The Electronic Intifada

Birzeit's Virtual Gallery: The university's latest means of cultural exchange

Maureen Clare Murphy
6 May 2005

This spring Palestine’s Birzeit University launched its latest means of cultural exchange. The new Paltel Virtual Gallery, which serves as an Internet portal for Birzeit students, Palestinians, and anyone else interested in Palestinian art, will also feature academic courses on Palestinian, Arab, and contemporary international art. In addition to highlighting a different Palestinian artist each month, the multiple functions of the bilingual Paltel Virtual Gallery intend to serve both those curious about Palestinian art, as well as Palestinians thirsting for more exposure to international art, which doesn’t enjoy a high priority in Palestinian schools.

Oil and Palestine: The New Cold War

Am Johal
6 May 2005

Two significant events happened at the end of April - both of which carried more meaning than their literal interpretation. But they both had everything to do with the New Cold War and the reality of American hegemony. As Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, touched down in Israel on April 27th, he became the first Russian or Soviet leader to visit Israel or the Palestinian territories. In Ramallah, Putin was greeted with a cheering crowd as he became the first foreign head of state to visit Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas since the Palestinian elections earlier this year.

The making of an Israeli factoid

Rima Merriman
5 May 2005

The scene is tragic and unnerving but it has become astonishingly routine — the deadly routine that imposes ordinariness on the outrageous and unconscionable. The checkpoint at Qalandia is taking shape irrevocably as a permanent bottleneck and border crossing that cuts off the illegally annexed East Jerusalem along with some 28 Palestinian villages from the rest of the West Bank. To add insult to injury, the new structure will be built by Palestinian labour, as was the wall. What’s truly unnerving about this scene at Qalandia is how easily and smoothly it is taking shape.

Success for Imagine Life ads in Boston

Tom Wallace
2 May 2005

It’s been a long time coming but two weeks ago several ads created by Imagine Life began airing in Boston. Many Boston area groups coordinated raising the money and arranging the airing. As in other markets — 80 cities around the country — it was very exciting to see honest portrayals on American television of the grotesque and oppressive circumstances under which Palestinian people live. These ads ran on CNN and MSNBC. Bostonians were jubilant. There was hope.

Al Aqaba: Another village under threat

Flo Razowsky
30 April 2005

The mountains of Palestine form a sharp edge that plunges into the Jordan Valley as if cut by a knife. Almost to the rim of this drastic landscape lies the village of Al Aqaba, located in the farthest Palestinian lands of the Jenin region. It is almost a no-man’s land, nestled in the soft rolling foothills of the towering mountains, stirred by the strong breeze cooling the hot spring day. We went to Al Aqaba to speak with Haj Sammy, the mayor. The military uses the land around Al Aqaba for their training practices, having killed 8 and wounded 50 since 1971. Haj Sammy’s wound is one such example. He has been paralyzed since.

Film review: "Rainbow"

Jenny Gheith
30 April 2005

“Hearing is not like seeing and seeing is different from living the experience,” reflects Shehada’s mother about life in Rafah. And for a week in May 2004, that experience worsened as Israeli forces pushed forward with “Operation Rainbow,” killing 45 Palestinians, 38 of them civilians including nine children. “The only thing we can do is pray to God.” This overwhelmingly distraught sentiment runs throughout Shehada’s newest documentary Rainbow (2004), which examines first hand the devastating effects of the events of May 13-May 20th. However, this film is not a documentary in the traditional sense — from the perspective of an outsider looking in.

Film review: "The Eternal Dance"

Jenny Gheith
2 May 2005

The Eternal Dance (2003), the second film directed by noted Palestinian actress Hiam Abbas (Satin Rouge, Door to the Sun), is the beautifully poetic story of coming to terms with the loss of a loved one. Just shy of thirty minutes, each short scene commands heartfelt performances that tenderly reveal the emotion that death leaves in its wake. While on the surface the plot is simple, The Eternal Dance reveals itself to be much more. The Eternal Dance at times feels more like a stage play than a film, but this is not a bad thing. Every suggestive movement, silence and gesture builds to create an unforgettable film dealing with a highly significant subject.

Film review: "Curfew"

Jenny Gheith
1 May 2005

It begins ordinarily enough — kids play soccer, people walk freely about the streets, and a mailman delivers letters from afar. This is Gaza in 1993, before the Oslo Peace Accords, and the setting for Curfew (1993), which was written and directed by Rashid Masharawi. “Always the same refrain. Tomorrow is another day and after that comes another day. And what will happen today?” Unfortunately, this day freedom will transform into restriction as Israeli soldiers call for a curfew that confines the Palestinian inhabitants to their homes; a restriction due to the ongoing occupation.

Israeli apologia in the Sunday New York Times

Dane Baker
27 April 2005

“Daniel Okrent’s attempt at further Israeli apologia in the Sunday NY Times (“The Hottest Button: How the Times Covers Israel and Palestine”, April 24, 2005), in which he pretends to summarize the ‘criticisms’ of the paper of record, conveniently ignoring the crucial aspect of anti-Arabism visible throughout regular Times reports.” Dane Baker submitted this response to the article in New York Times.

Film review: "Land of '48"

Jenny Gheith
28 April 2005

A map abstractly records places, borders, and distance through line and shape. However, as a group of Palestinian refugees gather around a map that depicts Palestine before the Nakba, or the expulsion of 750,000 people from their lands and homes, these dots and letters do much more than just describe a location. They trigger memories of a land they once called home. Barrack Rima’s aptly titled documentary Land of ‘48 (2003) explores this deep connection to place through interviews conducted with refugees living in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

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