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…Read More... | 8 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
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…Read More... | 56 Comments
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,…Read More... | 30 Comments
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,…Read More... | 1 Comment
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…Read More... | 8 Comments
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…Read More... | 51 Comments
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…Read More... | 53 Comments
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…Read More... | 26 Comments
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…Read More... | 37 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... | 16 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
After 65 years of 'peace talks,' Ariella Azoulay believes what is needed now is not a new vision but an old one - one envisioned by people who lived in Palestine before the curse of partition. By Ariella Azoulay Over the past few years, it has been fairly common to hear: “the time has come for a new vision for Palestine/Israel.” It is hard to refute the reality of a dead-end implied in this expression, but must a dead-end always lead us to a new vision? As Hanan Ashrawi has previously stated, new forms of talks, dialogue, and inventiveness are not what was missing…Read More... | 17 Comments
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BREAKING: Israeli security shoots Palestinian man in Allenby border crossing (by @haaretzcom) http://t.co/BvBjUTtbZV
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Meet the Israeli teens who are refusing to join the IDF because of the occupation http://t.co/huMftsqwhg http://t.co/shg8udK87I
Israeli teens tell #Netanyahu: We will not take part in occupation, by @edokonrad http://t.co/Rxuyi1HNYB