The Palestinian keffiyeh: All you need to know about its origins

A closer look at the origins of Palestine’s iconic headscarf and how it transcended borders

Palestinian women masked with traditional keffiyeh near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank (AFP/Abbas Momani)

By Indlieb Farazi Saber

28 May 2021 13:53 UTC 

A distinctly Palestinian black-and-white chequered piece of cloth, the keffiyeh is described by some as the nation’s unofficial flag.

Long synonymous with the Palestinian cause, the simple square-metre fabric, traditionally folded diagonally into a triangle and worn draped over the head of rural Palestinian men, is today securely fashioned around the necks of human rights activists, anti-war protesters, sports stars and celebrities; transcending gender, religion and nationality.

Muhammad Walid, 49, from Jerusalem says he remembers seeing his father and uncles wear the keffiyeh in his earliest memories.

“The older generations would wear it on their heads,” he says. “I started wearing it as a teenager, but around my neck. For me, it represents the Palestinian struggle and cause.”

It’s a similar story for Riad Halak, 62, also from Jerusalem, who says: “It’s a tradition of Palestine. I started wearing one when I was 11 years old, and I still wear it today on special days like the Nakba. It’s part of my identity.”

While the keffiyeh’s status as an icon of Palestinian nationhood is undisputed, its origins lie further east, in what is now Iraq.

Keffiyeh Mural
A mural depicts the Dome of the Rock and a woman wearing the keffiyeh (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

The word itself means “relating to Kufa,” a reference to the Iraqi city south of Baghdad that sits along the Euphrates river, but little else is known about the roots of the keffiyeh. One account suggests it came about in the seventh century, during a battle between Arab and Persian forces near Kufa. The Arabs were said to have used cords made from camel hair to secure their headdresses and in order to recognise their comrades in the heat of battle. After their victory, the headgear was kept on as a reminder of their triumph. 

Others say the fabric, sometimes called the hata in the Levant, has origins that pre-date Islam and can be traced back to Mesopotamia, when it was worn by Sumerian and Babylonian priests around 5,000 years ago. 

“Its origins are open to speculation,” Anu Lingala, author of A Socio-political History of the Keffiyeh, tells Middle East Eye. “Until very recently, these types of designed objects were not taken seriously as subjects of academic research. The exception was for designed objects that were associated with elite status and wealth, whereas the keffiyeh was traditionally associated with working classes.”

Shorthand for the struggle

Although no longer linked to social status, the keffiyeh’s modern roots in Palestine are among the fellah, or rural workers, as well as the Bedouin. The two groups would wear the garment over their heads to cover the backs of their neck and protect themselves from the heat of the summer sun and the cold during the winter.

According to Lingala: “Covering one’s head was an important principle in traditional Palestinian culture.

Israel-Palestine: British media coverage ‘skewed’ and ‘biased’, report finds

“[The keffiyeh] afforded breathability through air pockets created by folds in the fabric,” she says.

The more educated, urban Palestinians, or effendi, would wear the fez or tarboush, a deep-red felt hat popularised by Ottoman ruler Mahmud II and adopted by locals as a standard form of dress. 

Cultural historian Jane Tynan has written about the scarf’s significance in the book Fashion and Politics. She says: “The Ottoman Empire’s dress codes had the effect of erasing ethno-religious identities, but would have been worn as a norm by urban dwellers.”

After the Turkish empire’s loss of its Near Eastern territories during the First World War, and the Arab Revolt against British colonial rule in 1936, Palestinian nationalists also used the keffiyeh as a means of covering their faces to hide their identity and avoid arrest, spurring unsuccessful calls among the British to ban the headscarves. Instead, in a “pivotal moment in Palestinian culture,” Palestinians united in adopting the fabric as a sign of solidarity. The symbol remained a staple icon of Palestinian nationhood after the Nakba and the establishment of the state of Israel.

“Palestinians of all social classes abandoned the fez and united around wearing the keffiyeh, making it difficult to identify the revolutionaries,” Maha Saca, head of the Palestinian Heritage Centre in Bethlehem, tells Middle East Eye.

Tynan, an assistant professor in design history and theory at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, says that “from its function in the revolt as a tool to disguise the identity of the wearer from British authorities, the keffiyeh became shorthand for the Palestinian struggle”. 

Yasser Arafat lead the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) from 1969 until his death in 2004 (AFP)
Yasser Arafat, the late leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, is said to have arranged his keffiyeh to resemble the map of pre-1948 Palestine (AFP)

Lingala makes a similar point: “As Palestinians’ collective identity and right to the land continued to be increasingly threatened… they sought to hold onto items that represented ‘cultural continuity’.”

Years later, in the 1960s, the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat popularised the garment among a global audience. According to Saca: “Abu Ammar [Arafat] would never be seen at any event without it.”

His keffiyeh was always carefully positioned on his head, with the longer end of the fabric placed over his right shoulder – some say it was laid out to resemble a map of pre-1948 Palestine. 

Muhammad Walid says his keffiyeh represents the Palestinian struggle and cause (Muhammad Walid)
Muhammad Walid, from Jerusalem, says his keffiyeh represents the Palestinian struggle (Muhammad Walid)

When Israeli occupation authorities banned the Palestinian flag from 1967 until the Oslo Accords in 1993, the scarf took on a potent symbolism, according to Ted Swedenburg, professor of anthropology at Arkansas University.

“Portable and visible symbols” were important to Palestinians, Swedenburg says, adding that with the flag banned by the occupation for alomost 30 years, the keffiyeh, “to which so much rich symbolism and history was attached, served as an everyday, portable, visual expression of Palestinian identity”. 

Wheat, olives and honey

The distinct black stitching on the white cotton keffiyeh is said to have many symbolic meanings, and although none have been verified, Palestinians have no shortage of interpretations.

It has been described by some as “a fishing net, a honeycomb, the joining of hands, or the marks of dirt and sweat wiped off a worker’s brow”. Others suggest the design represents ears of wheat, in reference to Jericho, one of the first known cities to cultivate the grain.

Palestinian performance artist Fargo Tbakhi adds “barbed wire” to the list, explaining the pattern could depict “that ever-present symbol of the occupation,” although he relates most to the fishing net design, also called the fatha (opening).

“[I see it] as a symbol of our identity, a model for being Palestinian, it articulates one possible futurity for our people,” he writes in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

“A fishnet is an image of collectivism, of entanglement and dependence: in a net, singular strands become something larger, stronger. As one strand, I am always yearning to be knotted together with others, so that we are better able to hold, to catch.”

Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa tells Middle East Eye that the patterns on the keffiyeh “speak to Palestinian lifeblood, in the same way that the patterns of tatreez [Palestinian embroidery] is a language unto itself, telling stories of location, lineage, occasion, and historic significance”.

The black stitching is sometimes also referred to as a honeycomb design, in recognition of the region’s beekeepers; some rural Syrians (where the cloth is also worn) say the pattern symbolises the joining of hands and the marks of dirt and sweat wiped off a worker’s brow. 

A recent tweet included another interpretation of the design, a representation of Palestine’s olive trees, which show “strength and resilience”:

Share this post to educate people on our traditional Kuffieyeh 🇵🇸 pic.twitter.com/R3jvs0DWp1— mars | FREE PALESTINE (@peachesfrompali) May 17, 2021

Abulhawa agrees: “The ‘bird-like’ motifs along the border are interconnected olive leaves, referring to the significance of the olive tree in Palestinian life.” 

Olives, in all forms – olive oil, olive-oil products (such as soap), and olive wood – were hugely important aspects of Palestinian culinary, social and economic life, Abulhawa explains. 

Peace in the Middle East is a prerequisite for Global Peace.

Peace in the Middle East is a prerequisite for Global Peace.

May 28, 2021

By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

Without going into history, how the Jewish State of Israel was created in the middle of the Arab World (Muslim World), let’s focus on the current issues and find a solution. As long as it was recognized by the United Nations in 1948, we have to accept this reality; either one likes it or not. The irony is that, since 1948, Israel kept on expanding and pushing Arabs out of their homes and lands and forcing them to leave their land and property, either to immigrate to other countries or live a miserable life in refugee camps.

After Eleven days of recent aggression, it is encouraging that the ceasefire has been implemented. There were multiple reasons for the truce, but the most important was public opinion, which was condemning Israel worldwide. Almost all big cities all over the World have witnessed mass protests, demonstrations, and agitations. It seems the whole World was standing in solidarity with Palestinians. Although few Governments, like the UK, US, and France, were supporting Israeli acts of brutalities, but the public in their own countries was against Israeli aggressions. Some of the biased Western Media was supporting Israel and fabricating lame excuses and irrational justification for Israeli aggressions. But Social Media has played a positive role and rectified public opinion globally. Of Course Russian, and Chinese pressure was also irresistible on the State of Israel to stop air raids. On the ground, within Israel, a civil war erupted among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Moreover, the Israeli defense system was not so much practical and could not save its territories from rocket attacks. There are reports that the Israeli defense system has shot down its own drones and fighter jets too. Also, there are reports that Israeli security forces killed one suspect within Israel, which was identified as American Jew later on.

Since 1848, Isreal was building its defense and spending lavishly. American economic assistance and Military aid were generous. Even during the recent 11 days conflict, the US was supplying the latest and advanced weapons to Israel, which is an open breach of the UN charter and all norms of the civilized World. Even the US was behind to postpone three times the UNSC statement to stop killings of innocent Palestinians.

Israeli defense capabilities are unmatched in the whole region. With Nuclear weapons, hi-tech, advanced systems, missiles, and the latest war techniques, Israel maintains hegemony. There is no comparison between the whole Arab World’s defense capabilities with Israel alone. Nothing to talk about Palestine or Gazza only, which is a fraction of Israel and that is too dependent on Israel for day-to-day life even.

Looking at the Israeli atrocities and brutalities against the Arab World since 1948, one can reach the conclusion that The Jewish State of Israel is Zionist, aggressive, and illegitimate. Based on its military might, it keeps on expanding and becoming bigger and stronger day by day.

This phenomenon is not new; history tells us there were Germany and Japan, two aggressive countries, and were held responsible for World Wars. But soon, they were brought to justice and held responsible for war crimes. They were made to pay war compensation, and their Military might was scattered and capped to revive in the future. Under the treaty, both Germany and Japan were prevented from rebuilding their Military power again. Both countries are still paying for war crimes, compensation as well as could not reconstruct their military might again.

Once it is established that Israel is an aggressive state and held responsible for killings of Muslims in millions, making them homeless in millions, and refused to live in peace and harmony with their neighbors. It is time for International Community to take action.

The international community must do more to safeguard the lives and fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, who continue to suffer under illegitimate foreign occupation. It should also not condone the violations of international law that underpin global and regional security.

For long-lasting and durable Peace in the region, it is imperative that the Palestinian people are granted their inalienable right to self-determination according to respective UN consensus. It is believed that a viable, independent, and contiguous original Palestinian State, with the pre-1948 borders, and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, is the only just, comprehensive and ever-lasting solution to the Palestine issue in accordance with the relevant United Nations and OIC resolutions. All Arab lands occupied in 1967 and 1973 should be returned back to Arabs.

International Community should mobilize all possible humanitarian assistance for the devastated Palestinian population in Gaza and other parts of the occupied territories. In addition to the UNRWA emergency appeal, the UN Secretary-General should launch a comprehensive humanitarian aid plan to deliver succor and sustenance to the Palestinians. There is a dire need to provide medical teams, medicines, and other supplies, food, and other necessities to Gaza and other parts of the occupied Palestinian territories immediately. Egypt’s immediate supply of humanitarian assistance to Gazza is highly appreciated. Israel must open all the access and entry points to Gaza to ensure the timely and urgent delivery of international aid and end the siege of Palestine immediately.

The UN General Assembly should call for concrete steps to protect the Palestinians and should deploy an international peace force, as was called for in General Assembly Resolution ES-10/20 and as demanded by the Islamic Summit Conference held on 18 May 2018.

If the Security Council cannot approve immediately to send the safeguarding force, a “coalition of the willing” can be shaped to provide at least civilian observers to monitor a cessation of the hostilities and supervise the delivery of humanitarian help to the Palestinians.

The UN Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to offer safety to Israel’s Arab (Muslims and Christians both) citizens living within Israel who are being lynched and murdered by fascist Israeli gangs at the present time.

The UN General Assembly should condemn: Israel’s forcible and illegal eviction of Palestinians, including in Al-Jarrah district of Jerusalem and constantly construction of Jewish new settlements; the onslaught against Palestinian worshipers in Haram Al-Sharif and Al-Aqsa mosque, the first Qibla of Islam, during the month of Ramadan; and Israel’s brutal and indiscriminate aerial and land wild-bombardment of Gaza.

Israel’s crimes against humanity should not spurt accountability. There should be no exemption for violation of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention and other human rights Conventions. The Human Rights Council, the ICC, the ICJ, and other avenues should be actuated to ensure Israeli accountability for its war crimes.

International Community should enhance concrete efforts to end Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories and to dismantle the illegal settlements and the apartheid-like regime Israel has enforced in the occupied territories. The General Assembly should secure unconditional implementation of resolution 242 of November 1967 in which the Security Council declared the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and demanded that Israel withdraw its armed forces from territories occupied in the 1967 war. It is, therefore, commanding to initiate bold steps to secure the implementation of the Security Council and General Assembly resolutions calling for the establishment of a viable, independent, and contiguous original Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. President of Palestine (Fateh Group) Mehmood Abbas’s call for an International Conference to secure a peaceful settlement must be appreciated.

The Palestine catastrophe is at the heart of the chaos and conflicts in the Middle East. It is also the principal root cause of the humiliation and irritation in the Muslim and Arab world – anger which breeds extremism and often spawns acts of violence. A just solution for Palestine is imperative for the preservation of regional and global peace and security. It is to be understood well that Peace and stability in the Arab-Isreal are vital for international Peace, stability, and prosperity. Our next generations deserve a peaceful and happy life; we must understand that the Peace in Middle-east is an energy-rich region and can play a vital role in the global economy and prosperity. Peace in the Middle-east is a prerequisite for international Peace

It is only through determined and significant action that this Assembly can reinstate the credibility of the United Nations and demonstrate its effective role in stabilizing world peace and global order based on equity and justice.

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

Chris Hedges, Alan MacLeod on Media Bias and the Christian Right’s Obsession with Israel

May 21st, 2021

By Mnar Muhawesh Adley

Chris Hedges and Alan Macloed join MintCast to talk about Israel, Christian Zionism, and media bias.


mages from the Israeli onslaught against Palestine have dominated both news broadcasts and social media as the world expresses its outrage over the bombing of civilian targets.

