Water and Israel's Occupation Strategy

by Joe Stork
published in MER116

The long conflict involving Israel, the Palestinians and neighboring Arab states has revolved around the elementary bonds of people and territory. Water is perhaps the single most important material resource determining the relationship of people to land. From the beginnings of the Zionist project through the wars and occupations of the last two decades to the current negotiations between Israel, Lebanon and Syria, access to and control of water has figured as a primary strategic factor. The centrality of water to Israeli strategy can be summarized in the following points:

"The People Have Refused to Back Down"

An Interview with Azmi Shuaibi

by Beshara Doumani , Salim Tamari
published in MER116

Azmi Shuaibi is a dentist and a leading member of al-Bira municipal council, now disbanded by the Israeli military government. He comes from a peasant background, from the village of Dayr Ghassana in the West Bank, and was educated at Cairo University. He was elected to al-Bira municipal council on a pro-Palestine Liberation Organization slate in the 1976 election. Since 1977, he also represented the Ramallah-Bira section of the Palestinian Dentists’ Association. In the city council, he was responsible for the public library and its wide-ranging cultural activity, and for the secondary school committee. Shuaibi has been imprisoned several times for his political activity. Until recently he was under town arrest, which prevented him from leaving al-Bira or the West Bank.

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Israeli Settlement Policy Today

by Peter Demant
published in MER116

Israeli settlements in the occupied territories have recently become much more central to the whole Israeli-Arab conflict. Massive loss of land by West Bank Palestinians, and an upsurge in Jewish settlements and in the number of settlers, have attracted international attention to Israeli colonization of Palestine -- a phenomenon which dates back to the June 1967 war in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and, before 1982, the Sinai. In Israel proper, this “Judaization” of the land has been a central tenet and practice of Zionism ever since the waves of Jewish immigration began in the late nineteenth century. In the last two years, colonization across the Green Line (Israel’s pre-1967 borders) has shown qualitative as well as quantitative changes.

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Becker, The PLO

by Helena Cobban
published in MER133

Jillian Becker, The PLO: The Rise and Fall of the Palestine Liberation Organization (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1984).

Welcome to the weird world of Ms. Jillian Becker—a world in which the PLO wreaks senseless vengeance on the hapless Palestinian people, PLO prison officers decorate their offices with blood-daubed Stars of David (pp. 146-47), generally elusive victims of PLO violence have their genitals or breasts cut off, or are ripped mercilessly limb from limb, etc. This is a universe where, in the author’s words, “dynamic ‘First World’ cultures come up against and clash with stagnant ‘Third World’ cultures.” (p.5)

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Koff, Occupied Palestine

by Joel Beinin
published in MER125

David Koff, Occupied Palestine (E Cinema Six Productions, 1981).

David Koff and his team have made a complex, sensitive and brutally authentic movie. Occupied Palestine delivers its message with unnerving sharpness and accuracy. For these very reasons it may strike those who are not intimately familiar with the lives and struggles of Palestinians under Israeli domination -- both citizens of Israel and those living under manifest military occupation -- as exaggerated and overblown.

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What Comes Next

by Chris Toensing | published October 17, 2013

Whatever comes next in the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, the State of Israel is here to stay.

To acknowledge this fact is not to nod to Israel’s “right to exist” -- people have rights, states are supposed to protect them -- but to bow to the one-state reality in historical Palestine. There is but one sovereign entity in that territory and there is presently no combination of political forces that can produce a second or compel the first to surrender its sovereignty. Anyone who would see peace in Israel-Palestine must first grapple with the many implications of the one-state reality.

Gitai, Field Diary

by Pat Aufderheide
published in MER130

Amos Gitai, Field Diary (1984).

Rarely has the cinema verité technique, with its false naiveté, been deployed so strategically as in Field Diary. It looks as if it could have been made by your little brother with the family toy camera, and it is even hard to credit filmmaker Amos Gitai with the earlier filmmaking experience that his House testifies to. But Field Diary, gracelessness and all, refuses to leave you when you leave the theater.

From the West Bank to Armageddon

by Zachary Lockman
published in MER136

From the West Bank to Armageddon A 45-minute slide-tape program produced by Sara Freedman and Ted German for Boston Mobilization for Survival. Available from Survival Education Fund.

Organizing around Middle East issues has never been easy in the United States. A number of obvious political problems have caused many people on the left to shy away from open support for the struggles of the people of the region and clear-cut opposition to US policy. But activists anxious to reach potentially sympathetic people in the peace and anti-intervention movements have also suffered from a lack of resources to help clarify the complex struggles in the region and explain the character and costs of US involvement there.

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PLO Strategy and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

by Penny Johnson
published in MER136

Alain Gresh, The PLO: The Struggle Within (London: Zed Press, 1985).

Over the past several years in the Occupied Territories, Palestinian intellectuals and activists close to the PLO mainstream have met with Israelis from a number of political factions represented in the Knesset. Their apparent aim has been to influence the elusive center of the Israeli Labor Party.

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"The Scope of the Fraud Was Huge"

by James Paul
published in MER136

Norman Finkelstein is a doctoral candidate in politics at Princeton University. Jim Paul spoke with him in New York in November 1985.

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