“. . . this purgatory Of sorrow In the Holy Land. . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

1-DEMOLITION
Palestinian homes demolished in Beit Sahour by Israeli Occupation Forces, January 31, 2006. (Photo: The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem)

❶ Israeli Military Vows Collective Punishment against Bethlehem Village
. . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Collective Punishment [Geneva Conventions]
❷ Netanyahu, Lieberman discuss death penalty for Palestinian prisoners
❸ Nakba without end: Memories of shattered Palestinian communities in Syria
❹ Hundreds of academics call for boycott of genocide conference in Israel
❺ Opinion/Analysis: SOWING  STEADFASTNESS,  HARVESTING  HOPE
❻ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  MILITARY  VOWS  COLLECTIVE  PUNISHMENT  AGAINST  BETHLEHEM  VILLAGE
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
May 23, 2016
The Israeli military last night threatened to consider collective punishments against the Palestinian residents of al-Khader, a village located south of Bethlehem, according to local sources.
___Witnesses told WAFA that Israeli troops distributed sheets warning the entire village about potential collective punishments, IN CASE LOCAL YOUTHS CONTINUE TO ATTACK WITH STONES ISRAELI VEHICLES passing outside the village.      MORE . . .  
. . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) COLLECTIVE  PUNISHMENT  [GENEVA  CONVENTIONS]
Crimes of War
Daoud Kuttab
For 14 years, George Qumsieh [built a home] in the West Bank town of Beit Sahour. . . . [In February 1981] Israeli soldiers arrived at the home [near Bethlehem] to arrest their youngest son, Walid, age 15. The army accused Walid of having thrown stones . . . .
___The following day . . .  Members of an Israeli engineering brigade placed the explosives and blew up the Qumsieh stone house. . . .
___Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, collective punishments are a war crime.
MORE . . .
RELATED (UN REPORT OF QUMSIEH INCIDENT)  

❷ NETANYAHU,  LIEBERMAN  DISCUSS  DEATH  PENALTY  FOR  PALESTINIAN  PRISONERS
Middle East Monitor
May 23, 2016
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the head of Yisrael Beitenu Avigdor Lieberman are nearing a deal to execute Palestinians involved in fighting the occupation, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported yesterday.
___Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that Israelis who carry out deadly attacks against Palestinians would not be subject to this law because the law would only be enforced by military trials, settlers and Israeli nationals are tried in civil courts.
___If this happened, tens of Palestinians could be sentenced to death. . . .     MORE . . .
BACKGROUND . . .   

❸ NAKBA  WITHOUT  END:  MEMORIES  OF  SHATTERED  PALESTINIAN COMMUNITIES  IN  SYRIA
Middle East Eye
Tom Rollins
May 17, 2016
On 15 May 2011, thousands of Palestinian refugees from Syria are marching towards Syria’s long, quiet border with Israel. Even though the protests are not as big as the organisers promised, it is both a symbolic and physical statement [. . . .]
___Palestinian-Syrian displacement, memory and loss is not history, it is happening right now. In recent weeks and months, Yarmouk camp, the beating-heart of the Palestinian-Syrian diaspora, has seen some of its fiercest clashes . . . .      MORE . . .

❹ HUNDREDS  OF  ACADEMICS  CALL  FOR  BOYCOTT  OF  GENOCIDE  CONFERENCE  IN  ISRAEL
Palestine News Network
May 23, 2016
In a letter to the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INoGS), 270 academics from 19 countries have called for the cancellation of the 5th Global Conference on Genocide taking place on 26-29 June at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
___The letter sent to the organizers of the conference on the 3rd of May points at the hypocrisy of having the conference in Israel at a time when Israel’s actions are “increasingly being viewed through lenses of ethnic cleansing and genocide linked to settler colonialism”. The signatories call on scholars and professionals to boycott the conference should it go ahead.      MORE . . .