While the latest violence was triggered by an Israeli attack on the al-Aqsa Mosque, the conflict’s roots go back at least to the state’s creation in 1948, when Israeli forces ethnically cleansed nearly 800,000 Palestinians from their homeland, razing 500 towns and villages in order to make way for the construction of a Jewish state on top of an existing one. Year-on-year, Israel has progressively annexed more Palestinian land, leaving the indigenous population trapped in increasingly small pockets, often without the ability to leave.

Much of the strongest support for the creation of Israel comes from the Evangelical Christian community in the West, who see the construction of a Jewish state in the Holy Land as the fulfillment of an ancient Biblical prophecy bringing the world one step closer to the end times where the righteous will ascend to heaven, and non-believers (including Jews) will be cast into hell.

Today, Christian Zionism is a much larger force worldwide than Jewish Zionism, and with liberals increasingly turning their backs on Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is directly appealing to that community to shore up support for his country.

While Democrats increasingly condemn Israel’s actions, the most vociferous support comes from right-wing pastors and religious leaders. Texas televangelist Pastor John Hagee, for instance, whitewashed the Israeli massacre, stating this week that:

It’s not Israel’s rockets that are killing the people in Gaza, it is the terrorists who are killing their own people because they don’t know how to fire these rockets. So the fake news will certainly not tell you that.”

For years, the religious right has been undermining faith in domestic media and building information systems of their own to create tightly controlled echo chambers across the United States. Likewise, Israel is prosecuting a campaign against journalists, albeit with far more deadly consequences. On Saturday, it destroyed the headquarters of Al-Jazeera and the Associated Press. Last night, The Times of Gaza confirmed that its reporter Yousif Abu Hussein had been killed in an Israeli airstrike on his house. Meanwhile, the Israeli government is blocking foreign journalists from entering Gaza to document the atrocities.

Yet even as Israel attacks the press, those very same outlets run cover for the Jewish state, sanitizing Israeli attacks on peaceful protestors as “clashes,” or both sidesing the conflict and presenting Hamas as aggressors and Israel as merely “responding” to provocations.

Here today to talk about the conflict and its origins are Chris Hedges and Alan MacLeod. Hedges is a writer and a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent. He was Middle East Bureau Chief for the New York Times until the newspaper forced him out due to his stance against the Iraq War. A fluent Arabic speaker, Hedges has been an outspoken critic of both Israeli actions and American imperialism in the region. As a foreign correspondent, he saw the destruction caused by war, imperialism, and the disintegration of societies, from Iraq to Israel, Yugoslavia, and beyond.

A former speechwriter for presidential candidate Ralph Nader, Hedges has taught in the prison system for over a decade. In 2012, he sued the Obama administration over the National Defense Authorization Act, a law that unconstitutionally allowed the government to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without trial.

Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer at MintPress News. After completing his PhD in sociology and journalism studies in 2018, he published two books about the media: “Bad News From Venezuela: 20 Years of Fake News and Misreporting,” and “Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent.” He is an expert in global media.

What makes the Palestinian catastrophe incomparable to any crime that has occurred for humanity?

May 15, 2021

By Batoul Sbeity

 Why is Palestine considered the core issue when it comes to human justice, such that Al-Quds Day- a day to raise awareness about the plight of all oppressed groups is done in the name and the sanctity of Al-Aqsa? 

1)  The perpetrating entities of the oppression:

The formation of Israel was a settler-colonial conspiracy project- the biggest of its kind in history that was founded by the hegemonic global ruling system solely to serve their interest. 

The reality is that the Zionists were hunters for sources of power in the world that could actualize their vision of a Jewish homeland, and wherever the imperialists place the Zionists, they will follow. 

During the beginning of the 20th century, imperial Britain was adamant about creating for itself an extension in the land of Palestine, which was specifically chosen due to the benefits of the strategic location and the history of the land that could be used as a justifying pretext to the world.

It is the responsibility of all of humanity to correct the biggest shame that have occurred. All nations need to apply pressure on their governments to sever ties with the occupying state and grant the right of return and compensation for all Palestinian citizens. The Zionists and their imperial masters weaponized the anti-semitism that existed within sections of the people and activated this into a slogan that was used to justify the containment of settler Jews in Palestine whilst blackmailing those resisting the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians into accepting this new reality.

The U.S.S.R was the first government to recognize the illegitimate establishment of Israel and sent a large number of settler Jews there, whilst the U.S. took over Britain’s role after rising to power in post-WWII, providing the bulk of financial, political, security, and military support to the occupying state- to the extent that its existence is purely dependent and linked to the U.S. 

Israel’s functional role is to act as a stick for the world superpower, namely the U.S., used in order to punish other entities in the region that fail to obey U.S. orders and for them to maintain a direct presence at the heart of the strategic Middle East (West Asia).

2)  The nature of the oppression: 

Israel is the only settler-colonial state existing today. This means the existence of the occupying Israeli settlers is predicated on the forced and violent removal of the land’s indigenous inhabitants prior to 1948.

During the 1948 Nakba, Israeli forces killed an estimated 13,000 Palestinians and forcibly evicted 700,000-1 million Palestinians from their homes and land. Five hundred and thirty-one (50%) of Palestinian villages were entirely depopulated and destroyed. 

The Nakba continues today. Palestinians are the largest and longest-suffering group of refugees in the world. One in three refugees worldwide is Palestinian and over 60% are registered for humanitarian assistance with the UN.
Within occupied Palestine, the occupying state has displayed no limits to their aggression in pursuit of their expansionist ideals while have not been held to any account for their crimes against humanity.  

3)  The magnitude of the oppression:

The perpetrators realize a great magnitude of direct force and violence is needed to prevent any rebellion movement since the thief understands the victim will resist with whatever they have, and they, therefore, seek to crush the spirit of this resistance. The occupying state has made it mandatory for every Israeli Jew to serve in the ‘IDF’, and they are indoctrinated from a young age to believe every Palestinian is a ‘terrorist’, whilst their survival is dependent on getting rid of the indigenous Palestinians. 

With over 2.5 million Palestinian’s living in the West Bank, an extremely densely populated region, Israel is not only seizing the best land and resources through annexing the territories and giving themselves false authority over the land, but they are striving to create an unbearable condition for the Palestinian’s living within, such that they become hopeless and would want to immigrate and abandon their own homeland. 

4)  Continuity of the oppression:

Since the financial and military existence of Israel is completely linked to the U.S., this oppression will continue until Israel loses its functional role due to the balance of powers that are increasingly not in the U.S.’s favor in the region.

Besides the axis of resistance and its proponents, all countries are turning a blind eye to the continuous oppression in Palestine, which is legitimized by the majority of the world since there is an overlap between their aims and they only account for what is in their interests. They seek to wipe the history of Palestine and grant legitimacy to Israel’s existence, although acknowledging its illegality should by any standards create an uprising.

It is the responsibility of all of humanity to correct the biggest shame that have occurred. All nations need to apply pressure on their governments to sever ties with the occupying state and grant the right of return and compensation for all Palestinian citizens. 

US support for Israel | We the People

The US has been giving the Israeli regime unwavering support from the get-go. Thus Israel has no greater friend than the United States today. The US has given Tel Aviv billions of dollars in foreign military aid for Israel to remain a most strategic ally to the Zionist regime.

The rapid Zionist colonisation of Palestine

By: Dr. Ghulam Habib How did Palestine turn into a war-torn land after Palestinian Muslims, Christians, and Jews were living in harmony and peace among themselves? This visual documentary presents historical perspective to shed light on how the first Zionist colony was built in Palestine in 1878 to where we are today with continued illegal occupation, massacres, destruction, and expansion in oppressed Palestine.

Music in this video: ‘The Feeling Begins’ by Peter Gabriel Licensed to YouTube by: itspetergabriel, WMG (on behalf of Real World Records); LatinAutor – SonyATV, SOLAR Music Rights Management, LatinAutorPerf, CMRRA, BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., EMI Music Publishing, UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA – UBEM, and 8 Music Rights Societies. Original post here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcKUx…

International support for Palestine | The Communiqué with Richard Medhurst

We look back on 73 years of Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation and the international support for it or lack thereof for the Palestinian cause especially as violence from Zionist mobs unfolds against Palestinians in the heart of Palestine’s capital in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Land Day: Palestinians mark the 45th anniversary

Palestinian farmers say they face constant threats while working on family lands due to Israel’s annexation policies

Gaza farmer working on land MEE
Iyad Abughleiba, a Palestinian farmer, finds it increasingly difficult to work on his land in the Gaza Strip due to Israel’s annexation policies. (MEE/Sanad Latifa)

By Maha Hussaini in Gaza Strip

Published date: 30 March 2021 12:22 UTC 

On 30 March 1976, six Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces as hundreds of Arab citizens in the occupied territory took to the streets to protest Israel’s expropriation and occupation of Palestinian lands.

The event became known as the Land Day and a symbol of national struggle that unites Palestinians around the world.

Forty-five years later, Palestinians say that not much has changed, as Israel continues its policy of annexation.

Middle East Eye met with Palestinian farmers and land owners in the Gaza Strip, who have been unable to access hundreds of dunums of land belonging to their families due to Israel’s restrictions and annexation policy.

Land theft normalised

Iyad Abughleiba, 49, a Palestinian who owns agricultural land in the eastern central Gaza Strip, says that farmers find it increasingly difficult to work in the blockaded enclave as Israel continues to “normalise land theft”.

Since age 15, he and his brothers would help their father cultivate the family lands. When his father passed away, the siblings inherited the lands and continued to work as farmers.

“My grandfather had owned more than 400 dunums of land. But over the years, and with every Israeli decision or new policy, the lands have been gradually shrinking. Today we only have 25 dunums left,” Abughleiba told MEE.

‘Our safety depends on the Israeli soldiers’ mood. You could be killed at any moment’

– Iyad Abughleiba, Palestinian farmer

Although Israel dismantled its settlements in Gaza in 2005 and withdrew its forces and settlers from the enclave, it still controls vast areas of land in the northern and eastern perimeter of the Strip.

“Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip is the biggest lie. They are controlling every inch of the Strip – the land, the sea, and can you hear that noise? They are also controlling the air,” Abughleiba said as an Israeli drone buzzed at low altitude above his land.

“Like the majority of Palestinians, our grandparents lost most of their lands in Gaza and the West Bank during the [Palestinian] Nakba. But land theft did not stop here.”

The Nakba, meaning the “disaster, catastrophe or cataclysm”, marks the partition of Mandatory Palestine in 1948 and the creation of Israel. At least 750,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes that year. A further 280,000 to 325,000 fled their homes in territories captured by Israel in 1967. 

Following its disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Israel established a “buffer-zone”, a military no-go area that stretches across the Strip’s borders with Israel. The first reference to a buffer-zone in the Strip appeared in the Oslo Accords in 1993, which mentioned a 50-metre wide area along the enclave. 

Today, it extends to more than 300 – 2,000 metres inside the Strip.What is the Nakba? Day of catastrophe for Palestinians, explainedRead More »

“When Israel first established the buffer zone, we lost part of our lands. Then when they expanded it in 2009, we lost another part. This is how they gradually annex more parts of our lands every now and then,” Abughleiba explained.

Abughleiba is always on high alert while farming, even though it’s been a couple of years since Israel last annexed parts of his family’s lands.

“Even if the rest of our lands is still accessible, we are always cautious due to threats of crops being bulldozed or shots being fired at us whenever we are working.

“In 2008, the Israeli forces bulldozed our lands, uprooting dozens of olive trees and destroying a water well. In 2014, during the war on Gaza, they did it once again,” he said.

Gaza farmers and landowners bear the brunt of Israel’s policies, facing periodic bulldozing of lands, flooding of crops, and shooting by Israeli forces stationed adjacent to their lands.

“After they bulldozed our lands, we planted them again and still insist on coming back to them because they are our only source of living.

“But after all, our safety depends on the Israeli soldiers’ mood. You could be killed at any moment.” Abughleiba told MEE.

‘Modernised’ methods to steal land

Um-Emad is a Bedouin woman who was expelled from her family’s land in Beersheba during the Palestinian Nakba in 1948.

The 79-year-old lives in a small room in her sons’ house, built in the middle of their agricultural land in the eastern Bureij, in the central Gaza Strip.

For Um-Emad, living on agricultural lands is part of her family’s heritage.

‘I can never imagine my life away from our land. One metre of this land is worth a thousand apartments elsewhere.’

– Um-Emad, 79, Gaza resident

“I can never imagine my life away from our land. One metre of this land is worth a thousand apartments elsewhere,” she told MEE as she sat on the ground of her room overlooking the fields.

“If I have to leave my land in Gaza, then it has to be to my family’s land in Beersheba. That is the only place I can leave to before I die.”

Um-Emad, who was evicted to Gaza at gunpoint when she was six years old during the Nakba, thinks that Israel intends to make Palestinians pay a high price for sticking to their lands, while facilitating their migration from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

For years, Israel has been implementing an annexation plan in the West Bank that was accelerated following the announcement of former US president Donald Trump’s “deal of the century”, in January 2020.

As a result, dozens of families across the West Bank and East Jerusalem have been evicted and displaced.

According to rights groups, Israel’s annexation of Palestinian lands constitutes a flagrant violation of international law, and “can have no effect on the legal status of the territory, which remains de jure occupied”.

Palestinian farmers in Gaza Strip
Palestinian farmers work in the fields in the Gaza Strip (MEE/Sanad Latifa)

“Israel today implements a systematic policy of forcing Palestinian residents in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to migrate and leave their lands.

“The occupation does this both softly and by force. They make Palestinians believe that living in Europe with better life standards is a dream, and thus make thousands of youth leave in search for a better life, in order to make room for [Israeli] settlers.

“We are being forced to abandon our lands, but I would rather be buried here before selling one centimetre of my family’s land,” he said.

‘Every day is Land Day’

Jalal Abujlala, 47, depends mainly on his agricultural land in the eastern central Gaza Strip for living.

But with the remaining area of land after annexation by the buffer zone, the father of eight children can barely cover his family’s expenses, which include the tuition fees for his daughter who’s attending university to study medicine.

‘I always tell (my children) about our stolen lands, and that one day we will regain them back’

– Jalal Abujlala, 47, Gaza farmer

“A large part of our lands was annexed by the Occupation during the Palestinian Nakba and also due to the establishment of the Israeli buffer zone. Now the remaining area can only provide the life’s necessities,” said Abjlala.

