Bethlehem Dispatch

by Maad Abu-Ghazalah
published in MER214

Although millions of people around the world watched Bethlehem's millennial celebration on CNN, those not present on the scene missed some interesting background details. The event was held in an open square surrounded by five-story buildings, and by 10 PM, tens of thousands of people had crammed into the square. As we waited for the festivities to begin, a large, 20-foot high, bright neon sign flashed out the message: "The Municipality of Bethlehem Welcomes His Excellency President Yasser Arafat." I wish they would make up their minds: Is he king or president?

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Less a “Big Bang” Than an Earthquake

by Peretz Kidron | published January 18, 2006

The two successive strokes and the cerebral hemorrhage that struck down Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon came just a few weeks after the somber ceremonies marking the tenth anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. The causes of the two occurrences were very different, and so was the actual physical outcome, for Rabin died within minutes of sustaining his wounds, while doctors still hold out glimmers of hope for Sharon’s survival, albeit with grave handicaps.

Impunity on Both Sides of the Green Line

by Jonathan Cook | published November 23, 2005

As Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon strode up to the podium at the UN General Assembly on September 15, 2005 to deliver a speech recognizing the Palestinians’ right to statehood, government officials back in Jerusalem were preparing to draw a firm line under unfinished business from the start of the Palestinian uprising, five years earlier.

The New Hamas

Between Resistance and Participation

by Graham Usher | published August 21, 2005

In March 2005, Hamas, the largest Islamist party in Palestine, joined its main secular rival Fatah and 11 other Palestinian organizations in endorsing a document that seemed to embody the greatest harmony achieved within the Palestinian national movement in almost two decades. By the terms of the Cairo Declaration, Hamas agreed to “maintain an atmosphere of calm”—halt attacks on Israel—for the rest of the year, participate in Palestinian parliamentary elections scheduled for July and commence discussions about joining the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Orange Rampant

by Peretz Kidron | published July 15, 2005

Israel’s national colors are blue and white. In the summer of 2005, however, an Israeli driver adorning his vehicle with ribbons in those hues runs the risk of a broken antenna or a vandal’s scratches in the paint job. Conversely, the motorist would be far safer joining what appears to be the general trend by accepting the strips of bright orange proffered at every main intersection by eager youngsters in orange T-shirts. Indeed, so dominant is the orange that one may be forgiven for suspecting a mass takeover by Protestant militants from Ulster.

Après Nous, Nous

Covering the Colonial Retreat

by Peter Lagerquist , Thomas Hill | published May 19, 2005

Another "Historic Day" Looms in Iraq

by Chris Toensing | published January 28, 2005

Yet another "historic day" will dawn in war-weary Iraq on January 30. As interim prime minister Iyad Allawi told Iraqi television viewers, "For almost the first time since the creation of Iraq, Iraqis will participate in choosing their representatives in complete freedom." Not to be outdone, President George W. Bush used the first news conference of his second term to herald the "grand moment in Iraqi history" that the world will witness when Iraqis go to the polls.

World Court's Ruling on Wall Speaks with Utmost Clarity

by Nidal Sliman | published July 27, 2004

The International Court of Justice has rendered its advisory opinion on "the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem." Though the near-term fate of the wall is unclear, subject as it is to international power politics, the Court's ruling, issued on July 9, speaks with the utmost clarity.