Viral Occupation

Cameras and Networked Human Rights in the West Bank

by Rebecca L. Stein | published March 20, 2013

When Israeli security forces arrived in the middle of the night at the Tamimi house in Nabi Salih, the occupied West Bank, the family was already in bed. The raid was not unexpected, as news had traveled around the village on that day in January 2011: Soldiers were coming to houses at night, demanding that young children be roused from sleep to be photographed for military records (to assist, they said, in the identification of stone throwers). Bilal Tamimi, Nabi Salih’s most experienced videographer, had his own camcorder at the ready by his bedside table when he was awoken by the knock on the door.

Gaza Ghetto

by Taline Voskeritchian
published in MER146

Pea Holmquist, Joan Mandell and Pierre Bjorklund, Gaza Ghetto: Portrait of a Palestinian Family, 1948-1984 (Icarus Films, 1984).

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Van den Berg, Stranger at Home

by Miriam Rosen
published in MER146

Rudolf van den Berg, Stranger at Home (1985).

It is no small compliment to say that Stranger at Home is a film you want to see more than once (and should). Over the years -- 19 to be precise -- Palestine documentaries have become a veritable genre, but with few exceptions, they have hardly become an art. Rudolf van den Berg’s Stranger at Home is a very different enterprise. Richly nuanced in form and thought, it is a kind of double documentary, at once a film about the exiled Palestinian painter Kamal Boullata and his visit to Jerusalem, and a film about the making of the film, about the multi-layered relationship between Boullata and van den Berg, as friends, visual artists, Palestinian and Jew.

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The Politics of Social Welfare

The Case of East Jerusalem

by Dori Aronson
published in MER146

On June 27, 1967, Arab East Jerusalem was annexed to the State of Israel. With the annexation, 120,000 residents of the Arab sector were joined with the Jewish citizens as equal residents under Israeli law of the united city of Jerusalem.

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"They Control the Hill, But We've Got a Lot of Positions Around the Hill"

An Interview with Jim Zogby

by Joe Stork
published in MER146

Jim Zogby is the director of the Arab American Institute in Washington. He was a founder of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign (PHRC) and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). Joe Stork spoke with him on March 18, 1987.

How did you get engaged in Middle East organizing?

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Profiles of Two Families

by Penny Johnson
published in MER146

The two West Bank families profiled here were not selected to be “representative,” but rather to explore, through people the authors knew intimately, particular lives and livelihoods as they both changed and maintained themselves in the last two decades of Israeli military occupation in the West Bank. Yet the profiles do capture some general effects of these last 20 years, the foremost being the radical uncertainty which shadows Palestinians’ lives under occupation. The litany of detentions of the sons of both families and the daughters of one is perhaps the most striking, but not the sole example.

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From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER146

The fate of Palestine seems strangely linked to years ending in seven. Theodore Herzl’s new Zionist movement held its first congress in Basel in 1897. In November 1917, the Balfour Declaration tried to define the Palestinians into oblivion as the country’s “non-Jewish inhabitants.” In July 1937, the Peel Commission recommended, for the first time officially, partition of Palestine. In November 1947, the United Nations proclaimed partition as an international consensus. 1957 seemed to mark a reversal of Arab defeat, as this consensus compelled Israel, France and Britain to withdraw from Egypt and Sinai following the Suez aggression of late 1956.

Human Rights and the Politics of Computer Software

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER150

Once the exclusive province of supranational bodies like the UN and small independent watchdog organizations like Amnesty International, concern for human rights has blossomed. Existing institutions have grown, expanding their scope and stepping up their activities, while a new generation of human rights organizations, often quite specialized in narrow areas of concern like censorship, or explicitly political in their aims, has seen the light of day.

Economic Dimensions of the Uprising

by Sheila Ryan
published in MER155

Beyond the cameras, outside the glare of the kleig lights of television talk shows, a quiet but potentially very significant campaign for economic disengagement is developing in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

From the Boston Tea Party to Gandhi’s Salt March, struggles over economic issues have historically had great importance in anticolonial movements. It is too soon to quantify the actual economic impact or to assess the long-term political significance of this campaign, but clearly it has already eroded the profitability of the occupation for the Israeli government and various economic sectors.

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Arafat Goes to Strasbourg

by Diana Johnstone
published in MER155

Europe’s attitude could influence the decisions of the next Palestine National Council, Yasir Arafat told members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on September 14, 1988. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chairperson urged Europeans to assume their share of “international responsibility” for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The prospect of European recognition of a Palestinian state and provisional government, he said, would powerfully support Palestinian moves to abandon armed struggle for diplomacy.

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