Bush in Jerusalem

Rhetoric vs. Reality

by Josh Ruebner
published in MER246

The first leg of President George W. Bush’s whirlwind January tour of the Middle East took him to Jerusalem, where, in his first visit as president, he tried to breathe life into the renewed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations launched under US auspices at Annapolis, Maryland in November 2007. The talks remain moribund, but ears pricked up during a speech Bush delivered at the King David Hotel on January 10. Several formulations seemed downright alien to the lexicon from which the Bush White House has generally drawn.

The Bush Team Reloaded

by Jim Lobe
published in MER234

On September 20, 2001, just nine days after the attacks on New York and the Pentagon, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) laid out a consensus agenda for President George W. Bush's “war on terrorism.” In addition to military action to oust the Taliban in Afghanistan and “capture or kill” Osama bin Laden, PNAC called for regime change in Iraq “even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack,” and “appropriate measures of retaliation” against Iran and Syria if they refused to comply with US demands to cut off support for Hizballah.

The Targeted and the Untargeted of Nablus

by Amahl Bishara
published in MER235

On April 14, 2005, Ibrahim Isneiri, a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, was shot dead by Israeli forces in the Balata refugee camp on the outskirts of Nablus, a town located between two mountains in the northern West Bank. Palestinian eyewitnesses said Israeli forces opened fire first, while the Israeli military claimed that they were returning the Palestinian’s fire. Israeli soldiers had entered the camp looking for Isneiri because, Israeli security sources alleged, he was planning an armed operation to be carried out inside Israel.

Hamas Risen

by Graham Usher
published in MER238

On January 27, 2006, Fatah activists and Palestinian security personnel converged on the Palestinian Authority’s parliament building in Gaza City. Within minutes, cars were torched, tires set aflame and stones thrown at election banners displaying the visages of victorious Hamas candidates. The cry was for vengeance, particularly against a leadership that had just presided over Palestine’s premier nationalist movement’s worst political defeat in its 47-year history.

"The Israel Lobby" in Perspective

by Mitchell Plitnick , Chris Toensing
published in MER243

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s 82-page paper “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy” has entered the canon of contemporary political culture in the United States. So much, positive and negative, has been written about the March 2006 essay that the phrase “the Mearsheimer-Walt argument” is now shorthand for the idea that pro-Israel advocates exert a heavy—and malign—influence upon the formulation of US Middle East policy. To veteran students of Middle East affairs, this idea is hardly new, of course.

A Different Kind of Memory

An Interview with Zochrot

by Meera Shah
published in MER244

“Who is trying to change the names of Haifa streets to the street names in the period prior to the War of Independence?” This question led an article in the December 15, 2004 edition of the Israeli daily Ma’ariv. Someone -- “people from outside,” said the mayor -- had placed signs in Arabic that labeled major thoroughfares as they had been known prior to the expulsion of many of the city’s Palestinians, and the incorporation of Haifa into the nascent state of Israel, during the war of 1948.

Letter from al-Tuwani

by Joel Beinin
published in MER244

The village of al-Tuwani in Masafir Yatta, or the South Hebron Hills of the West Bank, is the poorest and most desolate place I have seen. In June 2007, I accompanied Rebecca Vilkomerson on her visit to Hafiz Hurayni, a representative of al-Tuwani’s popular committee. Rebecca is working with the popular committee and the South Hebron Committee to raise funds to build a playground for al-Tuwani’s children. She is a member of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, which has also supported the playground project. Al-Tuwani needs a new well. When the existing one runs dry in the spring and summer, al-Tuwani is forced to buy water at inflated prices. Meanwhile, surrounding Jewish settlements have a nearly unlimited water supply.

The Only Place Where There's Hope

An Interview with Muhammad Khatib, Jonathan Pollak and Elad Orian

by Robert Blecher
published in MER240

Beginning in December 2004, and then every Friday since February 2005, Palestinians, Israelis and internationals have converged on the West Bank village of Bil‘in to demonstrate against the barrier that Israel is building there, as part of the chain of walls and fences (the Wall) that the Israeli government hopes will be Israel’s unilaterally declared eastern border. The protests in Bil‘in have been among the most effective and sustained of any in the Occupied Territories.

In the Labyrinth of Solitude

Time, Violence and the Eternal Frontier

by Peter Lagerquist
published in MER248

Our territory is inhabited by a number of races speaking different languages and living on different historical levels…. A variety of epochs live side by side in the same areas or a very few miles apart, ignoring or devouring one another…. Past epochs never vanish completely, and blood still drips from all their wounds, even the most ancient.

—Octavio Paz, Labyrinth of Solitude