“. . . I am an Arab/You have stolen the orchards/of my ancestors . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

Shopping in the Arab Quarter, Jerusalem. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 9, 2015)

❶ Knesset’s new bill ‘portrays racism as entirely normal’
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) The destructive potential of Israel’s nation-state bill
❷ Israel debating bill banning rights groups from defending Palestinians
❸ Background Articles

  • Israel’s Second-Class Citizens
  • Why the ‘hijacking’ of Israeli democracy is a myth

❹ ARIJ Daily Report
❺ POETRY by Mahmoud Darwish
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Al Jazeera
Jonathan Cook
May 11, 2017
New legislation to cement the definition of Israel as a state belonging exclusively to Jews around the world is a “declaration of war” on Palestinian citizens of Israel, the minority’s leaders warned this week.
___The bill, which defines Israel as the “national home of the Jewish people”, passed its first vote in the Israeli parliament on Wednesday, after it received unanimous backing from a government committee on Sunday.
___Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to get the measure on to the statute books within 60 days.       MORE . . .
+972 Magazine  
By Marzuq Al-Halabi
May 9, 2017       The “nation-state bill,” which was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday, is no different from the day-to-day political discourse taking place in Israel these over the last years. By revoking Arabic as an official language of the state, and maintaining that “the right to realize self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people,” the bill enshrines the ideas, desires, ideology, and actions of Israel’s political leaders since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.       ___The proposed bill, in the “refined” version put forth by the prime minister, is in the spirit of the most extreme right-wing bills that have been proposed before the committee or in the hallways of the Knesset.         MORE. . . .
Middle East Monitor – MEMO       
May 13, 2017
The Israeli government is to discuss a draft law banning Israeli rights groups from defending Palestinians by petitioning the High Court, Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed yesterday.
___The bill would prevent Israeli human rights groups from “petitioning the High Court of Justice on behalf of Palestinians.”
___According to Haaretz, the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation is set to discuss this bill during the cabinet’s weekly meeting on Sunday.
___Haaretz also added: “The bill is aimed primarily at [Israeli] left-wing organisations such as Yesh Din, Peace Now and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which routinely petition the court on behalf of Palestinians.”
___In addition, it said: “The bill would bar Knesset members from petitioning the court to challenge cabinet decisions and laws passed by the Knesset.”      MORE . . .

    Foreign Affairs, vol. 95, no. 4, Jul/Aug2016, pp. 37-42.
    [. . . .] But in many ways, the future of the Arabs in Israel hinges on developments over which they have little control. The first is how the Netanyahu government and its successors manage Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank: whereas open violence between Israel and the Palestinians tends to exacerbate anti-Arab sentiment among Israel’s Jewish majority, a solution to the conflict could set the stage for reconciliation among Arabs and Jews in Israel. The second, of course, is how the Israeli government treats its own Arab citizens. Regardless of the state’s choices, however, Arabs in Israel can still shape their own fate—but that will require settling on a unified political program.    MORE . . .
    +972 Magazine      
    Edo Konrad
    November 8, 2015
    Labor MK Stav Shaffir, darling of the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” crowd, recently implored progressive American Jews to do what liberal Zionists have been attempting for the better half of the past decade: reclaim the “real” Zionism from the extreme right wing’s ideological bastardizations.
    ___Speaking to a conference of the Union for Reform Judaism in Florida last week, Shaffir tasked liberal American Jewry with explaining the “complexity” of Israel’s political map, namely that Benjamin Netanyahu and his proxies do not represent the views of all Israelis. “We have to explain this complexity [to Americans], and I believe it will be an ideological weapon for Israel’s defenders here,” Shaffir posited.               MORE . . .
Arab shops near Herod’s Gate, Jerusalem, with IDF soldiers. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 5, 2015)

12 May 2017
Throughout the years of occupation of the Palestinian territory, Israel has engaged in excessive and disproportionate violations    MORE . . .

Write down!
I am an Arab
And my identity card number is fifty thousand
I have eight children
And the ninth will come after a summer
Will you be angry?

