Palestinians Debate "Polite" Resistance to Occupation

by Lori Allen
published in MER225

When an August 2002 opinion poll released by the US-based NGO Search for Common Ground showed that majorities of Palestinians would support a non-violent intifada, many residents of the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem greeted the results with suspicion. "They're trying to make us be 'polite,'" one leader of the Fatah youth movement laughed bitterly. The poll itself was dangerous, he suggested, possibly part of an insidious effort to convince Palestinians to give up resistance to the Israeli occupation.


published in MER226

Palestinian Debate

Lori Allen is to be congratulated for tackling head on the thorny issue of uses and abuses of violence in the Arab-Israeli conflict (“Palestinians Debate ‘Polite’ Resistance to Occupation,” MER 225). But she has missed the mark in crucial areas.

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Boycott Fever in Jordan

by Sa'eda Kilani
published in MER226

Sipping coffee in downtown Amman, a friend just returned from a three-week stay on a scholarship in the United States surprised me by saying, “I don’t know if I should smoke.” Had she fallen victim to the American anti-smoking frenzy? Not exactly, she continued: “You know, I’m boycotting American products, and there are only Marlboros [for sale] here.” Marlboro cigarettes are but one target of a movement sweeping Jordan and the entire Arab world calling for the boycott of American and British companies which deal with Israel.

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Olives, Stones and Bullets

by Uri Avnery
published in MER217

On the evening of November 17, the villagers of Hares called and asked people from Gush Shalom to please come there. This Palestinian village is cut off from the world. The army is blockading it -- no one is allowed to enter or leave. The olives, the only product of the village, are going to rot on the trees, especially in the orchard bordering the nearby Revava settlement. Anyone trying to harvest there is in mortal danger. A 14-year-old boy -- alone in the orchard with his father -- was shot and killed there only three days before. The villagers hope that the presence of Israelis will restrain the settlers and soldiers, allowing them to harvest the olives on which their livelihood depends.

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Protest Amid Confusion

Israel's Peace Camp in the Uprising's First Month

by Efraim Davidi
published in MER217

Beginning with Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and continuing during the first intifada in 1987-93, large numbers of Israelis took to the streets to express their clear rejection of the state’s military policies. 400,000 people angrily protested Israeli general Ariel Sharon’s complicity in the massacre of Palestinian refugees at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut. “Peace camp” demonstrations of varying size during the first Palestinian uprising happened regularly in the squares of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. But in the fall of 2000, commentators invariably point out the absence of the peace camp from public debate in Israel.

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Israel's Accountability for Economic Warfare

by Roger Normand
published in MER217

As Israel escalates the military conflict in the occupied Palestinian territories, brushing aside criticism of excessive force by the United Nations and human rights groups, it is tempting to conclude that international law is irrelevant to the real struggle being waged on the ground with bullets and blood. But the constant interplay between law and force -- in both politics and economics -- has always been, and will remain, a crucial factor shaping the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its just resolution.

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"A Double Responsibility"

Palestinian Citizens of Israel and the Intifada

by Chris Toensing
published in MER217

Azmi Bishara, a contributing editor of this magazine, represents the National Democratic Assembly (NDA), a party advocating cultural autonomy and civil rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, in the Knesset. He spoke with Middle East Report on November 29, 2000, the day after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak preempted a likely vote of no confidence by calling early elections. In 1999, Bishara ran for prime minister on the NDA ticket.

In early October, Palestinians inside Israel protested very vocally in solidarity with the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Why did that happen this time around, when it had not happened so much during the last intifada?

Fatah's Tanzim

by Graham Usher
published in MER217

On November 9, 2000, Hussein Abayat and Khalid Salahat, along with around 50 other Palestinians, were visiting one of the seven houses hit by Israeli tank shells the previous night in the West Bank village of Beit Sahour. They then climbed into their Mitsubishi pickup truck to drive back up the hill to the heart of the village. Thirty seconds later, the truck was a smoldering shell, hit by an anti-tank missile launched from an Israeli Apache helicopter. Abayat was killed instantaneously -- as were two Palestinian women standing behind his van -- and Salahat was severely wounded. The two men were the first victims of an Israeli policy of "initiated" assassinations aimed at taking out the "ground" leadership of the Palestinian intifada.