The Electronic Intifada

On the streets of Gaza

Raji Sourani
18 August 2005

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Many Palestinians are expressing delight over the pull-out of Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip. But as human rights lawyer Raji Sourani argues, the celebrations maybe premature. The streets of Gaza are full of flags, hats and t-shirts celebrating the end of occupation, the liberation of Palestine. There are nightly street celebrations by the political factions each of them claiming they were the ones responsible for the Israeli ‘withdrawal’. In the media speeches are made and songs are played all contributing to this euphoric atmosphere. As I walk around the dusty Gaza streets and watch these often colourful celebrations I understand that after 38 years (of occupation) people are looking for somewhere to place their hopes. The redeployment of the Israeli military to Gaza’s borders and the cementing of control of the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem should not be it.

Slicing off Gaza is just a diplomatic nose job

Sharif Hamadeh
15 August 2005

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A teenage soldier in Tapuah, a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, shot to death four Palestinian citizens of Israel and injured several others last Thursday on a bus in Shafa’amr, a quiet Arab town in the north of Israel where I work. Israel’s Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, denounced the shootings as an act of “terrorism” designed to “harm the fabric of relations among all Israeli citizens”, and threaten Israel’s “stability as a democracy”. For Palestinians living in Israel, however, his words were of little comfort.

Seizing the initiative

Munther Younes
15 August 2005

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The Israeli government is planning to leave the Gaza Strip. Its refusal to coordinate the pullout with the Palestinians has left the Palestinian leadership confused and helpless. Instead of watching helplessly and waiting for Israel to grant it permission to do this or that, why doesn’t the leadership seize the initiative and declare that if the settlers want to remain in Gaza and live in the territory as Palestinian citizens or even with dual Israeli-Palestinian citizenship, they are welcome to do so. By accepting the Jewish settlers of Gaza as equal citizens, the Palestinians can prove to themselves, to the Israelis, and to the world that they can treat their people as equal citizens before the law regardless of religion and ethnicity, something Israel has failed to do since its establishment.

Compensation if you are displaced, unless you are Palestinian

Jeff Handmaker and
Adri Nieuwhof
14 August 2005

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The world’s attention is focussed on the “plight” of settler-colonists from the Gaza Strip and some in the West Bank, who have to leave their homes. However, we have to remember that the settlements were illegally-constructed in the first place and that the settlers will receive substantial compensation. But without exception settlers knew that they were moving to an area that was conquered in war. In contracts for the sale or rental of land in the occupied territories there was a clause that explicitly stated their temporary nature. Jeff Handmaker and Adri Nieuwhof comment that, while US-taxpayers foot the bill for the so-called pull-out, virtually no attention is being paid to Palestinians whose property has been demolished over the years, not to mention those who were deprived of their homeland since 1948.

Photostory: Burj el-Shemali Refugee Camp - Lebanon

Stefan Christoff
14 August 2005

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Burj el-Shemali is a Palestinian refugee camp, located in Southern Lebanon on the outskirts of the city of Tyre. Upwards of 20 000 refugees reside in Burj el-Shemali, which is one of Lebanon’s most impoverished camps. Similar to other refugee camps in the south of Lebanon, Burj el-Shemali is home to cases of extreme poverty, thousands of camp residents are essentially homeless, residing in make-shift shelters with zinc roofing, without basic plumbing, water supply and little income.

'With' or 'Against' the Gaza Disengagement Plan

Tamar Amir
13 August 2005

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As we waited at the Modi’in junction for the traffic light to turn green, Jewish settlement youth were distributing ribbons in two colors, orange and blue/white. The orange ribbons represent those ‘against’ the Gaza disengagement plan. The white/blue on the other hand represent those ‘with’ the Gaza disengagement plan. As these dedicated youth approached our car I contemplated for a moment which ribbon I would choose. I decided not to disappoint either team and took one of each. However, the main question is, which of these ribbons would I display on my car antenna to publicly reflect my political opinion?

Video: Al-Rowwad theatre group visits Louisville, KY

11 August 2005

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Al-Rowwad Center is an Independent Center for artistic, cultural, and theatre training for children in Aida Camp trying to provide a “safe” and healthy environment to help children discover their creativity and discharge stress in the war conditions they are forced to live in. In July 2005, Al-Rowwad’s theatre group performed in Louisville, Kentucky. Multimedia producers Patrick Yen and Andrew Sturgill produced the profile on Al-Rowwad for EI.

Palestinians in Israel Find Themselves Part of The Disengagement Debate

Jonathan Cook
9 August 2005

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Until this weekend Israel’s one million Palestinian citizens had stayed out of the debate about the country’s imminent disengagement from Gaza. “It’s not our story,” they said when pressed, “this is an entirely Jewish conversation.” Although Israeli Jews have been flying blue and orange ribbons from their cars for months - showing respectively support for and opposition to the disengagement - car aerials in Israel’s Arab towns and villages have remained resolutely bare. That is no longer the case. At the weekend the Arab drivers in the Galilee could be seen flying black ribbons to commemorate the killings of four Arab citizens by a young Jewish extremist with his Israeli army-issued rifle. Now Israel’s Palestinian citizens find themselves part of the conversation, whether they like it or not.

Growing Grassroots in Beirut

Stefan Christoff
Beirut,
Lebanon
8 August 2005

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Beirut is a city that vibrates with political culture and is defined by a history of social justice struggles. Currently, Lebanon is undergoing massive political changes, sparked by street protests following the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February and the subsequent withdrawal of approximately 15,000 Syrian troops and intelligence officials last April. The future for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in refugee camps throughout Lebanon is also central to current political discussions in the region, as refugees continue to demand their right to return to occupied Palestine.

Breathing life into Nablus

Maureen Clare Murphy and
Zachary Wales
8 August 2005

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Nablusi architect Naseer Arafat’s current project, “a ten year dream,” as he calls it, is the restoration of an estate that was once owned by an influential sheikh and housed a residence, soap factory and reception hall. The compound, which Arafat describes as having a “unique composition,” is nestled in Nablus’ Old City, home to 20,000 Palestinians and some 2,560 historic buildings, mostly constructed during the Ottoman period, as well as some from the Mameluke, Crusader, Byzantine and Roman eras.

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