Write down!
I am an Arab
Employed with fellow workers at a quarry
I have eight children
I get them bread
Garments and books
from the rocks―
I do not supplicate charity at your doors
Nor do I belittle myself at the footsteps of your chamber
So will you be angry?

Write down!
I am an Arab
I have a name―without a title
Patient in a country
Where people are enraged
My roots―
Were entrenched before the birth of time
And before the opening of the eras
Before the pines, and the olive trees
And before the grass
My father―
descends from the family of the plow
Not from a privileged class
And my grandfather―
was a farmer
Neither well-bred, nor well-born!
Teaches me the pride of the sun
Before teaching me how to read
And my house―
is like a watchman’s hut
Made of branches and cane
This is my status
Does it satisfy you?
I have a name without a title!

Write down!
I am an Arab
The color of hair―is black
The color of eyes―is brown
And my distinctive features:
The head-dress is hatta wi’gal
And the hand is solid like a rock
My favorite meal
Is olive oil and zatar
And my address:
A village―isolated and deserted
Where the streets have no names
And the men―work in the fields an quarries
They like socialism
Will you be angry?

Write down!
I am an Arab
You have stolen the orchards
of my ancestors
and the land
which I cultivated
Along with my children
And you left nothing for us
Except for these rocks―
So will the State take them
As it has been said?!

Write down on the top of the first page:
I do not hate people
Nor do I encroach
But if I become hungry
The usurper’s flesh will be my food
Beware―beware―of my hunger
and my anger!

Mahmoud Darwish
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.

“. . . The emigrant comes home from death . . .” (Ibrahim Nasrallah)

Palestinians participate in the March of Return, Galilee, May 2, 2017. (Maria Zreik/Activestills)

❶ Trump Deletes Arafat From Accord Signing
❷ ‘Israel has never recognized its Palestinian citizens’
❸ Israeli forces fire tear gas, bullets at Palestinian hospital in Ramallah
❹ Opinion/Analysis:  Has the Mentality of the Colonial Powers Been Passed On?
❺ POETRY by Ibrahim Nasrallah

` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Palestine Chronicle
By James. M. Wall
May 4 2017
[. . . .] On Wednesday, President Trump met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House.  The usual “we want peace” talking points were exchanged. The word “justice” was not included.
[. . . .] President Trump began his cordial welcoming words to President Abbas with one of those blatant distortions of history that good staff work might have avoided. Unless, that is, the distortion was deliberate.
___This is the way President Trump welcomed President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House: “Almost 24 years ago, it was on these grounds that President Abbas stood with a courageous peacemaker, then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Here at the White House, President Abbas signed a Declaration of Principles — very important — which laid the foundation for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”   There is a problem with this recall of history. It writes former Palestinian President Yasar Arafat out of a major moment of history.
[. . . .]  ___Abbas . . . most certainly did not sign with “a courageous peacemaker, then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin”.  And, he did not stand with Yitzhak Rabin. That would be Yasar Arafat, as the historic picture (below), clearly demonstrates.
MORE . . .

1993: Rabin and Arafat shake hands on peace deal (not Abbas, as Trump would have it)

+972 Blog
By Anat Matar
May 3, 2017
(Thousands of Palestinians participated in the March of Return on Tuesday, gathering at the site of the destroyed village of Al-Kabri in the Galilee . . . speech given by Anat Matar, a member of the Israeli Committee for Palestinian Prisoners)  
[. . . .] ___We’re said to be in an age in which the truth is unimportant. But the truth is unimportant only for those who have something to hide, who refuse to give up their power should the truth come to light.
___But the truth is also that the Nakba continues. We see it this year more than ever in the sweep of home demolitions. . . . Exactly a month ago the “Kaminitz Law” passed in the Knesset, which allows for home demolitions to be expedited and for Palestinians — whose towns have no master plans — to be incriminated. Instead of recognizing land theft and attempting to rectify it, Israel continues its policy of robbery and oppression.
___We . . .  are sticking with the truth. It’s the main goal of the march of the displaced. It’s the goal of events marking the Nakba. The stories of the destroyed villages, the depopulated towns . . .  the killed, wounded and displaced, those whose lands were stolen and who can’t return — these are the stories we must tell, and which we must fight to correct.     MORE . . .

