Saturday, December 15, 2012

My letter to my Rep.Todd Platts RE closing the PLO mission in DC (the Ros-Lehtinen/Berman/Royce/Engel letter)

Stamps of Palestine - Christmas - Easter
Dear Rep. Todd Platts

Palestine's PLO mission in DC needs our support now more than ever as extremists, hate mongers, bigots, agent provocateurs and Islamists seek to destroy any chance of a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land. 

Ending the Israel-Palestine conflict with a fully secular two state solution based on full respect for international law and basic human rights is the only way to actually end the Israel-Palestine conflict... for everyone's sake.

Diplomacy matters and America's [Senate &] Congress should refuse to be coerced into crippling Palestine's diplomatic efforts to build a real Palestinian state.

writers can serve the cause of peace by provoking people's yearning for it. Aren't new realities created by first imagining them, making what is possible in art thinkable in life?"

Palestine and peace really are worth seriously thinking about, prioritizing alongside Israel, and gently dreaming into place by continuing to give Palestinians a chance to become fully accountable for their own nation state and their own future and diplomatic efforts.

Anne Selden Annab


Tell Your Member of Congress Not to Sign Anti-Peace Letter!

CMEP Bulletin
December 14, 2012

Hamas Celebrates, Causes Concern
Hamas’ Meshal Visits Gaza for First Time
Take Action!
Extra Reading
Advent & Christmas 2012 Daily Reflections

