Ekin, Enduring Witness

by Dale Bishop
published in MER140

Larry Ekin, Enduring Witness: The Churches and the Palestinians (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1985).

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Khalidi, Under Siege

by Yezid Sayigh
published in MER142

Rashid Khalidi, Under Siege: PLO Decisionmaking During the 1982 War (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986).

Among the many books dealing with the 1982 war in Lebanon, Rashid Khalidi’s stands out by focusing on the perceptions and decisions of that campaign’s main target: the PLO. The book asks a series of questions in order to get to those at the core: Why did the PLO leave Beirut? What were the main pressures influencing the decision first to stand and fight and then to evacuate the city? Which pressures proved successful and which ineffective?

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The Exile Bourgeoisie of Palestine

by Pamela Ann Smith
published in MER142

‘Umar ‘Aqqad is planning to export bottled water from Saudi Arabia. Not the kind of project you might expect in a desert kingdom where water is scarce. But then, ‘Aqqad is one of the shrewdest and most successful businessmen in the region. Not coincidentally, he is also a Palestinian. For Palestinians, stateless and living by their wits, have been among the leading capitalists of the Middle East. Their number has included Beirut’s greatest banking genius, partners in the foremost contracting firms of the Gulf, Jordan’s top banker, and several of Saudi Arabia’s leading managers and industrialists.

Profiles of Two Families

by Penny Johnson
published in MER146

The two West Bank families profiled here were not selected to be “representative,” but rather to explore, through people the authors knew intimately, particular lives and livelihoods as they both changed and maintained themselves in the last two decades of Israeli military occupation in the West Bank. Yet the profiles do capture some general effects of these last 20 years, the foremost being the radical uncertainty which shadows Palestinians’ lives under occupation. The litany of detentions of the sons of both families and the daughters of one is perhaps the most striking, but not the sole example.

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The Palestinians Twenty Years After

by Rashid Khalidi
published in MER146

The current situation of the Palestinian people appears grim today. But it is revealing to compare it with the situation of 20 years ago, in the wake of the June War. For while many of the problems the Palestinians face today date back at least to that cataclysmic event, other problems were undreamed of in 1967. There have been a number of fundamental changes which enable us to place these two decades in proper perspective and to appraise both the achievements and the setbacks of the Palestinian national movement, headed by the Palestine Liberation Organization.

"I Am Not a Russian Dissident"

by Akram Haniyyah
published in MER150

Akram Haniyyah was editor of the Jerusalem daily al-Sha‘b, circulation 5,000 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He was deported on December 28, 1986 to travel on an Algerian passport. He has no place of residence. This article first appeared in the Manchester Guardian Weekly, February 15, 1987.

Economic Dimensions of the Uprising

by Sheila Ryan
published in MER155

Beyond the cameras, outside the glare of the kleig lights of television talk shows, a quiet but potentially very significant campaign for economic disengagement is developing in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

From the Boston Tea Party to Gandhi’s Salt March, struggles over economic issues have historically had great importance in anticolonial movements. It is too soon to quantify the actual economic impact or to assess the long-term political significance of this campaign, but clearly it has already eroded the profitability of the occupation for the Israeli government and various economic sectors.

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Italian Communists' New Historic Compromise

by Diana Johnstone
published in MER152

The revolt in the Occupied Territories broke out at a time when support for the Palestinian cause was at a low ebb in Europe. The Italian Communist Party (PCI), for example, had for the past couple of years been giving priority to building relations with the mainstream Israeli left rather than with either the Palestine Liberation Organization or the left opposition in Israel willing to talk to the PLO.

The leader of the PCI’s right wing, Giorgio Napolitano, has shifted focus away from the Third World since he took over from Giancarlo Pajetta as the party’s “foreign minister” two years ago.

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"The Ship of Return"

by Charles Glass
published in MER152

Some day, an Israeli intelligence officer will write his memoirs. He will recount his brave deeds and reveal how his cunning strategy thwarted the enemy at every turn. The book will not be banned in Israel. The retired officer will appear on television to promote the book. Some interviewer, whose researcher may have read the book and handed him a few notes, might just lean confidentially toward the author and ask, “Could you tell us about one of your most exciting chapters, how in February 1988, you blew up the Palestinian ‘Ship of Return’?”

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The PLO and the Uprising

by Rashid Khalidi
published in MER154

For many years, for many people, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict consisted primarily of the struggle between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel, a struggle waged mainly outside of Palestine. The uprising in the Occupied Territories has firmly fixed the attention of the world on events within Palestine’s frontiers. While the Palestinians inside insist that they have no representative other than the PLO, that they are one with the PLO, they have also shown that they, the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza, are fully capable of leading the struggle against the occupation. This marks a new development in the dynamic of relations between Palestinians in the diaspora and those inside the Occupied Territories.

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