daoud nassar
Daoud Nassar stands near a lone fig tree, the only tree remaining standing after Israeli authorities bulldozed his family’s grove of some 1,500 fruit trees near the West Bank village of Nahalin, June 3, 2014. (Photo: Activetills.org)

❺ Opinion/Analysis:  SOWING  STEADFASTNESS,  HARVESTING  HOPE
The Electronic Intifada
Claire Thomas
May 19, 2016
The view from Daoud Nassar’s farm southwest of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank is very different from what it was when he was a child.
___Pointing to the five Israeli settlements that surround the farm, he asked, “People come from outside and they can build houses and here I’m not allowed to build one house.”
___Daoud’s family has farmed and lived on their 100 acres of land ever since his grandfather purchased it a hundred years ago this month. The Nassars marked the centennial with a week of celebrations.      MORE . . . 

“PSALMS OF THE PALESTINIANS,” BY SAMIH AL-QASIM

From here
From this purgatory
Of sorrow
In the Holy Land
The orphaned birds beseech
Mankind
From here
From Jenin
From Old Jerusalem
Alleluia.

Once
A Gaza tune of yearning
Played
Once
The sad refrain
Kindled tragedy
In refugee tents
Once
In Jerusalem
The little ones chanted
We shall return
We shall return
Alleluia.

The birds nest on our roof
The sparrow flies
In the horizon
And in exile
Under the hot sun
In the wind
Hearts―eyes
Implored:
God of glory
Return us
Our trial
Has gone on too long!
Alleluia―Alleluia

And then it happened
The metallic eagles swept down
They did not bring the sons of Zion
To Zion
Not the remaining crowds
They did not bring
Pious psalms
To the wailing wall
God of Glory!
What did they bring?
Do not ask me
For in my voice a pagan flame
Burns
And listen O God of Glory
Listen to the outcry of a dispossessed people
We have been tested long enough
We have carried the weight of centuries
Long enough
―Why aren’t you convinced?―
Our days of trial have been too long
So
Return us―Return us
Alleluia―Alleluia―Alleluia.

From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY  OF  THE  SUN:  POETRY  OF  THE  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE.  Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970. Available from Amazon.
Interview with
Samih al-Qasim (August 20, 2014)

“. . . What should I do with my pain . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

1-yarmouk
Men walk past destroyed buildings in Yarmouk refugee camp in April of 2015 (AFP/ Youssef Karwashan, File)

❶ Aid convoys reach besieged Palestinian refugees in Syria
❷ Israeli naval forces launch rockets near central Gaza, ground troops level land
❸ UN delegation visits Gaza Strip to evaluate reconstruction
❹ The ethnic cleansing of the Knesset
. . . . . ❹―(ᴀ) Arab Knesset members punished for helping their constituency
❺ Opinion/Analysis: ‘GOOD LABOR – BAD LIKUD’: DISPELLING THE MYTH OF ‘DEMOCRACY’ WITHIN ISRAEL’S POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENT
❻ Poetry by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
AID  CONVOYS  REACH  BESIEGED  PALESTINIAN  REFUGEES  IN  SYRIA
Feb. 17, 2016
UN aid workers gained access to Palestinian refugees in the Damascus area for the first time in over seven months following approval by the Syrian government to open a limited number of besieged areas across the war-torn country.
___Chris Gunness, spokesperson for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNWRA) told Ma’an that workers were able to deliver aid to besieged and hard-to-reach communities in the Damascus area for the fifth consecutive day on Wednesday. More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  NAVAL  FORCES  LAUNCH  ROCKETS  NEAR  CENTRAL  GAZA,  GROUND  TROOPS  LEVEL  LAND
Feb. 18, 2016
Israeli naval forces shot rockets at the central Gaza coast overnight Thursday, locals said, adding that Israeli ground troops entered southern Gaza and leveled land near the border.
___Israeli naval forces reportedly fired rockets near al-Zahra city in the central Gaza strip. No injuries were reported.
___In southern Gaza, Israeli ground troops reportedly entered about 10 meters into the Gaza Strip near al-Qarara village and leveled land along the border, locals said.   More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
UN  DELEGATION  VISITS  GAZA  STRIP  TO  EVALUATE  RECONSTRUCTION
Feb. 17, 2016
The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process visited the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, applauding the reconstruction effort in the Strip.
___Nikolay Mladenov said his delegation “found tangible progress in rebuilding some of the destroyed houses there” pointing out that the UN continues to support the reconstruction.   More . . .