Hamas’ Meshal Visits Gaza for First Time
On Friday, December 7, the long-exiled leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshal, entered Gaza for the first time to celebrate the 25years since Hamas’ founding. Tens of thousands of Gazans showed up to hear him deliver his first speech on Palestinian soil. While the atmosphere in Gaza was jubilant, the occasion made many nervous about the burgeoning power Hamas is acquiring and what this means for peace. 
While the official anniversary for Hamas was December 14, officials moved the festivities forward a week to also celebrate Hamas’ “victory” against Israel during the latest round of fighting in November. At least 175 Gazans died during the eight day Israeli offensive aimed at stopping rocket fire eminating from the coastal enclave. Theair strikes resulted in over $300 million in property damage. Meshal’s speech was defiant, insisting, “Palestine is ours from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on any inch of the land.”  
The New York Times described the content of his speech as reflecting “longstanding Hamas principles rather than new, specific threats toward Israel. But they will only reinforce Israel’s belief that Hamas is its enemy and intends to continue to use military force to reach its goals.” Indeed, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s weekly cabinet meeting he said, “Yesterday we were re-exposed to our enemies' true face. They have no intention of compromising with us; they want to destroy the state."
The speech from Meshal did not strike the same tone that he had been hinting towards in recent months and seems like a step backward for a leader who many thought had been slowly inching closer to moderation. In recent statements, the leader raised the possibility of a Palestinian state only in the West Bank and Gaza. He also suggested Hamas may move away from armed resistance and towards non-violent popular resistance. This moderation was absent from his speeches in Gaza.
To understand the militant content in the speech, it is important to understand the current political dynamics in Hamas and Gaza. Much of Hamas’ political structure lives in exile outside of Gaza. The politburo’s main offices were in Damascus until February 2012 when Hamas leaders shut down their offices and announced support for the Syrian opposition. Meshal now lives primarily in Doha. The move caused a shift away from Iran, Hamas’ longtime benefactor, and caused Hamas leaders to turn to other Arab countries, especially in the Gulf, for financial support.
The Hamas members governing on the ground in Gaza operate under the exiled leadership but in recent years tension has emerged between these two groups over reconciliation with Fatah and the importance of armed resistance. Meshal is a proponent of reconciliation and has negotiated agreements with Fatah that have yet to be implemented. While Hamas militants in Gaza fired rockets into Israel in November, Meshal negotiated the truce with Israel via Egypt. American Task Force for Palestine’s Hussein Ibish writes, “The regional calculation remains that the externally-based Politburo will be ultimately restrained by its new regional Arab patrons while local Gaza leaders, at least for now, have a greater interest in conflict.
With this in mind, why did Meshal choose to be so inflammatory in his speech? Ibish believes that Meshal is fighting for his political life as the internal leadership in Gaza moves away from him. Ibish says the speech was so confrontational because “Meshal’s main point was that he’s not going to allow himself to be outbid by an extremist turn by local leaders on the ground: he can be every bit as aggressive and recalcitrant as them and there is no need to look for an alternative leadership.”
The celebration was not limited to Gaza. Hamas members held their first West Bank demonstration since 2007 on December 13. 5,000 supporters marched through Nablus. Over the past five years, the Palestinian Authority security forces have cracked down on Hamas after the group violently took over Gaza but this time it did not interfere. The Associated Press theorized that it could be another sign that relations are thawing between the PA and Hamas. Last month Hamas announced support for the UN bid which was also seen by some as a positive signal for unity. However, after Meshal’s comments Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas disagreed and said, “I don’t agree with Khaled Mashal’s statement on the non-recognition of Israel because we, in fact, recognized it in 1993.” Abbas is referring to the letters of recognition exchanged between Yassir Arafat and Yitzak Rabin that paved the way for the Oslo Accords.
For his part, Meshal did stress the need for unity, saying, “From Gaza I have stressed the need for reconciliation, and I do so again. Gaza and the West Bank are two dear parts of the greater Palestinian homeland, and they need each other.”
Many observers are worried about the growing influence Hamas is having amongst Palestinians in the territories and the Arab world. With negotiations at a standstill, Abbas has little to show for his commitment to non-violence. A growing number of Palestinians on the streets are expressing impatience with the lack of results and are turning to Hamas. The PA’s current budget woes are not helping its case either. At a meeting with Israeli peace activists days before the United States election, Abbas warned the group about the consequences of not seeing any improvements on the ground. According to one person present he (paraphrasing) said, “You want to be occupiers? So you occupy? I’m not going to be your shield. I’m not going to do for you the dirty work of keeping the security of Israel from the West Bank and getting nothing in return. Enough is enough. You want to continue and build the Hamas and (its leader, Ismail Haniyeh), do that with pleasure.’’
Take Action!
Earlier this week, CMEP sent out an action alert regarding a letter to President Obama currently circulating for signatures in the House asking him to close the PLO mission in DC, recall the U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem who works with the Palestinian Authority, and cut off funding to any other UN body that admits the Palestinians as a member. The letter is being circulated by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Howard Berman (D-CA), Edward Royce (R-CA), and Eliot Engel (D-NY).
The measures recommended in the letter are ill-conceived and self-defeating. The Members state that direct talks are the only way to resolve the outstanding issues between Israelis and Palestinians, but the measures they propose would undercut U.S. diplomacy and make it harder for direct talks to take place. Cutting off funding to UN agencies would deprive the U.S. of the benefits those bodies bring to U.S. national interests around the world. Take action now!
Extra Reading
Americans for Peace Now’s Lara Friedman writes, “It's hard to believe that four years of serial humiliations from Netanyahu haven't already driven this message home. Will this latest UN debacle finally teach the Obama Administration that even when it rolls over and sits up on command, it won't get a treat or even a pat on the head from Netanyahu or his fellow travelers in the U.S. and Israel?” She suggests the White House call Bill Clinton or former Secretary of State James Baker for some advice on how to get tougher.
The fifth “price tag” attack on a Christian site this year happened at a Greek Orthodox monastery in Jerusalem where vandals spray-painted offensive language on the stone surrounding the structure. The monastery was also targeted in February. Father Claudio the superior told reporters, “I forgave them the first time, I will forgive them the second time. I will forgive them the seventh, and 75th times, the 77th time I forgive.” He also said he knows that 99 percent of Israelis support his church. Netanyahu and the mayor of Jerusalem both strongly condemned the attack. Only two people have been arrested for the crimes against Christian holy sites this year but the police chief promises to pursue the criminals.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the cash-strapped PA will not see any of the $100 million in tax revenues Israel collects on its behalf until at least March. He said, "The Palestinians can forget about getting even one cent in the coming four months, and in four months' time we will decide how to proceed.” However, on Friday, Lieberman resigned from his post following a “breach of trust” indictment. It is unclear if his resignation will change this policy.
Advent & Christmas 2012 Daily Reflections
As Christians the season of Advent is a time of expectant waiting. We know God is with us. We believe God is with us. Yet, sometimes, especially when we think of the violence, pain, and sorrows of the people of Israel and Palestine, we may not necessarily feel God's presence with us.
To help all of us during this season of Advent (December 1st in the Catholic and Protestant calendars) and through Christmas (January 7th in the Orthodox calendar), CMEP will be sending daily emails to encourage all of us to ponder and pray for peace.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Raja Shehadeh reflects on the UN resolution to recognise Palestine as a non-member observer state

"In my tale, "The Two Djinnis and the Wall", I let loose my imagination and have a Palestinian hiker who has been stopped at an Israeli checkpoint tell of his dreams of a new reality in the region to a female Israeli soldier detaining him while his backpack is being searched. She had claimed she did not understand Arabic, but when he finishes she asks: "Will I ever be able to travel to the places you speak about? My family comes from Aleppo." I hope writers can serve the cause of peace by provoking people's yearning for it. Aren't new realities created by first imagining them, making what is possible in art thinkable in life?"

