Haifa: Noted Palestinian poet returns for recital

The world's most recognized Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, delivered a stinging tirade against rival Palestinian factions on Sunday in his first public appearance in decades in the Israeli city of Haifa. The reading by Darwish, known as the "Palestinian national poet," came a month after deadly battles between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas last month in the Gaza Strip, claiming dozens of casualties. Darwish, 66, who was born in a village near Haifa, described the Gaza infighting as a "a public attempt at suicide in the streets." He spoke to a packed auditorium in the Israeli port city. The recital was also broadcast live over Arab satellite television. "We became independent," Darwish said mockingly. "Gaza became independent of the West Bank, and for one people, two countries, two prisons." Darwish said bitterly the two governments made the possibility of creating a Palestinian state "one of the seven wonders of the world."