An Interview with Usama Halabi

by Barbara Harlow
published in MER194

Usama Halabi, a lawyer, works with the East Jerusalem Quaker Legal Aid Program and is the author of The Druze in Israel: From Sect to Nation (Jerusalem: Golan Academic Association, 1989) [Arabic]. Barbara Harlow interviewed him in Jerusalem in December 1994.

In November, the Israeli military court in Jenin issued a death sentence for a Hamas leader, the first time such a sentence has been issued by a military court in the Occupied Territories. Does this signal a change in policy?

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Transfers and Powers

The August Agreement and the Jordanian Option

by Raja Shehadeh
published in MER194

The Declaration of Principles (DOP), signed between Israel and the PLO on September 13, 1993, provided the “agreed framework for the interim period.” [1] This was to be based on the establishment, through elections, of a Palestinian interim self-governing authority for a transitional period not exceeding five years. The jurisdiction of the council was to cover the West Bank and Gaza Strip with the notable exception of Israeli settlements.

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Palestinian Trade Unions and the Struggle for Independence

by Graham Usher
published in MER194

Not so long ago, to visit the Erez checkpoint on Gaza’s “border” crossing with Israel was to witness a modem slave market. Tens of thousands of Palestinian workers would wake up at 3 am and gather at Erez for the privilege of working in their occupier’s economy, predominantly in construction and agriculture, undertaking the “dirty work” that Jewish workers would not do, for a wage on average a third less than their Jewish peers. At least 30 percent of Gaza’s GNP derived from wages earned in Israel.

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An Interview with Mahmoud Darwish

by Mona Naim
published in MER194

Mahmoud Darwish, a well-known Palestinian poet, resigned from the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993. His most recent book in English is Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982 (California, 1995). The following excerpts are from an interview with Mona Naim in Le Monde, March 12-13, 1995.

You have been opposed to the Declaration of Principles, but you have not joined any active opposition to the accord. Why?

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Fading Flags

The Crises of Palestinian Legitimacy

by Salim Tamari
published in MER194

Palestine on the Edge

Crisis in the National Movement

by Dan Connell
published in MER194

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Tourists with Agendas

by Salim Tamari
published in MER196

One bizarre aspect about life in Palestine is the scrutiny to which we are subjected by journalists, researchers and political tourists who descend daily. Birzeit University is particularly attractive to researchers who come to “do Palestine.” At first glance, the benefits would seem great: publicity, access to the media and protection against institutional harassment by the Israelis. Indeed, this was important during the intifada, when the university was closed for four and a half years.

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From the Editors

published in MER198

The first month of 1996 saw election monitors and “democratization” consultants falling over each other in the West Bank. Along with the flood of media witnesses, they certified that, in former President Jimmy Carter’s words, “The Palestinian people had an historic opportunity to choose their leaders yesterday, and they did so with enthusiasm and a high degree of professionalism.”