Cambridge Voters Challenge US Policy

by Matthew S. Gordon
published in MER157

Voters achieved an historic victory in Cambridge and a section of Somerville, Massachusetts, on November 8, 1988. By a margin of 53 to 47 percent they endorsed Question 5, a non-binding public policy question that called on elected officials to work towards a just settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. (See below.)

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

What the Uprising Means

by Salim Tamari
published in MER152

This article is adapted from a talk Salim Tamari gave at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC on February 25, 1988.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Abu Farid's House

Family and Politics in Shift

by Beshara Doumani
published in MER157

Driving to Salfit through the villages of Yasuf and Iskaka on a sunny fall day is an exhilarating experience. The asphalt road winds like a snake through hill after hill dotted by olive trees whose clusters of tiny, pastel green leaves shimmer in the light breeze. Rich brown earth, freshly turned, is strewn with stones and contoured by terraces. Closer to the road, thorny shrubs, grasses and the lazy, bleached branches of fig trees leisurely soak in the sun, anticipating the impending winter.

"Transfer" and the Discourse of Racism

by Ken Brown
published in MER157

Saturday night I decided to go to a campaign meeting of the Moledet Party in Kfar Shalem, a rough neighborhood in the south of Tel Aviv. In the past, houses there were periodically served with demolition orders by the Tel Aviv municipality; in 1982 one inhabitant pulled a gun on demolition crews who had come to tear down an illegally-built extension to his house. Some people consider the violence of the state in Kfar Shalem as a form of racism against Oriental Jews. The slogan “Askhe-Nazis!” with a swastika beside it appeared on the walls of mainly Ashkenazi (Jews of European origin) neighborhoods of north Tel Aviv, as well as on memorials of the 1948 War of Independence.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

The Great Divide

Constructing an Effective Israeli Opposition

by Emmanuel Farjoun
published in MER157

One of the most intriguing questions after a year of the intifada is the paucity of Israeli opposition to the government’s “iron fist” policy. True, dozens of small groups demonstrate against the occupation, the atrocities, the deportations, the mass arrests. There have been many calls for “better Israeli-Palestinian relations,” for “two states for two peoples.” But the cumulative impact of this activity has not been a major force in Israeli society and politics -- nothing like the opposition that developed against the war in Lebanon.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

The West Bank Rises Up

by Penny Johnson , Lee O'Brien
published in MER152

Ramallah’s landscape this February 21 has overtones of a war zone. Residents have dismantled the ancient stone wall across the street for a series of barricades. The smoke of a burning tire rises in the clear early afternoon air over nearby al-Am‘ari refugee camp and army flares light the camp at night. The camp’s main entrance has been sealed by a wall of cement-filled barrels. Helicopters chop the air overhead; sirens of ambulances and army jeeps pierce streets that are virtually deserted this afternoon, ordinarily a busy time of day. In camps and villages, even the winter nights are the scenes of sharp confrontation.

Israel Faces the Uprising

A Preliminary Assessment

by Azmi Bishara
published in MER157

The Palestinian uprising has stripped away Israel’s externally oriented masks (propaganda) and its internally oriented masks (defense mechanisms), as political rationality has steadily retreated before the state’s frantic response. Israel’s confrontation with the colonial reality of the occupied territories has led to political polarization which is not contained within existing party boundaries. It has penetrated all the parties and raised real questions which Israeli society must deal with. As the uprising continues, the cleavage in Israeli society becomes deeper over two basic issues: negotiations with the PLO and recognition of the Palestinian right to self-determination, including the establishment of a state.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER152

In the land of Palestine-Israel, the “generation of occupation” has rewritten the equations that will describe the dynamics of any future political equilibrium.

Israeli rulers are determined to stand against this sea change. Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin insists that the uprising will achieve no Palestinian political purpose. Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir deftly expressed the limits of his brutish imagination when, on the eve of Land Day, he declaimed that “a test of strength between us and them [‘the Arabs of Israel’] is like the test of strength between an elephant and a fly.”

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER157

For well over a year now, the Israeli state has confronted the Palestinian uprising with what Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin calls “the iron fist.” The army’s goal is to restore order, Deputy Chief-of-Staff Ehud Barak said recently, “so that the Israeli government can pursue political initiatives from a position of strength on its own schedule.” In the first month of Year Two, the army’s schedule included, by its own count, 2790 “violent incidents” -- an average of precisely 90 each day. At least 26 Palestinians were killed, many with the “non-lethal” plastic and rubber bullets that Israeli troops now routinely employ.

Art Review: "It's Possible"

by Zeina Azzam Seikaly
published in MER159

It’s Possible, A Joint Exhibition of Palestinian and Israeli Art

“It’s Possible” is the theme of an exhibition by Palestinian and Israeli artists currently touring the United States. Twenty-four artists -- 12 Palestinians and 12 Israelis -- are displaying their works together in the first such effort outside Israel and the occupied territories. The exhibit curators are Kamal Boullata, a Palestinian artist and design editor of this magazine, and Yona Fischer, senior curator of the Israel Museum; New York-based Israeli sculptor Shulamith Koenig serves as the exhibition administrator.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.