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PLO

  • Why is Mahmoud Abbas negotiating on behalf of Gaza?

    When they emerge from the rubble, as they always do, who among Gaza's Palestinians will look to Abu Mazen as their legitimate leader? The Fatah chief is reportedly in Cairo today to meet with Egyptian strongman Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, whose "ceasefire proposal" to end the bloodshed in Gaza was promptly rejected as "a joke" by the Hamas leadership on Tuesday. Today's Haaretz affirms why: Senior Israeli officials and Western diplomats said the reason the Egyptian ceasefire initiative was so short-lived is that it was prepared hastily and was not coordinated with all the relevant parties, particularly Hamas. Why, then, had Abbas…

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  • Analysis: The end of the 'cheap occupation' era

    Israel may soon have to say goodbye to its tight-knit cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and the relative calm that comes with it.  The discovery of the bodies of three Israeli teens who have been missing for the last 18 days, along with the public calls for vengeance heard in Israel today, could mark the beginning of a new era in the West Bank – one that is considerably less stable. This might not be a third intifada but it is also not the relative calm or the close military coordination Israel enjoyed over the last five to six years.…

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  • When the canons roar, the Israeli Left remains silent

    It appears not much has changed since Operation Cast Lead, when opposition leader Haim Oron tragically decided to support the military offensive. Rather than apologizing and giving evasive answers to the media, the Left, led by the failed opposition leader, should be standing up to yell 'enough!' By Elinor Davidov It took seven days of "Operation Brother's Keeper" for the leaders of the Israeli Left in the opposition to say, sofly, that there is a problem with the current military operation, with its goals and with its implementation. For the first time, a week of collective punishment, a closure on the…

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  • Analysis: How Israel taught Hamas that violence is effective

    The Islamic group has good reason to believe that violence will work for it, and maybe even set the stage for diplomatic engagement with Israel: it has in the past, both for itself and the PLO. It is ironic that Israel rushed to point to the kidnapping of three Israeli teens as the reason it cannot negotiate with a Palestinian leadership affiliated with Hamas. Indeed, in the wake of the kidnapping -- regardless of the outcome -- Israel will very likely use the event as an excuse to stay away from the already comatose peace talks with the Mahmoud Abbas’s…

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  • 50 years of the PLO: Where to now?

    The organization's face has changed significantly since 1964, most dramatically in the past 20 years since Oslo. The PLO must find a way to include the diaspora, empower grass roots activism and keep alive its founding spirit as a national liberation movement. By Samer Badawi Take one look at the website of the Palestine Poster Project, and you’ll get a glimpse of another era, when the iconography of the Palestinian struggle came in bold hues attached to even bolder slogans. Among the collection is a gold-tinted composition by the renowned Palestinian artist and art historian Kamal Boullata. The caption is…

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  • How three Israeli journalists brought Arafat into Israeli homes

    Fifty years after the founding of the PLO, journalist Anat Saragusti talks about the first interview Yasser Arafat gave to an Israeli media outlet, looking for the real story in Beirut under siege, and the importance of pushing the limits of society’s comfort zone. By Anat Saragusti This story can go in a number of directions. It can be a story about war, or about different world views, it can be a political story or a societal one, and it is of course, first and foremost a journalistic story. For me, it’s all of those things together. It was the beginning…

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  • Bucking Israeli sanctions, Palestinians form unity gov't

    Swearing in of technocratic government is a first step in ending a seven-year rift between Hamas and Fatah. Israel takes punitive measures against the inclusion of Hamas. A technocratic Palestinian unity government was sworn in on Monday, a first step toward ending a seven-year rift between rival factions Hamas and Fatah in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, respectively. The government is by design temporary until new Palestinian elections can be held and Hamas is included in the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Israel was expected to adopt punitive measures against the Palestinians in response to the inclusion of Hamas, which it…

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  • More than just the PA at stake in Palestinian reconciliation

    Recent statements by Abbas and Hamas leader Abu Marzouk can be seen as the opening salvos in what is sure to be a hotly contested campaign to lead the PLO and, through it, the Palestinian body politic. By Samer Badawi Following the displacement, 66 years ago today, of more than three-quarters of their population and the ethnic cleansing of more than 500 of their villages, Palestinians took 16 years to coalesce around an institutional mechanism that would represent their rights before the world. Formed in 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization set out to right the wrongs of 1948. Today, however,…

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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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  • Dispelling modern myths of Muslim anti-Semitism

    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.

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  • Five Palestinian children killed in Syria

    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…

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  • Akiva Orr, co-founder of Israeli radical left Matzpen party, passes away

    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…

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  • Fact Sheet: 25th anniversary of the First Intifada

    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…

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