Nazareth Dispatch

by Jonathan Cook
published in MER267

They are Israel’s Siamese twin cities, forced into an uncomfortable pairing more than half a century ago. Nazareth and Natzrat Illit, or Upper Nazareth in English, almost share a name. Although formally separated by a ring road, Israel has tied their fates together. Each is engaged in a battle with the other, from which, it seems, given the zero-sum terms of the Zionist project, only one can emerge as victor -- and survivor.


published in MER147

Israeli Arms Merchants

I am writing in response to the article by Bishara Bahbah, “Israel’s Private Arms Network,” in your January-February 1987 issue. First, as Bahbah himself indicates, there is no Israeli private arms network, because arms exports from Israel are controlled by the government, which also owns most of the arms manufacturers. Most of the individuals involved earn their commissions as middlemen, because of personal contacts in some region, or as convenient covers for official involvement. The only individual in the group who may be considered a real arms dealer, on an international scale, is Shlomo Zablodovitz (and not as spelled by Mr. Bahbah).

Marching Toward Civil War

by Joel Beinin
published in MER136

In an article written in early 1985, Ze’ev Schiff described the Palestinian and Jewish populations of Israel and the Occupied Territories as “marching...toward a civil war.” [1] Since then, events have only confirmed the accuracy of Schiff’s observation. The escalation of violence and tension in the Occupied Territories has been particularly sharp in the last few months, since the withdrawal in the spring of most Israeli troops from Lebanon. Palestinian efforts to infiltrate guerrillas into Israel have been repeatedly headed off by the IDF. Likewise, most attempts at random violence by the PLO, such as bombs at bus stops, have been thwarted.

From the Editors

published in MER136

Lest anyone be tempted to dismiss the title of this issue as unduly melodramatic, we would like to call attention to an early November meeting of the Council of Settlers of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. According to its bimonthly newspaper, Aleph Yud, the settlers decided to take an “active stand” against the Peres government’s efforts to reach some agreement with King Hussein of Jordan about the future of the West Bank.

The Mind of the Censor

published in MER138

Gaza Ghetto, a documentary film about a Palestinian family in the occupied Gaza Strip by MERIP editor Joan Mandell and Swedish filmmakers Pea Holmquist and Pierre Bjorklund, premiered in Stockholm in November 1984. In January 1985, a Palestinian theater company in Jerusalem, El-Hakawati, purchased a copy and screened it for the press. The theater then presented Gaza Ghetto to the Israeli Council for Censorship of Films and Plays, as required of all films before public screening. On February 6, 1985, the council for censorship banned the film in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Israeli lawyer Avigdor Feldman appealed the ban on behalf of El-Hakawati on April 15, but a lower court upheld the decision.

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Israeli Spies in the US

by Jeff McConnell
published in MER138

November 21, 1985, was a remarkable day. FBI agents arrested a civilian terrorism analyst working for the US Navy, Jonathan Jay Pollard, outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, where he had gone seeking political asylum. Six days later, Pollard was arraigned in federal district court on several counts of espionage against the United States as a paid agent for the government of Israel.

Avishai, The Tragedy of Zionism

by Moshé Machover
published in MER149

Bernard Avishai, The Tragedy of Zionism -- Revolution and Democracy in the Land of Israel, (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1985).


Germany's Greens and Israel

by Diana Johnstone
published in MER149

The German Greens are having a hard time defining a Middle East policy. No wonder. Besides the usual difficulties of the whole European left, they are German.

How hard it could be was brought home with a thud by the six Greens who toured Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and the occupied territories in December 1984. Trip leaders Jürgen Reents, of the Hamburg left wing of the party, and Gabriele Gottwald, the Greens’ most dedicated Third World solidarity militant, were startled and hurt when the Israeli press distorted their views and impugned their motives.

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Findley, They Dare to Speak Out

by Beshara Doumani
published in MER140

Paul Findley, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby (Westport, CT: Lawrence Hill and Company, 1985).

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Israel in Central America

Nicaragua, Honduras, El Slavador, Costa Rica

by Milton Jamail , Margo Gutierrez
published in MER140

What is Israel’s role in Central America, and why have the nations there sought arms and military advisers from Israel? There seem to be four reasons for this curious relationship. The foremost has to do with the reliability of the main military patron in the region, the United States. At one point or another, Washington has interrupted arms sales to Somoza’s Nicaragua and to the governments of El Salvador and Guatemala. Most recently, Congressional opposition has blocked any acknowledged US military support for the counterrevolutionaries (the contras) fighting the Sandinista government in Managua. Furthermore, Israel provides aid to the police forces of Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador, something Congress has prohibited the US from doing since 1974.