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nakba

  • PHOTOS: Publicly remembering the Deir Yassin massacre

    Activists walk through a West Jerusalem neighborhood carrying the names of some 100 men, women and children massacred 66 years ago by Zionist militias in the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin. They are met with curiosity, indifference and open hostility. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org Jewish Israeli, Palestinian, and international activists carried three black panels bearing some 100 names through the streets of what is now the Givat Shaul neighborhood of West Jerusalem on Thursday. They marched to commemorate the massacre and displacement of the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin by Zionist militias 66 years ago on April…

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  • Two journeys back in time to a place called home

    Sixty-five years after his family fled their beloved village, a Palestinian refugee gets to realize his dream and see what is left of his fantasy. By Assia Ladizhinskaya “It's good to see you've come back home,” sings the radio ever since Arik Einstein passed away, “Home – it says it all.” “What does it mean?” asked Waffa, as we sat on the balcony of his sister’s house, standing white and stony on the highest hill of Beit 'Anan in the West Bank. "Everything," I replied. Waffa and I have known each other for a decade. A tragedy brought us together,…

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  • Film review: The unending Nakba - Three generations of stateless Palestinians search for home

    Tens of thousands of Palestinians have languished for over 65 years in the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp, waiting to return home. Now, through his documentary, Mahdi Fleifel reveals an essential side of Palestinian exile that is often forgotten: the human side. It was heartening that the Academy bestowed its highest honors this year to “Twelve Years a Slave,” a story about injustice and liberation, and recognizing America’s historic cruelty towards its people. Maybe it is the curse of the oppressed to achieve their greatest recognition only when the primary injury of oppression is long over, after it can really help. Palestinians…

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  • PHOTOS: Visiting the last standing Nakba village of Lifta

    Lifta is one of the few remaining Nakba villages, whose residents were deported or fled during and before the war of 1948. Israel has prevented the Palestinians who left their homes from returning to them and when the war ended, it confiscated their land and property. This week, Activestills documented Palestinian women visiting the site along with the usual religious Jewish-Israeli hikers and tourists. Photos by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org Almost all of the hundreds of empty Palestinian villages were destroyed after the war and in subsequent decades. In Lifta, 55 of more than 400 hundred homes survived, together with the original…

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  • Rewriting injustices: A response to Danny Orbach on Palestinian refugees

    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…

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  • The dreadful and the trivial: A response to Paula Schmitt on Palestinian refugees

    In giving voice to Palestinian refugees, journalist Paula Schmitt inadvertently strengthens the Zionist narrative. By Danny Orbach American author Scott Baker once wrote, “men generally possess no inkling of what their actions portend. This problem is not, as one might suppose, a result of man‘s blindness to the consequences of their actions. Rather it is a result of the mad way in which the dreadful turns on the trivial when the ends of one man cross the ends of another.” This quote came to mind when I read Paula Schmitt’s article about Palestinian refugees, published recently in +972. Like so many other…

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  • Sentenced to life at birth: What do Palestinian refugees want?

    For more than 66 years, Palestinian refugees have been languishing in squalid conditions across camps in the Middle East. But do all of them agree that a return to Palestine is necessarily the best solution? Through her extensive research, Paula Schmitt finds that while different refugees may have different desires, hopelessness remains everyone's worst enemy.  By Paula Schmitt There’s something almost cruel about asking a Palestinian refugee whether he would accept living peacefully with Israel were he ever allowed to return. It feels like a sadistic exercise: treat a man like a lesser human, deny him a country, a house,…

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  • +972's Editor's Picks of 2013

    As 2013 comes to a close, +972 Magazine's editors and bloggers took time to look back at the year that was, and share the articles that most resonated with them - in no particular order. 'They're all named Mohammad nowadays' In one of the most heartfelt posts of the year, Mya Guarnieri describes the difficulties of confronting discrimination, identity politics and occupation while searching for an apartment in Bethlehem. Read the article here. 'I am pro-Israel too': Reflections on +972's use of the term When some +972 writers used ‘pro-Israel’ to negatively describe right-wing politicians and activists, Dahlia Scheindlin stood up,…

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  • Arik Einstein and the failure of Israeli liberal Zionism

    As the death of legendary Israeli singer and actor Arik Einstein became a nationwide event, it became clear that some of his mourners were more interested in lamenting what they saw as the end of Ashkenazi rule in Israel. Tom Pessah talks about the role that someone as great as Einstein can play in creating real change. By Tom Pessah I spent yesterday working on my dissertation at Tel Aviv University. Israeli students can be noisy, even in libraries, but the Sourasky Central Library is generally very quiet. I have my own corner on the first floor where I can…

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  • Film review: A documentary explores Israeli attitudes to the Nakba

    The eponymous scene of On the Side of the Road, a documentary that explores Israeli attitudes toward the Palestinian Nakba, or catastrophe, occurs midway through the film on an unpaved road just outside the West Bank settlement of Ariel. Interrupted by a curious Israeli family out for a pastoral drive, director Lia Tarachansky stops to answer their questions about what she is filming (“what TV channel will it be on?”). As they drive on, the children waving and smiling their good byes, Tarachansky stands alone on the side of the road and suddenly bursts into tears. “I mean, everyone I…

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  • Israelis and Palestinians need a Nakba debate

    Erstwhile negotiator and former Minister Yossi Beilin, in a New York Times op ed, has an idea for breaking the impasse on negotiations for a two-state solution. He suggests that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state in order to cement the consciousness of each side as the proper home for its people. Then Israel would undertake incentives for settlers to go back behind the Green Line, but those who stay in the West Bank would form the numerical basis for the number of Palestinian refugees who can return to Israel proper. Each side has incentive to keep the other…

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  • 'Thanks for doing Zionism's filthy work': A response to Ari Shavit

    Israeli journalist Ari Shavit expresses gratitude for the perpetrators of the Lydda expulsion and massacre -- for doing the 'filthy work,' explaining that, even 'the critics of later years enjoyed the fruits of their deed.' A response to Shavit's 'Lydda, 1948', published in The New Yorker. By Ami Asher Palestinian historian Nur Massalha wrote that from time to time, starting as early as 1949, Israelis have been periodically washed by waves of revelations and remorse for the injustices that enabled the establishment of a Jewish State. As an Israeli Jew, I know them well: articles are published, impassioned debates keep you…

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  • Cabinet OK's razing Bedouin towns to build Jewish settlement in their place

    After being expelled and relocated in the 1950s, the residents of Umm al-Hiran are about to lose their homes once again - this time to make way for a Jewish national-religious settlement. (This post has been updated.) The Israeli government on Sunday made one of its most outrageous decisions in recent years (and there is no shortage of those, as you know). The cabinet held a special session in Sde Boker - the Kibbutz in which David Ben-Gurion is buried – to approve plans to build a new Jewish town (along with several others - all for Jews) in the northeast…

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