Washington's Game Plan in the Middle East

by Joe Stork , Rashid Khalidi
published in MER164

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Nowhere does this cynical adage seem more descriptive than regarding United States policy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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The Uprising's Dilemma

Limited Rebellion and Civil Society

by Salim Tamari
published in MER164

As the Palestinian uprising enters its thirtieth month, it faces a crisis of direction. Its main achievement seems to lie behind: a spectacular ability to mobilize whole sectors of a civilian population, through networks of underground civilian resistance and communal self-help projects, challenging Israel’s ability to continue ruling the West Bank and Gaza. The pattern of daily street confrontations has dealt a moral, if not logistic, blow to the might of the Israeli army. Above all, the intifada has placed relations with the Palestinians and the future of the Occupied Territories at the top of the agenda of all Israeli political parties.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER164

The Palestinian uprising, along with its other achievements, has enabled Palestinian voices finally to reach the United States. Among the most eloquent of these voices are the many different expressions of Palestinian culture. In theater, film, music, art and literature, Palestinian cultural productions have achieved new and revealing syntheses of politics and aesthetics, and many artists in the United States have responded by inscribing the question of Palestine on their own agendas.

Blocking Palestinian Statehood

by Chris Toensing | published September 26, 2011

When President Barack Obama addressed the UN General Assembly in September 2010, he sounded hopeful that by the following year there would be “an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations -- an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel.” Sure enough, in September 2011, the Palestinians asked the UN Security Council to recognize a state of Palestine -- but Obama ordered the US delegate to veto the request. What gives?

As If There Is No Occupation

The Limits of Palestinian Authority Strategy

by Nu'man Kanafani | published September 22, 2011

For many months, the streets of downtown Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian Authority (PA), have literally been heaps of earth. Workers have labored intensively to replace water and sewage pipes, repave roads, lay beautiful carved stones at roadsides and install thick chains along the edges of sidewalks in order to better separate pedestrian and automotive traffic. Shopkeepers have been told to reduce the size of their storefront signs; specially designed electricity poles jut skyward. Not every town resident is impressed. As they navigate the mounds of dirt, cynics joke: “The PA is covering the road to self-determination in asphalt.” “We have the sewers; all that’s left is the sovereignty.” “The streets of Ramallah are paved with white stones -- who needs Jerusalem?”

The Question of Palestine in Miniature

by The Editors | published September 16, 2011

The countdown to September 23 has begun. On that day, if he does not renege on his September 16 speech, Mahmoud ‘Abbas will present a formal request for full UN membership for a state of Palestine. The UN Security Council, which must approve such requests, will not do so, because the United States will act upon its repeated vows to exercise its veto. And then?

Photos and Art from Palestine

by Lisa Frank
published in MER175

John Running, Pictures for Solomon (Northland, 1990).

Phyllis Bennis and Neal Cassidy, From Stones to Statehood (Olive Branch, 1990).

Kamal Boullata, Faithful Witnesses: Palestinian Children Recreate Their World (Windrush, 1990).

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Romann and Weingrod, Living Together Separately

by Mick Dumper
published in MER175

M. Romann and A. Weingrod, Living Together Separately: Arabs and Jews in Contemporary Jerusalem (Princeton, 1991).

After armies come the academics. Usually the first wave comprises archaeologists and historians who wish to legitimize a particular excursion or expansion. These are followed by economists and anthropologists prying open the benefits and exoticism of the conquered areas. Further down the line are the sociologists and community relations scholars who wish to ascertain the progress so far. Israel’s conquest of the remnant of Palestine has been no different.

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Aftermath

A Profile of Tulkarm Camp

by Sharry Lapp
published in MER175

Eighteen-year old Anwar is new to bastat, street peddling. Two days ago his mother bought several crates of corn on the cob, which she boiled for him to sell in Tulkarm refugee camp streets. Recently released from a six-month term at Ansar III detention camp in the Negev desert, Anwar returned home the first day having sold nothing.

“There were problems in the streets,” explains his mother, Umm Jamil. “Anyway, no one goes out as they used to. Something happens, the army comes, and everyone runs. Who will buy?” Tulkarm camp, near the northern West Bank town by that name, is home to nearly 12,000 Palestinians.

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