1-knessett
Disregarding the voters who elected them, Israeli politicians work to decisively deem Palestinian MKs unfit for ‘democracy.’

ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER (AIC)
THE  ETHNIC  CLEANSING  OF  THE  KNESSET
Hani Habib
Feb. 17, 2016
On February 8th, the Knesset Ethics Committee suspended three Joint List Members of Knesset (MK) for several months. The committee suspended the MKs for visiting Palestinian families that were mourning a relative killed by Israeli forces but had yet to receive their bodies for burial from the Israeli authorities.
___The MKs’ visit with the families of killed Palestinians prompted . . . the racist and provocative decision to suspend them – a decision that expresses a high degree of fascism. More . . .
. . . . . ❹―(ᴀ)  ARAB  KNESSET  MEMBERS  PUNISHED  FOR  HELPING  THEIR  CONSTITUENCY    More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
PALESTINE CHRONICLE
‘GOOD  LABOR –  BAD  LIKUD’:  DISPELLING  THE  MYTH  OF  ‘DEMOCRACY’  WITHIN  ISRAEL’S  POLITICAL  ESTABLISHMENT
Ramzy Baroud
Feb. 16, 2016
The Israeli ‘Right’, as demonstrated by a scary coalition of rightwing nationalists, ultranationalists and religious zealots, deserves all the bad press it has garnered since its formation last May.
___But none of this should come as a shock, as the ‘Right’ in Israel has never been anything but a coalition of demagogues that catered to the lowest common denominator in society. As unlikable as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is, he is, in fact, a fair representation of the worst that Israel has to offer, which, over the years, has morphed to represent mainstream thinking.    More. . . .

“THE  UGLIEST  OF  WORDS,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM

What should I do with the narcissus?
The apricot?
The crowns of rugged trees?
What should I do with the finest
of my wildflowers? What?
What should I do with the strongest, fiercest,
and cruelest wild flowers and thorns?
What should I do with the strongest
of English words?
Foreigner?
The fiercest of French traits:
Etrangé?
The cruelest of German blows:
Ausländer?
The ugliest of Hebrew terms:
Oivim.
The most horrible sound in Arabic:
Kuffar.
What should I do with my pain
over my ignorance of Sanskrit
and Esperanza?
My fondness for wildflowers
runs deep.
What should I do
with the fence of fire
and with my being caught―
between the ugliest and the finest?
What should I do?
What?
What should I do?

From Al-Qasim, Samih. Sadder  than  Water:  New  &  Selected  Poems. Nazih Kassis, Trans. (Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2006.)
Available from Amazon
About Samih Al-Qasim

“. . . But I, a human, a refugee, Oh land of my homeland . . .” (Salem Jubran)

A boy holding his belongings in the besieged Yarmouk camp, south of Damascus. Thousands have reportedly fled the camp, after Isis invaded it. (Rame Alsayed/Reuters)
A boy holding his belongings in the besieged Yarmouk camp, south of Damascus. Thousands have reportedly fled the camp, after Isis invaded it. (Rame Alsayed/Reuters)

❶ Opinion/Analysis: Israel tries to reap cheap PR from Syrian refugee tragedy
❷ Heads of Churches in Jerusalem denounce Israeli attacks on mosques
❸ Rafah farmers watch in horror as Egypt floods Gaza tunnels
❹ Israeli police holding 4 Palestinian youths over driver’s death
❺ Opinion/Analysis: Is Bibi using J’lem violence as an excuse to target all Arabs?
❻ Poetry by Salem Jubran

(Please read “Purpose” above. Thank you.)