“I can see my family’s annexed lands in the occupied territory from here. Sometimes, I approach a bit and take my children to see them. I always tell them about our stolen lands, and that one day we will regain them back,” he said.

“You would think that cultivating in this land is safe since it is not very close to the Israeli borders. But in fact, it does not have to be close in order for the farmers to be hurt,” he continued, recalling memories from Israel’s military attack on Gaza in 2014, where artillery shells targeted vast areas of agricultural lands.

“Owning a land in our country comes with no guarantees. At any moment you are threatened with bulldozing or eviction and annexation.”

For Abujlala, Israel’s measures in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are similar to the event that sparked the Land Day demonstrations in 1976.

“History repeats itself. The Land Day happens everyday in Palestine.”

Land day: Israel’s programme of Palestinian land theft goes on undisturbed

Palestinian protesters mark Land Day in the Umm Al-Hiran village in the Wadi Atir area of the Negev (Naqab) desert (AFP)
Ghada Karmi is a former research Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. She was born in Jerusalem and was forced to leave her home with her family as a result of Israel’s creation in 1948. The family moved to England, where she grew up and was educated. Karmi practised as a doctor for many years working as a specialist in the health of migrants and refugees. From 1999 to 2001 Karmi was an Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, where she led a major project on Israel-Palestinian reconciliation.

Ghada Karmi

30 March 2021 13:32 UTC | Last update: 

For Palestinians, Land Day continues to be an inspiration and a tribute to the just struggle of an unbowed people for their land

The centrality of the struggle for land has always been fundamental to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It is at the heart of two major events whose anniversaries fall due on 30 March. The first, Land Day, commemorates the surge of Palestinian resistance to the takeover of their land by Israel in 1976; and the second marks the start of the Great March of Return in 2018, when thousands of Palestinians in Gaza demonstrated for the right of refugees to return to their confiscated lands in Israel.

From the start the Zionist movement was predicated on the acquisition of an empty territory on which to establish a state exclusively for Jews. Since no such land was available in the Palestine of the time, it had to be carved out, first by purchase, and later by war.

The land-grabbing journey

As Jewish immigrants began to arrive in the country in increasing numbers after 1917, Zionist organisations such as the Jewish National Fund and the Palestine Jewish Colonisation Association set about buying Palestinian land, provided it was untenanted at the time of purchase.

Today, Israel’s settlements have meant that Palestinian ownership of West Bank and East Jerusalem land has shrunk to under 13 percent

Many Arab landowners living outside Palestine, in addition to a minority of Palestinian peasants, sold them land. These sales were mainly motivated by economic necessity, since the Zionist organisations had access to foreign funds unavailable to Arabs.

Years of intense Zionist effort, however, yielded disappointing results. By 1947, and despite their funding and connections to powerful supporters of Zionism, these organisations had acquired no more than a meagre 6.7 percent of Palestine’s land.

But this disappointment was soon reversed by the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. In that war Israel captured 78 percent of Mandate Palestine, taking large swathes of Palestinian land, mostly untenanted thanks to population flight and expulsions in the war. 

After 1948 the new Israeli state swiftly enacted a series of laws designed to acquire more Palestinian land by pseudo-legal means. These included the 1950 Absentee Property Law, permitting the state to take over Palestinian land and property in their owners’ absence; and soon after, the 1953 Land Acquisition Law, which introduced a new category of “state lands” and “closed areas”.

This had the effect of making the state the majority owner of the land, which was to be permanently out of the reach of its previous Palestinian owners.

Subsequent events up to and including the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, that put Israel in occupation of the rest of Palestine, have been stages on the same land-grabbing journey. Today, Israel’s settlements have meant that Palestinian ownership of West Bank and East Jerusalem land has shrunk to under 13 percent. That is set to diminish further as the settlement process continues with further land loss. 

Palestinian children hold up pictures of keys, symbolising the homes they left behind (AFP)
Palestinian children hold up pictures of keys, symbolising the homes they left behind (AFP)

This is the background to the dramatic protests of Land Day in 1976. Their trigger at the time was the Israeli government’s plan to expropriate thousands of dunums of Arab land in the Galilee to build Jewish industrial villages. In line with the Israeli government’s 1975 “Galilee Development Plan” to expand Jewish settlement, it would accelerate Judaisation of what was a majority Arab area. 

A turning point

On 30 March a general strike was called, and widespread demonstrations in Arab towns erupted from the Galilee to the Negev. Thousands marched in protest, while solidarity demonstration were held in the Occupied Territories and the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.Land Day: A potent symbol of the Palestinian struggle

Unexpected at the time from what had been a largely quiescent Arab population, Israel was alarmed and deployed thousands of police, army units and tanks to quell the protests. Six Arabs were killed, hundreds wounded, and hundreds more arrested.

Land Day, as it became known, was a turning point. It was the first time since 1948 that the Arabs in Israel acted as a national collective, refusing to accept the theft of their land after years of control by Israel’s military rule. Land Day was an expression of national pride and self-confidence. It marked the assertion of an Arab presence that Israel’s politics could no longer ignore, and the starting point for Arab political participation in Israel. 

From that time to this, Land Day has been commemorated annually by Palestinians everywhere. In 2018 it was marked by the start of another great Palestinian protest over land. The Great March of Return saw 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza demonstrate near the Israeli separation fence of electrified barbed wire and sensors. It was a peaceful protest, demanding the right of refugees to return to their lands and an end to the blockade of Gaza. Intended to last from 30 March to 15 May, Nakba Day, the same protests took place every Friday.

A double heroism

As in 1976 Israel retaliated with murderous violence. Between 30 March and 15 May 2018 an estimated 110 protesters were killed, and 13,000 wounded by a combination of sniper fire and drones. By the time the March of Return was halted by Hamas in December 2019, 214 people had been killed, and 36,000 wounded. Of these, 1,200 needed long term rehabilitation following bone infections and limb injuries. Israeli soldiers seemed to be using a “shoot-and-maim” policy, deliberately targeting the legs of protestors to cause maximum disability.

Land Day marked the assertion of an Arab presence that Israel’s politics could no longer ignore

Gaza’s health system, damaged by years of blockade, understaffing, and equipment and power shortages, has been unable to cope with the toll of so many injured. Yet that did not stop Palestinian youth braving death and injury each week for nearly two years, and creating a new Palestinian legend to commemorate on 30 March. 

Israel never changed course in the face of that double Palestinian heroism celebrated on Land Day. It went on to build “Development towns” for Jews, 26 by 1981, with the effect of altering the Galilee’s demography in favour of Jews.

In Gaza, likewise, the blockade continues, and Israel’s pretext of its brutality as self-defence against the Great March of Return has been accepted by many Western governments. Its programme of Palestinian land theft goes on undisturbed.  

But for Palestinians on 30 March, Land Day continues to be an inspiration, and a tribute to the just struggle of an unbowed people for their land.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

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Historical References:

أبو عرب منشد الثورة و الأرض

حمزة البشتاوي

أبو عرب الثائر والفنان وشاعر الثورة المعروف بأغانيه ومواويله التي تشبه توتة الدار وزيتون فلسطين وليمونها وزهر الرّمّان.

عرفتُه عن قرب وجلستُ معه بعد أن كنت أسمع أغانيَه ومواويله التي فيها ريحة أيام زمان والتقيته حين جاء لإحياء حفل فني بذكرى مخيم تل الزعتر أقيم في مخيم شاتيلا للفلسطينيين في لبنان.

وبعد الحفلة التي استمرّت ثلاث ساعات بالتمام والكمال وبسهرة طويلة لم يتوقف فيها صوت أبو أعرب يُفرحنا ويُبكينا شوقاً وحنيناً لبلادنا وما زلت أتذكّر موالاً:

يا دار مهما طال البعد لاجي ودمعي بفرقتك عالخد لاجي ما عدت أعيش أنا باسم لاجي لا بد ما عود لو طال الغياب.

وآخ من وجع اللجوء والغربة الساكن فينا من أيام النكبة والبعد عن البلاد.

وبهذه السهرة كان أبو عرب، الله يرحمه، عمره 83 سنة وما شاء الله عليه لم يهدأ صوته إلا لضرورات اللحن والأوزان وبتذكر كيف صار عازف العود يقول له: أنا تعبت يا أبو عرب وبردان فيرد أبو عرب عليه بموال، ويقول: بعدها السهرة بأولها يا فنان ولما تعب عازف العود اقتربت من أبو عرب خجلان، وقلت له: أحكيلي عنك يا ابو عرب كفنان وإنسان فرد بتنهيدة تشبه الأوف بالموال، وقال: بعيداً عن كان يا ما كان.

أنا أبو عرب واسمي إبراهيم محمد صالح ولدت بقرية الشجرة بالجليل سنة 1931 وقريتي أنجبت أدباء وفنانين كتار وشعراء منهم الشاعر علي الأحمد والفنان ناجي العلي وفيها استشهد الشاعر الشهيد عبد الرحيم محمود وهو من قرية عنبتا قضاء طولكرم. وبقريتي الشجرة عشت أحلى أيام الطفولة وأول سنين الشباب ودرست بمدرسة القرية وبعدين رحت على مدرسة لوبيه المجاورة حتى سنة الـ 1944 وبعدين درست سنة بطبريا ومن أيامها كنت أحضر الأعراس بالقرية وأسمع الشعر الشعبي بالحداء والسحجات. وكنت متأثر بجدي الشاعر الشيخ علي الأحمد وبعدني متذكر أشعاره متل ما متذكر كل الأحداث بفلسطين خاصة ثورة الـ 36 ضد الإنكليز لما كانوا الثوار يأتوا إلى قريتنا وينصبوا الكمائن للدوريات وبتذكر كمان كتير منيح معركة الشجرة الأولى لما انجرح أبوي محمد الصالح بإيده ورحت مع أهلي بعدها على قرية كفر كنا قضاء الناصرة وتسللنا مع من تسلل من قريتنا ومررنا بسهل البطوف وحقول الذرة بكفر كنا وبقينا هناك حتى نزحنا إلى لبنان وقعدنا ببنت جبيل إحنا وعائلة ناجي العلي مع بعض تحت شجرات التين والزيتون والرمان. وبعد شهرين كاملين إنتقلنا إلى مخيم عين الحلوة قعدنا فيه حوالي ثلاثة أشهر بالتمام والكمال وبعدها انتقلنا على سورية وسكنا بمخيم حمص واسمه مخيم العائدين والمخيم متل ما بتعرف كان بالسابق ثكنة للجيش الفرنسي فيه مهاجع مقطعة بالزينكو وقسم منا سكن المهاجع وقسم سكن الخيام. والله وكيلك أول سنة بالمخيم كانت أصعب سنة بحياتي بعيد عن بلدي وبرد وثلج وعذاب وأمراض كثيرة، يعني شي كان وشي ما كان وبوقتها كتبت وقلت: شهر وسنة عم تمرق الأيام والليل باكي فوق خيمتنا وأطفال تحت البرد عم بتنام بخيمة وريح الظلم عصفتنا وجدي مريض بتوكله الأسقام أخي وأنا بنلوك دمعتنا أمي حزينة دموعها أرقام أرقام بتحكي بعد نكبتنا.

وبسنة 1955 بدأت أغنّي العتابا والميجانا والدلعونا بأعراس المخيم وأكتب أشعار شعبية بتحمل المعاني الوطنية والثورية والحنين لفلسطين وقريتي الساكنة بقلبي وعيني.

وبسنة 1959 دعاني الأستاذ فؤاد ياسين وهو كان مدير ركن فلسطين باذاعة صوت العرب بالقاهرة لتقديم برنامج عن الشعر الشعبي الفلسطيني، وكان اسم البرنامج أهازيج ومكاتيب ومع انطلاقة الثورة الفلسطينية سنة 1965 صرت أكتب وألحن أغاني ومواويل للوطن والثورة وأسست فرقة سمّيتها فرقة فلسطين للتراث الشعبي ولما استشهد ناجي العلي سمّيت الفرقة باسمه.

وبعد أن سرحت قليلاً عدتُ للنظر في عينيه وسألته: ما هي أكثر حادثة أو قصة بتتذكرها بحياتك يا أبو عرب.

تنهّد ووضع يده على خده وقال:

بتذكّر دايماً ابني الشهيد معن الصالح يلي كان متعلق فيني كتير وهوي شاب خلوق من صغره وخريج كلية هندسة واستشهد بجنوب لبنان سنة 1982 لما كان بدورية هو ورفاقه الستة رايحين ينفذوا عملية ضد جيش الاحتلال، ولما وصلوا حد الثكنة قرب إبني ورفاقه ليقفزوا ويصبحوا داخل الثكنة. فجأة صرخ رفيقه دعست على لغم بالأرض فجمدوا كلهن بالأرض وصاروا يأشروا وصاروا يفكروا شو يعملو وما ينفجر اللغم ويعرف الإحتلال بوجودهن فقام إبني معن الله يرحمه إنبطح جنب رفيقه ومسك البوط يلي لابسه وقله اشلحه شوي شوي وقله لما تشيل إجرك أقفز شي مترين وانبطح وقال للباقيين انبطحوا منشان ما ينصابوا وقت ينفجر اللغم وبسرعة شال إيديه عن البوط وسكّر عيونه ودينيه وايديه عاراسه ورفقاتو كمان عملو هيك وتطلعوا باللغم كيف بدو ينفجر بس لطف من الله اللغم ما انفجر، ولكن جنود الإحتلال حسوا عليهن واشتبكوا معهن حوالي عشر ساعات وأكثر لحد ما خلصت معهن الذخيرة واستشهد إبني والشباب يلي معه بالدورية.

وبتذكّر كمان لما رحت على قرية الشجرة سنة 2012 بعد غربة طالت 64 سنة وبوقتها قلت:

يا عين المي كان الشجر جاري

بعد نبعك يا عين المي جاري

لكن الزمن بالظلم جاري

بعد ما تغرّبوا شمول الاحباب

وصرت اقول لقريتي عتابا ودلعونا.

فقلتُ له: على سيرة الدلعونا عمي أبو عرب من أين جاءت هذه التسمية فقال لي: كان أهل القرى بفلسطين أيام زمان كل ما صار موسم الحصاد أو قطف الزيتون أو حتى لما كان حدا بدو يبني بيته ومحتاج للمساعدة فكانوا الناس بهذه المناسبات يطلبون مدّ يد العون لحد ما صار الطلب مختصر بكلمة دلعونا وكانوا لما يخلصوا من إنجاز شغلهم يجتمعوا حول الدبكة ويغنوا دلعونا يلي صارت جزءاً من الأغنية الشعبيّة التراثية الفلسطينية وأصل الكلمة دلعونا بتعني متل ما قلنا مدّ يد العون.

