Israel’s Rightward Shift Leaves Palestinian Citizens Out in the Cold

by Jonathan Cook | published February 13, 2013

Shortly before polling day in Israel’s January general election, the Arab League issued a statement urging Israel’s large Palestinian minority, a fifth of the country’s population, to turn out en masse to vote. The League’s unprecedented intervention -- reportedly at the instigation of the League’s Palestinian delegation -- was motivated by two concerns.

Wedding in Galilee

by Ella Shohat
published in MER154

Wedding in Galilee (Michel Khleifi, 1987).

The Myth of Israel's Liberal Supreme Court Exposed

by Jonathan Cook | published February 23, 2012

Little more than a decade ago, in a brief interlude of heady optimism about the prospects of regional peace, the Israeli Supreme Court issued two landmark rulings that, it was widely assumed, heralded the advent of a new, post-Zionist era for Israel. But with two more watershed judgments handed down over the winter of 2011-2012 the same court has decisively reversed the tide.

The Negev's Hot Wind Blowing

by Jonathan Cook | published October 25, 2011

Over the past 15 months the dusty plains of the northern Negev desert in Israel have been witness to a ritual of destruction, part of a police operation known as Hot Wind. On 29 occasions since June 2010, hundreds of Israeli paramilitary officers have made the pilgrimage over a dirt track near the city of Beersheva to the zinc sheds and hemp tents of al-‘Araqib. Within hours of their arrival, the 45 ramshackle structures -- home to some 300 Bedouin villagers -- are pulled down and al-‘Araqib is wiped off the map once again. All that remains to mark the area’s inhabitation by generations of the al-Turi tribe are the stone graves in the cemetery.

The Other Palestinians

by Joel Beinin
published in MER177

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The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the Arab Awakening

by Joel Beinin | published August 1, 2011

The March 15 Youth Movement, whose name comes from demonstrations held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that day to demand unity between Fatah and Hamas, is the most direct Palestinian expression of the “Arab awakening” of 2010-2011. The next day, March 16, Fatah’s leader, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud ‘Abbas, announced his willingness to travel to Gaza to conduct unity talks with Hamas. A reconciliation agreement was signed in Cairo on May 4.


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.

The Intimate History of Collaboration

Arab Citizens and the State of Israel

by Yoav Di-Capua | published May 2007

Sometime in the late 1990s, employees in the Israeli State Archive unintentionally declassified an array of police documents. Many of the files consisted of the unremarkable personal data of prostitutes, petty thieves and black marketeers, but others dealt with a far more sensitive matter: the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel during the 1950s and 1960s. Though these “Arab files” also contained records of mundane criminal cases, most of the documents concerned the politically explosive subject of Palestinian Arab collaboration with the Jewish state. By means of the mistaken declassification, the actions, methods and goals of multiple Israeli security agencies among the Palestinian Arabs of Israel -- in short, the entire history of two decades of espionage directed at a group of Israeli citizens -- lay exposed. At the heart of these documents was detailed information about individuals and families and the well-guarded secrets of what they “gave” and what they “got” in return. Many retired collaborators are still alive.


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.

Recipe for a Riot

Parsing Israel's Yom Kippur Upheavals

by Peter Lagerquist | published October 2008

On October 8, 48-year old Tawfiq Jamal got into his car with his 18-year old son and a friend, and set out for the house of his relatives, the Shaaban family, who lived as of then in a new, predominantly Jewish neighborhood on the eastern edges of Acre. A walled city on the sea, mainly famed in the West for having served as the CENTCOM of the crusading Richard the Lionheart, Acre is today a “mixed” Israeli town, inhabited by Jews as well as Arabs like Tawfiq. That day, he was on his way to pick up his daughter, who had been helping the Shaabans prepare cakes for a wedding scheduled for the following week. He insists that he drove slowly and quietly, with his radio turned off.


by Nu'man Kanafani
published in MER194

I was afraid. Why should I be? But once I stood in front of the young women in the white and blue-striped shirt I was reduced to shivering with a tongue as dry as the Negev. She asked me insistently, “Why are you here?” I had earlier thought of two or three convincing answers, but suddenly I could not decide on any of them and I stood there looking at her with empty eyes, trying to control my sweating hand.

On Palestinians in the Israeli Knesset

Interview with Azmi Bishara

by Sara Scalenghe , Steve Rothman
published in MER201

Azmi Bishara was a young rising star in the Communist Party of Israel (Rakah) for several years. Since leaving the party after the upheavals of 1989, he and other Arab intellectuals periodically considered establishing a new Arab political party with a progressive-nationalist orientation. After much debate and several false starts, al-Tajammu‘ (Democratic National Assembly) was established in March 1996, shortly before Israeli elections. Al-Tajammu‘ includes former members and supporters of the Communist Party, the Covenant of Equality (an Arab-Jewish movement founded in 1991), the Progressive Movement (including Muhammad Mi‘ari, former MK of the Progressive List for Peace), Abna’ al-Balad (Sons of the Village) and others.

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