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

❶ Opinion/Analysis
THE PALESTINIAN INFORMATION CENTER
ISRAEL  TRIES  TO  REAP  CHEAP  PR FROM  SYRIAN  REFUGEE  TRAGEDY
Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine
Sept. 11, 2015
Israel is striving to reap cheap public relations from the heart-rending crisis surrounding Syrian refugees fleeing death and destruction in their country.
____Israeli officials and media have been claiming that the erection by Hungary of a barbed wire fence on part of its borders to prevent refugees from entering that country is a vindication of Israel’s policy of building “the separation wall” in the West Bank.
More . . .

PALESTINE NEWS NETWORK
HEADS  OF  CHURCHES  IN  JERUSALEM  DENOUNCE  ISRAELI  ATTACKS  ON  MOSQUES
Sept. 22, 2015
The Heads of Churches in Jerusalem on Monday have released statement expressing serious concerns regarding recent violent development on Haram al Sharif.

“We condemn all threats of change to historical (Status Quo) situation in the Al-Aqsa Mosque (Haram Asharif) and its courtyard, all buildings, and in the city of Jerusalem. Any threat to its continuity and integrity could easily lead to unpredictable consequences which would be most unwelcome in the present delicate political climate.” statement said.

More . . .

AL-MONITOR (PALESTINE PULSE)
RAFAH  FARMERS  WATCH  IN  HORROR  AS  EGYPT  FLOODS  GAZA  TUNNELS
Mohammed Othman
Sept. 25, 2015
RAFAH, Gaza Strip — The Egyptian army has been pumping large volumes of Mediterranean Sea waters since Sept. 17 into the buffer zone that it began building two years ago, along 14 kilometers of the Palestinian-Egyptian border. The move is the latest attempt to destroy the tunnels dug by Palestinians under the city of Rafah over the years of the Israeli blockade.
____The operation is causing concern for the Rafah border area inhabitants, who say that it will affect their lives there. Farmer Nayef Abu Shallouf, who owns three acres of land less than 300 meters from the Egyptian border, said all the salt water will leave his land briny and destroy his crops. He told Al-Monitor, “In addition to damaging the soil, sinkholes will appear wherever tunnels were dug, with collapses occurring sooner or later.”
More . . .

MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  POLICE  HOLDING  4  PALESTINIAN  YOUTHS  OVER  DRIVER’S  DEATH
Sept. 26, 2015
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli police said Saturday that they were holding four Palestinians aged 16-19 who they accuse of causing an Israeli driver’s death by throwing stones at his car earlier this month.
____Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said the four Palestinians, from the East Jerusalem village of Sur Baher, were detained on suspicion of “carrying out the attack over the Jewish new year.”
____Rosenfeld said: “They admitted carrying out the attack. They planned it ahead of time.” [. . . . .]
____Israeli police have said they believe the Israeli driver, 64-year-old Alexander Levlovich, lost control of his car after a stone was thrown at it on Sept. 13, during the Jewish new year holiday.
____They have so far released no evidence, and shortly after the accident took place the Jerusalem’s Magistrate Court issued a gag order on details of the incident.
More . . .

❺ Opinion/Analysis
+972 MAGAZINE
IS  BIBI  USING  J’LEM  VIOLENCE  AS  AN  EXCUSE  TO  TARGET  ALL  ARABS?
John Brown and Michal Rotem
Sept. 27, 2015
Netanyahu is trying to expand the open-fire regulations so that they target Arabs inside Israel. The outcome? Only more bloodshed. . . .
____Government representatives compete with one another over who will offer up the firmest way to deal with these youth in order to “do away with this phenomenon.” Of course none of them offers dealing with neglected East Jerusalem, the discrimination, the home demolitions. . . or the fact that there is no framework to take care of children and teenagers after school is over. It is strange that not a single politician has offered to shoot settlers when they throw stones following the demolition of their illegal structures in the West Bank. The opposite is true: they are granted hundreds of new housing units.
More . . .

