Viral Occupation

Cameras and Networked Human Rights in the West Bank

by Rebecca L. Stein | published March 20, 2013

When Israeli security forces arrived in the middle of the night at the Tamimi house in Nabi Salih, the occupied West Bank, the family was already in bed. The raid was not unexpected, as news had traveled around the village on that day in January 2011: Soldiers were coming to houses at night, demanding that young children be roused from sleep to be photographed for military records (to assist, they said, in the identification of stone throwers). Bilal Tamimi, Nabi Salih’s most experienced videographer, had his own camcorder at the ready by his bedside table when he was awoken by the knock on the door.

The Politics of Social Welfare

The Case of East Jerusalem

by Dori Aronson
published in MER146

On June 27, 1967, Arab East Jerusalem was annexed to the State of Israel. With the annexation, 120,000 residents of the Arab sector were joined with the Jewish citizens as equal residents under Israeli law of the united city of Jerusalem.

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Primer: Israel's Military Regime

by Lisa Hajjar
published in MER150

Since 1967 Israel has operated a military regime in the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank. In 1981 Israel set up a civilian administration as a separate branch of the military government. This further integrated these territories into Israel’s administrative and legal infrastructure.

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Human Rights and the Politics of Computer Software

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER150

Once the exclusive province of supranational bodies like the UN and small independent watchdog organizations like Amnesty International, concern for human rights has blossomed. Existing institutions have grown, expanding their scope and stepping up their activities, while a new generation of human rights organizations, often quite specialized in narrow areas of concern like censorship, or explicitly political in their aims, has seen the light of day.

Economic Dimensions of the Uprising

by Sheila Ryan
published in MER155

Beyond the cameras, outside the glare of the kleig lights of television talk shows, a quiet but potentially very significant campaign for economic disengagement is developing in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

From the Boston Tea Party to Gandhi’s Salt March, struggles over economic issues have historically had great importance in anticolonial movements. It is too soon to quantify the actual economic impact or to assess the long-term political significance of this campaign, but clearly it has already eroded the profitability of the occupation for the Israeli government and various economic sectors.

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The Routine of Repression

by Penny Johnson
published in MER150

By the end of summer, almost all the journalists were gone. They had descended en masse around June 5, the twentieth anniversary of the Israeli military occupation, crowding the streets of the West Bank and Gaza in quest of photogenic unrest. The preceding winter and spring had been tumultuous. Seven young Palestinians were dead and scores injured, with many more detained in clashes with the Israeli army. Now, in June, the towns seemed calm. Only a merchants’ strike and scattered demonstrations marked two decades of occupation. In Ramallah, television crews clustered around shuttered shops to photograph the locks.

The Cost of Living Crisis in the West Bank

by Nu'man Kanafani
published in MER265

In September 2012, declining living standards ignited a firestorm of street protests and strikes in the West Bank. The immediate spark was a sharp increase in fuel prices, alongside an increase in the value-added tax (VAT) rate. It seems that the protesters had a message for Palestinian Authority (PA) policymakers: It is no longer acceptable to blame all of Palestine’s economic woes on Israeli occupation. Demonstrators were demanding that the PA manage the economy better, the occupation notwithstanding.

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"Something Was in the Air All of 1987"

by Beshara Doumani
published in MER152

Mahmoud and Naji, both in their early twenties, are full-time participants in the uprising. Both were politically active before the uprising and, in addition to joining demonstrations, they play leading roles in local neighborhood committees. Both are college students. Mahmoud majors in civil engineering and Naji in economics. They spoke with Beshara Doumani in Ramallah on March 1, 1988.

When did you realize that this was indeed an uprising?

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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Cossali and Robson, Stateless in Gaza

by Rania Atalla
published in MER157

Paul Cossali and Clive Robson, Stateless in Gaza (London: Zed Press, 1986).

Stateless in Gaza comprises interviews with 60 Gazans -- from women activists to housewives, from resistance writers to laborers in Israel -- who talk about life in the occupied strip. Cossali, a teacher and solidarity activist, and Robson, a development worker, allow Gazans to tell their stories directly, bringing into focus the major issues that confront those who live in this “forgotten corner of Palestine.”

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