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Palestinian refugees

  • 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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  • De-coding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process

    A breakdown of recent statements by principal players in the Kerry-led peace process. The Israeli/Palestinian negotiations remind me of a volleyball court. With a lack of hard information available to the public, each player punts a ball into the air at regular intervals with identifying marks on it, to remind everyone that he or she is still there for ten seconds before the ball drops and another pops up. These blips sound like a standard shouting match on the surface. But their subtext can give a snapshot of the peace process at this moment – and reveal why it’s so…

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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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  • The origins and politics of Israel's refugee debate

    An in-depth look at the historical and political developments that shaped Israel’s current African asylum-seeker crisis — and one way to resolve it that meets Israel’s own needs while doing right by those who most need its protection. African asylum seekers in Israel have brought their struggle into the limelight in recent weeks. Through acts of civil disobedience, public protests and a mass labor strike, the mostly Eritrean and Sudanese nationals are attempting to shift the public discourse surrounding their presence in the country, gain access to a credible process in which they can seek asylum, and challenge a new…

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  • Why can't we walk back?: A conversation with Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir

    'When I Saw You' tells the story of a Palestinian child in 1967 who refuses to accept his fate as a refugee. Writer and director Annemarie Jacir discusses what led her to make the film and what lessons its carries. By Frank Barat Returning to Palestine is a recurring theme in Annemarie Jacir's films. Unlike the majority of Palestinians, who are refugees, Jacir was able to return to her hometown Bethlehem every year to visit family while growing up, something she describes as "the privilege of Palestine." In 2008, however, she was denied entry, separated from her partner and left…

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  • Instead of evacuating West Bank outpost, state continues to humiliate itself

    One year after it was ordered to remove the illegal outpost of Amona, the government is now claiming that the evacuation has to be postponed, since it 'may harm the interests of the state.' We are, after all, negotiating with the Palestinians. By Yesh Din (written by Yossi Gurvitz) Last August, the High Court of Justice ruled that the illegal West Bank outpost of Amona is to be totally evacuated, with the exception of those plots of lands which the settlers claim to have purchased – claims about which there are, to put it mildly, serious doubts. Thus, the court rejected…

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  • WATCH: From truth to redress, realizing return

    The Palestinian "right of return" is a phrase so powerful that it tends to offend Israelis as much as the word "nakba." Last month a rare forum for open discourse on the issue took place at a conference initiated by 'Zochrot.' How can a Palestinian return be planned for, what does transitional justice look like and what are Palestinian youth doing today to realize return? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFsfAIyelng

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  • Looking beyond the 'curse' of partition

    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…

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  • Right-wing group seeks to dismantle Israeli NGO dedicated to Palestinian return

    Just weeks after it was deemed to have 'fascist characteristics,' nationalist group Im Tirtzu tries to shut down Zochrot for allegedly 'rejecting the existence of the State of Israel.' Right-wing group Im Tirtzu is attempting to shut down Zochrot, a non-profit organization that dedicates itself to raising awareness of the Nakba in Israeli society, and working toward the return of Palestinian refugees who fled or were expelled by Israeli forces in 1948. According to the Israeli news site Kipa [Hebrew], Im Tirtzu leader Ronen Shoval sent a letter to the head of Israel's NGO registry, claiming that Zochrot's activity contradicts section 49…

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  • Celebrity chef humanizes Palestinians on trip to the holy land

    Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain recently traveled to Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza to spotlight Palestinian and Israeli food on his CNN show. However, once he arrived in the holy land, it was impossible for Bourdain to avoid things Israelis often prefer to forget about: the settlements, the wall, and Gaza.  By Amer Zahr Something amazing happened on CNN last night. Palestinians were portrayed as human beings. In his show “Parts Unknown,” Anthony Bourdain travels to exotic and controversial locales to examine the intersection of food, politics, and everyday life. Last night, he visited Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.…

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  • Reflections on one state from the West Bank

    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…

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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