Palestine: Diary of a historic month

29 November 2012 … Palestinians at a rally in Ramallah. Photograph: APAimages/Rex Features

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Human Rights Day 2012: Palestine refugees and human rights

Palestinian kindergarten refugee girls learn in a Jordanian classroom at the Jabal Hussein camp in 1961 as part of a UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East) program. The program still exists today. Irbid opened a similar camp in Jordan in 1952. Image: UNphoto/PBB

Each year on 10 December, Human Rights Day marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. The day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of human rights.

Since 1948, Palestine refugees have suffered from the consequences of being displaced, often repeatedly, and from the impact that displacement has had on their enjoyment of various human rights.

On Human Rights Day 2012, we draw attention to the UDHR and the ways in which it relates to Palestine refugees.

Article 1
Right to freedom and equality

The on-going conflict in Syria has led to more than 12,000 Palestine refugees being displaced from Syria to neighbouring countries. Palestine refugees that have left Syria are particularly vulnerable – most are not citizens of their country of refuge – and even with UNRWA’s assistance, many are food-insecure and face extreme difficulties.

In a recent speech, UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi expressed his concern for Palestine refugees in Syria, saying:

I am very worried […] that pressure on Palestinians might trigger a surge in external displacement, across borders. The situation so far has been fairly contained, but as the conflict escalates people may be moving out of the most affected areas, especially in and around Damascus, where three-quarters of the Palestine refugees in Syria are concentrated.

Article 12
Right to freedom from interference with privacy, family, home and correspondence

In the West Bank, evictions and demolitions by the Israeli forces among other reasons prevent many Palestine refugees from enjoying their rights, including the right to protection of one’s home and privacy. Even with support from UNRWA, these families have limited opportunities to start over, and to seek legal redress.

Boy after West Bank demolition
International law, including human rights law, places strict limitations on evictions and demolitions; this is especially true in the context of military occupation.

In two incidents in April of this year, 67 Palestine refugees, more than half of them children, were displaced as a result of the eviction or demolition of their homes. In one incident on 18 April, the Israeli authorities demolished the homes of seven refugee families in the Palestinian community of Al Khalayleh, displacing them for the third time in six months. The following day, Israeli authorities demolished and confiscated emergency tents provided by humanitarian actors in response to the demolitions.

Article 13
Right to free movement in and out of the country

Persistent constraints on movement and complicated permit regimes have a direct impact on people’s right to move freely and engage in commerce in the occupied Palestinian territory, as well as an effect on the operations of UNRWA and other humanitarian organisations.

In 2002, following the outbreak of the second Intifada, Israel began constructing the West Bank Barrier, which restricts the movement of Palestinians. It often cuts Palestinian farmers off from their land, having a damaging impact on their income. In the city of Qalqilya alone, where over 75 per cent of the population are UNRWA-registered refugees, farmers have lost access to agricultural land and 12,000 olive, almond and fruit trees have been destroyed to make room for the Barrier.

On 9 July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an advisory opinion on the legality of the Barrier, concluding that “the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated régime, are contrary to international law”.

Article 23
Right to desirable work and protection against unemployment

In Lebanon, the law bars Palestinians in the country (numbering over 450,000) from access to over 30 syndicated professions, including medicine, law, and pharmacy. Fifty-six per cent of Palestine refugees of working age in Lebanon are jobless. Those with a job are often subject to unstable employment that is inadequate to lift them out of poverty.

In the Gaza Strip, home to 1.2 million Palestine refugees (out of a population of 1.6 million Gazans) an on-going Israeli-imposed blockade has prevented a sustainable economic recovery. As of today, exports from Gaza remain at less than five per cent of pre-2007 levels and imports at less than approximately 45 per cent of pre-2007 levels, despite limited measures in 2010 to ease restrictions on the import of some goods to Gaza. The latest figures place the unemployment rate for Palestine refugee youth in Gaza at 59 per cent.

