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…Read More... | 18 Comments
right of return
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
There are some strong arguments against the ASA's recent decision to support an academic boycott of Israel. But are they adequate? Members of the American Studies Association (ASA) voted last week to endorse a resolution supporting an academic boycott of Israel, following a unanimous vote by the National Council of the ASA earlier this month. The global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement might have seemed extreme and marginal when it was established eight years ago. But what seems extreme has a way of becoming mainstream if doesn’t go away. The boycott idea became impossible to ignore as international stars such…Read More... | 33 Comments
'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…Read More... | 11 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
During a recent interview with Charlie Rose in New York, Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid tacitly reveals why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict endures and why Israel will only accept peace on its own terms. Over the past week or so, as the United Nations General Assembly brought leaders from around the world to New York, several of them made their way onto American political talk shows. Charlie Rose, one of America’s best and most watched interviewers, hosted a number of political leaders from the Middle East, including Bashar al-Assad of Syria (from Damascus) and Hassan Rouhani of Iran. Rose also interviewed…Read More... | 68 Comments
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=yFsfAIyelngRead More... | 1 Comment
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
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…Read More... | 19 Comments
While the Palestinian president is renouncing the Palestinian right of return on Israeli television, Israel's prime minister is announcing new settlement construction. Instead of playing to his own political base, Netanyahu could have his Sadat moment. By Aaron Magid Meeting with a delegation of Knesset members on Thursday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that in a final status agreement the Palestinians “would not demand to return to Jaffe, Acre or Haifa.” Among other conciliatory comments, Abbas’s statement exemplifies his commitment toward addressing legitimate Israeli concerns and ending the conflict. Unfortunately, although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has moderated his hawkish positions,…Read More... | 4 Comments
Tel Aviv's Eretz Israel Museum has been under increasing pressure to cancel Zochrot’s second international conference. Recently, the museum presented new conditions to the organizers, including paying for increased security and changing the wording on the event invitation. An international conference by Zochrot, an Israeli NGO which focuses on the Nakba and the "right of return," is under threat, following pressure from right-wing organizations. The Eretz Israel Museum, where Zochrot decided to host the event, has recently informed organizers that due to the risk of demonstrations and public disorder, they will need to pay for increased, onsite security. The museum…Read More... | 9 Comments
The displaced Maronite community of Bir'em has decided to implement its right of return by resettling its land. Authorities have threatened to evict the villagers should they refuse to leave. Exactly one year ago, the displaced people of Iqrit decided that after 64 years of empty promises, they would wait no longer to return to their lands. Just last week, the villagers of Iqrit celebrated the first anniversary of their outpost built on confiscated lands, and announced plans to go on expanding their presence on the ground. Now it appears that Iqrit is not alone, as another displaced community on…Read More... | 8 Comments
The displaced members of the village of Iqrit marked one year since their groundbreaking direct action: the return of the village youth to the village, the revival of its traditions and the strengthening of their hold on the land. Although they are now celebrating with friends and supporters, they fear a potential response from authorities. Every year for the past 18 years, the displaced Palestinian community of Iqrit has organized a summer camp on the expropriated lands of their village so that the younger generations, born in cities and towns elsewhere in Israel, will remember their heritage and continue the…Read More... | 16 Comments
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On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
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Plan to displace Bedouin
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