already started on developing the first-ever unified national curriculum which would replace the Jordanian and Egyptian curricula used in the West Bank and Gaza, respectively.    [. . . .] the Finnish government was looking for ways to support the newly established Palestinian Authority and decided to direct its support to the education sector.   ___Thus, Mr. Kokkala and Mr. Mahshi, with their many colleagues, began to design the first cooperation project between Finland and Palestine.   More . . .
|  SPREAD  THE  WORD:  PALESTINE  HAS  ONE  OF  THE  WORLD’S  HIGHEST  LITERACY  RATES
Palestine ranks among countries with the world’s highest literacy rates, with only 3.3 percent of Palestinians aged 15 and over in the West Bank and Gaza Strip unable to read, according to a Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics report released on [September 6, 2018].    ___The report . . .  shows that the illiteracy rate in Palestine has fallen by 10 percent over the past decade. This leaves Palestine with one of the lowest rates of illiteracy in the world . . .     [. . . .] The figures come despite the difficulties faced by thousands of Palestinian students to reach their schools in the West Bank, including having to cross Israeli military checkpoints or the separation wall that disconnects their hometowns from where they attend school.   More . . .

Dar al-Kalima 2017 graduation. Photo by Ben Gray / ELCJHL
Dar al-Kalima 2017 graduation. (Photo by Ben Gray / ELCJHL)

|  ISRAEL  TO  REMOVE  UNRWA  TO  ‘END  LIE  OF  PALESTINIAN  REFUGEE  PROBLEM’
Israeli mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, announced on Thursday that he plans to remove the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees from occupied East Jerusalem, which he accused of “operating illegally and promoting incitement against Israel.”  ___Following the announcement on Thursday, the Jerusalem Municipality confirmed that UN schools, which serve about 1,800 students enrolled, would be closed .   ___[. . . .] He claimed that these schools, clinics and sports centers were “illegal” and “operate without an Israeli license.”  . . . the decision . . . was triggered after the United States administration decided to end all funding to UNRWA.   More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

|  ANCIENT  SCHOOLS  IN  PALESTINE
Early forms of writing emerged gradually from pictorial representations of nature and human activities, [. . .  including] early alphabets (such as the Proto-Canaanite script, Phoenician consonantal alphabet and Greek alphabet that also indicated vowels). The invention of writing necessitated the obvious need to learn it, and human history consequently witnessed the advent of a new profession: teaching. Palestine and Mesopotamia were among the early showplaces of this emerging skill . . .   ___Early sources include . . . a Canaanite teacher from a school at the archeological site Tell Balata near Nablus asks for his salary in a letter dated to around 1400 BC . . .     More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .

|  JERUSALEM:  WHAT  MAKES  FOR  PEACE?  Bright Stars of Bethlehem
Conference in Houston
, Texas, on October 11.    Part of the week-long Room for Hope festival.
|  DAR  AL-KALIMA  UNIVERSITY.  BRIGHT  STARS  OF  BETHLEHEM  GROWS  HOPE  AND  HELPS  BUILD  A  FUTURE  FOR  COLLEGE  STUDENTS  IN  PALESTINE. 
In a country with limited natural resources, Palestine’s human resources are its most valuable capital. Dar Al-Kalima University, through a comprehensive system of human resource development that reflects Palestine’s emerging needs, equips its students with vital skills for the 21st century job market. Bright Stars of Bethlehem envisions that most of the country’s future artists, musicians, actors, journalists, IT professionals, film-makers and the leaders of tomorrow are alumni of the University.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . .

“THE  ROSES  AND  THE  DICTIONARY,”  BY  MAHMOUD  DARWISH

Be that as it may,
I must . . .
The poet must have a new toast
And new anthems.
Traversing a tunnel of incense
And pepper and ancient summer,
I carry the key to legends and ruined monuments of slaves.
I see history an old man
Tossing dice and gathering the stars.

Be that as it may,
I must refuse death
Even though my legends die.
In the rubble I rummage for light and new poetry.
Did you realize before today, my love,
That a letter in the dictionary is dull?
How do they live, all these words?
How do they grow? How do they spread?
We still water them with the tears of memories
And metaphors and sugar.

Be that as it may,
I must reject roses that spring
From a dictionary or a diwan.
Roses grow on the arms of a peasant, on the fists of a laborer,
Roses grow over the wounds of a warrior,
And on the face of a rock.

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.

“. . . No longer am I some firm-rooted tree . . .” (Yousef El Qedra)

IMG_2918 - Copy
Residential street in Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter with homes taken by Israelis. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 5, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .

| PALESTINE  FILES  LAWSUIT  AGAINST  US  AT  THE  INTERNATIONAL  COURT  OF  JUSTICE
The State of Palestine has filed a lawsuit against the United States at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the main judicial body of the United Nations, for violating international law by moving its embassy in Israel to the occupied city of Jerusalem, Foreign Minister Riyad Malki said on Saturday.     ___Malki added in a statement that the case was based on Palestine’s membership in the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries, specifically the Optional Protocol concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes.     More . . .