“A  REFUGEE,”  BY  SALEM  JUBRAN
The sun crosses the frontier
the soldiers bullets it does not fear
and the nightingale sings
at midday in Tulkarm
and east supper in peace
with Jewish birds in the kibbutz
. . . a stray donkey feeds on the line
without a bullet in the spine
But I; a human, refugee
Oh land of my Homeland
my eyes and yours
are ever separate by a wall.

From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY  OF  THE  SUN:  POETRY  OF  THE  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE. Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970.
Available from Amazon. 
About Salem Jubran

A Palestinian is carried after being wounded in clashes with Border Police officers in the Old City of Jerusalem, September 13, 2015. (photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org)
A Palestinian is carried after being wounded in clashes with Border Police officers in the Old City of Jerusalem, September 13, 2015. (photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org)

“. . . a civilization that lives On destruction. . .” (Salem Jubran)

(Please read “Purpose” above. Thank you.)

Palestinians flee clashes in Ein al-Hilweh refugee camp on 22 August. Photo: Ali Hashisho, Reuters
Palestinians flee clashes in Ein al-Hilweh refugee camp on 22 August. Photo: Ali Hashisho, Reuters

ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
DOUBLE  DISPLACEMENT:  PALESTINIANS  FLEE  VIOLENCE  IN  SYRIA,  THEN  LEBANON
Patrick Strickland
Sept. 3, 2015
Riad Najem and his family have endured a double displacement in recent years.
____Having fled Yarmouk, a besieged camp for Palestinian refugees in Syria, during 2013, they took shelter in Lebanon’s Ein al-Hilweh camp. Last week, they were uprooted because of fighting between armed groups within that camp.
____In the Musalli Mosque — just outside the camp — Najem, his wife and his four daughters have been sleeping on the floor alongside hundreds of others who fled the violence.
More. . .

INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER (IMEMC)
ARMY  KIDNAPS  FOUR  PALESTINIANS,  ASSAULTS  THREE  WORKERS
Sept. 6, 2015
Israeli soldiers kidnapped, earlier on Sunday, a young Palestinian man in the West Bank district of Bethlehem, one near Jerusalem, and two others Hebron, and attacked three workers from Hebron, causing various injuries that required hospitalization.
____Media sources in Bethlehem said several Israeli military vehicles invaded the ‘Aida refugee camp, north of the city, searched a number of homes, and kidnapped a young man identified as Mahmoud Nasser al-Badawna, 19 years of age.
____Soldiers also invaded Nahhalin village, west of Bethlehem, and searched a home belonging to Abdul-Hadi Mohammad Shakarna.
____In addition, soldiers invaded Beit Ummar and Yatta towns, south of Hebron, kidnapped two Palestinians.
More. . .

❸ THE PALESTINIAN INFORMATION CENTER
VILLAGERS:  JEWISH  SETTLERS  KEEP  ANNEXING  MORE  LANDS  IN  SALFIT
Sept. 6, 2015
SALFIT, (PIC)– Palestinian citizens from four villages to the west of Salfit have complained that Jewish settlers persist in annexing their agricultural lands and bulldozing them without stop.
____Eyewitnesses said that heavy construction machinery were seen preparing a vast tract of land west of Salfit for the establishment of a service infrastructure for the illegal settlement of Leshem, including water, sewerage, electricity and telephone systems.
More. . .

Israeli police accompanied by a helicopter and drone snapping photos raided the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya Sunday morning. Photo: Mohammad Abu Humus
Israeli police accompanied by a helicopter and drone snapping photos raided the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya Sunday morning.
Photo: Mohammad Abu Humus

ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER (AIC)
SEE!  POLICE  RAID  EAST  JERUSALEM
30 Israeli police and border police, accompanied by a helicopter and drone snapping photos, raided the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Issawiya Sunday morning.
____Mohammad Abu Humus, member of the Issawiya Follow-Up Committee, told the AIC that “we don’t know why they invaded. The heavily armed police are conducted a patrol through Issawiya, we don’t yet know what they want.”
____Just six days ago the Israeli police opened an entrance to Issawiya they had blocked for 18 days straight.
More. . . 