فقلت له: وإنت يا أبو عرب شو قلت بالدلعونا فقال:

على دلعونا وعلى دلعونا علّي يا شراع وغطي هالكونا علّي يا شراع عالغيم العالي ونجوم النصر حولي بتلالي مشتاقة روحي لنسم جبالي مشتاقة نفسي زهر الليمونا يما يا يما لا تبكي وداعي والليلة ابنك طيّار شراعي ولو ملكتونا كل المعمورة ما بتسوى بأرضي حبة بندورة.

وحكاية أبو عرب لم تنتهِ فما زالت مستمرّة بمواويله ولهفة العودة للبيارة والكروم والدروب يلي بعدها مثلنا عم تقول:

راجع عا بلادي راجع عا بلادي

عالأرض الخضرة راجع عا بلادي.

أنا وأولادي عالأرض الخضرة راجع عا بلادي.

*كاتب وإعلاميّ.

Progressive Spirit Podcast: Gilad Atzmon on the Upcoming US Civil War

Gilad Atzmon and the Upcoming US Civil War – John Shuck – Official Website

BY GILAD ATZMON

John Shuck writes: Gilad Atzmon returns to discuss what he sees as a civil war brewing in the United States over dividing lines that are based on identitarian politics. In this educational and informative interview, he elaborates on a recent post of his, It’s Not About Trump or Biden, and he discusses the history of identitarian politics and why the U.S. is so polarized today. He is the author of The Wandering Who: The Study of Jewish Identity Politics and Being In Time: A Post-Political Manifesto. In May 2018 he was on my program that commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Nakba “The Catastrophe” and Palestinian resistance.

More here

خلافات الفلسطينيين وقود التطبيع العربي ـ «الإسرائيلي»

د. عدنان منصور

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منذ توقيع اتفاقية كامب دايفيد عام 1978، بدأ تراجع الدور العربي وانحداره، ليأتي بعد ذلك اتفاق أوسلو عام 1993، واتفاق وادي عربة عام 1994.

إنّ اتفاق أوسلو جاء بكلّ تأكيد، ليطوّب هذا التراجع، ويؤكد على الانحدار الذي تمّ في ليلة ظلماء، على يد أصحاب القضية المركزية الفلسطينية، والذي أفسح المجال دون أدنى شكّ، للوصول الى حالة التراجع والتفكك والضعف، التي يعيشها الفلسطينيون والعرب منذ ثلاثة عقود وحتى اليوم. وبما أنّ صاحب القضية الأول، وللأسف الشديد، قد فتح بابه على مصراعيه أمام العدو وكيانه الصهيوني، دون ضوابط أو حذر أو عواقب وخيمة، واعترف بكيانه وبوجوده، فإنّ الموقف الفلسطيني والعربي، والقيّمين على المقدسات الإسلامية والمسيحية، أصبح موقفاً هزيلاً، ضعيفاً، منقسماً على نفسه. إذ كيف يمكن للقيادة الفلسطينية التي اعترفت بالعدو، أن يكون دورها وموقفها قوياً، مؤثراً، جامعاً، حازماً، حاسماً، عندما تطالب الآخرين في العالم العربي وخارجه بعدم التطبيع! لأنّ من يجب عليه أن يحافظ على القضية الفلسطينية بالدرجة الأولى، ورفض الاعتراف بالعدو الصهيوني، هم الفلسطينيون أنفسهم، قبل غيرهم. لأنّ الآخر لن يكون ملكياً أكثر من الملك، ولن يكون فلسطينياً أكثر من الفلسطينيين أنفسهم، بحكم الواقع والمنطق والمصالح والتحالفات.

إنّ انقسام الفلسطينيين على بعضهم البعض لسنوات طويلة، وتضييع العديد منهم بوصلة النضال، باعتمادهم الحوار والمفاوضات السلمية والوسائل الدبلوماسية، والتعويل على القوى الخارجية التي وقفت دائماً ضدّ مصالح الأمة وحقوق شعوبها، وعلى الرهان على أنظمة، ما كانت إلا في خدمة هذه القوى، ما بدّد آمالهم في تحقيق أهدافهم، لإقامة دولتهم الفلسطينية المستقلة. تعويل ورهان، جعل العدو وحلفاءه في العالم والمنطقة، ان يستغلوا الفرص، وينتهزوا النوايا “الطيبة” لرئيس السلطة الفلسطينية وقادتها، وكلّ من سار في فلكها، مستغلين ضعفها، وخلافاتها، وتنافسها، وتفككها. سلطة فلسطينية ارتكبت بحق فلسطين وشعبها خطيئة كبيرة فظيعة لا تغتفر، عندما لزمت وأناطت حلّ قضية فلسطين للعراب الأميركي ووثقت به، ليفعل ما فعله باتجاه التطبيع، دون أن تتعلم من دروس التاريخ ووقائعه شيئاً، وتأخذ العبرة من سياسات وأفعال المتآمرين على حقوق شعوب أمتنا، ناكثي العهود، من مارك سايكس الى فرنسوا جورج بيكو، مروراً بالانتداب البريطاني، وصولاً الى أشنع مؤامرة قذرة، قامت بريطانيا بحياكتها وتنفيذها بحق فلسطين وشعبها، قبيل وأثناء إعلان الكيان الصهيوني عام 1948.

إنّ التنديد، والإدانة والاستهجان، والرفض، لا ينفع. ما ينفع أولاً وأخيراً، هو توحّد الفلسطينيين حول هدف واحد، ونضال ومقاومة واحدة، ومن ثم العمل الجدي على استنهاض صحوة شعبية عارمة على مستوى الشعب الفلسطيني والأمة كلها، وتحريك الأطياف والحركات، والفعاليات الشعبية والرسمية للقوى المناضلة القومية، وذلك باستخدام السبل كافة لتصحيح المسار، وبث روح المقاومة والانتفاضة من جديد في جسد الأمة، وانتشالها من المستنقع الذي وضعها فيه العدو، ومعه قوى الهيمنة والمتواطئون على قضايانا الوطنية والقومية على السواء.

أحوج ما تكون إليه شعوبنا اليوم، ليس البكاء على الأطلال، والتحسّر على هضاب فلسطين، ورفض التطبيع مع العدو، ونظم أشعار التنديد والهجاء، وإبداء مشاعر الحنين، وعدم الرضوخ للأمر الواقع، إنما التحرك السريع لوقف الانهيار والتدهور والانقسام الحاصل داخل الصف الفلسطيني والعربي، جراء التخبّط الرهيب، وتباين الأفكار والرؤى والانتماء والولاء، الذي قلب العمل والنضال الفلسطيني المقاوم رأساً على عقب. إنّ خطورة المرحلة الحالية تحتم على الفلسطينيين، كلّ الفلسطينيين، سلطة وحركات مقاومة، وفعاليات وتنظيمات شعبية، العمل فوراً على إعادة تجميع قواها الوطنية والقومية من جديد. إذ أنّ خلافات أهل البيت الواحد شجعت العدو وحلفاءه، على التمادي في قراراتهم، والانتقال من الدفاع الى الهجوم، حيث نتحمّل الجزء الأكبر من المسؤولية، بسبب أخطائنا، وتهوّرنا، وتشتتنا، وتبعثرنا، وخلافاتنا، وانشقاقاتنا، وعداواتنا، وأنانياتنا، وتذبذبنا في مواقفنا مع طرف ضدّ آخر، ورهاننا على المكان الخطأ ثم العودة عنه. كلّ ذلك أدّى إلى هذا التدهور والانحراف، وتضييع البوصلة، وصولاً إلى التصدّع، والانهيار، والتفكّك، والانفصام في الموقف العربي الواحد.

لا بدّ من محاسبة الذات قبل محاسبة الآخرين، وهذا ما يستدعي مراجعة كاملة للحسابات، والرهانات، والتحالفات، وتقييم المواقف والأداء من جديد، وتحديد من هم أصدقاء القضية الفلسطينية الحقيقيون ومن هم أعداؤها، وتحديد من هم العابثون بحقوق الشعب الفلسطيني بشكل قاطع وحاسم، أكانوا فلسطينيين أم عرباً أم أجانب، دون أيّ تردّد، أو مواربة، أو خوف، أو مراوغة، أو مجاملة، وفرز أصحاب القضية، المقاومين الحقيقيين، المناضلين في الداخل الفلسطيني، عن الانتهازيين المزيّفين، بائعي القضية وتجارها، اللاهثين وراء السلطة، والمال، والمناصب، والمكاسب، وما أكثرهم، وهم الذين آثروا دائماً على بيعها في بازار المصالح الشخصية والسياسات الدولية!

وحدهم الفلسطينيون الشرفاء، أصحاب القضية دون منازع، الذين يستطيعون حماية قضيتهم من الضياع، والحفاظ عليها، وانتشالها من المستنقع، ومنع طي صفحتها ودفنها، وجرّها الى عالم النسيان.

اننا أمام نكبة ثانية جديدة متمثلة بالتطبيع، وهي أخطر من النكبة الأولى. لأنّ النكبة الأولى ولدت صحوة ووعياً قومياً عربياً، وجيلاً جديداً مقاوماً رافضاً للكيان، متمسكاً بأرضه وحقوقه. أما التطبيع فيأتي ليشرع ويؤكد على وجود الكيان الغاصب، ويعمل على إخماد الصحوة والرفض، ومن ثم القضاء على المقاومة، وإلغاء فلسطين من الخارطة التاريخية، والجغرافية، والقومية، والوجودية، شعباً وأرضاً ودولة.

لا مجال للانتظار، لأنّ الأمة كلها، وجودها ومستقبلها وأمنها القومي على المحكّ، وأمام الاختبار. فإما المواجهة والمقاومة، وإما الاستسلام والسقوط والانهيار.

*وزير الخارجية والمغتربين الأسبق

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Normalization between some Arab governments and ‘Israel’: Facts and figures

By Khalid Qaddoumi

September 14, 2020 – 16:3

The term itself says that something is not “normal”. It needs to be normalized, or something that was a taboo is converted into permissible. This is the situation of the relations between Arabs and “Israel” since the Palestinians’ catastrophe (Nakba) in 1948 when the “Israeli” occupation started. Hence, no doubt this topic is controversial and paradoxical.

A few ideas on the subject is given below:

(1) Where has the normalization process reached after 42 years of the first attempt at Camp David 1978?

In 1978 the Egyptian government forged its official diplomatic relations with “Israel” brokered by the United States government. On the 20th of January 2000, The Economist published an article titled “Israelis whom Egyptians love to hate.” The article endorsed the negative “Israeli” character portrayed by the cinema producers in Egypt. “Their women are sluttish schemers. Their men scowling thugs, prone to blood-spilling and to strange guttural barking,” the Economist said. Irrespective of decades of relations, the Egyptians still have their “unwelcoming” attitude to the newly imposed and alien “friend.”

In 2016 another study was published where Dr. Abdulaleem, the senior advisor to the Center of Pyramids for political and strategic studies, said, “Egyptians are least interested in any sort of normalization with “Israel”. The paper mentioned that such a relationship is only at the security apparatus level and few desks at the Egyptian Foreign Ministry. It is a “cold peace,” it wrote.

Alzaytouna’s study center conducted an opinion poll in 2019 about the popularity of the relations with “Israel” among some Muslim countries. The poll concluded that only 3% of Egyptians, 4% of Pakistanis, 6% of Turkish, and 15% of Indonesians may welcome some sort of relations with “Israel”. Many conditioned it after a just solution for the Palestinians.

The study stated that such a process has nothing to do with any fair demands of the Arab nations nor brought any benefit for peace attempts or any economic interests for the nations that the politicians tried to market their causes.

After Israel protested over a contract to sell American F35 jets to the Emirates, the former chief of the “Israeli” army Gadi Eizenkot told “Israel Hayom”: “in the Middle East (West Asia) your new friends may turn to be your enemy. Hence, the “Israeli” surpassing quality power (over the Arabs) is highly essential.”

An obvious “Israeli” skeptical mentality and policy towards Arabs prevents any type of so-called normalization.

(2) Money talks, or something else?

If we agree to the mentioned pragmatic notion, one may expect some economic boost even at the bilateral level between the Emirates and “Israel.” On the 8th of September 2020, the Minister of “Intelligence” of “Israel”, Eli Cohen, said that “In three to five years the balance of trade between the Emirates and us may reach four billion dollars.”

 First, why should a minister of “Intelligence” announce such economic news?

 Second, let us compare this balance of trade with the balance of trade between the Emirates and a neighboring country like Iran. In that case, the figure may exceed 13.5 billion dollars. Here one may say that something else other than “Money talks.”

 Many analysts refer to such a process as an intense and vital need for the current leaders in “Israel” and the U.S. to get re-elected.

 Netanyahu is facing corruption trials, and many riots and rallies are being held against him that may qualify the situation for a fourth election. On the other hand, Trump faces a series of fiascoes at different levels; his government’s disastrous approach to the COVID- 19 pandemic that infected millions, the racial discrimination, and the people in the streets protesting the police behavior against the civilians.

Bibi and Trump initiated such a process to safeguard their own endangered political future. In conclusion, one cannot bet on the viability of such a deal.

Other analysts see this deal to jeopardize the security and stability of the region.
Some “Israeli” commentators have accused Netanyahu of forging new relations with “countries that have no geopolitical importance like Bahrain and the Emirates but at the same time are neighbors to Iran,” which may lead to more escalation and expected violence in the region.

(3) Finally, what such normalization can benefit the Palestinians as the victims who are supposed to wait for the fruits of peace out of this deal? On the contrary, all the Palestinians, irrespective of their political affiliations, have refused and denounced this deal.

Even those who tried to reach a peace with Israel based on the 1993 Oslo accords, unequivocally rejected the deal to the extent that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party describing the process as “betrayal.” 

Other Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who gathered lately in Beirut, announced their utmost discontent against the deal and consider it as a “reward for the “Israeli” criminals on their crimes.” 

The secretaries General of all Palestinian parties who convened in Beirut protested against the deal and called upon the Arab League to denounce it. 

In conclusion, the so-called “just solution” to the Palestinian issue cannot be achieved through such shortcuts of normalizations between Arabs and “Israel”. The Palestinians are the only side to decide their own destiny and no one else.
 

