Out of the Rubble

by Mouin Rabbani | published January 23, 2009

Speaking to his people on January 18, hours after Hamas responded to Israel’s unilateral suspension of hostilities with a conditional ceasefire of its own, the deposed Palestinian Authority prime minister Ismail Haniyeh devoted several passages of his prepared text to the subject of Palestinian national reconciliation. For perhaps the first time since Hamas’s June 2007 seizure of power in the Gaza Strip, an Islamist leader broached the topic of healing the Palestinian divide without mentioning Mahmoud Abbas by name.

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.

Rachel Corrie in Palestine…and in San Francisco

by Joel Beinin | published August 2009

The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, the oldest such festival in the United States, was founded in rebellion against received wisdom. Since 1980, the festival has promoted independent Jewish films that contest the conventional Hollywood depiction of Jewish life, particularly its lachrymose over-concentration on Jewish victimhood, and regularly presented “alternatives to the often uncritical view of life and politics in Israel available in the established American Jewish community.” The festival’s audience, mostly Jewish, has reacted positively to this policy, even in 2005, when the organizers decided to show Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad’s Paradise Now, the theme of which is suicide bombing.

In Annapolis, Conflict by Other Means

by Robert Blecher , Mouin Rabbani | published November 26, 2007

At an intersection in front of Nablus city hall, a pair of women threaded a knot of waiting pedestrians, glanced left, then dashed across the street. “What’s this?” an onlooker chastised them. “Can’t you see the red light?” Not long after, his patience exhausted, the self-appointed traffic cop himself stepped off the curb and made his way to the other side of the boulevard. Such is life in the West Bank on the eve of the meeting in Annapolis, Maryland, where the Bush administration intends to create the semblance of a “peace process” between Israel and the Palestinians for the first time since it assumed office.

Forty Years of Occupation

A Forum

by Lori Allen , Yoav Peled , Samera Esmeir , Robert Blecher , Mouin Rabbani | published June 6, 2007

An outpouring of retrospectives—good, bad and indifferent—has marked the fortieth anniversary of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Predictably, and perhaps appropriately, most looks backward have also attempted to peer forward, and consequently most have focused on the impasse between Israel and the Palestinians. This question, though predating 1967 and not the only one left unresolved by the war, is nearly synonymous with “the Middle East” in the global media. Plentiful as the 1967 commentary has been, the relative silences have also spoken volumes. Middle East Report asked six critically minded scholars and analysts for their reflections on what has been missing from the conversation about Israel-Palestine occasioned by the passage of 40 years since that fateful June.

There Are Many Reasons Why

Suicide Bombers and Martyrs in Palestine

by Lori Allen
published in MER223

Izz al-Din al-Masri, 23, was considered to be an ordinary fellow, until he went to Jerusalem on August 9, 2001, and blew himself up inside a pizzeria, killing 15 Israelis and injuring scores of others. The montage photo produced for his martyr poster shows him in his early twenties, a bit somber, wearing wireless glasses and a neatly trimmed beard.

“He was a completely average young man,” his father insisted. “He worked at my restaurant, was religiously devoted, not too much time for friends.”

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Grave Breaches

A View from Jenin and Nablus

by Kathleen Cavanaugh , Jamil Dakwar
published in MER223

There are several things that strike you when first entering Jenin refugee camp: images of the Star of David spray-painted on the walls, the exposed fronts of houses which had been bulldozed, half-set tables, children’s toys scattered and then, as you approach Hawashin, a strong sweet odor. The Hawashin area of the camp, some 400 by 500 square meters in size, and comprised of about 140 homes and several hundred families, has been erased. An elderly man stands near the remains of a house at the area’s western edge; his daughter’s body lies underneath.

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Postmortem of a Compassionate Checkpoint

by Peter Lagerquist
published in MER223

In late October 2000, the intifada was in its then bloodiest throes. In his offices in Stockholm harbor, architect Alexis Pontvik followed the news from the Middle East with growing disquiet but little surprise. What perhaps would have been his most prominent project to date had already been stowed in a large steel drawer, but he had pored over it often enough to understand the frustrations that eventually came to a boil in the Palestinian territories.

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Paying the Price of Injustice

Palestinian Child Prisoners and the UN Human Rights System

by Adam Hanieh , Adah Kay , Catherine Cook
published in MER229

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Carving Up the Capital

by Thomas Abowd
published in MER230

Samera remembers a time, during the tumultuous and violent years of the first intifada (1987-1993), when her Jerusalem was a place quite different than it is today. Though tens of thousands of Palestinians under Israeli occupation were imprisoned in those years, many of them tortured, a measure of hope and optimism pervaded Palestinian Jerusalem in ways that seem foreign to Samera and other Palestinian Jerusalemites in 2004, over three years into the costly, low-level warfare of the second uprising.

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Al-Haq

The First Twenty Years

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER214

On a crisp November day in 1984, I first stepped into the small apartment on Ramallah's main street that housed the offices of what was then known as Law in the Service of Man (a somewhat ungainly translation of the more universal al-qanoun min ajal al-insan -- Law in the Service of the Human Being). The receptionist, who doubled as administrative assistant, sat in an entrance space immediately off a small glassed-in veranda. The dining room served as meeting room-cum-library. Two small bedrooms offered working space for researchers.

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