Israeli Leftists want the 1.5 million Palestinians who live in this country to become an integral part of this Israeli society. But they see their fellow Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank belonging to a different country. By Rami Younis A Palestinian man and a Jewish woman are both participants at a Jaffa protest rally. The Palestinian calls out, “Yafa Arabiyeh Falastaneeyeh!” (“Jaffa is Arab-Palestinian!”). The Jewish woman doesn't like this. She takes him aside and explains that this is a joint Jewish-Arab demonstration. Thus, according to the woman, there is no place for a chant of “Jaffa is…Read More... | 65 Comments
A solution to the ongoing displacement of Palestinians cannot be based on fruitless negotiations, but rather on the full implementation of international law. By Amjad Alqasis By the end of 2013, an estimated 7.4 million (66 percent) of the global Palestinian population of 11.2 million was made up of forcibly displaced persons. This week we mark 66 years since the Nakba, the most central part of the story of how Palestinians became refugees. However, we can point to five distinct periods of forced displacement that transformed the Palestinians into the largest, longest-standing unresolved refugee case in the world today. That…Read More... | 7 Comments
The court’s ruling that the rights of Alsira's villagers’ take precedence over the state’s agenda for their land, inadvertently implies what should have already been an established fact: the deliberate hostility toward the unrecognized village is simply wrong. By Amjad Iraqi May 1 was a good day for the families of the Arab Bedouin village of Alsira. After eight years of legal proceedings, the Be’er Sheva District Court dismissed the state’s appeal aiming overturn a lower court’s 2011 decision to cancel 51 demolition orders against the village, which is home to 350 Bedouin citizens of Israel. This means that the…Read More...
The Palestinian village of Irqit was depopulated in the 1948 war and then almost entirely razed. Now new generations of its original residents are trying to resurrect the town and realize a decades-old High Court ruling recognizing their right to return. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org It would seem that Israeli authorities conspired to intertwine the story of Iqrit with the Christian narrative. As the season of Advent approached in November 1948, the Israeli military forced residents of Iqrit and the neighboring village of Kufr Bir’im—all citizens of the newly created state of Israel—to leave their homes near…Read More... | 12 Comments
An in-depth article on Palestinian refugees and their attitudes toward return and peace had some in the liberal Zionist camp up in arms. In a response published last week, Danny Orbach accused Paula Schmitt of doing a disservice to the refugees by nurturing their 'disastrous, futile fantasies' and distorting the events of 1948. Now, Schmitt responds to the allegations. By Paula Schmitt Debating Zionists or staunchly religious people is like playing a board game where your pieces must move like chess while your opponent's pieces can move like checkers. Only one side of this battle follows rules and abides by…Read More... | 28 Comments
One of the more difficult aspects of living in Israel over the last several years has been coming to terms with the layers of denial in which Jewish Israeli society wraps itself. The denial comes in many forms and covers some of the biggest issues facing the country: the occupation, discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel and Mizrahi Jews, sexism, homophobia and of course, the Nakba. I recently came across a video that, at least for me, clarifies just how deep the denial of the destruction of Palestinian existence prior to 1948 runs in Israeli society. The video shows the…Read More... | 17 Comments
Palestinians, Israelis and internationals gathered in a Tel Aviv museum last week for a two-day conference dedicated to the Palestinian right of return. Tom Pessah on some of the conference highlights. By Tom Pessah I don’t normally cry during academic conferences, although perhaps "academic conference" would be the wrong way to characterize Zochrot's conference on the issue of the Nakba and the Palestinian right of return. This year's conference, titled “From Truth to Redress,” was held in Tel Aviv's Eretz Israel Museum (on the grounds of the former Palestinian village Al-Sheikh Muwannis) and featured two days of presentations by Palestinians, Israelis…Read More... | 6 Comments
The first time I went to my current sublease in Bethlehem, I noticed something strange on the floor — the Star of David. When I moved into the place and looked closer at the pattern, I noticed a menorah. Here I was, in the heart of a Palestinian city, and the floor was “Jewish.” My apartment is in a home that is at least 100 years old. Hand-painted floor tiles were common in wealthy homes — Christian, Muslim, and Jewish — throughout pre-state Palestine. While I know that the land wasn’t always divided, the current context makes it hard to…Read More... | 33 Comments
By Inna Michaeli and Zohar Elmakias In his film "Once I Entered a Garden" (2012), Israeli director Avi Mograbi documents a series of meetings with his Arabic teacher, Ali Al-Azhari. Mograbi shares his dreams with Al-Azhari, along with biographical details about his Jewish-Lebanese family; together they imagine possible scrips about return and their intersection histories. The movie incorporates love letters in French written by a woman in Beirut to a Jewish lover who immigrated to Tel Aviv. Inna Michaeli viewed the film in Berlin, where she lives. Zohar Elmakias watched it in Jaffa, where she lives. And then they had…Read More... | 1 Comment
Since Israel occupied the West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem in 1967, it has continued to engage in legal acrobatics to confiscate Palestinian homes and land. In doing so, the state is actively erasing its internationally recognized border - the Green Line. One thing has become abundantly clear about Israeli policy when it comes to land: first it acts, only later giving its legal stamp of approval. This is essentially how the state was first established and built itself up, and is the story of how all settlements are born to this day in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Make your…Read More... | 11 Comments
What's the importance of acknowledging the Nakba? Remembering it is the only way for both Jews and Palestinians to understand that this land is shared. It’s the only way of preventing the system from duplicating the same injustices over and over again. By Muhammad Jabali A friend and I visited Ramallah last Saturday. It was a sunny afternoon; we took a friend’s car and hit the road so we could arrive in time for last minute preparations for the first screening of the Tunisian Documentary Film Month at Ramallah’s Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center. We are helping to organize the screenings as…Read More... | 14 Comments
The Israeli Right has been waging a war on history in recent years, using extreme measures to remove evidence of the Nakba from the national discourse. It failed. Yedioth Hakibbutz is the weekly magazine of the United Kibbutz Movement. It is delivered every week to hundreds of Kibbutzim as part of the weekend edition of Yedioth Ahronoth, the best selling paper in Israel. Even at a time of diminishing political influence – there is not a single representative of the United Kibbutz Movement in the current Knesset – the Kibbutzim remain both a symbol and a stronghold of conservative Zionism, and the…Read More... | 64 Comments
Palestinian citizens of Israel return to the village of Al-Ruways, which was destroyed by Zionist military forces during the Nakba. Photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org The Israeli group Zochrot organizes many tours of Palestinian villages depopulated during the Nakba of 1948. What made this Saturday's tour of Al-Ruways particularly remarkable was the large number of displaced Palestinians and their descendants who made the event more of a return than a simple tour. Zochrot, whose name means "remembering" in Hebrew, aims to educate Israeli Jews about the history of the Nakba and the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees. Typically, they will…Read More... | 29 Comments
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