Palestine and Israel in the US Arena

by The Editors
published in MER158

Ordinary children, women and men, a million and a half of them, have confounded the state of Israel, Washington’s major military ally in the Middle East, with their incredible courage and resourcefulness. Their resounding demand for political independence then prompted the Palestine Liberation Organization to declare unequivocally for a Palestinian state alongside Israel -- a resolution based on “possible rather than absolute justice,” as Yasser Arafat put it. [1] More than a hundred governments have officially recognized the new state. Others, such as the major European states, upgraded their relations with the PLO. The combined force of these developments finally led Washington to open formal talks with the PLO.

Editor's Bookshelf

by Joel Beinin
published in MER161

Dipesh Chakrabarty’s well-documented, theoretically informed, innovative history of the jute mill workers of Bengal, Rethinking Working-Class History: Bengal, 1890-1940 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989), poses this central question: “Can…third-world countries like India…build democratic, communitarian institutions on the basis of the nonindividualistic, but hierarchical and illiberal, precapitalist bonds that have survived and sometimes resisted -- or even flourished under -- the onslaught of capital?” (p.

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From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER162

The government of Israel fiercely maintains its rejectionist stance toward any political accommodation with the Palestine Liberation Organization. This is not merely a diplomatic posture, but undergirds the ideological structure of its policies of dispossession and occupation. Ha’aretz reported last June that close to 50,000 Palestinians have been jailed in the first 18 months of the uprising. The number continues to climb -- some 250 administrative detention orders in October alone, according to the DataBase Project on Palestinian Human Rights, plus the many arrests stemming from Bayt Sahour’s tax revolt.

Shafir, Land, Labor and the Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

by Joel Beinin
published in MER164

Gershon Shafir, Land, Labor and the Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1882-1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).

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Prison Text, Resistance Culture

by Barbara Harlow
published in MER164

The Israeli prison apparatus is a critical and contested site in the manifold struggle to control communication and information in the Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation. During the two decades of occupation before the intifada, prisons in Israel and the Occupied Territories housed an average of 4,000 Palestinian political detainees at any one time. Since the start of the uprising this number has increased dramatically, with over 40,000 arrests. This put great pressure on the prison facilities and necessitated the opening of new prison camps such as Ansar III (Ketsi’ot) in the Negev desert, and detention centers like Dhahriyya, just outside of Hebron.

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Forbidden Territory, Promised Land

by Ammiel Alcalay
published in MER164

Ilan Halevi, A History of the Jews (trans. A. M. Berrett) (London: Zed Books, 1987).

Shlomo Swirski, Israel: The Oriental Majority (trans. Barbara Swirski) (London: Zed Books, 1989).

Ella Shohat, Israeli Cinema: East/West and the Politics of Representation (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1989).

Aspersion and Intrigue

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER164

Question: What is more popular reading in the West Bank than the UNLU’s leaflets? Answer: Ze’ev Schiff and Ehud Ya’ari’s Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising -- Israel’s Third Front, now translated into Arabic and serialized in the daily al-Quds this spring.

Like the fake manifestos written by Israel’s intelligence service, the book, published in Hebrew in Israel and just out in English, has sown confusion and discord in the Occupied Territories. The authors, both Israeli journalists, rely heavily on interrogation files (referred to as “exclusive inside documents” on the inside cover flap) and tapped telephone conversations for their analysis of the popular uprising.

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Eyeless in Judea

Israel's Strategy of Collaborators and Forgeries

by Salim Tamari
published in MER164

One of the major problems confronting the Israeli security forces during the Palestinian uprising was the disintegration, by June 1988, of Israel’s system of penetration and control over the clandestine national movement. First, the apparatus of the military government received a considerable blow with the wholesale resignation of the local police force and tax collectors during the first months of the intifada; second, in March and April 1988, the popular upheaval compelled many collaborators to recant publicly and surrender their weapons. These developments contributed to the paralysis of two major Israeli instruments of control over the Palestinians: the institutional and the coercive.

"The PLO Is Still Waging a Struggle for Recognition Rather Than for a Solution"

An Interview with 'Ali Jarbawi

by Penny Johnson
published in MER164

‘Ali Jarbawi, an associate professor of political science at Birzeit University, is the author of The Intifada and Political Leadership in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Beirut: Dar al-Tali‘a, in Arabic). MERIP contributing editor Penny Johnson interviewed him in Ramallah in late February 1990.

You have criticized the “Western analysis” of the uprising which posits that a new, youthful leadership here has changed the balance of power with the PLO outside. This line of thinking views the uprising as a massive social rebellion that has transformed the roles of youth, women, workers and camp dwellers. Do you think such fundamental change is underway?

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The Intifada in Israel

Portents and Precarious Balance

by Stanley Cohen
published in MER164

Our visitors -- activists coming to express solidarity with the Palestinians, human rights workers documenting the latest atrocities, itinerant journalists doing the definitive intifada story -- sometimes see things clearer than we do. Here, in the eye of the storm, it is easy to be misled. The signs are confused, the omens change from week to week. For a moment, a mood of optimism sweeps through. Peace Now appears radicalized. More than half the population agrees with talking to the PLO. Masha Lubelsky (the secretary of Na‘amat, the establishment Histadrut women’s organization) pays a public visit to Faisal Husseini. A thousand new peace activists (not old lefties) sign up for a “peace bus” to Cairo to meet Arafat.

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