In Lebanon, the law bars Palestinians in the country (numbering over 450,000) from access to over 30 syndicated professions, including medicine, law, and pharmacy. Fifty-six per cent of Palestine refugees of working age in Lebanon are jobless. Those with a job are often subject to unstable employment that is inadequate to lift them out of poverty.

In the Gaza Strip, home to 1.2 million Palestine refugees (out of a population of 1.6 million Gazans) an on-going Israeli-imposed blockade has prevented a sustainable economic recovery. As of today, exports from Gaza remain at less than five per cent of pre-2007 levels and imports at less than approximately 45 per cent of pre-2007 levels, despite limited measures in 2010 to ease restrictions on the import of some goods to Gaza. The latest figures place the unemployment rate for Palestine refugee youth in Gaza at 59 per cent.

Article 25
Right to adequate living standards

In Lebanon, two-thirds of Palestine refugees are poor, surviving on less than USD six per day. 55.7 per cent of households reported an inability to afford more food when their food supply was not enough.

Article 26
Right to education

With almost 40 per cent of Palestine refugees below the age of 18 and with Palestine refugees broadly affected with high levels of unemployment and poverty, education is crucial for lasting positive social and economic development.

In Lebanon, Palestinian refugee children and young people have restricted access to the public school system. As a result, UNRWA in Lebanon provides not only primary but also secondary education. Even so, there is little hope for a successful future for Palestine refugees in Lebanon; school dropout rates are high, and two-thirds of young Palestinians above the age of 15 do not have the Brevet, the state certificate that grants access to secondary school. At the university level, only five per cent of Palestinians in Lebanon hold a university degree.

In Syria and Gaza, recent violence has severely limited young Palestine refugees’ access to education. During a recent trip to Syria, UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi paid tribute to the young Palestinian students attending the Agency’s schools in extremely difficult circumstances:

"I visited a class of girls in ninth grade. We couldn't hear each other because of the shelling, but they were still attending lessons".

In Gaza, classes closed and many UNRWA schools sustained damage during the November military action of the Strip. While UNRWA schools in Gaza are now open, lasting physical and psychological damage continues to impede the education of our young students.


UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some five million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund, supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit.

UNRWA and human rights

One of UNRWA's key goals is the enjoyment of human rights by all Palestine refugees. UNRWA addresses human rights concerns with the relevant authorities and, where appropriate, cooperates with international human rights mechanisms. The Agency also ensures that its programmes – education, health care, relief and other services – are delivered in a way that promotes human rights.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12 National Geographic photo of the day: Art Student, Jerusalem 1926.

Sunlight falls on a student at Jerusalem’s Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in this photo by Maynard Owen Williams from around 1926.
An inveterate traveler, Williams was National Geographic’s first foreign correspondent.

See pictures from the book Odysseys and Photographs »
See more pictures from the archives »
View a timeline of the history of photography »

Maynard Owen Williams was a National Geographic correspondent from 1919. He was an inveterate traveller who began travelling in his teens, explored Asia and witnessed the Russian Revolution, among other adventures. 
Born: September 12, 1888
Died: June 1963

Beyond the UN vote: New futures for Palestine and Israel

The Israelis and Palestinians are not as far apart as experts make them out to be. All issues are resolvable if there is vision, intentionality and political will.
Saliba Sarsar
New Jersey News (Opinion)
December 7, 2012 - 12:00am

On Nov. 29, which marked the 65th anniversary of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, which called for partitioning British-mandate Palestine into independent Arab and Jewish states and a special international regime for the city of Jerusalem, the U.N. granted Palestine the status of a “nonmember observer state.”

The 138-9 vote, with 41 abstentions, pleased neither the United States nor Israel. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regarded the vote as “unfortunate and counterproductive” toward peace. Israel’s Vice Prime Minister, Silvan Shalom, described the resolution as “meaningless” and the vote “a very big mistake” because it violated prior agreements Israel signed with the Palestinians.

In retaliation, a day after the vote, Israeli officials announced plans for 3,000 new housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as expanding the E1 settlement area. Such expansion would join the huge Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim to Jerusalem, further splitting the Palestinian territories.