IMG_2957 - Copy
Commercial street in Jerusalem’s Christian Quarter. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 4, 2015)

| 7  PALESTINIANS,  INCLUDING  2  CHILDREN,  KILLED  IN  GAZA  PROTESTS 
Seven Palestinians, including two children, were shot and killed by Israeli forces during protests across the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip, on Friday afternoon.   ___The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that 7 Palestinians were killed identifying them as 14-year-old boy Muhammad Nayif al-Hum . . . 12-year-old Nasser Azmi Musbeh, and Muhammad Ali Anshashi, 18, both shot and killed in eastern Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip . . .  Spokesperson of the ministry, Ashraf al-Qidra, confirmed that some 506 Palestinians were injured during protests, 90 of whom were injured with live bullets, including 3 critical cases.   ___Thirty-five children were among the injuries, in addition to four paramedics and three journalists.    More . . .
Related . . .   Gaza  is  the  Israeli  arms  industry’s  testing  ground
Related . . .   World  Bank:  Gaza  economy  in  ‘free  fall’
| MINISTERIAL  MEETING  ON  UNRWA  RAISES  REMARKABLE  US$122  MILLION
On 27 September, the Foreign Ministers of Jordan, Sweden, Turkey, Japan and Germany, as well as the High Representative and Vice-President of the European Union, hosted a Ministerial Meeting in New York, with the aim of mobilising financial and political support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).   ___The Ministerial Meeting raised a remarkable US$122 million, with Kuwait, the European Union, Germany, Norway, France, Belgium and Ireland announcing additional funding commitments. This meeting represented a crucial step in the efforts to overcome the Agency’s remaining shortfall of US$186 million and sustain UNRWA operations in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.   More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

| WHAT  WAS  WRONG  WITH  BOTH  UN  SPEECHES?
Samia Khoury
On Thursday,  September 27, 2018, both the Palestinian President Abbas and the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the United Nations  General Assembly.  ___Every time I listen to speeches like those, I keep hoping against hope that something new or fresh might come up to uplift our morale and truly give us reason to look forward to better days.  Of course it was necessary for president Abbas to draw the attention of the assembly that the USA has not been  an honest broker to the peace process, because they turned a blind eye to the violations of Israel to all the agreements signed with Israel.  He  announced that the Palestinians are not willing to continue  committing themselves to agreements that Israel has not kept. . .   ___On the other hand, Mr. Netanyahu’s  main  emphasis,  before responding to some of the points that  Mr. Abbas referred to, was on Iran.   More . . .
| AL-AQSA  INTIFADA:  THE  REVOLUTION  IS  STILL  GOING  ON  18  YEARS  LATER  
These days coincide with the anniversary of the outbreak of Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000, which marked a turning point in the Palestinian cause, changing many equations.    [. . . .] The spark of the intifada broke out 18 years ago, after the Israeli war criminal, the leader of the Likud Party at the time, Ariel Sharon, along with Israeli settlers stormed the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and tried to desecrate its yards and its symbolic place through their provocative actions.   ___The Palestinian people faced this provocation with courage with their bare chests, providing examples of sacrifice and dignity, as they always did to protect Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem and the Palestinian cause as a whole.     More . . .
| ISRAEL’S  RETREAT  FROM  DEMOCRACY  CREATING  WIDENING  DIVISION  WITH  AMERICAN  JEWS
Allan C. Brownfeld
Israel’s steady retreat from democracy, as dramatically manifested by the Knesset passing in July a new nation-state law—and its 51-year occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem—is widening the division between American Jews and the self-proclaimed “Jewish state.”   ___An opinion poll published in Israel in June shows a growing gap between Israelis and American Jews. The American Jewish Committee (AJC) survey found that 77 percent of Israelis approved of President Donald Trump’s handling of U.S.-Israel relations, while only 34 percent of American Jews did. Eighty-five percent of Israelis supported the decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, upending decades of U.S. foreign policy and an international consensus that the city’s status should be decided through peace negotiations. Only 47 percent of American Jews supported the move.    ___The poll also found that 59 percent of American Jews favor the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, compared to only 44 percent of Israelis. The two communities also differ sharply on matters of religion and state, particularly on the ultra-Orthodox monopoly over religious affairs in Israel.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . .

“EXHAUSTION  OVERTOOK  ME,”  BY  YOUSEF  EL  QEDRA

I’ve suffered from fatigue since an early age,
And my body crumpled in the presence of sickness.
Probably, my body also fell apart.
No longer am I some firm-rooted tree,
branches mingling with the clear blue sky.
Maybe I have never been that way.
Every cell in my body was shaken.
You saw so many thorny questions grown into my skin.
You saw that my eyes hurt with tears,
and I couldn’t tell from which cascade those tears fell.

You saw clouds that appeared in the minds of my poems
heading back in disappointment toward the river;
the river reverted to its headwaters of first longing.
The sea is too salty. Meanwhile my thirst surprised me
by coming at the wrong time. My thirst was stubborn,
and I am not stubborn with anyone, except myself.

Suddenly, I wanted the world to turn into a desert
without a sun above it. Without memories of the trees
or the river or the distraught young women.
I want myself to be a dead body
smoking a rotten cigarette, watching the emptiness.
I want myself to be a line inside a neglected book,
a line upon which the dust eats and drinks.
—Trans. Yasmin Snounu and Edward Morin

From BEFORE  THERE  IS  NOWHERE  TO  STAND:  PALESTINE  ISRAEL  POETS  RESPOND  TO  THE  STRUGGLE.  Ed. By Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012.