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From Generation to Generation

Today marks the 58th anniversary of the expulsion of Palestinians from their land, also known as the Nakba. With millions still living under occupation or in exile, the Nakba or the Palestinian catastrophe remains at the heart of their national identity, argues Karma Nabulsi. The predicament of life under military occupation is usually recognised in principle, but life in exile has its own characteristics, and continues to create its own bitter experience for Palestinians. 

Israel at 58: A Failing Experiment

Since its inception, Israel has arrogantly refused to address the most crucial prerequisite of its establishment as a conventional State — accepting the Palestinians — those people that just happened to be living in that ‘empty’ land of Israel. The Palestinians, those that were forcefully expelled from their homes in 1948, 1967, and more recently in 2001, have been living in squalid refugee camps throughout the region. The Palestinians, those that did not flee Israel-proper in 1948 are today fourth class Israeli citizens. The Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem that have lived under Israeli military occupation for 40 years, to the day, will continue to haunt the international community until justice is served and the Israeli occupation is ended, in its entirety. 

Difficult conditions for Palestinian economy can be overcome, study finds

Deteriorating economic performance and declining living conditions under more intensive restrictions in the occupied Palestinian territory since 2000 have left Palestinians frustrated by higher levels of poverty and unemployment and have damaged the already weak government of the Palestinian Authority (PA), a new UNCTAD study reveals. The study notes that under the Israeli occupation “the institutionalization of restrictive measures, in the context of what my be termed a policy of asymmetric containment, has inflicted a heavy toll on the economy” and has locked it in an “adverse path dependence”. A long-term relief strategy for the Palestinian economy is needed, and it is this that may be viewed as non-distorting aid. 

Opposition Parties Unite to Condemn Government Approach to Palestine

“Destructive” “Wrong” “Hypocritical” – these are the words which Ireland’s main opposition parties have used to describe the Irish government and EU policy on the Middle East. The IPSC welcomes the stance taken by the main opposition parties regarding reversal of the sanctions imposed on the Palestinian National Authority by the EU. In recent weeks the Foreign Affairs spokespersons for each of the main parties have issued unequivocal statements condemning the EU’s position – which has continued despite some recent cosmetic changes. 

Israel’s road to ‘convergence’ began with Rabin

With his coalition partners on board, Israel’s prime minister Ehud Olmert is plotting his next move: a partial withdrawal from the West Bank over the next few years which he and his government will declare as the end of the occupation and therefore also any legitimate grounds for Palestinian grievance. From here on in, Israel will portray itself as the benevolent provider of a Palestinian state — on whatever is left after most of Israel’s West Bank colonies have been saved and the Palestinian land on which they stand annexed to Israel. 

Jerusalem family facing forced eviction and home demolition

The Jerusalem Municipality is preparing to forcibly evict Muhammad Is’hac and Yousra Herbawi from the house where they live with their six children, one of whom is severely disabled, and then to demolish the building. The family have almost no income, and would be left destitute. The impact on the family’s health, in particular that of the disabled son, is likely to be very severe. The Municipality can still decide to take into account the family’s circumstances and cancel the forced eviction and the demolition. 

Groundbreaking Syrian film festival doesn't overlook the Palestinian question

This week, international arts nonprofit ArteEast saw the beginning of its North American tour of “Lens on Syria: Thirty Years of Contemporary Cinema”, a groundbreaking exploration of Syrian cinema. “Lens on Syria” showcases over 30 Syrian feature films, documentaries and shorts, many subtitled in English and screening for the first time in the US. Often described as Arab cinema’s “best kept secret”, ArteEast’s Syrian cinema series provides an unprecedented opportunity for audiences in New York to discover a politically timely and relevant program. 

Balata Film Collective Tour in U.S. to visit New York, New Jersey, New Orleans, Chicago and Minneapolis

The Balata Film Collective was initiated to enable young Palestinians from Balata Refugee camp to use film as a method to break their isolation, challenge their oppression, and represent their lives to the world. This May 2006, 3 members of the collective will be touring the U.S. sharing their films and their stories, and hoping to build connections with other film collectives and film makers involved in the global struggle for justice and liberation. The tour will bring them to Bard College, Boston, New York City, New Jersey, New Orleans, Chicago and Minneapolis. 

Film Review: The Chicago Palestine Film Festival's Evening of Shorts

Rina Khoury’s West…East, is a nine minute narrative film about the Palestinian catastrophe that is told through the journey of a blind woman and her son, amidst an ambiguous landscape. Enas Muthaffar’s East…West is a sixteen minute documentary film that chronicles her family’s expulsion from their home as the apartheid wall encroaches nearby and threatens to segregate them from their community. Both films were shown in conjunction with two short films by Annemarie Jacir, Some Crumbs for the Birds and An Explanation (and then burn the ashes)

Israeli party leader Avigdor Lieberman calls for Arab MKs to be executed

Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) party, has twice called in less than a week for Arabs MKs to be put on trial for treason and executed if found guilty. Lieberman, who surprised observers by winning 11 seats in the March elections, was recently courted by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for a seat in his new cabinet. On 8 May, Lieberman presented a speech to the Knesset in which he proposed that any Arab politicians who were disloyal to the state should be punished. He added: “How is it that no Arab MK sings the national anthem or raises the flag on Independence Day?”