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“أستمرُ عبر حنظلة”.. ناجي العلي الذي لم يصالح

83 عاماً على ولادة الفنان الفلسطيني ناجي العلي الذي استشرف برسومه بداية عصر التطبيع العربي مع “إسرئيل”.

المصدر: الميادين نت

29 اب

“وُلدت في 5 حزيران 1967، اسم أبي مش مهم. أمي اسمها نكبة، وأختي اسمها فاطمة، نمرة رجلي ما بعرف لأني دايماً حافي، أنا مش فلسطيني ولا أردني، مش كويتي ولا لبناني ولا مصري، أنا عربي”، هذا ما يقوله حنظلة فتى الفنان الفلسطيني ناجي العلي، الذي ساهم بموهبته صنع هوية الفلسطيني المستاء من بقائه لاجئاً، والعازم على إخفاء وجهه ما دامت فلسطين محتجبة عن عينيه.  

هو ناجي سليم حسين العلي، الفلسطيني الذي توقف به العمر في سن العاشرة حين بلغها عام 1947، ووجد نفسه مضطراً لأن يترك أرضه ويصير لاجئاً في مخيم عين الحلوة، جنوب بيروت. ثم أخذ يكبر فيما فتاه المبتكر حنظلة المولود في يوم “النكسة”، ظلّ على عمره -أي في العاشرة- ففي “تلك السن غادرتُ الوطن، وحين يعود حنظلة سيكون بعد في العاشرة، ثم سيأخذ في الكبر بعد ذلك، قوانين الطبيعة المعروفة لا تنطبق عليه” يقول ناجي العلي معرّفاً بحنظلة.

بأكثر من 40 ألف رسم كاريكاتيري، و30 عاماً من العمل، رسم الفنان الصاعد من أزقة المخيم، الطريق إلى “كامل التراب الفلسطيني” كما تقول إحدى لوحاته، وذلك بلاءات ثلاث “لا صلح، لا مفاوضات، لا اعتراف” لا تقود إلا إلى هدف واحد آمن به طوال حياته وهو “الكفاح المسلح”.

 

ناجي
لاءات ثلاث آمن بها ناجي علي كما باقي أبناء المخيمات

كرّس العلي رسوماته لمحاربة دعاية الاستسلام والاعتراف بـ”إسرائيل”، ووجه سهام نقده اللاذع للأنظمة والمثقفين الذين رضوا أن يفاوضوا على القضية الفلسطينية أو يهادنوا عليها. وسخرت رسومه من الزعماء العرب وشرّحت السياسات الإسرائيلية، التي عرف عام 1973 أن هدفها سيكون الاستدراج للمصافحة.

كان العام 1973 الذي انتهت مفاعيل الحرب العربية-الإسرائيلية فيه عام 1978 بتوقع الرئيس المصري أنور السادات ورئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي مناحيم بيغن اتفاق “كامب ديفيد”، عاماً لنكسة جديدة ورفض جديد في تاريخ حنظلة ناجي العلي: “بعد حرب تشرين الأول 1973 كتفتُ حنظلة باكراً، لأن المنطقة ستشهد عملية تطويع وتطبيع مبكرة قبل رحلة السادات…. من هنا كان التعبير العفوي لتكتيف الطفل هو رفضه وعدم استعداده للمشاركة في هذه الحلول”، يقول العلي.

لم يجزّء رئيس رابطة الكاريكاتير العربي القضايا، فقد آمن بالنقد وسلية لردع رجال السياسة العرب عن احتكار الحكم، ومهمة لتحفيز الجمهور ودفعه للتمسك بقاضاياه المحقة، وبالعدالة الاجتماعية كهدف لا ينبغي فصله عن معركة التحرر. 

ورغم إيمانه بالعروبة، لم يهادن العلي العرب الذين مدوا أياديهم لـ”إسرائيل”، وحولوا نفطهم الأسواد لمادة استرضاء أميركا. كل سلام مع “إسرائيل” ما كان ليمر إلا في صدور الفلسطينيين كما يرى العلي.. هو طعنة من خلف. هو حرب على فلسطين وإن كان تحت مسمى السلام. 

ناجي
السلام مع “إسرائيل” يمر عبر صدور الفلسطينيين

اشتغل ناجي العلي على صناعة وعي جديد، أساسه أن التطبيع والاعتراف لن يفيد العرب بشيء (فهو يصوّر السلام مع “إسرائيل” في إحدى رسوماته، بالعظمة التي لا يتمكن المطبّع من أن يطالها)، وأن المقاومة هي السبيل الوحيد أمام العرب لاستعادة ما خسروه، هذا في وقت كانت القوات الإسرائيلة لا تزال محتلة لغزة وجنوب لبنان وباقي الأراضي الفلسطينية. 

اليوم، وفيما القوات الإسرائيلية تهدد بأنها سترد على أي هجمة يشنها حزب الله، فيما جنودها يختبئون في آلياتهم ويزرعون رجلاً آلياً كطعم لعناصر المقاومة كي يجنبهم قتل بعض جنوده، تسارع الإمارات العربية للإعداد لـ”اتفاق السلام” مع “إسرائيل” في البيت الأبيض، في دليل واضح على صدق ما آمن به العلي قبل عقود، أن الهزيمة والانتصار ليسا متوقفين على قدرة العدو، وإنما على الإيمان بالنصر وبالاخلاص للمبادئ الوطنية.

33 عاماً مرّ على استشهاد العلي في أحد شوارع لندن، بفعل مسدس وكاتم صوت مجهول. كثير من الأمور تغيرت منذ ذالك الحين، لكن حنظلة لا يزال رمزاً راهناً يشفُّ عن روح العلي المتمردة، هذه نبؤة أخرى صادقة للفنان المقتول غيلة: “لن ينتهي حنظلة من بعدي، وربما لا أبالغ إذا قلت أني قد أستمر به بعد موتي”.    

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‘Ordinary’ Israelis Don’t Perceive Themselves as Ordinary People

By Rima Najjar

Global Research, June 28, 2020

On reading the enduring horrific daily news coming out of Palestine/Israel relating to the ongoing Jewish-state Nakba, I invariably feel a strong desire to discuss what is often the elephant in the room. It’s an issue constantly on the minds of Israelis and Palestinians alike, while at the same time being difficult to discuss frankly and directly in polite society.

The issue is Jewish supremacy as it manifests itself in the Zionist settler-colonial state of Israel and beyond. (See my blog post, What is Jewish supremacy and how is it different from White supremacy?). I say “beyond”, because there is a strong existing connection to Israel by ‘ordinary’ Jews outside of Israel/Palestine, whose Jewish communities, in Europe and America, feed Israel. Even at a mature age they go there, either to visit or to stay (which is a support and confirmation for the state), but more often to serve in the military which is the most militant of brainwashing in Jewish supremacy.

Most activists skirt the issue of Jewish supremacy and some deny it outright in a way they would not dream of doing with White supremacy. The only safe place to discuss the issue of Jewish supremacy, it sometimes appears, is within the confines of Mondoweiss.

But even there, we are more likely to read forceful critiques debunking the Zionist idea of a ‘Jewish nation’ as sold to the world by the world Zionist movement. A necessary exercise. Nevertheless, I often wonder, what about the concomitant fact of the religious Jewish character of the state as expressed in its Basic Law? What about the self-professed Jewish identity of millions of Jews, in Israel and outside Israel — not to mention Palestinian perceptions of them — as Jews first, and Zionist second?

It therefore seems at times that, in order to liberate Palestine from the Zionist settler-colonial regime, Palestinians must first undertake the impossible task of convincing the world that those who espouse the Zionist settler-colonial regime are less Jewish than Zionist, which of course strips them of their self-identified Jewish identity and is unacceptable to them.

More and more Jews worldwide today are saying “not in our name”, in reference to Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. However, they too, don’t have the power to rename Israeli Jews as something else. This brings to mind Israel’s chief rabbi’s statement that “some Jews are more Jewish than others.”

When we talk about Israel, we can discuss apartheid, demographics, settler-colonialism, but we are often silenced when the issue is Jewish supremacy and the Jewish nature of the state — issues that are central to Israeli society as well as to the current and future dynamics of Palestinian-Israeli relations.

If the goal of all the analysis about Israel is to find realistic solutions for an impossible status quo, we ought not to dismiss this very real and troubling issue. It doesn’t make sense to do so.

In a 2015 article published online and titled ‘Palestine‒Israel: Decolonization Now, Peace Later’, Alaa Tartir (researcher at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland and a policy advisor at Al-Shabaka) lists a number of basic but fundamental obstacles to any future lasting peace in Israel/Palestine. Among them is the following characterization of Israeli society:

Another dominant observation that I noticed in my small, random and unrepresentative sample is the sense of superiority [among Israeli Jews]. liberal, leftist, fundamentalists, secular, religious and progressive voices, from different generations living in different cities, shared the feature of superiority, which is problematic at the very personal and human level, before it extends to politics. Statements like ‘we are God’s chosen nation’, ‘we don’t care about international law’, ‘we help those poor Palestinians to end the occupation’, ‘we offer Palestinians jobs and they work for us’, ‘Gaza is irrelevant’, ‘I have Palestinian friends but would never trust them’ characterized the discussions. Therefore, unless ‘ordinary’ Israelis perceive themselves as ordinary people and not superior to other nations it is impossible to imagine how a one-state or two-state solution could work.

Tartir goes on to say,

Just as the Palestinian people and leadership need to engage in a serious process of reforming their strategies, so do the Israelis. The Israelis need to reconcile internally a number of issues mainly related to the apartheid structures, Jewish supremacy, the Jewish nature of the state, the demographic phobia and the return of the Palestinian refugees from exile.

When we are forced to ignore the perceptions of Israelis and their set of values and beliefs (which are the root manifestation of the Zionist Jewish state in Palestine), when we are unable to confront them candidly, we Palestinians will never be able to achieve justice and equality.

Lena, a former Israeli, writes:

Many Jews, even if not overtly Zionist, share this basic belief that in order to prevent another extermination, they must become DOMINANT and exercise superiority, because “this is how the world works, either you dominate or be exterminated”. Although nobody ever has persecuted or offended these young Jews, they share the view of Goyim as a bunch of people who inherently want to erase Jews from this planet. I honestly do not know how to combat a basic belief that the world is based on domination, that whoever does not dominate will be subjugated or killed, that Jews must forever fight against an inherent existential threat, therefore not letting them dominate is the same as wanting them all dead.

Lena describes the mindset of any group of people who have been conditioned to see the world through us vs. them.

“Confronting the occupier, colonizer or oppressor is the main lesson from the history of liberation movements across the world,” writes Tartir. We must confront Israelis on the issue of Jewish supremacy, as on all others.

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Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem and whose mother’s side of the family is from Ijzim, south of Haifa. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank. She is a frequent contributor to Global Research.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Rima Najjar, Global Research, 2020

ازالة «إسرائيل» واجب شرعيّ وإنسانيّ نقطة أول السطر..

محمد صادق الحسيني

انه يوم القدس العالمي، يوم ان تكون القدس عاصمة لكلّ العرب ولكلّ المسلمين ولكلّ أحرار العالم‏، ولا غير…!

في هذا اليوم التاريخي العظيم الذي يلخص ملحمة الإنسانية في الدفاع عن الحق والحقيقة لا بدّ من اليقظة والانتباه جيداً لما قد يُعدّه العدو لنا…!

حذار ثم حذار ثم حذار ‏من الوقوع في فخ الصهاينة من جديد..!

‏تثير الصهيونية العالمية بين الفينة والأخرى موجة مضللة من الدعاية لحفظ كيانها الغاصب القائم على الظلم والتضليل والزيف والخداع والمخاتلة والاختباء وراء مشهديات مزيفة..!

‏والعنوان دائماً: ‏العداء لليهوديّة!

‏حذار من هذا الفخّ، فلسطين تمّ غصبها في تاريخ معيّن، عنوة وغيلة وغدراً، ويجب أن تعود الآن لأهلها والسلام… ولا علاقة لهذا بأيّ أمر آخر، من أمور الخداع والزيف والتضليل بأي مظلة تستر او تحتها اختبأ هذا الغاصب والمحتلّ..!

وإنّ محاولة الصهاينة إثارة بعض المغالطات هنا او هناك بهدف كسب تعاطف دولي مزوّر وغير مشروع، لن يغيّر من حقيقة صارخة ألا وهي:

أن فلسطين الجغرافيا والسكان والحقوق والتاريخ والثقافة والهوية قد تمّ غصبها ومصادرتها عنوة على يد المستعمر الغربي وبرعاية الصهيونية العالمية في غفلة من تاريخ عالمنا العربي والإسلامي…

وأن يكون الحاكم الغاصب الفعلي آنذاك او الآن محسوباً على الديانة اليهودية حقاً أو كذباً وزوراً لا يغيّر من الأمر شيئاً قطعاً..!

حتى لو أعلن حكام تل ابيب إسلامهم الآن مثلاً… لن يغيّر من الأمر شيئاً، عندها سيكونون في أحسن أحوالهم مثل صهاينة الداخل المتغطين بعروبة كاذبة او بإسلام كاذب، وهم المعروفون تاريخياً بالرجعية العربية، والذين هم من جنسهم ومن معسكرهم المعادي أصلاً لنضال الشعوب والأمم الحرة منذ النشأة بل منذ النطفة…!

وأمر تفكيك وإزالة هذا الكيان الغاصب سلماً او حرباً هو واجب وطني وقومي وديني وثقافي وإنساني، تحقيقاً للعدالة الكونية عند كلّ الأحرار وعند المتديّنين منهم تحقيقاً لمقولة الأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر. وهو أمر لا يتغيّر مع مرور الزمن بل هو من ثوابت الفكر الإنساني عامةً…

انها لحظة وعي إنساني تقترب من نضجها ولا بدّ للسنن الكونية والحتمية التاريخية أن تفعل فعلها وفلسطين يجب أن تصبح وستصبح قريباً حرة مستقلة عربية وجزءاً لا يتجزأ من أمة مشرقية وعربية قوية وعزيزة وجزءاً من محور عربي وإسلامي مقاوم وقويّ في إطار محور عالمي مضادّ للاستكبار العالمي والاستعمار والإمبريالية والأحادية الأميركية الهيمنية الجائرة…!

ولا مهرب من هذه الحقيقة التي باتت أوضح من الشمس في رابعة النهار ولا يمكن تغطيتها بالغربال …!

