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
An academic chapter about the history of Muslim relations with Jews provides a refreshing rejoinder to the tired assumption that Muslim society and culture are fundamentally anti-Semitic. In this post, I am hosting a short comment by the author, explaining his argument.Read More... | 25 Comments
The United Nation agency for Palestinian refugees is reporting that three separate incidents in Syria claimed last week the lives of five children. One of the children died in Dera'a and four others in Damascus. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East UNRWA, Mohammad Al-Khateeb (aged 14) was killed on March 15 by a bullet as he was returning home on foot after buying bread from a bakery in his neighborhood in Dera'a. On March 19, Hisham Mahmoud (aged 10) and Farhat Mubarak (aged 11), were killed at the crossroad of Yazour and Safad Streets in Yarmouk, Damascus. They were…Read More... | 10 Comments
Akiva Orr, an activist and writer, who helped form the Israeli anti-Zionist socialist party 'Matzpen,' passed away this week. His ideas, which can be viewed in the documentary on the history of Matzpen (below), challenged Israeli society and influenced generations of activists. This post has been updated and expanded. Akiva Orr, author, co-founder of the Israeli anti-Zionist socialist political party, ‘Matzpen,’ and one of the most well-known figures in Israel's radical left, passed away this weekend. Matzpen was a radical and controversial political party that opposed Zionism as a colonialist movement and called for an alliance between Israelis and Palestinians. The…Read More... | 6 Comments
Twenty-five years ago this past weekend, a large-scale popular uprising by Palestinians began against Israel's then 20-year-old military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Sparked by an incident in which four Palestinians were hit and killed by an Israeli driving in Gaza on December 8, 1987, Palestinian frustration at living under repressive Israeli military rule and Israel's growing colonial settlement enterprise erupted, grabbing international headlines and drawing attention to the plight of Palestinians living in the occupied territories. On this 25th anniversary, the IMEU offers the following fact sheet on the First Intifada. By The Institute for…Read More... | 14 Comments
In spite of the headlines, the international media attention, and the flow of pictures showing celebrating Palestinians waving flags – the UN resolution sparked little excitement or joy in the streets of Ramallah, which is still surrounded by walls and settlements on all sides. If anything, it was an evening of sadness and despair. Traveling to Ramallah for the late-night public screening of Palestine's UN bid, I was not expecting much. Journalists who spent the day in the West Bank had already reported that very little was going on, that PA sponsored rallies had attracted only few people in the…Read More... | 8 Comments
Festivities were held in Ramallah throughout the day to celebrate the Palestine Liberation Organization’s bid at the United Nations to receive an upgrade to non-member observer state. It’s a bit ironic that the Palestinian Authority chose Ramallah for these official festivities—isn’t East Jerusalem supposed to be the Palestinian capital according to the two-state solution? And President Mahmoud Abbas’ move is a two-state move, as some of my students angrily pointed out this week. One girl, who is the 18-year-old granddaughter of Palestinian refugees who fled the massacre in Deir Yassin, said that Abbas is giving up her right of return.…Read More... | 4 Comments
If you follow Israeli and American mainstream logic, all it takes for the occupation to end are a few nice words from Palestinian leaders. We have been asking the wrong questions: A popular debate in the days following the military escalation between Israel and Hamas had to do with the prospect of negotiations with Hamas, and whether the organization "has moderated." In this conversation, evidence is tossed around from both sides in the forms of quotes from political figures, militants, supporters and spiritual leaders, followed by heated arguments over their meaning, context, quality of translation, status of the person…Read More... | 37 Comments
The Palestinian leadership's silence regarding the plight of national footballer Mahmoud Sarsak and other Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike derives from the fear that the more empowered Palestinians become in their opposition to Israeli occupation, the more likely they are to overthrow the Palestinian Authority. By Mosab Qashoo Anyone following the Palestinian struggle will have heard about Mahmoud Sarsak, the imprisoned Palestinian footballer who this week ended a hunger strike of over three months. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) have been publicizing their upcoming meeting with the head of the Israeli Kadima party, Shaul…Read More... | 9 Comments
Last week, news surfaced in the Palestinian media about a conflict between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. According to Alquds Al-Arabi, Abbas has not been answering Fayyad’s phone calls after his refusal to deliver a letter about the need for Israel to halt settlement construction to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Ma’an News suggested that Fayyad didn’t want to meet with Netanyahu on the same day that 1,000 Palestinian prisoners launched a hunger strike. However Alquds Alarabi reported that the real reason behind the refusal to take the letter is that Fayyad was not consulted on the content…Read More... | 19 Comments
With the Palestinian political horizon looking grim, reconciliation, elections and reform may be the only hope. News of a major development in Palestinian politics was reached today in Cairo between leaders of various Palestinian factions. A committee established by the reconciliation agreement signed in May 2011 to advance PLO reform has agreed to push for direct elections to the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the PLO’s parliament and highest legislative body, once polling and a mechanism can be reached. PNC elections, if held, would be a landmark accomplishment for Palestinian politics and pave the way for a representational government including Palestinians…Read More... | 10 Comments
Former British PM Tony Blair has come under fire for alleged bias in the Middle East. The Guardian reported last week that Blair visited Gaddafi during Libyan loan negotiations by JP Morgan, where he is employed as an adviser. The Telegraph in the UK reported that PLO senior leaders are considering a proposal which would label Blair "persona non grata" in order to isolate him and make his position as the Quartet envoy 'impossible'. The Palestinian leadership claims that there is no more trust for Blair as an impartial mediator between Israelis and Palestinians. Two days ago, someone posted a hard hitting expose of Blair on…Read More... | 7 Comments
Palestinian activists in Ramallah have created a new song which mocks the PLO attempt for statehood at the United Nations later this week. The lyrics in English: The blue chair This is the story of a magical blue chair… A blue chair that will travel, soar and fly! It comes in dark blue…and in white, Palestine, is drawn (2X) This chair…is not just any chair (2X) This chair is an extraordinary and magical kind! This blue chair…can rise high This blue chair…can achieve It can a bring us a state This chair is one magical blue chair! This is the story…Read More... | 2 Comments
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A look into the daily life of African refugees living in an 'open' detention center.
Kerry's peace process
Full coverage, commentary and analysis of the latest round of peace talks.
Plan to displace Bedouin
Will tens of thousands of Israeli citizens be evicted from their homes?
A series of striking infographics.
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In Israel, not all citizens are created equal: On selective prosecution http://t.co/FMuYLqzGWk by @lisang
On Prisoners' Day, Palestinians and supporters struggle for freedom, by @activestills: http://t.co/7PXbq7gNgh http://t.co/oCLVh030ff
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If Israel can claim to represent worldwide Jewry, why can't the PA do the same for Palestinians in Israel? http://t.co/83ZxTZBdsi
Israel's double standards on cross-border loyalties http://t.co/83ZxTZBdsi, by @Ha_Matar
Meet the Palestinian professor who took a group of students to Auschwitz: http://t.co/5xFaXrB9Gm by @dahliasc
Six days later, Palestinian journalist freed after being held incommunicado by Israel http://t.co/YY2B5OeI8W