Muhawi and Kanaana, Speak Bird, Speak Again

by Ann Barhoum
published in MER164

Ibrahim Muhawi and Sharif Kanaana, Speak, Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1989).

Speak, Bird, Speak Again, a collection of 45 Palestinian folktales, represents the largest selection of Palestinian folklore in English. The tales were recorded by the editors over a two-year period in the West Bank, Gaza and the Galilee, then carefully and painstakingly translated into English. The excellent introduction explains how oral tradition has been an essential and lively part of Palestinian society and family life.

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Prison Text, Resistance Culture

by Barbara Harlow
published in MER164

The Israeli prison apparatus is a critical and contested site in the manifold struggle to control communication and information in the Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation. During the two decades of occupation before the intifada, prisons in Israel and the Occupied Territories housed an average of 4,000 Palestinian political detainees at any one time. Since the start of the uprising this number has increased dramatically, with over 40,000 arrests. This put great pressure on the prison facilities and necessitated the opening of new prison camps such as Ansar III (Ketsi’ot) in the Negev desert, and detention centers like Dhahriyya, just outside of Hebron.

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Forbidden Territory, Promised Land

by Ammiel Alcalay
published in MER164

Ilan Halevi, A History of the Jews (trans. A. M. Berrett) (London: Zed Books, 1987).

Shlomo Swirski, Israel: The Oriental Majority (trans. Barbara Swirski) (London: Zed Books, 1989).

Ella Shohat, Israeli Cinema: East/West and the Politics of Representation (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1989).

Religion and Political Identity in Bayt Sahour

by Glenn Bowman
published in MER164

In 1989, the West Bank village of Bayt Sahour made international headlines by staging a successful tax strike against Israeli military authorities. My introduction to Bayt Sahour came six years earlier, in late December 1983, when I attended Latin Christmas Eve celebrations at Manger Square in neighboring Bethlehem. In mid-afternoon, Palestinian scouts in colorful uniforms, carrying banners and playing bagpipes and drums, marched into the square to greet the Latin Patriarch on his arrival from Jerusalem to prepare for Midnight Mass.

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Sustaining Movement, Creating Space

Trade Unions and Women's Committees

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER164

“Up here at the encampment,” said Abu Tha’ir, peering ahead through the windshield, “we cross the Green Line into ’48. If there is a checkpoint and they stop us, they’ll send me back to prison.” He looked at me as if asking for my opinion, but he did not slow down as we approached the army post perched on the hillside overlooking the road north of Tulkarm.

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Our Fate, Our House

by Sahar Khalifeh
published in MER164

Many Palestinian stories are the stories of sons: heroes or victims, Everyman or Superman. In the intifada, the rebellious young men, the shabab, have become the sons of all the people and their exploits legendary.

Sahar Khalifeh’s stories, like her own life, are the stories of daughters, mothers and self. This story about Umm Samih resumes Khalifeh’s exploration of characters from the northern West Bank town of Nablus which figure in her three novels, Wild Thorns, The Sunflower and the semi-autobiographical Memoirs of an Unreliable Woman.

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Women, the Hijab and the Intifada

by Rema Hammami
published in MER164

Many accounts have suggested that the intifada has enabled Palestinian women to make great strides toward their social as well as political liberation. While some positive developments have occurred, it is also true that the intifada has been the context for a vicious campaign in Gaza to impose the hijab (headscarf) on all women. The campaign included the threat and use of violence and developed into a comprehensive social offensive. Social acquiescence, political inaction, family pressure and a concurrent ideological transformation created a situation in which only a few committed women in Gaza, one year into the intifada, continued not to wear a headscarf.

"What Elections? When?"

by
published in MER164

At the southernmost tip of the Gaza Strip, 35 kilometers south of Gaza City, lies the city of Rafah and its refugee camps. Of the total population of 110,000, 78,000 are refugees. A Rafah resident, ‘Isam Younis, interviewed a 28-year old worker from Rafah’s Shabura refugee camp.

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"The PLO Is Still Waging a Struggle for Recognition Rather Than for a Solution"

An Interview with 'Ali Jarbawi

by Penny Johnson
published in MER164

‘Ali Jarbawi, an associate professor of political science at Birzeit University, is the author of The Intifada and Political Leadership in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Beirut: Dar al-Tali‘a, in Arabic). MERIP contributing editor Penny Johnson interviewed him in Ramallah in late February 1990.

You have criticized the “Western analysis” of the uprising which posits that a new, youthful leadership here has changed the balance of power with the PLO outside. This line of thinking views the uprising as a massive social rebellion that has transformed the roles of youth, women, workers and camp dwellers. Do you think such fundamental change is underway?

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The Uprising's Dilemma

Limited Rebellion and Civil Society

by Salim Tamari
published in MER164

As the Palestinian uprising enters its thirtieth month, it faces a crisis of direction. Its main achievement seems to lie behind: a spectacular ability to mobilize whole sectors of a civilian population, through networks of underground civilian resistance and communal self-help projects, challenging Israel’s ability to continue ruling the West Bank and Gaza. The pattern of daily street confrontations has dealt a moral, if not logistic, blow to the might of the Israeli army. Above all, the intifada has placed relations with the Palestinians and the future of the Occupied Territories at the top of the agenda of all Israeli political parties.