Books on Palestine and Human Rights

by Tim Coone
published in MER116

Raja Shehadeh and Jonathan Kuttab, The West Bank and the Rule of Law (Geneva: International Commission of Jurists, 1980).

David H. Ott, Palestine in Perspective: Politics, Human Rights and the West Bank (London: Quartet Books, 1980).

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The Greek-Turkish Population Exchange

Internationally Administered Ethnic Cleansing

by Sarah Shields
published in MER267

The photographs are compelling: Greek Orthodox Christians are gathered in small groups on the Aegean coast of what is now Turkey, wearing too much clothing for the hot day, whatever possessions they could carry sitting at their feet, their faces drawn with worry as they stare at the water, awaiting the ships that would take them to Greece. They were being expelled from Anatolia, where their ancestors had lived and died and worked and prayed for so many centuries that most claimed no other homeland. These Christians followed a patriarch who had resided in Constantinople/Istanbul since the year 330 and whose massive cathedral, Hagia Sophia, had already become a major tourism site.

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International Law and the Iran Impasse

by Aslı Bâli | published December 16, 2012

On any given day, provided her paper of choice still features international coverage, the average American newspaper reader can expect to be treated to one or two articles on attempts to halt advances in Iran’s nuclear program. These articles might cover efforts to levy fresh sanctions against the Islamic Republic; they might relay news of discussions among Iran’s primary interlocutors on the nuclear question, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (the so-called P5+1), about diplomatic overtures. Or the stories might echo the mounting calls for airstrikes or other military action to delay and disrupt the progress of Iranian nuclear research.

Primer: Where They Stand

The Major Parties and the International Consensus

by
published in MER158

I. All states in the region, including a Palestinian state, have the right to independence and security.

US / Israel / PLO / Arab States / USSR / EEC States (bold = support; plain text = opposition)

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The Question of Palestine in Miniature

by The Editors | published September 16, 2011

The countdown to September 23 has begun. On that day, if he does not renege on his September 16 speech, Mahmoud ‘Abbas will present a formal request for full UN membership for a state of Palestine. The UN Security Council, which must approve such requests, will not do so, because the United States will act upon its repeated vows to exercise its veto. And then?

Bagram, Obama's Gitmo

by Lisa Hajjar
published in MER260

On President Barack Obama’s second day in office, one of the three executive orders he signed was a commitment to close the detention facility on the naval base at Guantánamo Bay as soon as possible but no later than one year thence. An inter-agency task force headed by White House counsel Greg Craig was established to come up with a plan. The new administration did not anticipate that this step would be controversial because, at the time, closing Guantánamo had bipartisan support, including from former President George W. Bush and Republican presidential contender Sen. John McCain. Bagram, the main US-controlled prison in Afghanistan, on the other hand, was being expanded -- like the war in that country.

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.

Torture and the Future

by Lisa Hajjar | published May 2004

There is a popular belief that Western history constitutes a progressive move from more to less torture. Iron maidens and racks are now museum exhibits, crucifixions are sectarian iconography and scientific experimentation on twins is History Channel infotainment. This narrative of progress deftly blends ideas about “time,” “place” and “culture.” In the popular imagination, “civilized societies” (a.k.a. “us”) do not rely on torture, whereas those societies where torture is still common remain “uncivilized,” torture being both a proof and a problem of their enduring “backwardness.”

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.

Beating a Slow, Stubborn Retreat at Guantanamo Bay

by Charles Schmitz | published May 2005

Just under a week after the collapse of the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan, President George W. Bush issued Military Order 1 to establish principles for the “ detention, treatment and trial of certain non-citizens in the war against terrorism.” The order, promulgated on November 13, 2001, was the first step in the Bush administration’s careful crafting of the term “illegal combatant” to describe a nebulous third category of detainee outside the Geneva Conventions’ clear division of prisoners into either civilians or military personnel. “Illegal combatants” were not to be accorded the protections of either the international laws of war or the laws of the United States.

Can Military Intervention Be "Humanitarian"?

by Alex de Waal , Rakiya Omaar
published in MER187

“Humanitarian intervention,” the violation of a nation-state’s sovereignty for the purpose of protecting human life from government repression or famine or civil breakdown, is an old concept that has been given a new lease on life with the end of the Cold War. It is currently being practiced in Somalia and parts of Iraq, and has been discussed, with varying degrees of seriousness, with regard to Bosnia, Angola, Mozambique, Liberia, Zaire, Sudan and Haiti.

Justice in Transition?

Prospects for a Palestinian-Israeli Truth Commission

by Stanley Cohen
published in MER194

Without quite the same resonance as “new world order” or “end of history,” another set of terms has rapidly become part of the international political discourse: “transition,” “democratization,” “reconstruction” and “building civil society.” Aside from their purely rhetorical uses, these terms describe real and complex political changes following collapses throughout the world of a variety of authoritarian regimes and their replacement by more democratic governments.

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