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Changes to denial of entry policy fail to resolve crisis


A notice recently issued by the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (CoGAT), states changes in Israel’s policy of denying entry to foreign nationals traveling into the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The notice, delivered to chief Palestinian negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erakat on December 28, 2006, states that entry of foreign nationals “will be permitted through means of the military commander’s consent.” The notice further explains that restricted foreign nationals will be ‘eligible’ to apply for temporary entry into the oPt as well as periodic visa renewals. It outlines the procedures for processing these applications. 

Palestinian Detainee Dies in Israeli Prison


On Tuesday, 16 January 2007, Jamal Hasan ‘Abdullah al-Sarahin, 37, from Beit Oula village north of Hebron, a father of a child, died in the Negev Prison (Ansar 3) inside Israel. PCHR is concerned that he might have died as a result medical negligence and delay in offering him medical treatment. Al-Sarahin was suffering from a blood disease. His health condition deteriorated approximately a week ago, but the administration of the prison procrastinated his transfer to the hospital. On Tuesday morning, his health condition further deteriorated. 

Tomatoes, Gas, Coffee and their Stories


Every single object carries significance that goes far beyond those things we would normally associate with them. Here, in occupied Palestine, life is hard. Objects tell stories just like the people do: constant, beating stories. Like fierce monsoons, they pelt at you, daring you to challenge their significance. And yet like individual raindrops in a monsoon, each story is but one of millions. Like raindrops, each story takes a slightly different shape, but they all carry the same “Made in Israel” pollutants. Life here in occupied Palestine is hard. Objects carry significance here that a visitor simply cannot imagine. 

Offering an Alternative Vision: "One Country" Reviewed


For years the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been mired by a series of failed peace negotiation, enmeshing Israeli Jews and Palestinians in a seemingly intractable struggle. Even 59 years after the creation of the state of Israel the quest for Jewish security has not been realized, while Palestinians – those dispossessed in 1948, 1967, and the 3.8 million living under Israeli occupation – have not seen a just resolution to a conflict that has marred their history and shaped their identity. The international community, including many Israeli and Palestinians, still subscribe to the notion that the two-state solution is the only way to settle the conflict. 

People's Revolt in Lebanon


Ever since Hezbollah and its allies began an open-ended protest against the US-backed government on December 1, Beirut’s gilded downtown—built for wealthy Lebanese and foreign tourists—has become more authentically Lebanese. Where Persian Gulf sheiks once ate sushi, families now sit in abandoned parking lots, having impromptu picnics, the smell of kebabs cooked over coals wafting through the air. Young men lounge on plastic chairs, smoking apple-scented water pipes, and occasionally break out into debke, the Lebanese national dance. 

Which Way Lies Democracy


BEIRUT, Jan. 15 (IPS) - Anti-government demonstrations held in downtown Beirut since Dec. 1 have sparked debate about democracy in Lebanon. Protestors, largely Hezbollah supporters, have been calling on Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to give more cabinet posts to the opposition, or resign. Siniora has warned that the demonstrations are threatening democracy, but many demonstrators say they are actually working to strengthen it. Siniora’s government was formed in 2005 after massive demonstrations over the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. 

Separate and Unequal: The History of Arab Labour in pre-1948 Palestine and Israel


The existence of an Arab labour movement in Palestine before 1948 has virtually been erased from the collective memory of at least the non-Arabic-speaking world. No archives or other comprehensive, reliable written sources survived the Nakba and the subsequent collapse of organised Arab labour in Israel. The historical narrative prevalent in the Western hemisphere presents political initiatives of indigenous Arab workers either as instigated and facilitated by the Histadrut or as a mere propaganda tool of the ruling Arab bourgeois “effendis”. 

From the Mouth of the Lion's Den


On Saturday evening Barbara and Grant invited me to a prayer meeting. Before going there we drove over into Israel to pick up an American woman, Joanne. On the way back we passed a group of Palestinians standing at the side of the road. ‘Stop!’ Joanne cried. ‘I want to witness. Stop! Stop!’ Barbara rammed on the brakes. ‘I’ve got some leaflets with me,’ Joanne explained. ‘Whenever I see Palestinians I give them leaflets so that they can learn about the word of the Lord.’ She brought a sheaf of papers out of her bag and opened the door. I jumped out after her, keen to witness this ‘witnessing’. Joanne was thrusting her leaflets into the hands of the Palestinians, speaking to them in English about the love of Jesus. 

Debate? What debate?


There is a misperception in various world locales of Washington’s debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Namely, that substantive debate exists at all. In fact, the debate in the power corridors of Washington is highly constrained, almost non-existent. Should we engage with President Mahmoud Abbas now or require him to leap through several more hoops — including civil war — first? Serious argument on the injustice of Israel’s long-running occupation simply does not take place other than at the margins. The reason for the silence has become increasingly clear with the publication of President Carter’s courageous book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid

Academic Freedom and Professional Responsibility after 9/11


The Taskforce on Middle East Anthropology is pleased to announce a practical handbook for those facing politically motivated infringements on their teaching or scholarship. Attempts to undermine professors’ abilities to teach and do research are increasingly directed at scholars who seek to provide a contextualized and critical view of recent international developments and their interaction with US foreign policies and practices. This handbook provides an overview of the range and nature of recent challenges to academic freedom. It provides concrete suggestions for how to respond to such attacks and to avoid them in the first place.