"The Palestinian Demand for Independence Cannot Be Postponed Indefinitely"

by Salim Tamari
published in MER100-101

Salim Tamari was born in Jaffa and now teaches sociology at Birzeit University, in the West Bank. He spoke with Penny Johnson, Peter Johnson and Judith Tucker in Boston in July 1981.

The Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is entering its fifteenth year. How would you characterize the development of political forces among Palestinians during these years?

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From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER102

It is no easy task to comprehend the significance of religion in its political dimension. Here in the US, for instance, Black churches have played a vital and progressive role in the struggle for political and civil rights. More recently, fundamentalist and revivalist Christian churches have participated intimately in advancing the political fortunes of the new right. Other church people have been in the forefront of the campaigns against nuclear weapons. In Central and South America, “liberation theology” emerged out of fierce mass struggles against political oppression and. economic degradation, while the Catholic hierarchy remained committed, for the most part, to the ruling classes.

Palestine and the ICC

by The Editors | published January 8, 2015 - 5:29pm

At the close of 2014, Mahmoud ‘Abbas, head of the Ramallah wing of the Palestinian Authority (PA), announced that he would sign the Rome Statute, the 2002 treaty establishing the International Criminal Court based in The Hague. This move opens the possibility that the Palestinians could ask the Court to investigate Israeli military operations and/or occupation practices as violations of international law. ‘Abbas accepted Court jurisdiction retroactive to June 13, 2014, when Israel began the raids that developed into Operation Protective Edge, the seven-week bombardment and invasion of Gaza. The meaning and efficacy of the PA’s maneuver are subjects of considerable debate.

Letter from the West Bank

by A Special Correspondent
published in MER123

Driving through the West Bank on Land Day, March 30, we pull to the side of the road outside Balata refugee camp, on the outskirts of Nablus. In the valley, two bulldozers move slowly against the backdrop of the Nablus hills, plowing a new road through wheatfields. Spring has come early this year, and in the heady sunlight we make our way through the knee-high wheat to ask two burly Israeli soldiers, clearly enjoying their duty of guarding the bulldozers, why the authorities were building a new road parallel to two existing roads.

Sifting the Berkeley Left

by Jock Taft
published in MER129

On June 5, 1984, voters in Berkeley, California, by a margin of almost 64 percent to 36 percent, defeated a ballot measure calling for the United States to reduce its aid to Israel by the amount Israel spends on its settlements in the occupied territories of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights. What’s going on here? Since the 1960s, Berkeley has had a reputation as the most politically progressive urban community in the country. Civil rights activism on the University of California campus spawned the Free Speech Movement, which in turn set the stage for the early protests and organizing against the US war in Vietnam. When Ronald Reagan was elected governor in 1966, one of his main campaign targets was UC campus radicalism.

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From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER129

We would like to begin this first issue for 1985 with heartfelt thanks to our readers for your very strong support over the past year. Your unprecedented generosity in response to our fundraising appeals was essential to our work, and we appreciate very much the confidence this expresses for MERIP’s future. In this coming year we will continue to count on your help. The need for a strong, critical perspective on US policy in the region will be more important than ever as the Reagan administration begins its second term. We are grateful to know that you are with us. One innovation we are planning for this year is a special newsletter for those who contribute $50 or more to MERIP’s work. The first issue will appear shortly.

Thorpe, Prescription for Conflict

by Ellen Cantarow
published in MER131

Merle Thorpe, Jr., Prescription for Conflict: Israel’s West Bank Settlement Policy (Washington DC: Foundation for Middle East Peace, 1984).

Benvenisti, The West Bank Data Base Project

by Alex Pollock
published in MER131

Meron Benvenisti, The West Bank Data Base Project: A Survey of Israel’s Policies (Washington: American Enterprise Institute, 1984).

This book, by the former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, is the first major commercial publication of the small but industrious West Bank Data Base Project (WBDBP). The project constitutes an attempt to collect and collate an accurate and comprehensive data base which will enable “[us] to focus on fast changing conditions in the territories and, in so doing, prevent the political discussion and decision-making process from being overtaken by events.” (p. ix) This meritorious claim has received the imprimatur of no lesser figures than former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Special Envoy Philip Habib.

Barbash, Beyond the Walls

by Anita Vitullo Khoury
published in MER131

Beyond the Walls, directed by Uri Barbash. Written by Benny Barbash, Eran Pries and Uri Barbash. Produced by Rudy Cohen. 103 minutes. Color. 35 mm. Distributed by Warner Brothers’ Globe Exports.

 

"Sidon, 'Ain al-Hilweh and the villages are only the beginning"

by Elias Khoury
published in MER131

This article, by the Lebanese novelist and literary critic, Elias Khoury, appeared in the Beirut daily, al-Safir, on February 18, 1985, immediately following what Israel has termed the first stage of its withdrawal from Lebanon. Khoury highlights the contradictions of the current situation in the region: while the invasion dealt the Palestinian national movement a serious setback, this same invasion created the basis for a major Israeli defeat and the victory of the Lebanese national resistance.