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?

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

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.

Gaza in the Vise

by Omar Karmi | published July 11, 2006

Five-year-old Layan cupped her hands over her ears and screwed her eyes shut when she tried to describe the effect of a sonic boom. She said the sound scares her, even though her father, Muntasir Bahja, 32, a translator, has told her “a small lie to calm her”—that the boom is nothing more than a big balloon released by a plane and then popped.

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).

Stifling Democracy Within Palestinian Unions

by Nina Sovich
published in MER215

In well-furbished offices overlooking downtown Nablus, Shahir Sa'd, General Secretary of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) sells his vision of the post-Oslo labor movement. "With the return of the Palestinian Authority (PA) we could concentrate on workers' issues, rather than struggling with national ones and we could merge the unions under one banner, and we have done that, consolidating 187 unions into 12."

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

A Very Slippery "Landslide" for Mahmoud Abbas

by Peter Lagerquist | published January 20, 2005

A chorus of international approval greeted Mahmoud Abbas' victory in the Palestinian Authority presidential election. January 9 was "a historic day for the Palestinian people and for the people of the Middle East," declared President George W. Bush, as the final count gave the Fatah party candidate some 62 percent of the vote -- three times the tally of his nearest challenger, human rights campaigner Mustafa Barghouthi.

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.

The Militarist and Messianic Ideologies

by Neve Gordon | published July 8, 2004

Two weeks after 60,000 Likud Party members voted against a pullout from the Gaza Strip, about 150,000 Israelis filled Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, calling on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government to proceed with the withdrawal plan. Those opposing the pullout from Gaza support the vision of a Greater Israel, while those favoring the pullout support the state of Israel. The first group believes that without Gaza, Israel will be destroyed; the second believes that with it, Israel will be destroyed.

No Jordan Option

by Marc Lynch | published June 24, 2004