Original Sin

by Zachary Lockman
published in MER152

Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988).

Tom Segev, 1949: The First Israelis (New York: The Free Press, 1986).

Simha Flapan, The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities (New York: Pantheon, 1987).

Nightline in the Holy Land

by David Koff , Musindo Mwinyipembe
published in MER155

“This Week in The Holy Land,” ABC Nightline’ week-long series of broadcasts from Jerusalem between April 25 and April 29, 1988, was a major television event. The length of the series (seven hours of air time), its form and content, and its impact across a wide range of opinion in the United States, make it worth a closer look.

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Mediations

published in MER155

Decline and Fall

Jesse and the Jews

Palestine and the Struggle for the Democratic Party

by Micah Sifry
published in MER155

Throughout the first half of 1988, at every level of the political process in the United States, the longstanding consensus governing policy towards Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab-Israeli conflict was in flux. The explosion of Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation and Israeli repression generated sharp questions about American and Israeli policy in the major media, in polls of public opinion, even in the supposedly monolithic Jewish community.

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From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER155

“The wars are winding down. The streets are heating up.” This was how Baltimore radio commentator Sean Connolly led off his “minimalist news” broadcast one day in mid-September. It is hard to find a more succinct way
to describe the state of the world, the Middle East included, on the cusp of transition from the Reagan years.

Reagan came to office very much in the slipstream of the Iranian revolution, a pivotal political moment decided in the streets but consolidated in the counter-revolutionary war launched by Iraq. That revolution and its confrontational stance towards the US provided much of the political fuel that powered the buildup of US interventionary forces in the early 1980s.

Four More Years

by Mouin Rabbani , Chris Toensing | published December 5, 2012

The 2012 US presidential election elicited less interest among Palestinians than any such contest in living memory. While most Israelis, and their government in particular, expressed a clear preference for a Republican victory, Palestinians seemed resigned to continuity in US foreign policy irrespective of which party won the White House. The main reason was that President Barack Obama, self-proclaimed apostle of change and widely hailed as such in the region when he assumed office four years ago, has yet to demonstrate a meaningful inconsistency with his predecessor George W. Bush when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Events since the election have only confirmed this policy direction and thus the validity of Palestinians’ indifference.

Israel and the Palestinians, 1948-1988

by Mouin Rabbani , Lisa Hajjar
published in MER152

Land

In 1948 only 8 percent of Palestine was owned by Jewish individuals and concerns. The 1948-1949 armistice gave Israel control over 77.4 percent of all land. Since 1947, Israeli forces have destroyed 385 of the 475 Arab villages inside the “green line” -- Israel’s 1948 borders. Since 1967, Israel has seized 52 percent of all land in the West Bank and 34 percent of all land in the Gaza Strip.

Refugees

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Editor's Bookshelf

by Joel Beinin
published in MER157

The Palestinian human rights monitoring organization, Al-Haq/Law in the Service of Man, the West Bank affiliate of the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists, marked the first anniversary of the intifada with a comprehensive report on Israel’s violations of human rights in its effort to quell the Palestinian uprising. Punishing a Nation: Human Rights Violations During the Palestinian Uprising, December 1987-December 1988 (Ramallah, PO Box 1413, West Bank, via Israel: Al-Haq, 1988; 355 pages) is a meticulously documented compendium based mostly on sworn affidavits collected by al-Haq’s field workers, five of whom were under administrative detention at the time of publication.

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Berkeley's Sister-City Initiative

by Marianne Torres
published in MER157

Sister cities has become one of Berkeley’s most popular means of expressing support for particular communities and opposition to US foreign policy. Berkeley has six sister cities, including Leon in Nicaragua, San Antonio de los Ranchos in El Salvador and the South African Black township of Oukassie. Supporters of Measure J hoped its success would provide some measure of protection to the people of Jabalya. Concern was heightened in the last two days of the campaign when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir announced that Jabalya would be the first camp to be “dispersed” after Likud formed its new government.

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Proposition W

by Jeffrey Blankfort
published in MER157

The Bay Area’s “progressive” reputation was somewhat tarnished November 8 when voters in San Francisco and Berkeley overwhelmingly rejected pro-Palestinian initiatives on their respective ballots. San Francisco’s Proposition W, which called for the US to recognize a Palestinian state “side by side” with Israel “with guarantees of security for both states” was defeated by 68 to 32 percent. In Berkeley, Measure J would have established the Gaza town and refugee camp of Jabalya as a sister city; it was defeated by a 70-30 margin.

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