The Electronic Intifada

Mass hypnosis in the Middle East

Hasan Abu Nimah and
Ali Abunimah
19 January 2005


What explains the widespread readiness of various groups to lapse into hypnosis and euphoria about a non-existent “window of opportunity” for peace, ask EI co-founder Ali Abunimah and regular contributor Hasan Abu Nimah? They examine the motives of various constituencies that have welcomed the charade of the Mahmoud Abbas election from an endless stream of EU envoys to the US government, and suggest that the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority may have more in common in their approach to the peace process than initially meets the eye.

East Jerusalem's Chehade Brothers Nominated for Music Award

Amal Awad
18 January 2005

Among this year’s nominees for a BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music is Palestinian group the Chehade Brothers. Rami and Farid Chehade, in their 20s, are originally from East Jerusalem. They have recently enjoyed success with their improvised approach to tarab (a musical style fusing various cultural elements), which they term “light popular tarab”. The result is a modern, smooth and gentle approach to a popular style of music. The Chehade Brothers have been nominated in for the Award for World Music in the “Middle East & North Africa” category. The other nominees in this category are Khaled from Algeria, Mercan Dede from Turkey and Souad Massi from Algeria.

The Art of War

Eoin Murray
13 January 2005

There is something about the art of war - not the methodology - but the art, that fascinates. People looking for a way of expressing the misery of warfare. It is, even if it deals directly with the topic of war, a way of escaping or, at the very least coping, with conflict. The real art of Gaza is on the streets, the art of resistance, the art of revolution and memory. Eóin Murray has fond memories of a trip to Derry for his Dads birthday in which they stood by Free Derry corner and were amazed by the amazing power of the house murals which surrounded them. There was a real sense that these murals expressed the fears and memories of the people and, in so doing, assisted them in their struggle for human and civil rights, for peace and for justice.

Trapped Like Mice: Palestinians under the New Israeli "Disengagement Plan"

Jamal Juma'
12 January 2005

Palestine has been in the headlines of the Western mainstream media again. The preparations leading up to the elections on January 9 have given everyone enough news to cover — or rather: they have given the media enough news to cover up what is actually developing on the ground. But it is this current situation on the ground that will, if it is not stopped in time, more effectively shape the future for the Palestinian people than any electoral process ever could. Jamal Juma’, coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, comments.

All Boxed In: Interview with Palestinian-American artist Rajie Cook

Maureen Clare Murphy
12 January 2005

Born in 1930, Palestinian-American artist Rajie Cook has had a very successful career in graphic design. The “Symbol Signs” that hang in airports internationally, communicating purely through icons rather than text, were designed by Cook and his design firm. He has been honored by President Reagan and the “Symbols Signs” project has been acquired into the Smithsonian’s collection. However, Cook is not done creating work that intends to communicate. Born in the United States to parents originally from Palestine, the violence and continued injustice that consume his homeland spurs him to make Joseph Cornell-inspired boxes that comment upon various aspects of the conflict.

Photostory: Elections in Gaza

Arjan El Fassed
12 January 2005

EI’s Arjan El Fassed visited Gaza last week to observe the first Palestinian presidential elections since eight years as part of an election mission of UCP, officially accredited by the Palestinian Central Election Commission. El Fassed visited some 10 polling centers in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, including Beit Lahia, Beit Hanoun, Jabalya refugee camp and Gaza City. Mahmoud Abbas (“Abu Mazen”) won the elections with 483,039 votes. His main challenger, Mustafa Barghouti, received 153,516 votes. Observers noted Israeli obstructions and a number of irregularities caused by the Central Elections Commission during the elections.

Media grossly exaggerate Palestinian voter turnout

Ali Abunimah
10 January 2005

How many Palestinians in the occupied territories actually voted in the January 9 election for president of the Palestinian Authority? Many major media organizations are reporting a turnout close to 70 percent. In fact the turnout was well below 50 percent as EI’s Ali Abunimah explains. The distinction between registered and unregistered voters is crucial to understanding the actual turnout figure, but it is a distinction the media have failed to grasp.

Where is the bride?

Laurie King
10 January 2005

Yesterday’s presidential poll, like a stilted, shotgun wedding, had a strange energy — drained, anemic, and hesitant. No one seemed genuinely enthusiastic. The bride was not there, after all, and big issues and concerns were also missing. Universal human rights and international humanitarian law were not honored guests at this celebration. Inviting them might have elicited passions. Had that happened, Abu Mazen might have lost his title of “moderate candidate.” Yesterday’s elections did not choose a president so much as they formalized a rite of passage in the upper ranks of Fatah, passing the mantle of leadership of the Palestinian Authority from the late Yasser Arafat to Mahmoud Abbas, a.k.a., Abu Mazen.

Yet another historic day

Ali Abunimah
9 January 2005

Once again, the media and the international peace process industry have declared that it is an “historic day” for the Palestinian people. The occasion this time is the election of Mahmoud Abbas as head of the Palestinian Authority in the occupied territories. EI co-founder Ali Abunimah reflects that in the ghost-written screenplay that the Palestinians are being forced to act out, the election is “good news.” This means that any information that interferes with this agreed narrative that we are at the cusp of a new era of peace, democracy and reform has to be carefully filtered out of public view.

Election Irregularities: Confusion and chaos after change of election rules

Arjan El Fassed
9 January 2005

At around 5 P.M., the Central Elections Commission allowed Palestinians to vote solely based on their identity cards, without any need to check them against the electoral register or census list. This caused many Palestinians who were not registered to vote to enter polling centers. EI’s Arjan El Fassed witnessed confused voters and chaotic scenes. Adding to the confusion, Palestinian police allowed anyone to enter polling stations. These could have lead to voter fraud, since voters would be able to vote twice without being checked against the population registry.

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