Report from the Occupied Territories

by Sarah Graham-Brown
published in MER115

Snow fell seven times on the hill towns north of Jerusalem this past winter, and the warmth of spring did not come until after the middle of April. But the welcome spring did not bring relief from the harshness of the Israeli occupation. In the town centers, Israeli troops were a constant reminder of the military authority, fingering their machine guns, one member of the unit holding a radio with an enormous whip antenna, ready to summon further forces at a moment’s notice. There are now more soldiers than before—on the hilltops, on the roads, in the squares, patrolling, lounging, harassing. The fines are higher, the jail sentences are longer, restrictions are tighter on personal movement, censorship of newspapers is more onerous.

Israel Previews "Autonomy" with Halhoul Curfew

published in MER80

Muhammed Milham is the mayor of Halhoul, a West Bank town of mostly peasant farmers. In March 1979 the Israeli occupation authorities imposed a total curfew on the town for more than two weeks. The mayor here describes the events heading up to the curfew, its impact on the townspeople, and its implications for current Egyptian-Israeli negotiations over “autonomy.&rdquo The text is the edited transcript of an interview with Jim Zogby of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign in Washington, DC, in late April 1979.

On Thursday, March 15, the Israeli authorities imposed a 23-hour-a-day curfew on the town of Halhoul. It began like this.

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Can Art Cross Borders?

Qalandiya and the Problem of Tanzir

by Kirsten Scheid
published in MER274

“We are not just talking culture and art for the sake of having a vision (lil-tanzir), holding exhibitions irrespective of who comes or doesn’t. To the contrary, we have a mission!” At the press conference in Ramallah on October 21, 2014 for the second edition of the Qalandiya International Biennale (QIB2), impassioned organizers responded to a pointed question about the role art could have in protecting Palestinian identity and overcoming Israeli oppression. The spokesperson, Jack Persekian, proclaimed that naming the biannual Palestine art event for the infamous checkpoint in the Israeli separation wall could transform the barrier into a bridge.

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Seltzer Colonialism

by Michael Fin , Callie Maidhof | published April 18, 2014

Early each morning, dozens of workers from Jaba’ walk up a narrow set of stairs with trash strewn on either side to reach a bus stop on Highway 60, which bisects the West Bank on its way from Nazareth to Beersheva. As they climb the stairs, the workers pass a tunnel that once allowed villagers convenient access to the highway, but which has been blocked by limestone boulders, dirt and rubble since the intifada of the early 2000s. At this bend in the road, nine miles northwest of Jerusalem, much of the horizon is defined by the 20-foot high concrete separation wall.

"The Palestinian Demand for Independence Cannot Be Postponed Indefinitely"

by Salim Tamari
published in MER100-101

Salim Tamari was born in Jaffa and now teaches sociology at Birzeit University, in the West Bank. He spoke with Penny Johnson, Peter Johnson and Judith Tucker in Boston in July 1981.

The Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is entering its fifteenth year. How would you characterize the development of political forces among Palestinians during these years?

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From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER102

It is no easy task to comprehend the significance of religion in its political dimension. Here in the US, for instance, Black churches have played a vital and progressive role in the struggle for political and civil rights. More recently, fundamentalist and revivalist Christian churches have participated intimately in advancing the political fortunes of the new right. Other church people have been in the forefront of the campaigns against nuclear weapons. In Central and South America, “liberation theology” emerged out of fierce mass struggles against political oppression and. economic degradation, while the Catholic hierarchy remained committed, for the most part, to the ruling classes.

Palestine and the ICC

by The Editors | published January 8, 2015 - 4:29pm

At the close of 2014, Mahmoud ‘Abbas, head of the Ramallah wing of the Palestinian Authority (PA), announced that he would sign the Rome Statute, the 2002 treaty establishing the International Criminal Court based in The Hague. This move opens the possibility that the Palestinians could ask the Court to investigate Israeli military operations and/or occupation practices as violations of international law. ‘Abbas accepted Court jurisdiction retroactive to June 13, 2014, when Israel began the raids that developed into Operation Protective Edge, the seven-week bombardment and invasion of Gaza. The meaning and efficacy of the PA’s maneuver are subjects of considerable debate.

Letter from the West Bank

by A Special Correspondent
published in MER123

Driving through the West Bank on Land Day, March 30, we pull to the side of the road outside Balata refugee camp, on the outskirts of Nablus. In the valley, two bulldozers move slowly against the backdrop of the Nablus hills, plowing a new road through wheatfields. Spring has come early this year, and in the heady sunlight we make our way through the knee-high wheat to ask two burly Israeli soldiers, clearly enjoying their duty of guarding the bulldozers, why the authorities were building a new road parallel to two existing roads.

Sifting the Berkeley Left

by Jock Taft
published in MER129

On June 5, 1984, voters in Berkeley, California, by a margin of almost 64 percent to 36 percent, defeated a ballot measure calling for the United States to reduce its aid to Israel by the amount Israel spends on its settlements in the occupied territories of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights. What’s going on here? Since the 1960s, Berkeley has had a reputation as the most politically progressive urban community in the country. Civil rights activism on the University of California campus spawned the Free Speech Movement, which in turn set the stage for the early protests and organizing against the US war in Vietnam. When Ronald Reagan was elected governor in 1966, one of his main campaign targets was UC campus radicalism.

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From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER129

We would like to begin this first issue for 1985 with heartfelt thanks to our readers for your very strong support over the past year. Your unprecedented generosity in response to our fundraising appeals was essential to our work, and we appreciate very much the confidence this expresses for MERIP’s future. In this coming year we will continue to count on your help. The need for a strong, critical perspective on US policy in the region will be more important than ever as the Reagan administration begins its second term. We are grateful to know that you are with us. One innovation we are planning for this year is a special newsletter for those who contribute $50 or more to MERIP’s work. The first issue will appear shortly.