❺ Opinion/Analysis
INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER (IMEMC)
PEACEFUL  ACTIVISM  IN  PALESTINE:  THEY  TRIED  TO  KILL  ME
Iyad Burnet
Sept. 6, 2015
Friday 28th August afternoon we went to our weekly demonstration, against the theft of our land and apartheid wall, in Bil’in. We have been doing this non-violent demonstration for 10 years.
____As usual the soldiers were waiting for us in front of our village . . .
____To begin they fired a smaller amount of gas towards the peaceful demonstration, but as the march continued towards site of the old segregation wall the soldiers ambushed us and held me at gunpoint, threatening to shoot.
____The soldiers tied my hands far too tight behind my back, the plastic ties cutting into my skin. Still with their guns aimed at me, I was brutally beaten by five or six soldiers with sticks and they bound my eyes with blindfold material soaked with pepper spray.
____I did not resist, any resistance against these type of soldiers would just lead to more of a beating or worse.
More. . .

“ON  AMERICAN  INDIANS,”  BY  SALEM  JUBRAN
Flowers on the graves, America,
And dancing and songs on the remains―
There is nothing left but films
Films that make you laugh and cry.
My dead brothers, it is funny and tearful.
The farms of the colonists stretch across the prairie
Large, green, and fertile.
The noisy factories of the colonists’ heirs destroy the earth
And pollute the sky―
What shall I say, brothers?
Alas for your history!
And death for a civilization that lives
On destruction―and blood.

From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY  OF  THE  SUN:  POETRY  OF  THE  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE.  Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970.
Available from Amazon.
About Salem Jubran

Iyad Burnat’s chilling account of the torture and beatings suffered at the hands of Israeli soldiers after being detained at the weekly protests in Bil’in.
Iyad Burnat’s chilling account of the torture and beatings suffered at the hands of Israeli soldiers after being detained at the weekly protests in Bil’in.

“. . . We are a country of words. Speak speak. . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

Yarmouk Refugees Waiting for Humanitarian Aid / UNRWA
Yarmouk Refugees Waiting for Humanitarian Aid / UNRWA

From ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER (AIC)
PALESTINIAN REFUGEES IN SYRIA
Emma Flesche
July 9, 2015
After the Nakba of 1948, approximately 90,000 Palestinians became refugees in Syria. The United Nations . . . estimates this number [has become] close to 560,000. Most of these Palestinians lived in one of the 15 refugee camps in Syria, the largest of which was al-Yarmouk. . .
____With the outbreak of the current war in Syria, attacks on Palestinian refugee camps . . . . created a wave of secondary mass displacement of Palestinian refugees within Syria. . . . attack on the Yarmouk camp led to a mass displacement of refugees that reduced the size of the camp from 160,000 to about 30,000.
____UNRWA estimates that more than 70 percent of the Palestinian refugees in Syria are in need of emergency humanitarian assistance, and that more than 50 percent have been internally displaced as a result of the conflict.
(More. . .)

From VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS
UN: 4 MILLION REFUGEES HAVE FLED SYRIA
Lisa Schlein
July 9, 2015
GENEVA— The U.N. refugee agency said the number of refugees fleeing conflict in Syria has topped 4 million, making Syria the world’s biggest refugee crisis in a generation.
____With no solution to the conflict in sight, the UNHCR said it expects the number of refugees to exceed 4.25 million by the end of the year.
____The U.N. refugee agency said this milestone comes barely 10 months after the 3 million refugee mark was reached.
(More. . .)