فلسطين عائدة لأهلها، وأهلها عائدون إليها، هذا حق لن يتغيّر مع تقادم الزمن، بل يترسّخ ويتعزّز مع استعادة الأمة وعيها وقوتها.

سنصلّي في القدس.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

في ذكرى النكبة!!! يا صهاينة الداخل العربيّ: فلسطين اغتُصَبت ولم تُبَعْ!!!

د.عدنان منصور

خلال الأشهر الأخيرة، روّجت بشكل مثير ومدروس، حملة واسعة، صدرت عن شخصيات سياسية مسؤولة وغير مسؤولة، وعن جهات إعلامية، وفنية، وجامعية، ودينية، وغيرها، في أنحاء عديدة من العالم العربي، تهدف الى تشويه القضية الفلسطينية من اساسها، وتسيء مباشرة وبالصميم، إلى قضية وسمعة ونضال ومقاومة الشعب الفلسطيني، وتجميل وتظريف صورة الصهاينة المحتلين، وقلب الحقائق التاريخية، رأساً على عقب، وإظهار اليهود على أنهم المغبونون والمعتدى عليهم، ويجب الاعتراف بحقهم في امتلاك فلسطين..

.. يأتي هذا، مع ما يرافق من إساءة متعمدة للفلسطينيين ولأمتهم كلها وقضيتهم، من خلال اتهامهم زوراً، من انهم باعوا ارضهم الفلسطينية الى اليهود، وبالتالي لا يحق لمن يبيع أرضه، ان يسترجعها من جديد !!!!

صهاينة وعربان الداخل العربي، أصبحوا اليوم، حماة الصهيونية و”اسرائيل”، والناطقين باسمها، والمدافعين عن احتلالها ووجودها، على حساب أبناء جلدتهم وامتهم، والواقفين في وجه المقاومين من اجل استرداد ارضهم وحقوقهم المشروعة.

هو الرابع عشر من أيار، يدون ويحدث عن نفسه. ويؤرّخ عما قبله وبعده، علّ الخونة والمرتدّين، والعملاء والمطبعين، من صهاينة الداخل، يزيلوا الغشاوة عن بصيرتهم النائمة المحنطة، ويعوا حقيقة ما جرى من احداث، ومجازر، وعمليات إبادة جماعية، وقتل ونهب، لم ينكرها الصهاينة، ولا المؤرخون الجدد، امثال ايلان باب Ilan Pappe، وبني موريس وغيرهما.

إن قرار تقسيم فلسطين عام 1947، رمى الى تأسيس دولة يهودية مساحتها 14100 كلم2، وتضم 558000 يهودي، بالإضافة الى 405000 عربي فلسطيني. ودولة عربية مساحتها 11500 كلم2 تضم 80 الف عربي، وعشرة آلاف يهودي. كما حدد القرار منطقة دولية، تضم الاماكن المقدسة، كالقدس وبين لحم، وفيها 105000 عربي، بالإضافة الى مئة الف يهودي.

قرار التقسيم هذا، تبعته اعمال إرهابية، وجرائم ومجازر رهيبة، ارتكبتها العصابات الإرهابية الصهيونية، في أنحاء عديدة من فلسطين، قبيل اعلان الدولة الاسرائيلية. اذ شنت عصابات شتيرن العسكرية، والارغون تسفاي ليومي، حملات منظمة على القرى العربية، بغية ترويع اهلها، وإجبارهم على تركها بالقوة، والتخلي عنها لليهود.

لقد رسمت المنظمات اليهودية الإرهابية، خطة محكمة، وقامت بتنفيذها بنجاح وبدقة متناهية، حتى إذا حلّ منتصف أيار 1948، وهو تاريخ اعلان قيام دولة الاحتلال الاسرائيلية، كان نصف مليون من العرب الفلسطينيين، الهاربين من المجازر والمذابح، يلجأون الى البلدان العربية المجاورة. صحيفة Hamashkif الناطقة باسم المنظمة الإرهابية شتيرن، والتي كان يقودها مناحيم بغين، كشفت عن خطة المذابح التي نفذت، حيث ذكرت ان خطط المنظمة عرضت على القيادة العسكرية اليهودية، وحظيت بموافقتها..

كانت قرية دير ياسين، بداية حلقة المجازر الرهيبة، حيث حصدت الدبابات العشرات من المدنيين، وقام الإرهابيون ببقر بطون الحوامل، وتقطيع الاطفال امام أعين آبائهم. وحول هذه المجزرة الفظيعة، نشرت الجريدة الناطقة باسم منظمة شتيرن، افتتاحية جاء فيها: “إن كل امرئ يعرف ان الهجوم على دير ياسين هو الذي ألقى الرعب في قلوب الجماعات العربية، وأدى الى فرارها المذعور.. هو المعجزة المباركة التي قوت عزائمنا، وأنزلت بالعدو ضربة اعظم بكثير، مما كان يمكن لحكمة جميع قادة الهاجانا مجتمعة أن تصنعه… ونحن نرجو ان لا تُذرف دموع التماسيح بعد اليوم على فظائع دير ياسين!!!

مناحيم بغين زعيم المنظمة الإرهابية الارغون، الذي اصبح في ما بعد رئيساً للوزراء، وحاملا جائزة نويل للسلام(!!!!) صرح معقباً على مجزرة دير ياسين: “إن هذه المجزرة لم تكن مبررة فقط، بل ودون النصر في دير ياسين، لما كانت هناك دولة اسرائيل”!!! وقال ايضاً: “انتم الاسرائيليون، عليكم ان لا تبدوا تسامحاً، وان لا تشعروا بأي شفقة، طالما لم نقض تماماً على ما يسمّى بالثقافة العربية… إن قوة التقدم في تاريخ العالم، هي للسيف. نحن نحارب، إذن نحن نكون.

قبيل إعلان دولة “اسرائيل” في 14 أيار 1948، قامت العصابات الصهيونية بطرد العرب الفلسطينيين من قراهم وبلداتهم، وكانت تحل مكانهم المستوطنين الجدد. وعند اعلان الدولة، اعتبرت “اسرائيل”، ان كل فلسطيني ترك منزله قبل الاول من ٱب 1948، يعتبر بحكم الغائب. وبموجب هذا القرار، صادرت “اسرائيل” ثلثي الأراضي التي كانت للفلسطينيين.

المؤرخ الإسرائيلي ايلان باب، تناول بوضوح في كتابه “التطهير العرقي لفلسطين» Le nettoyage ethnique de la Palestine، حيث ذكر انه في 11 آذار 1948 وقبل شهرين من اعلان الدولة الاسرائيلية، وضع مخطط داليت Daleth، حيث تم بموجبه، تهجير ثلاثمئة ألف فلسطيني، اي نصف السكان الأصليين من بيوتهم واراضيهم… كما تم تدمير531 قرية وإخلاء 11 منطقة من سكانها.

كان الفلسطينيون يمتلكون 92 بالمئة من مساحة “اسرائيل” اليوم. كما ان سكان المدن والقرى المهجورة، كانوا يمثلون 85 بالمئة من مجموع السكان الموجودين في الأراضي التي هجّروا منها. وعند تأسيس الدولة، لم يصمد سوى 92 قرية، ومئة وخمسين ألف فلسطيني بقوا تحت نير دولة الاحتلال.

استمرت العمليات العسكرية بعد 14 أيار 1948، اذ نفذت “اسرائيل” حملة عسكرية واسعة، عرفت بعملية “داني”، ادت الى احتلال اللد والرملة وإخلائها من السكان العرب. كما نفذت عمليات عسكرية اخرى، أسفرت عن احتلال بئر السبع واشدود، وإفراغها بالكامل من السكان العرب.

اما عملية حيرام، فقد أدت الى اجتياح منطقة الجليل، وتهجير ستين الف فلسطيني، تركوا ديارهم متوجهين الى لبنان. ولم يبق في جيب الجليل، سوى 12 ألف فلسطيني، غالبيتهم من الدروز والشركس والمسيحيين.

لم تتوقف عمليات التطهير عند هذا الحد، بل قامت القوات الصهيونية بتنفيذ عملية تطهير على حدود دولة الاحتلال، حيث جرت حوادث عنيفة، ما دفع بـ”إسرائيل” الى مسح عدد من القرى العربية الواقعة ضمن شريط حدودي، يتراوح عرضه بين 5 و 15 كلم، من أجل إقامة منطقة خالية من السكان العرب. وبناء على ذلك، قامت القوات الإسرائيلية بتهجير سكان هذه القرى، الذين لجأوا الى الداخل اللبناني ومن هذه القرى، ترشيحا ومعليا في الجليل الأعلى، والجاعونة والخصاص والقبطية، في محافظة صفد.

هكذا تأسست دولة الاحتلال الاسرائيلية، على حساب شعب فلسطين وأرضه. المؤرخ الإسرائيلي بني موريس، في كتابه “ولادة مشكلة اللاجئين الفلسطينيين” الصادر عام 1987، ومعه السياسي الإسرائيلي، اسرائيل شاحاك، يؤكدان أن عدد المدن والقرى العربية التي دمرتها القوات الصهيونية، بلغ بين 350 و 383 مدينة وقرية. اما المؤرخ سلمان أبو سته، وبعد دراسة مستفيضة وموثقة، والتي تعتبر من اهم الدراسات المعمقة في هذا المجال، فيؤكد أن عدد المدن والقرى الفلسطينية المدمرة بلغ 566 قرية ومدينة.

وماذا بعد؟!!!!

في 14 أيار 2020، نقول بصوت عالٍ، لكل الخونة والعملاء والمأجورين، والمتصهينين، والمهرولين باتجاه العدو الغاصب، القاتل المحتل، ولكل منافق متخاذل أفاك… للسياسي المسؤول وغير المسؤول، الملوث بفكره المنحرف… للإعلامي المرتزق المروّج للتطبيع والمدافع عنه…. للفنان الانتهازي الذي ابتعد عن قضيته، من اجل حفنة من المال والشهرة… للأستاذ الجامعي المشبع بالكراهية والحقد تجاه فلسطين والفلسطينيين… “ “للمحلل الاستراتيجي “الفذ”، المرتهن للعدو وأولياء نعمته…. “للمفكر” المدعي اللاهث وراء المنافع والمكرمات… للحزبي المتقلب المتذبذب الذي يميل مع كل ريح… لرجال الدين الذين باعوا دينهم بالمنصب والدينار، من اجل تبخير الحاكم والمسؤول، والدفاع عن سياساته التطبيعية مع العدو، بفتاوى رخيصة مقززة بعيدة كل البعد عن الدين والايمان والشرف والضمير والكرامة…. الى كل هؤلاء وغيرهم مَن هم على شاكلتهم، نصرخ في وجوههم القذرة ونقول: فلسطين لم ولن تباع… ولم يبعْها شعبها… واذا كانت العصابات الصهيونية المسلحة، قد هجرت الشعب العربي الفلسطيني، ودمّرت مدنه وقراه، واستولت على ارضه، فإن الاحتلال لن يقضي على عروبة فلسطين، ولن ينال من مقاومة شعبها، ومقاومة الأحرار في منطقتها، ولن يقضي على عزيمته في استرجاع أرضه وحقوقه المشروعة، مهما طال الزمن، وأن وقف بجانب المحتل الإسرائيلي، شذاذ الآفاق من الخوارج والمنحرفين عن قضية فلسطين، صهاينة الداخل العربي!!

Iran Calls for World’s Action against ‘Israeli’ Occupation of Palestine

Iran Calls for World’s Action against ‘Israeli’ Occupation of Palestine

By Staff, Agencies

The Islamic Republic of Iran reiterated full support for Palestinians against the Tel Aviv regime’s atrocities, calling on Muslim nations and the entire world community to take immediate and practical steps towards putting an end to the decades-long ‘Israeli’ occupation.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry released a statement on Thursday, on the eve of Nakba Day [Catastrophe], when back in 1948, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcibly evicted from their homeland and the ‘Israeli’ regime proclaimed existence.

“72 years ago, on this day, the Zionist immigrants massacred people of the land of Palestine — including men, women, the youth, the elderly and innocent children — and forced them out of their homes while using deviant and racist ideas and thoughts as a pretext. [That is how] the Palestinian land and the entire West Asia were afflicted with Zionist Nakba,” the statement read.

Palestinians mark Nakba Day on May 15, a day after the occupying regime declared existence.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry described Nakba Day as the starting point of ‘Israeli’ crimes against the true owners of Palestine, including building settlements, further displacing Palestinians, desecrating the al-Aqsa Mosque, maintaining a crippling siege on Gaza, and annexing the occupied side of Syria’s Golan Heights.

The statement also censured new US-backed attempts by the ‘Israeli’ regime to annex more Palestinian land.

The ministry, relatively, expressed Iran’s “full solidarity” with the Palestinian cause, rejecting a “humiliating” peace plan drawn up by the administration of US President Donald Trump to end the ‘Israeli’-Palestinian conflict.

It also emphasized that international bodies, especially the United Nations, need to shoulder their responsibility and “set the stage for the return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland and a referendum joined by the true inhabitants of this land — including Muslims, Christians and Jews — so they can exercise the right to decide their own fate and form an independent Palestinian government with holy Quds as [the state’s] capital.”

Imagining Return: Palestinians in Jordan’s Sprawling Refugee Camps Still Yearn for Home

B Miko Peled

Source

Amman, Jordan — Abna’a Gaza (the Children of Gaza) is a status given to Palestinian refugees who fled from the Gaza Strip to Jordan in 1967. They fled during the 1967 war and consequent Israeli occupation of Gaza. Today, over five decades later, these Palestinians who originally fled to Gaza from their homes in greater Palestine in 1948 number 150,000. They remain mostly in camps, unable to leave, unable to work except for menial labor, with no access to healthcare and with no formal national identity.

The Larger Refugee Issue

Israel and the various other Zionist institutions have always claimed that the refugee problem has nothing to do with them. They offer all sorts of stories to explain the flight of close to one million Palestinians from their homes and land. Still, all the obfuscation in the world cannot change the fact that Zionist militias forced Palestinians out of Palestine in an attempt to establish a state with a clear – if not an absolute – Jewish majority.

In cities like Tabariya and Safad, in the north, in large stretches of land in the Naqab in the south, and in West Jerusalem, which became the capital city of Israel, the ethnic cleansing was so complete that not even one Palestinian family remained.

Now, over seven decades later, the Palestinian refugee population is estimated at around five million people. Banned from returning to their lands and homes, they live in squalor in refugee camps that quite often are only a few short miles from their original homes.

