Berkeley's Sister-City Initiative

by Marianne Torres
published in MER157

Sister cities has become one of Berkeley’s most popular means of expressing support for particular communities and opposition to US foreign policy. Berkeley has six sister cities, including Leon in Nicaragua, San Antonio de los Ranchos in El Salvador and the South African Black township of Oukassie. Supporters of Measure J hoped its success would provide some measure of protection to the people of Jabalya. Concern was heightened in the last two days of the campaign when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir announced that Jabalya would be the first camp to be “dispersed” after Likud formed its new government.

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Proposition W

by Jeffrey Blankfort
published in MER157

The Bay Area’s “progressive” reputation was somewhat tarnished November 8 when voters in San Francisco and Berkeley overwhelmingly rejected pro-Palestinian initiatives on their respective ballots. San Francisco’s Proposition W, which called for the US to recognize a Palestinian state “side by side” with Israel “with guarantees of security for both states” was defeated by 68 to 32 percent. In Berkeley, Measure J would have established the Gaza town and refugee camp of Jabalya as a sister city; it was defeated by a 70-30 margin.

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Cambridge Voters Challenge US Policy

by Matthew S. Gordon
published in MER157

Voters achieved an historic victory in Cambridge and a section of Somerville, Massachusetts, on November 8, 1988. By a margin of 53 to 47 percent they endorsed Question 5, a non-binding public policy question that called on elected officials to work towards a just settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. (See below.)

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Seven Perspectives

Middle East Peace Priorities in the US

published in MER158

Eqbal Ahmad

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Palestine and Israel in the US Arena

by The Editors
published in MER158

Ordinary children, women and men, a million and a half of them, have confounded the state of Israel, Washington’s major military ally in the Middle East, with their incredible courage and resourcefulness. Their resounding demand for political independence then prompted the Palestine Liberation Organization to declare unequivocally for a Palestinian state alongside Israel -- a resolution based on “possible rather than absolute justice,” as Yasser Arafat put it. [1] More than a hundred governments have officially recognized the new state. Others, such as the major European states, upgraded their relations with the PLO. The combined force of these developments finally led Washington to open formal talks with the PLO.

From the Editor

published in MER261

A question nagged at Occupy Wall Street and its myriad imitators, the most exciting social movement to emanate from the United States in more than a decade, for much of the fall. “What are your demands?” journalists persisted in asking. “What do you want?”

Responsibilities of the US Peace Movement

by David Cortright
published in MER167

Once again the American peace movement faces the threat of war. In the 1960s and 1970s it was Vietnam, in the 1980s Central America and the nuclear threat, and now it is Arabia. This dangerous moment calls for a major change of direction for peace and anti-intervention forces. Activities underway before the crisis -- the peace dividend campaign, redefining global security -- have been sidetracked. Everything now depends on the outcome of the crisis in the Middle East.

Although press coverage has been scant, many groups in cities across the country have already begun organizing, and a growing movement is emerging. Most groups are united around five political demands:

Peace Projects

by Joel Beinin
published in MER178

We may come to recall 1992 as the year of the peace activist in the burgeoning literary and cinematographic record of the Palestinian intifada. By rupturing the structure of the occupation, Palestinian popular collective action and the decisions of the nineteenth Palestine National Council expanded the possibilities for political initiatives by Palestinian and Israeli supporters of a “two-state solution,” including new forms of Palestinian-Israeli collaboration. As this perspective gained credibility as a realizable historical project, its proponents received increasing attention.

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Left In Limbo

Leninist Heritage and Islamist Challenge

by Salim Tamari
published in MER179

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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.