The Palestinian Elections That Never Were

by Charmaine Seitz | published January 24, 2003

January 20, 2003—the scheduled date of elections that existed on Palestinian Authority letterhead alone—passed with the incumbent presidential candidate nearly imprisoned in his offices in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Several weeks earlier, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat candidly told reporters that he craves a few minutes every day in the sun. With the Israeli army surrounding his compound, he only ventures outside when shielded by a bevy of journalists.

Under Siege

Closure, Separation and the Palestinian Economy

by Leila Farsakh
published in MER217

By mid-November, Israel had imposed over 50 days of closure on the whole of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinian persons and goods were refused entry into Israel, or exit from the confines of the Occupied Territories. Mobility within Palestinian-controlled areas was also curtailed. According to available estimates, each day of ongoing closure represents a loss of $8.45 million -- totaling $336 million as of November 7 -- to the Palestinian economy. [1]  If damage to physical assets and human lives were added, the losses would be still higher.

Hebron Under Curfew

by Natasha J. Krahn
published in MER217

As I sit here writing on October 30, 2000, I hear voices outside -- a rare occurrence these days. Our apartment is in H2, the Israeli-controlled part of Hebron. In 1997, an interim agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) split Hebron in two. 100,000 Palestinians live in H1, administered by the PA. Today the curfew imposed on October 1 -- a 24 hour-a-day house arrest for the 40,000 Palestinians living in H2 -- was lifted, supposedly for good. (The curfew was reimposed on October 31. At press time it had not been lifted.) “Or at least until the army changes their minds,” explained one of our friends. In H2, as many as 2,000 Israeli soldiers guard about 400 Jewish settlers.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Fatah's Tanzim

by Graham Usher
published in MER217

On November 9, 2000, Hussein Abayat and Khalid Salahat, along with around 50 other Palestinians, were visiting one of the seven houses hit by Israeli tank shells the previous night in the West Bank village of Beit Sahour. They then climbed into their Mitsubishi pickup truck to drive back up the hill to the heart of the village. Thirty seconds later, the truck was a smoldering shell, hit by an anti-tank missile launched from an Israeli Apache helicopter. Abayat was killed instantaneously -- as were two Palestinian women standing behind his van -- and Salahat was severely wounded. The two men were the first victims of an Israeli policy of "initiated" assassinations aimed at taking out the "ground" leadership of the Palestinian intifada.

West Bank Curfews

Politics By Other Means

by Adam Hanieh | published July 24, 2002

Sparks of Activist Spirit in Egypt

by Paul Schemm | published April 13, 2002

For a few days in October 2000, near the beginning of the second Palestinian intifada, it looked as though Egypt's student movement had finally found its voice again after years of quiescence. Students at Cairo University and other schools demonstrated daily and even clashed with security forces during attempts to march on the Israeli embassy to show their solidarity with the Palestinians. When this movement petered out soon after it began, most observers sympathetic to the student movement shook their heads and lamented the loss of Egypt's activist spirit.

In Ramallah, Grueling Reoccupation Grinds On

by Charmaine Seitz | published April 5, 2002

He was the tallest of the Palestinian policemen. Thin, his olive drab uniform ballooning over his boots, he swayed momentarily as a helmeted Israeli soldier stood behind him and tucked the muzzle of a gun into the Palestinian's right armpit, keeping his finger on the trigger. Only then did the line of crouching soldiers descend down the driveway into the Ramallah apartment. The Palestinian, his hands in the air, shielded them on their way.