The Gaza Camp

Lying in Jordan’s rolling northern hills, Jerash is said to be one of the best kept ancient Roman cities outside of Italy. Much of the ancient ruins are still intact and they are an incredible sight to see. A few short miles from Jerash, however, lies the Palestinian refugee camp, Gaza Camp. It is an equally incredible sight to behold but for completely different reasons.

I visited the Gaza Camp for the first time in 2013 and then again in February 2020 and though some small changes were visible. By and large, the living conditions and the abject poverty remain the same. Forty thousand people live in this particular camp, which sits on about a quarter of a square mile.

Jerash Gaza refugee camp

The camp residents are all Abna’a Ghaza, an Arabic phrase meaning the sons of Gaza. All were turned into refugees in 1948 and sent to resettle in Gaza. Then, in 1967, they fled as Israeli forces occupied Gaza and were settled in this camp, where to this day they are forced to live this impossible reality.

During my visit to Gaza Camp, I visited the home of Umm Mohammed. She lives in a small house with several rooms with her children and grandchildren. The house is made of cinder block and tin and is freezing cold. The children run around barefoot and resources are scarce. The local camp school has six thousand students who attend in two shifts. The boys and girls take turns, each month switching shifts.

Umm Mohammad hails from a village near the city of Bir-a-Saba in the Naqab Desert. Today, the city is called Be’er Sheva and the desert has been renamed the Negev. Some say that in Jordan alone there are close to one million refugees from the city of Bir-a-Saba. Umm Mohamad was 13 in 1948 when Zionist forces expelled her family. “I was 13,” she recounted, “we left on a caravan of camels.” She went on to tell us that “the Jews committed a massacre, killing people in their sleep.”

Jerash Gaza refugee camp

Imagining Return

Zochrot means “remembering” in Hebrew. It is also the name of an NGO “working since 2002 to promote acknowledgment and accountability for the ongoing injustices of the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948 and the reconceptualization of the Return as the imperative redress of the Nakba and a chance for a better life for all the country’s inhabitants.”

Zochrot is dedicated to keeping the memories of destroyed Palestinian towns and villages alive by providing information, action on the ground and tours throughout historic Palestine. Zochrot also operates a website chock full of articles, studies, testimony and a wealth of other valuable information on all issues regarding historic Palestine.

The organization recently launched a campaign called “Choosing to remember – voting for return,” to encourage Israeli citizens to remember Palestinian refugee issues during the March 2 Israeli elections. A post made on Zochrot’s Facebook page to promote the campaign (accessible by clicking “see more” on the post’s caption) reads in part:

Tomorrow, Israel’s citizens will vote for the third time within a year. Once again, the most important and critical issues in our lives here are not part of the agenda or platforms of the Zionist parties. Recognizing the Nakba, including the crimes of 1948 and the ongoing Nakba, is not proposed by any party. Recognizing the right of return and a practical plan for the return of refugees are not even discussed.
The political system and society in Israel continue to deny and erase these issues.”

We choose to remember the crimes of the Nakba, remind Israeli society of them and make them visibly present everywhere, at every opportunity, and oppose their erasure. We vote for the return of Palestinian refugees and view this return as an opportunity to liberate ourselves of the colonialist mindset and practices that define Israeli politics.”

As Israel and the United States presented the latest version of a plan to bring Palestinians surrender, known colloquially as the Deal of the Century, the approach of Zochrot presents a real alternative. In the current political climate, discussing the Palestinian right of return in practical terms while demanding it on all political platforms will create the polarization needed to distance those who seek justice and peace from those who wish to continue to spill innocent blood.

Funding Crimes

Jordan’s Gaza camp is no more than an hour’s drive from the country’s border with Palestine. Most, if not all the inhabitants, came from the Naqab. In other words, these refugees could all be home, in their country and on their land in less than a three-hour drive. Israel, of course, would never allow that to happen.

Palestinian refugee camp

Walking through the camp, poverty is rampant. Small projects lie in various states of completion, donated by various NGOs here and there, one to pave a road, another to refurbish the school. One cannot help but think of the four billion dollars the United States gives Israel each year. Israel is a wealthy country and has no need for foreign aid, yet Palestinians in refugee camps are living in abject poverty. Yet the U.S., Germany and other countries constantly contribute to its wealth while ignoring and even perpetuating the poverty inflicted upon Palestinians.

A strong Israeli state has guaranteed that Palestinians remain poor and hopeless. Imagine reversing the roles. Imagine what three or four billion dollars per year could do to repatriate and compensate Palestinian refugees and ensure a better future for all who live in historic Palestine. As the Zochrot slogan says, “Imagine Return.”

Jared Kushner, here are 25 more books you should read about Palestine, Israel relations

Donald Trump’s senior advisor says he has looked at 25 books relating to the conflict – here are some more he might also want to consider
Jared Kushner, special adviser to US President Donald Trump, is regarded as a key figure in the US administration’s policy towards the Middle East

By 

Earlier this week, in the wake of the announcement of Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” for Israel and Palestine, Jared Kushner, its chief architect explained to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour just how much he had studied the region.

“I’ve been studying this now for three years,” Kuchner said. “I’ve read 25 books on it, I’ve spoken to every leader in the region, I’ve spoken to everyone who’s been involved in this.”

Most interest focused just on which 25 books Kuchner had read: some sleuthing by The Forward revealed several titles, including State of Failure and Hamas vs Fatah, by Jonathan Schanzer; and Thirteen Days in September, by journalist Lawrence Wright.

The impression from those few titles to emerge is that they are broadly written from a Washington perspective, and not necessarily that insightful about the lived experiences of Palestinians, who Kushner on Wednesday called “foolish” for rejecting his plan.

In the spirit of a geo-political book club, the editors and writers at Middle East Eye would like to offer Mr Kushner the following reading list to maybe deaden his echo chamber.

Our choices are, we suspect, more eclectic than those he has read so far, and include poetry, fiction and graphic novels amid geo-political analysis and discourse. The list, presented here in no particular order, is by no means exhaustive. We have restricted ourselves to books originally written in or translated into English.

But we hope that Mr Kushner and others engaged in securing the “deal of the century” might obtain a different perspective from the reading list below. Please let MEE know on Facebook and Twitter (@MiddleEastEye) which titles you think we have missed.

Twenty-five books, after all, barely scratches the surface when it comes to explaining what has become the Middle East’s most intractable problem.


1. The Question of Palestine
by Edward Said

"

For a long time, Edward Said was the most high-profile and internationally recognised of Palestinian intellectuals. His untimely death in 2003 was a blow for Palestinian advocacy, especially in the US, where few prominent Palestinian voices have been able to rise to prominence.

The Question of Palestine was published in 1979, a year after Said’s better-known volume Orientalism, and discusses the situation of the Palestinians, including the history of the Nakba, the dispossession and scattering of the Palestinian diaspora, and the misrepresentation of the Palestinian cause in the Western world.

Said also examines the development of Palestinian political movements, particularly the Palestine Liberation Organisation led by his then friend Yasser Arafat, and the changing perceptions of Palestinian groups towards the question of Jewish identity and Israeli statehood.

Towards the end of his life, Said espoused a humanist vision of a unified secular state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, based on equal rights and universal suffrage. The reality on the ground in Israel-Palestine suggests a one-state reality is already playing out. The result, more than ever, is that Said’s ideals need to be pushed to the fore.


2. The Gun and the Olive Branch
by David Hirst

"

Few volumes during the past half-century have been as contentious about the Israel-Palestine conflict as David Hirst’s The Gun and the Olive Branch. First published in 1977, it was initially savaged in the UK and ignored in the US (the first 14 pages of subsequent editions detail this).

Hirst’s narrative was the first of international note to question the pro-Israeli orthodoxy about the state’s creation as well as highlighting how Washington and other Western capitals had fuelled the conflict.

That Hirst, a reporter for The Guardian, had meticulously researched and presented his argument – the book comes in at more than 600 pages – only seemed to inflame his critics more.

But Hirst is even-handed in his coverage: he apportions blame to both sides, but is especially adept at examining the Israeli role in the conflict. Through this he pre-dated the later work of Israel’s New Historian revisionist school of academics, including Illan Pappe (below), who challenged the until-then accepted view of the state’s formation and past.

The most recent edition of The Gun and the Olive Branch was published in 2003, near two decades ago, during which so much has come to pass between Israel and Palestine. But Hirst’s work is still as relevant as ever: his analysis of the routes of the conflict, going back as far as the 1880s, are peerless and set the groundwork for what has come to pass since.


3. Palestine
by Joe Sacco

"

Palestineby Joe Sacco, is one of the best reads for a novice attempting to understand the situation in the land between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean – and not just because it is a graphic novel, a medium historically dismissed as juvenile by many.

Based on reporting by Sacco from Israel-Palestine during 1991 and 1992 (the tail end of the first Intifada and before the Oslo Accords), it goes into uncompromising detail about life in the occupied territories and the daily occupation and injustices faced by Palestinians.

Sacco doesn’t shy away from the personal: although a self-professed sympathiser with the Palestinian cause, he notes that a formative moment in his understanding of the conflict was the news in 1985 of the murder of Leon Klinghoffer. The 69-year old disabled Jewish-American was killed by the Palestinian Liberation Front after it hijacked a cruise liner, something which Sacco says angered and discomforted him.

Throughout, Sacco presents the lives of real people – both Palestinians and Israelis – with unflinching honesty, resorting to neither polemic nor hyperbole.


4. Palestine +100: Stories from a Century after the Nakba
edited by Basma Ghalayini

"

In the introduction to Palestine +100: Stories from a Century after the Nakba, a powerful collection of short stories in which 12 Palestinian writers imagine life in 2048, editor Basma Ghalayini considers why Palestinian writers in general eschew the genre of science fiction.

“The cruel present (and the traumatic past),” she writes, “have too firm a grip on Palestinian writers’ imaginations for fanciful ventures into possible futures.”

Palestine +100 is a collection informed by catastrophe – the forced expulsion of 700,000 Palestinian Arabs in 1948 to create the state of Israel – that triggered a refugee crisis, the consequences of which reverberate to this day.

The ideas are myriad and eclectic: they include Saleem Haddad’s Song of the Birds (the teen sister of an older brother who killed himself sees her world disintegrate – literally); Anwar Hamed’s The Key (Palestinian ghosts defy technology to torment the Israel of the future); and Ahmed Masoud’s Application 39 (Gaza City hosts the 2048 Olympic Games)

A worthy collection that excavates and probes, reacquainting the West with the horrors of Palestinian existence right now.


5. The Butterfly’s Burden
by Mahmoud Darwish, translated by Fady Joudah

"

The oeuvre of acclaimed poet Mahmoud Darwish is too large to simply select one collection over another. With more than 30 published books and poems translated into 35 languages, he is deservedly one of the Arab world’s most famous and prolific writers.

The Butterfly’s Burden pulls together three of his previously published collections: The Stranger’s Bed (1998); State of Siege (2002), his response to the second intifada; and Don’t Apologize for What You’ve Done (2003), all published in Arabic following his return to Ramallah after 26 years in exile.

In much of his work he mixed modern poetry with Arabic rhythmical meters: subjects included the Palestinian revolution of 1965-1993 and the mass exodus of 1948

The Butterfly’s Burden was awarded the Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation in 2008, the same year that Darwish died.

It’s also worth tracking down Palestine as Metaphor, a collection of interviews with Darwish. Published last year, it includes an incisive piece with Israeli poet and magazine editor Helit Yeshurun which explores exile, memory, history and belonging through Darwish’s clear, just and poetic vision.


6. A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples
by Illan Pappe

"

During the 1980s and 1990s,  a new generation of Israeli historians sought to challenge long accepted narratives about the creation of the Israeli state and the nature of Zionism.

Arguably the most famous among these New Historians, as they are known, is Ilan Pappe, who more than anyone else broke with the establishment’s account of what happened to the native Arab population of Palestine in 1948 during Israel’s “independence war”.

He is one of the few Israeli voices to question the legitimacy of the Israeli state in its current form, for which he has earned much opprobrium from Israelis, while attracting also acclaim and support from activists, intellectuals and academics worldwide.

In A History of Modern Palestine, Pappe depicts a land which, rather than being made to flourish by intrepid pioneers, was subjected to ethnic cleansing and premised a project of demographic and cultural superiority. He rejects the viability of a two-state solution and instead offers a state where all the inhabitants of the land are on an equal footing.

Also see The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, where Pappe demonstrates how Zionist leaders planned the expulsion of Palestinians from March 1948 onwards through intimidation and destruction, challenging the official Israeli account currently accepted by many in Washington.


7. Returning to Haifa
by Ghassan Kanafani

"

Read Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” and one thing soon becomes very stark: the US administration has no conception of what Palestine means to Palestinians.

Washington has no idea why a return to their homes is such a core tenet of Palestinian identity today – even among the younger generations who have never been able to set foot on the lands of their elders.

Ghassan Kanafani’s short story Returning to Haifa, which features in his collection Palestine’s Children, sets this into perspective with its focus on a Palestinian couple coming back to the home from which they had to flee 20 years earlier

Its poignancy comes in how Kanafani demonstrates what Palestine means for refugees, including their grief for what has been lost and their steadfast determination of fighting for a future.

Also see Kanafani’s short fiction story The Land of the Sad Orange, which focuses on the journey of one Palestinian family from Jaffa, expelled from their homes during the Nakba, and the consequent strain on their mental health, not least how Palestinian children cease being children as they carry the weight of displacement.


8. The Palestinians
by Elias Sanbar, translated by John Tittensor, Nigel Palmer

"

Palestine is one of the most frequently photographed places in the world – yet, according to Sanbar, real life is almost always missing from photographs taken mainly by visitors, with their focus on conflict.

Sanbar’s avowed intention with The Palestinians is to reconstruct their history in a book which he titles a “private album”.

The result is an alternative and in-depth vision of Palestine over the course of two centuries, a highly symbolic place whose people have been both captured and abstracted by the camera.

The contents of the book include themes such as pilgrims and tourists, intermingled with coverage of everyday life and uprisings.

A 2015 winner of the Palestine Book Awards, The Palestinians offers what writer Amelia Smith called “an alternative way to look at Palestine, a glimpse beyond the headlines. But it also leaves you with a question: How do these “alternative” images come to be adopted as the “normal” lens through which the world views Palestine?”


"

9. Gate of the Sun
by Elias Khoury, translated by Humphrey Davies

Although a work of fiction by a Lebanese author, Gate of the Sun is informed by Elias Khoury’s extensive interviews and research with refugees, lending the novel its humanity and spiritual resonance.

