Two Films

by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea
published in MER159

Shadows Over the Future, A film by Wolfgang Bergmann. 1985. 92 mins, 16mm.

Last Exit: Berlin, A film by Marilyn Gaunt. 1988. 28 mins. video.

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Palestine for Beginners

by Joel Beinin , Lisa Hajjar
published in MER154

After World War I, the League of Nations (controlled by the leading colonial powers of the time, Britain and France) carved up the territories of the defeated Ottoman Empire. The territory now made up of Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jordan was granted to Great Britain as a Mandate (a quasi-colonial form of administration). In 1922, Britain established the emirate of Transjordan (east of the Jordan River), still part of its mandate but administratively distinct from Palestine.

When Britain assumed control of Palestine, over 90 percent of its population was Arab. A small indigenous Jewish population had lived there for generations, and a newer, politicized community linked to the Zionist movement had begun to immigrate to Palestine in the 1880s.

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Points of Stress

Israel and the Intifada

by James Paul
published in MER154

Eight months into the intifada, Israel’s occupation appears as unyielding as the rocky hills of Palestine. Bolstered by arms and funds from the United States and supported by a rightward-leaning public, the Israeli political establishment stands utterly intransigent, opposed to any political compromise with the Palestinians. Chances of a settlement appear extremely remote.

Such intransigence fits a historical pattern. This is always the first reaction of an occupying regime to the outbreak of insurrection: The only problem, they are sure, is that they have not used enough force.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER154

In June, the seventh month of the uprising, two of us -- Joe Stork and Jim Paul -- traveled to the West Bank, Gaza and Israel, along with photographer Rick Reinhard. We saw firsthand the extent to which this unfolding political event has transformed, and continues to transform, a balance of forces which less than a year ago had seemed so static, so immovable.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER156

As President-elect George Bush sits down to lunch with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in early December 1988 to discuss the modalities of Detente II, we wonder what the prospects are for any similar sort of US rapprochement with the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It took 16 years, from 1917 to 1933, for the United States to come to diplomatic terms with the Bolshevik Revolution, and the half-century since then has been marked by periods of deep hostility, none more pronounced than the first half of the Reagan-Bush administration.

Primer: Where They Stand

The Major Parties and the International Consensus

by
published in MER158

I. All states in the region, including a Palestinian state, have the right to independence and security.

US / Israel / PLO / Arab States / USSR / EEC States (bold = support; plain text = opposition)

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The Scourge of Palestinian Moderation

Peace Process or Peace Panic?

by Norman Finkelstein
published in MER158

In the early 1960s, before the major US escalation of the war in Vietnam, a negotiated settlement to that conflict was in reach. Such a settlement was supported by the leaders of the Soviet Union, China, France, Cambodia and North Vietnam, and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam. The United Nations, through then-Secretary General U Thant, put great effort into setting up negotiations. The essential precondition of such a settlement was recognition of the South Vietnamese people’s right to self-determination, a precondition the United States would not abide. In February 1965, an embittered and frustrated U Thant was moved to comment that

From Intifada to Independence

by Edward Said
published in MER158

The nineteenth session of the Palestine National Council, formally entitled the “intifada meeting,” was momentous and, in many great and small ways, unprecedented. There were fewer hangers-on, groupies and “observers” than ever before. Security was tighter and more unpleasant than during the 1987 PNC session, also held in Algiers; Algeria had just brutally suppressed its own intifada, so the presence of several hundred Palestinians and at least 1,200 members of the press was not especially welcomed by the Ben Jadid government, which paradoxically needed the event to restore some of its tarnished revolutionary luster.

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Letters

published in MER159

Prop. W Not a Setback

Seven Perspectives

Middle East Peace Priorities in the US

by
published in MER158

Eqbal Ahmad

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