Dual War: The Legacy of Ariel Sharon

by Yoav Peled | published March 22, 2006

The elections scheduled for March 28, 2006 will conclude what has got to be one of the more bizarre campaigns in Israel’s history. The series of totally unexpected events began with Amir Peretz’s surprise victory over Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres in the race for the Labor Party leadership. Peretz immediately withdrew Labor from the coalition government, forcing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to call early elections.

Israel’s “Demographic Demon” in Court

by Jonathan Cook | published June 1, 2006

A low-key but injudicious war of words briefly broke out between Israel’s two most senior judges in the wake of the May 2006 decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of the Nationality and Entry into Israel Law. A temporary measure passed by the Knesset in July 2003, the law effectively bans marriages between Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and Israeli citizens.

Palestinian NGOs Since Oslo

From NGO Politics to Social Movements?

by Rema Hammami
published in MER214

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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?

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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."

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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.