While the vote gives a psychological and legal boost to the Palestinians and their leaders, especially on the West Bank, it does not change the facts on the ground, mainly the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands since June 1967. The change has to come from serious negotiations between the leaders of Palestine and Israel, preferably sooner than later... READ MORE

Israel's Jewish extremists vandalize Jerusalem monastery

A monk stands next to graffiti sprayed on a wall at the entrance to
the Latrun Monastery near Jerusalem September 4, 2012.
(Reuters/Baz Ratner
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Suspected Jewish extremists vandalized a Jerusalem monastery overnight Tuesday, Israeli police said.

Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told Ma'an that "Price-tag" was sprayed on the walls of the monastery and three vehicles were damaged in the attack.

Police are investigating the incident, he added.

Anti-Christian graffiti such as "Jesus is a son of a bitch," and Israeli nationalist slogans were found on the church and nearby vehicles, Israeli media reported.

One car had "Happy Hanukkah, triumph for the Maccabees" written on it, Ynet said, referring to the Jewish holiday which coincides with the Christmas period.

A priest from the monastery said he forgives whoever committed the attack, which is the second of its kind, Ynet reported.

"It saddens me deeply," Father Claudio said. "I believe in Jesus and some don't, it's their problem. We believe in peace and I forgive whoever did this the first time and this time."

Price-tag attacks by Jewish extremists against religious sites are commonplace in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

In October, "Price-tag" and anti-Christian slogans were sprayed on the gate of the Monastery of Saint Francis, just outside of the Old City.

In early September, suspected Jewish extremists torched the wooden door of a Jerusalem monastery and in February extremists wrote "Death to Christianity" on two Jerusalem churches.

Last December, an ancient mosque in Jerusalem was torched and sprayed with the Star of David, "price tag," "Muhammad is a pig" and "A good Arab is a dead Arab" in Hebrew.

Israeli authorities 'to demolish West Bank road'

SALFIT (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities on Monday notified Palestinian farmers in a northern West Bank village that a road connecting them to their fields will be demolished, locals told Ma'an.

Residents of Qarawat Bani Hassan, near Salfit, said Israeli planning officers told them the al-Hurriya (Freedom) road will be demolished in two weeks.

Farmers were told to avoid agricultural work in the area.

The same street was dug up by Israeli bulldozers on March 24, 2011. The local municipality, with support from the Palestinian prime minister and donor organizations, later rehabilitated the road.

Palestinian Authority premier Salam Fayyad joined the road's original inauguration two years ago.

Israeli separation wall threatens world heritage site of Battir's ancient terraces

Palestinian children swim in the ancient spring in the West Bank village of Battir, which Unesco is poised to recognise as a world heritage site. Photograph: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images
Israeli environmentalists and even the state parks authority are backing Palestinian villagers' attempts to preserve landscape
The future of an ancient agricultural landscape, incorporating extensive stone-walled terraces and a unique natural irrigation system, could be decided on Wednesday when a petition against the planned route of Israel's vast concrete and steel separation barrier is heard by the high court.

The terraces of the Palestinian village of Battir, near Bethlehem, are expected to be declared a world heritage site by Unesco, the United Nations' cultural body, in the coming months.

But, Friends of the Earth, which filed the petition, says Israel's decision to construct the West Bank barrier through a valley running between the terraces threatens to inflict irreversible harm to the landscape....READ MORE

Gaza: 'My child was killed and nothing has changed'

Jihad Misharawi weeps while he holds the body of his 11-month-old son Omar, killed by an Israeli airstrike. Photograph: Majed Hamdan/AP
"Hamas think they were heroes, with a great victory. I don't know how they can talk about victory. There will be another escalation for sure. Like everyone here, I'm not expecting a long period of quiet. My child was killed, and nothing on the ground has changed. No one achieved anything. Families lost children and loved ones. How can this be a victory?"

11 Dec 2012: After eight days of war, an uneasy peace has been patched up once again between Israel and Gaza. Hamas are jubilant, but for ordinary people, there's little cause to celebrate amid the ruins of a shattered city 

Mesha’al oils Israel’s propaganda machine with his statement:

"His speech to rapturous crowds attending the anniversary rally recently was nothing short of incendiary. “We will never recognise the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation and therefore there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take,” adding “No Palestinian leader has the authority to relinquish one inch of Gaza or the West Bank. We will press ahead with reconciliation [with Fatah] to end divisions and to stand united against the Zionist occupation,” he pledged. “Today is Gaza. Tomorrow will be Ramallah and after that [occupied] Jerusalem then Haifa and Jaffa.”