❸ Special Report
FROM KINDERUSA
THE INHUMANITY OF YARMOUK
Dalell Mohmed
April 16, 2015
Yarmouk is the largest refugee camp in Syria:
– As of April 2015, approximately 18,000 Palestinians remain trapped in Yarmouk, including 3,500 children
– People are living on just 400 calories a day–sometimes less with infants dying of malnourishment, mothers dying at child birth, and residents resorting to eating leaves and animal feed
– Residents have not had electricity since 2013 and with this, no running water.
KinderUSA is preparing emergency aid for Palestinian families from Yarmouk, but we need your support.
(More. . .)

caption: A photo from the Israel, Syrian border along the Golan Heights showing IDF soldiers conversing with Jabhat al Nusra fighters. By MintPress News Desk, May 4, 2015.
A photo from the Israel, Syrian border along the Golan Heights showing IDF soldiers conversing with Jabhat al Nusra fighters. By MintPress News Desk, May 4, 2015.

From THE MIDDLE EAST MONITOR (MEM)
SYRIANS IN OCCUPIED GOLAN FURIOUS ABOUT ISRAEL’S ALLIANCE WITH AL-QAEDA
Asa Winstanley
June 30, 2015
Israel’s most unlikely alliance is that it currently engages in with Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.
____Despite a long history of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish rhetoric, the main victims of al-Qaeda’s horrible sectarian attacks have been Muslims in the Arab world, along with western civilian and military targets. The movement has rarely targeted Israel. . . .
____But now, on the smaller sector of the Golan which is under Syrian control, the civil war rages. And. . . rebels forces in that area are dominated by al-Qaeda. Yet there has been cooperation between the Israeli military and the rebels. . . .
(More. . .)

❺ Background essay
From AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE
PALESTINIAN REFUGEES AND THE RIGHT OF RETURN
Updated 2015
Approximately 750,000 Palestinians were displaced and became refugees as a result of the 1948 war which led to the founding of Israel. None of these displaced persons were ever allowed to return to the homes or communities from which they were displaced and the Palestinian refugee population has continued to grow in the time that has passed since 1948. Today there are more than 7 million Palestinian refugees scattered around the world. The reality of Palestinian forced displacement is at the core of the Palestinian experience and the Palestinian refugee issue is at the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This paper provides background information on the history of the Palestinian refugee issue and the politics of the right of return.
(More. . .)

“WE TRAVEL LIKE OTHER PEOPLE,” BY MAHMOUD DARWISH

We travel like other people, but we return to nowhere. As if traveling
Is the way of the clouds. We have buried our loved ones in the
. . darkness of the clouds, between the roots of the trees.
And we said to our wives; go on giving birth to people like us
. . for hundreds of years so we can complete this journey
To the hour of a country, to a meter of the impossible.
We travel in the carriages of the psalms, sleep in the tents of the
. . prophets and come out of the speech of the gypsies.
We measure space with a hoopoe’s beak or sing to while away the
. . distance and cleanse the light of the moon.
Your path is long so dream of seven women to bear this long path
On your shoulders. Shake for them palm trees so as to know their
. . names and who’ll be the mother of the boy of Galilee.
We have a country of words. Speak speak so we may know the end of
. . this travel.

From: Adonis; Mahmud Darwish; and Samih al-Qasim. VICTIMS OF A MAP: A BILINGUAL ANTHOLOGY OF ARABIC POETRY. Trans. Abdullah al-Udhari. London: Saqi Books, 2008. Available from Amazon.
Biographical sketch of Mahmoud Darwish.

