Twenty-First Century Palestine

Toward a "Swiss Cheese" State?

by Roni Krouzman
published in MER213

Salim al-Shawamreh, his wife, Arabia and their six children live in the village of Anata, half of which is classified as Area B (under Palestinian municipal control) and half -- where Salim’s house sits -- as Area C (under full Israeli control). About a third of Anata’s 12,000 residents hold Jerusalem identity cards. The rest are considered West Bank residents, and thus cannot enter Jerusalem, including the section of Anata classified as part of Jerusalem.

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"The Land without the People"

Contesting Jerusalem on the Eve of the Millennium

by Tom Abowd
published in MER213

On September 14, 1999, the day after Oslo’s Final Status negotiations opened, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak visited Ma’ale Adumim, the largest Jewish settlement on the West Bank. There he declared that this Jewish “neighborhood” would remain part of Israel’s Jerusalem. “Every house you build,” he promised residents, “every tree you plant here, will be Israel’s forever…”. [1] Final status negotiations represent the last stage of the Palestinian-Israeli “peace process” initiated six years ago. Long-deferred discussions about the future of Jerusalem, refugees, settlements and other issues are to be addressed by September 2000.

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Faith, Money and the Millennium

A View from Palestine

by Naim Ateek
published in MER213

The solar eclipse on August 11, 1999 led some people to expect the end of the world. According to one report, three people committed suicide, sure the end was near. Others shut themselves in their homes expecting extraordinary events to usher in the eschaton (“end times”). Since a simple eclipse could cause such panic, despite our considerable scientific knowledge, one wonders what the end of a millennium might do to people, individually and collectively.

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The WWW in Palestine

An Informational and Organizing Tool

by Adam Hanieh
published in MER213

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.

The "Olive Branch" That Ought to Cross the Wall

by Abdul-Latif Khaled | published December 21, 2004

The autumn olive harvest used to be a time of celebration in this West Bank village. Entire families would spend days together in the groves. Even Israelis would make special trips here at this time of year to buy our olive oil. But with new Israeli restrictions on access to the fields, Palestinian farmers now have to leave their families at home, and may never even get to their olive grove.

Today, picking olives is no celebration. In the past few weeks, Israeli bulldozers began clearing agricultural land that belongs to Jayyous residents in anticipation of building 50 new houses for Israeli settlers.

Israeli Settlements Illegal and Getting Worse

by Stephanie Koury | published September 24, 2005

On his way to the UN summit in New York, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon said to reporters, “Building is continuing there [West Bank settlements]; we will build as much as we need.” Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz proclaimed the day before, “We have to make every effort to direct resources to the development of the settlement blocs.” While the media portrays dismantling Gaza settlements as an Israeli concession to the Palestinians, scant attention has been focused on the real problem—that the whole settlement enterprise pursued by successive Israeli governments since 1967 is illegal. Israeli withdrawal of settlements from Gaza is partial compliance with international law, not a concession.

West Bank Road Vs. Peace

by Stephanie Koury | published November 11, 2005

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's brokering of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement on border crossings into the Gaza Strip is a good step for the economic development of Gaza and a positive sign of American engagement in the peace process. But the real test for the U.S. administration’s commitment to this peace process isn’t the Gaza Strip—it’s Israel’s settlement expansion and its separation plan for the West Bank.

Sharon Legacy Needs Undoing

by Michelle Woodward | published January 14, 2006

With the sudden incapacitation of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his effective exit from the political scene, the rush to define his legacy has begun. President George W. Bush called Sharon “a man of courage and peace,” and Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) commented, “it is [Sharon’s] vision for making peace with the Palestinians and achieving a two-state solution that has driven him in recent years.”

In fact, progress toward Middle East peace depends on undoing the ailing premier’s legacy.

Why Hamas Won and Why Negotiations Must Resume

by Joel Beinin | published February 8, 2006

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has admitted that her staff was caught off guard by Hamas’ victory in the Jan. 25 Palestinian Legislative Council elections. “I’ve asked why nobody saw it coming,” she said. “It does say something about us not having a good enough pulse.”

While the State Department, President Bush and many other observers understand that Hamas’ popularity is due to frustration with Fatah’s corrupt governance of the Palestinian Authority, they have been missing several other crucial reasons why the P.A. has failed.