That defiant message may have played well with some Palestinians, but it has reaffirmed Israel’s assertion that Hamas wants nothing less than the Jewish state’s destruction. Moreover, his promotion of a course of action that is not doable, given Israel’s military superiority, keeps an unrealistic dream alive. His stance is in sharp contrast to that of President Abbas, who believes violence is not the answer. If Mesha’al believed his speech would terrorise his enemies, he was mistaken. Its salient points will have been received like milk and honey in the Netanyahu camp and will be quoted again and again by Israeli spokespersons on western TV channels to emphasize that, like the leopard, Hamas “a terrorist organisation” will never change its spots." Linda Heard

Mesha’al oils Israel’s propaganda machine with his statement

The defiant message may have played well with some Palestinians, but it has reaffirmed Israel’s assertion that all Hamas wants is the Jewish state’s destruction

Image Credit: Niño Jose Heredia/©Gulf News

At Hamas’s anniversary celebration in Gaza last week, the organization’s Politburo leader Khaled Meshaal delivered one of the most cynical, damaging and dangerous speeches in the history of the Palestinian national movement...

"As for the project of ending the occupation, Israeli settlers and their friends can only have been ecstatic at Meshaal’s hyper-bellicose positions, all of which strengthen their two main contentions: 1) there is no Palestinian partner for peace; and 2) Israel settlements are, among other things, forward defenses against an implacable existential enemy.

For the Palestinian national movement, Hamas is a disaster built on a calamity. From its outset, it has sought to undermine the mainstream nationalist movement by outbidding it on patriotic rhetoric, maximalist demands, violence, intractability and phony Islamic credentials. It has been a cynical project from day one." Hussein Ibish

Meshaal’s Speech: “Mish Ma’ool”
Mr. Meshal said the Jewish state would be wiped away through “resistance,” or military action. “The state will come from resistance, not negotiation,” he said. “Liberation first, then statehood.” The crowd gathered near a giant replica of an M-75, a Hamas rocket. Credit: Wissam Nassar for The New York Times.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

They Call It Victory

Palestinians take part in a rally marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, in Gaza City December 8, 2012. After receiving a hero's welcome on his return from decades in exile, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal will attend a rally in Gaza on Saturday to mark the founding of his Islamist group and celebrate "victory" over Israel. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
       They Call It Victory

They call it victory
celebrating the suffering
of Palestine...

They rally a crowd
to cheer on religious tyranny
and armed militancy.

Iconic lies and iconic promises
perpetuate the conflict
crippling Palestine

They call it victory.

Hamas leader seeks to destroy Israel

The Full Israeli Experience

Hamas leader Khaled Meshal says group will never recognize Israel

Feted in Gaza, Hamas leader hits out at Israel

Tens of thousands celebrate Hamas 'victory' rally as exiled leader returns

Gazans rally with exiled Hamas chief

Miftah- Hamas chief Mashaal visits Gaza
... "Senior PFLP leader and iconic Palestinian figure Leila Khaled was among those in exile to visit Gaza for the same event where she congratulated the people of Gaza on their resistance to Israel... On another note, Israel revealed its plan to go ahead with the expansion of 3000 settlement units in ‘E1’ a West Bank corridor near Jerusalem, despite international pressure against it."

USA Today Column December 8 2012: Palestine must choose life over love of death


Almond Blossoms and Beyond......

Songs and Pictures from Palestine

If you walk on the street that does not lead to an abyss,
say to the garbage collector, Thank you!
If you come back home alive, as rhyme returns,
unharmed, say to yourself, Thank you!
If you have expected something, and your guess has deceived you,
go tomorrow to see where you were, and say to the butterfly, Thank you!

Almond Blossoms and Beyond: Poems by Mahmoud Darwish
The first English translation of recent poetry by the late Mahmoud Darwish, the most important Palestinian contemporary poet. Almond Blossoms and Beyond is one of the last collections of poetry that Mahmoud Darwish left to the world. Composed of brief lyric poems and the magnificent sustained Exile cycle, Almond Blossoms holds an important place in Darwish's unparalleled oeuvre. It distills his late style, in which, though the specter of death looms and weddings turn to funerals, he threads the pulses and fragilities and beauties of life into the lines of his poems. Their liveliness is his own response to the collection's final call to bid "Farewell / Farewell, to the poetry of pain."