Interventions

Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

Paradise Now's Understated Power

by Lori Allen | published January 2006

Joining Ang Lee, director of the gay cowboy epic Brokeback Mountain, among the winners at the January 16 Golden Globes award ceremony was the director Hany Abu-Assad, a Palestinian born in Israel whose Paradise Now took home the prize for best foreign language film. While critics of all persuasions remark upon what Brokeback Mountain’s victory means about Hollywood and American mores, it is perhaps more remarkable that Paradise Now, a film about two Palestinians recruited to carry out suicide bombings, was deemed unremarkable enough to be honored by Hollywood.

Economic Deterioration in the Gaza Strip

by Sara Roy
published in MER200

On February 25, 1996, following several Hamas suicide bombings in West Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel imposed a heightened closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. [1] This most recent heightening of the closure has severely damaged the already precarious economy of the Gaza Strip and caused immense hardship and suffering to the local population. The overwhelming majority in the Gaza Strip have been left with no source of daily income. Many can no longer adequately feed their children. The struggle -- no longer against Israel or even the Israeli occupation -- is now against hunger and humiliation.

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The Cost of Peace

Assessing the Palestinian-Israeli Accords

by Kathleen Cavanaugh
published in MER211

We know the images well: ethnic cleansing in Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia, intra-communal violence in Northern Ireland, and competing claims to land rights spurring the forcible transfer of populations in Palestine and Israel. Claims to self-determination and minority rights, often found at the heart of intra-state disputes, draw actors to international law to determine the scope and nature of those rights. Indeed, the demands posed by ethno-nationalist disputes have moved the discourse beyond whether international law applies to ethnic conflict to how ethnic conflict has “shaped” interpretation of international law. [1] The ambiguity of the relevant international instruments has led some to question the relevance of international law.

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Economic Prison Zones

by Sam Bahour | published November 19, 2010

When a project mixes the feel-good words of jobs, economic development and Israeli-Palestinian cooperation, how can anyone complain? These things are some of what the international community has been promising to deliver through the construction of industrial free trade zones in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The free trade zone model has been promoted locally and globally by powerful third parties like the United States, France, Germany, Turkey and Japan for two decades, but none has much to show for the enormous efforts and amounts of money spent to bring these zones to life. Nonetheless, the project’s proponents expect the zones to constitute the economic foundation for a future Palestinian state. They hope that, by bolstering Palestine’s economy, the zones will make Palestinians less prone to social upheaval, less insistent on their national rights and more amenable to the status quo. The idea is that a peace agreement with Israel will ensue.

An Open Letter to Abu Jerry

by Lea Tsemel
published in MER213

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Palestinian Cabinet's Success Lies with Israel

by Catherine Cook | published November 1, 2003

For the second time in seven months, Palestinians have a new government. On November 12, the Palestinian Legislative Council approved Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Qureia’s cabinet. While the US and Israel have stressed that progress on the US-backed road map initiative depends on the new Palestinian leadership, the question remains whether Qureia will fare any better than his predecessor, Mahmoud Abbas.

Why There's No Peace in Palestine

by Catherine Cook | published September 1, 2003

On September 13, 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat signed a Declaration of Principles on the White House lawn, heralding the beginning of the Oslo peace process. Ten years later, the process is completely deadlocked. Israel has decided to “remove” Arafat, and many outside observers are left wondering what went wrong. The answer lies in the fundamental failure of the Oslo process to address the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Support for Wall Mocks International law

by Richard Falk | published July 20, 2004

What is most remarkable about the International Court of Justice decision on Israel’s “security barrier” in the West Bank is the strength of the consensus behind it. By a vote of 14-1, the 15 distinguished jurists who make up the highest judicial body on the planet found that the barrier is illegal under international law and that Israel must dismantle it, as well as compensate Palestinians for damage to their property resulting from the barrier’s construction.

The International Court of Justice has very rarely reached this degree of unanimity in big cases. The July 9 decision was even supported by the generally conservative British judge Rosalyn Higgins, whose intellectual force is widely admired in the United States.

The Gaza Strip: From Bad to Worse

by Maren Milligan | published August 8, 2004

To say that things are getting worse in Gaza, one of the poorest places on Earth, is a bit like saying it is getting hotter in hell. But over the past few years, things have gotten significantly worse in this sliver of Palestinian territory along the Mediterranean Sea—with alarming implications for the prospect of a comprehensive Middle East peace.

Since September 2000, when the current Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation began, the Gazan economy has entered what the World Bank calls “one of the deepest recessions in modern history.” The joblessness rate among males aged 15-24 is 43 percent and as many as 70 percent of job market entrants are unemployed. These conditions are creating a generation of isolated and disaffected youth.