A meandering journey alternating between the fate of Palestinians in their homeland post-Nakba, and those exiled in refugee camps in Lebanon, it is a moving testament to those who have suffered occupation and mass expulsion.

Indeed, no less than Edward Said described this epic and its 1,001 nights-style tapestry as giving “voice to rooted exiles and trapped refugees, to dissolving boundaries and changing identities, to radical demands and new languages”.

In the wake of the “deal of the century”, it makes for a moving testament to those who have suffered occupation and mass expulsion.


"

10. Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape
by Raja Shehadeh

It is impossible to address the Israel-Palestine conflict without considering land and the occupied West Bank’s changing landscape. Shehadeh addresses this through his love of “sarha” – walking or roaming in Arabic.

Through a series of seven hikes in the West Bank hills, which span 27 years, Shehadeh describes the wildness, abundance and beauty of Palestine.

But then there is the sadness, frustration and injustice of that land being snatched, severed and seized.

Palestinian Walks, which won the Orwell Prize in 2008, is also notable for the contemplations that Shehadeh weaves through his wanderings, from Oslo’s inherent failures to the growing realisation that two peoples must come to terms with one another.


"

11. My People Shall Live: The Autobiography of a Revolutionary
by Leila Khaled

Leila Khaled’s autobiography was published when she only 29, usually a premature age for someone wanting to document their life’s achievements. But by then Khaled, who gained notoriety as a plane hijacker and icon of Palestinian resistance, had already experienced more than most people manage during a lifetime.

Published in 1973, My People Shall Live details Khaled’s early years with her family fleeing the catastrophe that engulfed the Palestinians after the creation of Israel.

She then lives as a refugee in Lebanon and Kuwait, joins the left-wing Arab Nationalist Movement in Beirut at 15, and later becomes part of the Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian (PFLP).

Some of the strongest moments are the interaction between her life and that of her family, such as her mother’s disbelief when she is jailed for a hijacking: “I know my daughter … she’s not like they are saying, all this beauty!”

More than anything My People Shall Live depicts the events, tragedies and injustices that create a “terrorist” in the eyes of the Israeli government and its allies.


12. A Child in Palestine: The Cartoons of Naji al-Ali
by Naji al-Ali

"

If there was ever a book that Kushner needs to read then it’s A Child in Palestine, which beautifully presents Naji al-Ali’s illustrations of Handala, an innocent refugee boy who has become a symbol of Palestinian resistance.

For anyone who’s visited the Middle East, Handala is a common sight in souks and bazaars, his likeness adorning keychains, necklaces and T-shirts among other regalia. He’s also graffitied on the Separation Wall in Palestine, the pyramids of Cairo and the famed old city of Sanaa.

Shoeless and in tatters, Handala’s face is never shown to the audience. Like his creator Ali, who was also a refugee, Handala is forced to confront the tragedies of the region at a terribly young age.

Through his creation, Ali’s sharp and critical commentary on regional politics and the inhumanity of war has left an indelible mark, which few cartoonists have been able to replicate.

The book is short, with Ali’s cartoons filling up most of its 117 pages. But it resonates, along with the memory of Naji al-Ali: the brilliant cartoonist was gunned down in London in 1987, three years after fleeing Kuwait, where he had received death threats. His killers have never been caught.


"

13. Mornings in Jenin
by Susan Abulhawa

Susan Abulhawa’s novel is an angry and sad work that insists you see the Palestinian experience, from the 1948 Nakba to the Lebanese civil war, from a deeply personal perspective.

At the centre of the narrative is Amal, orphaned during the 1967 war and the victim of multiple displacements.

There are also her twin brothers, one brought up as an Israeli, the other a proud Palestinian embittered by tragedy.

The contrasting scenes of bucolic pre-Nakba village life and refugee camps in Jenin and Beirut are described in Mornings in Jenin in stark relief by Abdulhawa. And while Palestinian life and culture are enjoyed and treasured, they are eventually torn apart by Israeli attacks.


"

14. Teaching Plato in Palestine
by Carlos Fraenkel

Neo-conservatives are famously fond of the ancient Greek historian Thucydides –  but perhaps Kushner might find another fifth-century Athenian a better frame of reference when it comes to the Middle East.

Plato has, unfairly, a pretty poor reputation thanks to the philosopher Karl Popper. But in this essay, Carlos Fraenkel suggests several of the Greek thinker’s notions can help untangle the natural biases that each side has in Israel and Palestine.

Who decides what justice is? Have you truly examined the experience of another? Is non-violent resistance helpful in attracting support – or does it merely make you a doormat for more powerful forces?

Teaching Plato in Palestine posits these kinds of questions and others in the context of the occupation, post-classical Arab philosophers’ own reception of Plato, and how they relate to Islam and Judaism. Required reading for those wanting a different take on the conflict.


"

15. Shatila Stories

Shatila Stories is a collaborative novel written by nine Palestinian and Syrian refugees (names below) from Lebanon’s Shatila refugee camp, described here as “a prison without walls”.

Initially set up in 1949 to house Palestinian refugees, it has also come to house a recent influx of Syrian refugees from the conflict of the past decade.

Its population is now estimated to stand at more than 40,000 for a space that covers barely one square kilometre.

The authors are mostly novices, who use real life experiences – such as the very real risk of being killed by low-hanging electricity cables, which are tangled with water pipes – to inform their fiction. Through this they present a startling and vivid idea of life in the camp.

The co-authors are Omar Khaled Ahmad, Nibal Alalo, Safa Khaled Algharbawi, Omar Abdellatif Alndaf, Rayan Mohamad Sukkar, Safiya Badran, Fatima Omar Ghazawi, Samih Mahmoud, Hiba Marei, with translation by Nashwa Gowanlock.


"

16. Hamas Contained
by Tareq Baconi

You’d be forgiven, after reading the “deal of the century” proposal, for thinking Hamas is to blame for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza rather than, say, the Israel-imposed siege that has now lasted for more than 12 years.

In that case, read Hamas Contained: The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance, Tareq Baconi’s groundbreaking history based on interviews with leaders and the group’s own writings, for an informed and critical take on the movement and a deeper understanding of what has motivated it over the past 30 years.

Most people learning about Gaza from the mainstream media, Baconi argues, will either see it as a strip of land destroyed with unprecedented humanitarian suffering; or a haven run by an unruly organisation that has taken its people hostage in order to run a campaign of terror against Israel.

Both views are reductionist and unhelpful in understanding either the movement or why two million Palestinians are crammed into a land mass the size of Philadelphia today. Reading Baconi’s history is a perfect remedy.


"

17. The Woman from Tantoura
by Radwa Ashour, translated by Kay Heikkinen

Ruqayya is a young Palestinian girl, who somehow survives the ethnic cleansing of her small village, Tantoura. It shapes her life as she ultimately carries the weight of that experience into her old age.

With The Woman from Tantoura, Egyptian novelist Radwa Ashour has crafted a beautiful story that captures the essence of the Palestinian experience through Ruqayya’s existence.

The story takes as its focus the cross-border, multi-generational trauma to which Palestinians refuse to succumb in their relentless search for meaning.

The result is a haunting story about loss, survival, memory, identity, and the persistence to return home – no matter how long it takes.


"

18. I Saw Ramallah
by Mourid Barghouti, translated by Adhaf Soueif

In his forward to this memoir, Edward Said calls I Saw Ramallah “one of the finest existential accounts of Palestinian displacement that we now have”. There are few higher endorsements.

A renowned poet, Mourid Barghouti here tries his hand at prose, with natural poetic flourishes of course. Barghouti was locked out of his homeland by the 1967 war while studying in Egypt.

His memoir chronicles the strangeness of his return 30 years later: the diminished waters of the River Jordan he crosses, the absence of lost relatives and a people forever coming to terms with the violence that has cost them so much.

Ramallah, too, is a much-changed place. Barghouti finds some humour in this, but also there is an enduring melancholy that with so much time passed, home is not what it once was. Though he has returned, the poet will be eternally homeless.


"

19. Words Under the Words: Selected Poems
by Naomi Shihab Nye

Any of Nye’s books are a pleasurable and informative introduction to the Palestinian experience, but a good place to start is Words under the Words.

It’s a collection of selected poems from her previous books: Different Ways to Pray, Yellow Glove, and National Poetry Series winner Hugging the Jukebox.

Having grown up both in Palestine and the US, and travelling the world to deliver workshops and talks, Nye calls herself “the wandering poet”. She writes in English about subjects close to her heart, including her mixed heritage (she is the daughter of a Palestinian refugee father and an American mother) and being Arab American.

A Palestinian Might Say is as good a place as any to sample her work

A Palestinian Might Say
What?
You don’t feel at home in your country,
almost overnight?
All the simple things
you cared about,
maybe took for granted..
you feel
insulted, invisible?
Almost as if you’re not there?
But you’re there

Nye also writes for children and is a professor of Creative Writing at Texas State University.


"

20. Baddawi
by Leila Abdelrazaq

For younger Palestinians in the diaspora, much of their connection to their homeland and understanding of the traumatic events is understood through the recollections of their elders.

In the graphic novel Baddawi, Leila Abdelrazaq draws from her own father’s tales of childhood in the eponymous refugee camp in north Lebanon as well as his youth growing up in Beirut.

Somewhat controversially, Israeli and Lebanese aggressors are depicted only abstractly: this is a piece whose focus is very much on the Palestinian experience alone.

Threaded throughout this occasionally bleak work are patterns based on tatreez Palestinian embroidery, a poignant symbol of Palestine’s enduring folk culture.


"

21. The Sea Cloak & Other Stories
by Nayrouz Qarmout

The Sea Cloak & Other Stories is a deceptively short volume – but while the 11 stories initially appear easily digestible, they are likely to leave a sour taste.

Here Qarmout portrays daily life in Gaza, “the world’s largest prison” for a band of mostly female characters.

For anyone looking to experience what constitutes “normal life”, this collection is an introduction to what it feels like to come of age in this charged environment. There are the games played by children, such as “Arabs and Jews”, but also the traditions and heritage of a culture so often misrepresented.

A writer, journalist and women’s rights campaigner, Qarmout doesn’t portray her characters as victims: nor does she shy away from expressing the restrictive realities of her traditional upbringing either.


22. The Earth in the Attic
by Fady Joudah

"

And the sea, each time it reaches the shore,
Becomes a bird to see of the land
What it otherwise wouldn’t.
And the wind through the trees
Is the sea coming home.

The plight of Palestinian refugees, those who’ve inherited the intergenerational trauma of displacement, is often hard to articulate.

Poets like the great Mahmoud Darwish encapsulated the subtlety and pained beauty of exile, and of trying to retain the soil, both literal and metaphorical, carried by those forced to leave their homes in the Nakba of 1948 and subsequent migrations thereafter.

His work also gave birth to a second, a third and a fourth generation of Palestinians dreaming of return, and transforming that yearning into a romance of words.

Fady Joudah is one of those voices, and a powerful one. The Palestinian-American is the child of refugees and grew up between Libya and Saudi Arabia, before pursuing his career as a doctor in Texas.

His poetry – such as The Earth in the Attic – is adorned with references to his humanitarian missions, bringing him in contact with painful stories that mimic those of his own parents. Like Darwish, he leans on a connection with trees, birds and sea allowing them to speak on his behalf.

His painstaking translation of the great works of Darwish and Ghassan Zaqtan has earned him accolades, as well as a reputation for bridging the rooted tradition of Palestinian poetry-as-testament with a new audience who needs to hear and read it.


"

23. Dreaming of Freedom: Palestinian Child Prisoners Speak
edited by Norma Hashim, translated by Yousef M. Aljamal

The Israeli justice system has long been accused of being one-sided and unsympathetic to Palestinian citizens of Israel, with a conviction rate of between 85 and 93 percent.

In occupied Palestinian Territories however, the reality is grimmer. Palestinians arrested by Israeli forces in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem are mostly tried in military courts, with a conviction rate of close to 100 percent, according to Human Rights Watch.

Many of them are children, detained and charged with “security violations” that can include throwing rocks, waving Palestinian flags or simply protesting.

Once they’ve spent time in Israeli jails, these juveniles, and often their family members, are then denied work and travel visas, leaving them economically and politically vulnerable.

The story of Ahed Tamimi, the 16-year-old activist from Nabi Saleh sent to jail for attempting to stop Israeli soldiers from entering her home, shone a light on the systemic practice of child detentions.

Dreaming of Freedom: Palestinian Child Prisoners Speak, which includes a forward by Richard Falk, is a powerful collection of first-hand accounts from other Palestinian minors told from inside prisons in their own words.

Their harrowing stories of torture, humiliation and repeated incarceration tell of a generation confined within a punitive system that criminalises their existence. But there are also stories of hope, of the dreams only children can retain against often insurmountable odds.


"

24. Before Their Diaspora
by Walid Khalidi

Walid Khalidi, a Jerusalem-born Palestinian historian, takes the reader on a visual journey into the lives of Palestinians in their homeland before they were expelled in 1948.

Here he has carefully handpicked 500 photographs depicting different aspects of Palestinian society between the Ottoman rule of Palestine in 1876 until the end of the British mandate in May 1948. Their subjects include not only inhabitants of the region but also others among the diaspora in the UK and the US.

Each photograph, sourced from public or private collections, is accompanied with well-researched captions from Arabic, English and Hebrew sources.

There are few better volumes for a visual record of the rich history of the land and its people than Before Their Diaspora, from children in schools and farmers in their fields to busy city centres and acts of resistance. A must-read if you wish a better understanding of Palestinian heritage.


"

25. The Book of Disappearance
by Ibitisam Azem, translated by Sinan Antoon

For her novel The Book of Disappearance, Azem takes an interesting hypothesis: what if Israelis woke up one day to discover that all the Palestinians had disappeared?

Instead of instant celebration, what follows in her novel is initial chaos with no one left to drive the buses, deliver the newspapers or run the cafes. Palestinian prisoners are also no longer in their cells.

Azem’s narrative is a work of fantasy, but one which features historical context in the form of stories from 1948, as told to one of the protagonists by his grandmothers, which he then records in a notebook.

This record eventually lands in the hands of his Israeli friend and neighbour who then makes initially hesitant steps at usurping his disappeared friend’s home.

The Palestinians may be gone, and their houses claimed, one by one, by those who remain – but what The Book of Disappearance leaves the reader with is a sense of palpable eeriness of the ghosts and memories which do not go away.

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