The Electronic Intifada

Apartheid and Agrexco in the Jordan Valley

Lena Green
4 September 2005

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On June 25, an Israeli spokesperson announced a plan intended to increase the number of settlers in the Jordan Valley by 50 percent in one year. The cost of new housing units will be $13.5 million (U.S.) in the initial year, and will increase to $32.5 million in the following year. The plan focuses on the development of agriculture and tourism in the valley, with grants of up to $22 million available for agricultural development. Agrexco is 50 percent owned by the Israeli state and all of the produce exported from the valley is packed by and sold through them. Palestinian farmers no longer attempt to export because their dealings with the company have been so catastrophic. Nor are they able to take their produce to other markets in Palestine, because it is impossible to get it through the Jordan Valley checkpoints.

Gaza Withdrawal and the Right of Return

Stefan Christoff
3 September 2005

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Listen to an interview with Mohammad Jaradat, coordinator of political campaigns at BADIL, a Palestinian NGO based in the West Bank. BADIL’s work is primarily focused on the ongoing Palestinian struggle for the right of return and acts as a coordination point for the international struggle on this issue in the occupied West Bank. In the midst of the withdrawal of illegal Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip and a handful in the West Bank, the issue of the right of return for Palestinian refugees has been seldom addressed by major media and political leaders throughout the world.

Podcast/Interview: Hariri - Reconstruction, Poverty and Unrest

Stefan Christoff
6 September 2005

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Listen to an interview with Leila Hatoum, staff writer at Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper, the largest English daily in the Middle East. This interview focuses on the economic policies of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in downtown Beirut in February 2005. Hariri’s public image in Lebanon and throughout the world is directly associated with the Lebanese “opposition” movement, sparked by his assassination and defined by large-scale street demonstrations in downtown Beirut demanding Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon.

Interview with Samah Idriss: Lebanon: Assassinations, Elections and Palestine

Stefan Christoff
3 September 2005

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An interview with Samah Idriss, co-founder of the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel and editor-in-chief of al-Adab, a Lebanese arts and culture magazine based in Beirut. This interview was conducted in August 2005 in Beirut Lebanon and addresses various issues relating to the present day politics of Lebanon, while providing regional context to the major political changes taking place in Lebanon…. “The late Rafik al-Hariri had excellent relations with some Syrian elites, both politically and financially. Hariri rarely uttered a word against their interference in Lebanese public life, and their political and economic corruption in the country.”

Well-known UK graffiti artist Banksy hacks the Wall

Nigel Parry
2 September 2005

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“How illegal is it to vandalize a wall,” asks Banksy in his website introduction to his Wall project, “if the wall itself has been deemed unlawful by the International Court of Justice? The Israeli government is building a wall surrounding the occupied Palestinian territories. It stands three times the height of the Berlin wall and will eventually run for over 700km - the distance from London to Zurich. The International Court of Justice last year ruled the wall and its associated regime is illegal. It essentially turns Palestine into the world’s largest open-air prison.”

Freedom for Palestine: Ticket-holders only?

Maureen Clare Murphy
31 August 2005

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Invitations clutched in their hands, last week the audience members of the East West Diwan Orchestra squeezed past uniformed, armed guards and headed into the Ramallah Cultural Palace auditorium. The concert, performed by both Israeli and Palestinian musicians and conducted by world-renowned Israeli musician Daniel Barenboim, was definitely one of the more newsworthy cultural events in Palestine this year. Yet it was unadvertised, and only at the last minute were local photographers allowed to document the event for Palestinian papers.

Rushing after a mirage

Hasan Abu Nimah
31 August 2005

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There are striking similarities between Israel’s departure from southern Lebanon in May 2000 and the events in Gaza over the past two weeks. This is no surprise, as events in the Arab-Israeli conflict have been seemingly moving in circles for years, writes EI contributor Hasan Abu Nimah. The peace process industry of EU, American and UN officials, donor agencies, government-funded think tanks and NGOs, supported by the media, have created euphoria and false optimism following the passing away of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat last November, which has done much to pollute the political climate. With no lessons learned, the same forces are doing it again in the name of Gaza “disengagement.”

In the wake of the Gaza disengagement, enforce a ban on settlements

George Bisharat
31 August 2005

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“Palestinians observed Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip with a mix of contradictory emotions. Paramount, perhaps, was relief. Nearly 9,000 Israeli settlers, who had occupied a third of the land there while confining 1. 3 million Palestinians to the rest, were finally gone.” However, argues George E. Bisharat, “the Israeli design for permanent colonization of lands reserved by the international community for a Palestinian state is a formula for decades of conflict and violence.”

The Absence of National Unity: An Interview with Bassam Shaka

Arjan El Fassed
29 August 2005

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In an exclusive interview with The Electronic Intifada, former and last elected mayor of Nablus, Bassam Shaka, stated that the Palestinian Authority has tried to coordinate the disengagement with Israel without results. Shaka has been a critic of the Oslo agreements, arguing they divided the Palestinian struggle for national independence into separate issues, thus dividing Palestinians and distracting attention from the national and human dimensions: “The Oslo agreements have left both sides disputing over the occupied territory and have given the security of Israel central importance. The construction of the Wall, along with other problems facing the Palestinians, will lead to the disintegration of the Palestinian cause as a national issue”.

Behind the images of children with guns

29 August 2005

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The event marked forty days since the assassination of the resistance fighter Mohammed Sufwat Al Assi (Nino), the shooting of sixteen-year-old fighter Khalid Mohammed Msyme and the anniversaries of many more killings. The last time the young girls in the traditional Palestinian embroidered dresses performed, Nino himself was on the stage. Then the girls sang in tribute to Nino’s friend Kalil Marshood, marking a year since his assassination by the Israeli occupation forces. Within a month of Kalil’s anniversary ta’been, Nino too was assassinated. Yesterday, the girls were singing again. This time, they had guns.

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