From: Freeman, Chas W. “Greater Israel and the Prospects for Peace in the Middle East.”   [. . . .] In 2002, all twenty-two Arab states unequivocally offered Israel peace and normal political and economic relations if it would strike a deal with Palestinians.  The Arabs reaffirmed this offer in 2007 and again earlier this year. . . .  The question has been what, if anything, Israel might be prepared to do to cash in on this offer. . . .  Israel’s answer to that question till now has been bupkis.  Nothing.
[. . . .] Israel now rules a realm that is half-Jewish and half-Palestinian Arab.  Israel’s Jews enjoy full rights as the citizens of a democracy.  Some Arabs – one-eighth of all the people governed by the Israeli state – are officially Israeli citizens.  They are nominally represented in the Knesset but face intensifying racial discrimination and segregation by an assertively all-Jewish government and its electorate.  The remaining three-eighths of the people governed by Israel are stateless Arab Muslims or Christians who live under the tyranny of martial law in the West Bank and Jerusalem or relentless collective punishment in the Gaza ghetto.
[. . . .] With partition now impossible, the only path to peace for Greater Israel lies in recognition of the reality that there is and will be only one state in Palestine. . . . The Palestinian issue is ripening into a struggle for civil rights rather than self-determination. 
___It has become a cliché to say that Israel must choose between its democracy and its Jewishness.  But the disenfranchisement of Greater Israel’s Arabs vitiates its claim to be a democracy.  And its enforcement of Jewish supremacy throughout the territories it rules is driving the progressive abandonment of the rule of law and other liberal norms once central to Zionism.  Most Israelis already appear to prefer a Jewish to a democratic identity.    MORE . . . . 

Ma’an News Agency
May 4, 2017
RAMALLAH – Israeli forces fired bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas at a Palestinian hospital in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah at dawn on Thursday, sparking condemnation from the Palestinian Authority (PA).
___Eyewitnesses told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas inside the Palestinian Medical Complex grounds for more than an hour early on Thursday morning, causing many patients, including children, to suffer from tear gas inhalation.    ___An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that during unspecified “overnight operational activities” in the nearby Qaddura refugee camp, Palestinians located inside the hospital grounds threw stones at Israeli soldiers.    MORE . . .

International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
By Lars Kaspersen, PNN
April 12, 2017     Is everybody really born equal or is that just an empty platitude?   ___During the era of the colonial powers, the lands that originally belonged to the natives were taken away and the natives became subjugated in their own land. Their lives were presumably worth less than the lives of the colonial powers. If they and their way of life deviate from us and our way, then they must be worth less than us, the colonial mentality suggests. Does this chain of reasoning still make the foundation stones of the prevalent mentality of the people living in the Western world?   ___What happens in the Third World doesn’t concern the former colonial powers anymore, so why should we care? Our culture and appearance are different from theirs so why shouldn’t we leave them to their own devices? The answer should be simple, “Because we are human beings.”    MORE . . .


Every day the emigrant comes home from death
to the shadows of his walls,
to his reading lessons,
he crawls to the shadows to rest under the quiet cinchona.
The emigrant comes home from death
to draw out breath from the chain of stone around his house,
from his milk-white feet,
from the rattling air.
He knows the trees,
the angles of the old houses,
the sound of his mother’s footsteps in the backyard,
the stories his great grandmother tells to put the mischievous young ones to sleep.
She plucks night stars as she wishes, after they have entered sleep.
He passes by like a stranger
although he doesn’t resemble a stranger in any way.
The people he sees standing now at his door
are the strangers.

  • Ibrahim Nasrallah. Rain Inside: Selected Poems by Ibrahim Nasrallah. Trans. By Omnia Amin and Rick London. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 2009.