An Interview with Salah 'Abd al-Shafi

by Graham Usher
published in MER186

Salah ‘Abd al-Shafi directs the Economic Development Group in Gaza. Graham Usher, a journalist currently working in the Gaza Strip, interviewed him in September and October 1993.

What do you think the agreement means economically?

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Gaza's Workers and the Palestinian Authority

by Amira Hass
published in MER194

The story of the January 1995 strike in a private health clinic in Gaza City was published in only one paper, al-Watan, a new weekly affiliated with Hamas. Neither al-Quds nor al-Nahar, dailies in tune with the Palestinian Authority (PA), reported on the first workers’ strike under Palestinian self-rule.

Economics of Palestinian Return Migration

by Ward Sayre , Jennifer Olmsted
published in MER212

Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza have faced a series of economic shocks since the Gulf war. Each shock alone would have been difficult to weather, but combined they have led to a considerable worsening of economic conditions. These shocks included the Gulf war, Israeli closures of the West Bank and Gaza, and the influx of diaspora Palestinians after the Oslo accords. While the first two clearly had negative consequences, the last is more complex. The repatriation of diaspora Palestinians has led to a reversal of the “brain drain,” and an influx of much needed capital. Yet the impact of this spending has been disappointing and widening economic inequality may have resulted.

Israel's Wall Not Really About Security

by Catherine Cook | published August 30, 2003

As President Bush’s diplomacy with Israeli and Palestinian leaders continues, so does Israel’s construction of the so-called separation wall in the West Bank. The Israeli public views the wall as necessary protection from attacks on civilians by Palestinian militant groups. But is this wall really about security? And what impact will it have on the US-backed “road map” aiming toward resolution of the conflict and a Palestinian state?

The Gaza Strip: From Bad to Worse

by Maren Milligan | published August 8, 2004

To say that things are getting worse in Gaza, one of the poorest places on Earth, is a bit like saying it is getting hotter in hell. But over the past few years, things have gotten significantly worse in this sliver of Palestinian territory along the Mediterranean Sea—with alarming implications for the prospect of a comprehensive Middle East peace.

Since September 2000, when the current Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation began, the Gazan economy has entered what the World Bank calls “one of the deepest recessions in modern history.” The joblessness rate among males aged 15-24 is 43 percent and as many as 70 percent of job market entrants are unemployed. These conditions are creating a generation of isolated and disaffected youth.

It's Time for Israel to Lift the Gaza Siege

by Bayann Hamid | published June 28, 2010

Why would the Israeli navy commandeer boats carrying collapsible wheelchairs and bags of cement to the Gaza Strip? Israel says that the aid convoys are trying to "break the blockade" of the densely populated Palestinian enclave. But why is there a blockade in the first place?

Sen. Chuck Schumer, an ardent supporter of Israel's policies, recently offered an unusually frank explanation before a Jewish audience in Washington. The siege of Gaza aims "to show the Palestinians that when there's some moderation and cooperation, they can have an economic advancement," the New York Democrat said. "To strangle them economically, until they see that's not the way to go, makes sense."

Letting Gaza Burn

by Chris Toensing | published July 13, 2006

The captivity of Israeli solider Gilad Shalit is over two weeks old, with no sign of a breakthrough, and a second front with Hizbullah now threatens to divert world attention from the conflagration in Gaza.

Following Israel’s grievously disproportionate military rejoinder to Shalit’s capture, over 70 Palestinians, including several civilians, and one Israeli soldier lie dead. A Gazan power plant insured by American taxpayers lies in ruins. Even Time magazine wants to know: “Where is the U.S.?”

The Rome Fiasco

by Chris Toensing | published July 26, 2007

Two weeks into the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon, the United States stands with only two other countries—Israel and Britain—in opposing an immediate ceasefire. Even Iraqi Prime Minister Jawad al-Maliki, in Washington for reassurances that the Bush administration will “stay the course” in its Mesopotamian misadventure, demanded that the bombing be halted forthwith.

Deflating Middle East Extremism

by Joel Beinin | published August 10, 2006

President Bush and many other supporters of the current Israeli assault on Lebanon and its reoccupation of the Gaza Strip justify these military actions on the grounds that Hamas and Hezbollah do not recognize Israel’s right to exist. Negotiating with “terrorists” is impossible, they claim, because Hamas and Hezbollah exist only to destroy Israel.

Israeli Siege is Undermining Peace

by Lori Allen | published October 19, 2006

Since Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent Middle East tour concluded without concrete results, and unity talks between Fatah and Hamas remain at a standstill, the possibility of an Israeli-Palestinian political compromise appears bleaker than ever. But Palestinian lives and livelihoods should no longer be held hostage to the reigning diplomatic stagnation.