Declining to Intervene

Israel's Supreme Court and the Occupied Territories

by Jonathan Cook | published August 4, 2003

Appointing Abu Mazen: A Drama with Two Enactments

by Charmaine Seitz | published May 1, 2003

The Palestinian Legislative Council's approval of the cabinet of newly appointed Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas on April 29, 2003 completed a political drama with two enactments: one received with cheers by the international community and the other watched warily by a sober audience at home.


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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The Palestinian Elections That Never Were

by Charmaine Seitz | published January 24, 2003

January 20, 2003—the scheduled date of elections that existed on Palestinian Authority letterhead alone—passed with the incumbent presidential candidate nearly imprisoned in his offices in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Several weeks earlier, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat candidly told reporters that he craves a few minutes every day in the sun. With the Israeli army surrounding his compound, he only ventures outside when shielded by a bevy of journalists.

Under Siege

Closure, Separation and the Palestinian Economy

by Leila Farsakh
published in MER217

By mid-November, Israel had imposed over 50 days of closure on the whole of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinian persons and goods were refused entry into Israel, or exit from the confines of the Occupied Territories. Mobility within Palestinian-controlled areas was also curtailed. According to available estimates, each day of ongoing closure represents a loss of $8.45 million -- totaling $336 million as of November 7 -- to the Palestinian economy. [1]  If damage to physical assets and human lives were added, the losses would be still higher.

Hebron Under Curfew

by Natasha J. Krahn
published in MER217

As I sit here writing on October 30, 2000, I hear voices outside -- a rare occurrence these days. Our apartment is in H2, the Israeli-controlled part of Hebron. In 1997, an interim agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) split Hebron in two. 100,000 Palestinians live in H1, administered by the PA. Today the curfew imposed on October 1 -- a 24 hour-a-day house arrest for the 40,000 Palestinians living in H2 -- was lifted, supposedly for good. (The curfew was reimposed on October 31. At press time it had not been lifted.) “Or at least until the army changes their minds,” explained one of our friends. In H2, as many as 2,000 Israeli soldiers guard about 400 Jewish settlers.

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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.