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

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

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.

Homecoming

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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Palestinian Rights in Post-Oslo Israel

by
published in MER201

Below are the proceedings of a roundtable discussion held in Nazareth, Israel, on June 24, 1996. The participants were: Aida Toma-Suliman, general director of Women Against Violence, Hala Espanioli Hazzan, chairperson of the Follow-up Committee on Arab Education in Israel, Hassan Jabareen, director of litigation for Adalah -- The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Mohammed Zeidan, coordinator of the Arab Association for Human Rights, Samar Zaidani, administrative director of the Galilee Society -- the Arab National Society for Health Research Services, and Yousef Jabareen, former director of strategic planning for the Nazareth Municipality.

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A New Strategy for the Palestinian "Minority" in Israel

by Hatim Kanaaneh , Rhoda Kanaaneh
published in MER204

In December 1997, the first “Equality Conference” was held in Nazareth to address the continuing marginalization of the Palestinian Arab community in Israel. This event represents part of the ongoing struggle of Palestinian citizens to overcome discriminatory laws and state practices in Israel. The conference, however, signals an innovation in this struggle because the organizers positioned it in an international human rights framework. While this has had limited immediate results, the new direction marks an attempt to appeal directly to a wider international community and to place Palestinian issues inside the Green Line in the context of various international struggles.

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Dis/Solving the "Refugee Problem"

by Rosemary Sayigh
published in MER207

“A displaced person owns nothing but the spot where he is standing, which is always threatened.” -- Murid Barghouti

Israeli power, US backing, Palestinian weakness, Arab complicity -- these are the basic ingredients for a coercive settlement of the “refugee problem” based not on refugees’ rights but on their disappearance. The “new Middle East” must be tidied up; states, citizens and borders must correspond; disruptive anomalies must be removed. Because of their centrality to regional instability, eliminating the Palestinian refugees is essential to a pacified Middle East free to fulfill its designated role in the global economy.

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Twenty-First Century Palestine

Toward a "Swiss Cheese" State?

by Roni Krouzman
published in MER213

Salim al-Shawamreh, his wife, Arabia and their six children live in the village of Anata, half of which is classified as Area B (under Palestinian municipal control) and half -- where Salim’s house sits -- as Area C (under full Israeli control). About a third of Anata’s 12,000 residents hold Jerusalem identity cards. The rest are considered West Bank residents, and thus cannot enter Jerusalem, including the section of Anata classified as part of Jerusalem.

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Faith, Money and the Millennium

A View from Palestine

by Naim Ateek
published in MER213

The solar eclipse on August 11, 1999 led some people to expect the end of the world. According to one report, three people committed suicide, sure the end was near. Others shut themselves in their homes expecting extraordinary events to usher in the eschaton (“end times”). Since a simple eclipse could cause such panic, despite our considerable scientific knowledge, one wonders what the end of a millennium might do to people, individually and collectively.

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