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  • How Israel erases Arabic from the public landscape

    The Israeli government has begun omitting the Arabic name for Jerusalem from its street signs, erasing not only the language from the Israeli consciousness, but Palestinian identity itself. By Umar Al-Ghubari Driving towards Jerusalem on Highway 1, you may notice a relatively new phenomenon taking place on the road signs directing you to the city. Readers of Arabic will see that the name of Jerusalem in Arabic has undergone a change: the word in brackets, القدس, Al-Quds, which appeared there until very recently, no longer exists on the new signs that have recently been put up by the roadsides in those…

  • WATCH: Omitting the Palestinian history of Israel's heritage

    In 2014 UNESCO declared Beit Guvrin and its Caves of Maresha, one of the most important places in the Kingdom of Judah during the time of the First Temple, World Heritage Site. UNESCO notes every era tied to the site including the Persian, Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine etc. However, the rich history of Palestinian life that existed at Beit Guvrin is completely omitted from UNESCO's description.

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  • The side of Rabin's legacy Israelis love to forget

    Over 20 years later, the mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO teaches us one thing: despite the hatred, we have no choice but to live together. From year to year, the memory of Yitzhak Rabin goes from a political issue to a nostalgic one. Twenty years after his assassination, the Israeli public is inundated with memories of Rabin the IDF chief of staff, Rabin the smoker, Rabin the straight-talker, etc. The films and articles memorializing him usually obscure (and often do not even include) one specific image: Rabin shaking hands with Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn in…

  • Addressing the root of the Palestinian refugee problem

    Cash shortages at UNRWA distract from the wider issue: it is the lack of a diplomatic solution, not funding, that leaves Palestinian refugees vulnerable. In the end, it was the catastrophe that wasn’t. For a nervy few weeks it seemed a severe funding shortage would delay the school year for half a million children reliant on the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). Then, a predictable last-minute rush of donations closed the gap and Palestinian refugee children went back to school across the Middle East. The reasons for the funding shortage seemed clear: deepening crises across the Middle East, in particular the Syrian…

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  • Four simple things Israel can do to help refugees

    There's no reason contributing solutions needs to be scary. Here are four viable steps Israel can take that will actually help the various refugee populations in its midst. Israeli politicians and prominent figures in the local media have begun paying attention to the refugee crisis playing out in Europe in recent days. Well, actually, that’s a misnomer. Europe is starting to pay attention to the Syrian refugee crisis because massive numbers of Syrian refugees are now arriving on its shores and borders. In recent days, one set of prominent figures has called on the Israeli government to start absorbing in…

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  • Israel cannot turn a blind eye to worldwide refugee crisis

    Dozens of bodies are found in a refrigerated truck in Austria, while hundreds wash up on the shores of Libya and Italy. As the refugee crisis hits unprecedented levels, in Israel it's business as usual. "Mother, I am sorry that I was not rescued and drowned. Forgive me for all the loans you took out so that I could escape like the other young people. I am sorry that I won't send 50 euro every month to my brother like I promised. Don't look for me, mother, you don't have the money for burying my body. I am thankful for…

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  • Snapchat's Tel Aviv feature erases a reality of dispossession

    By featuring Tel Aviv on its 'live story,' Snapchat helps brand the city as young, vibrant and fun, leaving out traces of the destruction it helped sow. By Shimrit Lee and Ilker Hepkaner This past week, video messaging app Snapchat put Tel Aviv on the map when it decided to spotlight the city on its “live story” feature. Tel Aviv’s Snapchat story put together hundreds of photos and videos, including young people riding roller-coasters, seeking out bargains at the local market, dancing at an outdoor concert, and indulging in “Shawarma Tuesdays.” [tmwinpost] In one video, a man spray-paints the names “Mohammed+Moshe”…

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  • A living legacy of displacement

    The impulses that drove the dispossession of the 1948 war are still acted on today, on both sides of the borders it forged. “Did you know I’m afraid of sleeping? … I’m scared of sleeping and waking to find myself in a strange land whose language I can’t speak. I’m scared I won’t wake up.” —Elias Khoury, Gate of the Sun There is an old Palestinian house on Ba’al HaTurim Street in Jaffa that sits quietly behind the trees. It is the kind of building that one could walk past every day and not see. I failed to notice it until…

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  • How American high school students taught me about the occupation

    Filmmaker Lia Tarachansky has been showing her latest movie, 'On the Side of the Road" — a documentary on how Israelis view the Nakba — around the world for nearly a year. What happened after she screened her film for a class of American high school students took her by surprise. By Lia Tarachansky The film's credits come on, so I take a deep breath, turn on the lights and walk slowly to the center of the room. I want to stretch out the minutes to give them more time to digest. After a few long moments of standing there…

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  • Fighting occupation must not blind us from remembering the Nakba

    A solution to the problem of the occupation will be worthless if we do not gain the courage to take apart the human food chain that has become entrenched in this land since 1948. On Sunday night, I spoke at the annual protest march — this time in Jerusalem, rather than Tel Aviv where it is usually held — calling for an end to the occupation of the East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. However, despite the protests' emphasis on the occupation that began in 1967, I spoke at length about the need to shift our focus…

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  • Why won't Israeli peace groups talk about the Nakba?

    It's 2015 and Israeli peace groups still refuse to talk about the mass dispossession of Palestinians in 1948, including those who became Israeli citizens. Tom Mehager says it is time for a real conversation about the right of return. By Tom Mehager Israeli non-profit organizations that strive for a society based on coexistence most often focus on the most pressing issues vis-a-vis Jewish-Arab relations: educating toward democratic values, mutual recognition and teaching the Arabic language; equal allocation of resources and land; integration into the workforce and strengthening economic investment in Arab towns and villages; proper representation in decision-making processes; legitimacy for…

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