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.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

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.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

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?"

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.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

"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?

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

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.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER164

The Palestinian uprising, along with its other achievements, has enabled Palestinian voices finally to reach the United States. Among the most eloquent of these voices are the many different expressions of Palestinian culture. In theater, film, music, art and literature, Palestinian cultural productions have achieved new and revealing syntheses of politics and aesthetics, and many artists in the United States have responded by inscribing the question of Palestine on their own agendas.

Human Rights Briefing

by Nabeel Abraham
published in MER166

What has been the performance of human rights organizations during the first two years of the intifada? A fresh look at eight organizations surveyed prior to the uprising (MER 150) shows that overall coverage has increased, as one might expect based on the intensity and duration of the uprising, but coverage remains uneven. Some organizations that had been reporting on the Occupied Territories prior to November 1987 improved their coverage; others did not. Among those organizations that had in the past ignored Palestinian rights abuses, some saw the intifada as an opportunity to take up the issue. A notable few, however, have remained silent.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Blocking Palestinian Statehood

by Chris Toensing | published September 26, 2011

When President Barack Obama addressed the UN General Assembly in September 2010, he sounded hopeful that by the following year there would be “an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations -- an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel.” Sure enough, in September 2011, the Palestinians asked the UN Security Council to recognize a state of Palestine -- but Obama ordered the US delegate to veto the request. What gives?

As If There Is No Occupation

The Limits of Palestinian Authority Strategy

by Nu'man Kanafani | published September 22, 2011

For many months, the streets of downtown Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian Authority (PA), have literally been heaps of earth. Workers have labored intensively to replace water and sewage pipes, repave roads, lay beautiful carved stones at roadsides and install thick chains along the edges of sidewalks in order to better separate pedestrian and automotive traffic. Shopkeepers have been told to reduce the size of their storefront signs; specially designed electricity poles jut skyward. Not every town resident is impressed. As they navigate the mounds of dirt, cynics joke: “The PA is covering the road to self-determination in asphalt.” “We have the sewers; all that’s left is the sovereignty.” “The streets of Ramallah are paved with white stones -- who needs Jerusalem?”