A Palestinian relative salvages what he can from his family's belongings amid the rubble of the al-Akhras family home after it was hit by Israeli strike in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Two people were wounded in the airstrike on the house according Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra. (AP Photo/Eyad Baba)
A Palestinian relative salvages what he can from his family’s belongings amid the rubble of the al-Akhras family home after it was hit by Israeli strike in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Two people were wounded in the airstrike on the house according Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra. (AP Photo/Eyad Baba)

“. . . Whenever a child goes silent in Al Yarmouk Camp. . .” (Maya Abu Al-Hayyat)

Maya Abu Al-Hayyat
Maya Abu Al-Hayyat

From MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
PLO: PALESTINIAN REFUGEES IN SYRIA FACE IMMINENT THREAT FROM FIGHTING
June 25, 2015
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Some 150,000 Palestinian refugees in four camps on the outskirts of Damascus face severe threats due to ongoing fighting in the Syrian conflict, a PLO official said Thursday. . . .
____The majority of Palestinians in those camps are originally from Yarmouk refugee camp, which has been on the front-line of the Syrian conflict and severely affected by fighting.
(More. . .)

From ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
US CONGRESS MEMBERS DEMAND END TO ISRAEL’S “CRUEL” ABUSES OF PALESTINIAN CHILDREN
Ali Abunimah
June 24, 2015
In rare defiance of the stifling pro-Israel consensus in the US capital, members of Congress are calling on the Obama administration to push Israel to end its systematic abuses of Palestinian children.
____Congresswoman Betty McCollum released a letter on Tuesday co-signed by 18 other members of the House of Representatives urging Secretary of State John Kerry to “prioritize the human rights of Palestinian children living in the Occupied West Bank in the bilateral relationship with the Government of Israel.”
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From KINDERUSA
THE INHUMANITY OF YARMOUK
Dalell Mohmed
April 15, 2015
“Yarmouk is a place which has descended even further into unimaginable levels of inhumanity.”– United Nations Relief Works Agency spokesperson Chris Gunness
____Formed in 1957 for Palestinians who fled across the border after the creation of Israel in 1948, Yarmouk quickly became home to the largest Palestinian refugee community in Syria. Located 8 kilometers from the center of Damascus, it is 2.1 square kilometers in size.
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Palestinian residents of Yarmouk waiting for food
Palestinian residents of Yarmouk waiting for food

From INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER (IMEMC)
UNRWA LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO FUND GAZA CHILDREN EDUCATION
June 25, 2015
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) launched a global Ramadan campaign to raise funds to support the education of thousands of Palestinian refugee children in UNRWA schools in the besieged Gaza Strip.
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From MONDOWEISS
WHAT I LEARNED CROSSING THE QALANDIA CHECKPOINT
Léa Georgeson Caparros
June 23, 2015
The turnstile jams.
____It rattles uselessly as I try to move forward again. I start getting nervous. I manage to manoeuvre out of the gate and back into the holding cage. My companions are still being held at the previous turnstile from which I’m separated by a metal detector. I dare not go back for fear of breaking some unspoken rule.
____There is no indication anywhere of what to do other than your lack of alternatives. You are simply herded through cages and turnstiles like cattle. . . .
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“CHILDREN,” BY MAYA ABU AL-HAYYAT
Whenever I see an image of a child’s hands
sticking out of the rubble of a collapsed building
I check the hands of my three children
I count the fingers of their hands, the toes on their feet,
I check the numbers of teeth in their mouths, every
last hair in each finely-marked wee eyebrow.

Whenever a child goes silent in Al Yarmouk Camp
I turn up the volume on the TV, the songs on the radio,
I pinch my three children
to make them cry and squirm with life.

Whenever my sore heart gets hungry at Qalandia checkpoint
I comfort-eat, I
emotionally over-eat, craving excessive salt
as if I could then somehow say: enough, block out
the salt spark of the tears everyone around me is crying.
―Translated by Liz Lochhead

Maya Abu Al-Hayyat is a prize-winning author of novels, poetry, and short stories. Born in Lebanon, she has a degree in Civil Engineering from Al-Najah University in Nablus, the largest Palestinian university, and lives in Ramallah.
From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available From Amazon.com.
Maya Abu Al-Hayyat reading one of her poems
About Qalandia checkpoint

Children at play in Gaza
Children at play in Gaza