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Film Review: Rashid Masharawi's "Waiting"

A young woman stands before a camera refusing to take the chair the director has set up. He asks why? “I have come to sing,” she says. Irritated, the director orders her, “You must act, didn’t they tell you we are looking for actors here?” With calm assertion she insists, “I do not know how to act. I have come to sing. Come on, you film and I will sing…” This scene illustrates a main theme running through Rashid Masharawi’s latest feature film Waiting: Palestinians forced to speak from someone else’s script, writes Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah in this review of Masharawi’s latest feature which had its Chicago premiere at the Chicago Palestine Film Festival 2006. 

Book Review: The Case Against Israel

Michael Neumann’s “The Case Against Israel” is “the most comprehensive and devastating critique of Israel in print,” writes EI reviewer Raymond Deane. Yet it will make uncomfortable reading not only for Israel’s apologists but also pro-Palestinian activists. Neumann argues that although “Israel is the illegitimate child of ethnic nationalism,” its existence is “protected by the same useful international conventions that allow others” to retain “their ill-gotten gains.” Seeing that Palestinians have no true options to resist save violence, Neumann nevertheless advocates “the most extensive international sanctions possible”, undeterred “by the horrors of the Jewish past.” 

Israel and the West: New Government, Old Policies

Coming only four weeks after the European declaration of sanctions against the Palestinian Authority, Ehud Olmert’s announcement of a new Israeli Government should raise profound questions in any Western country truly interested in a ‘balanced’ approach towards the Middle East. Olmert’s government does contain many politicians responsible for the last five years of terror and impoverishment on the West Bank, who fall foul of the conditions the Quartet (US, EU, UN and Russia) has seen fit to place on the Palestinians. 

Audio Interview: From Montreal to Ein el-Hilweh

Listen to an interview with Ahmed Abdel Majeed, a stateless Palestinian born and raised in Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon, who was deported from Montreal Canada in November 2003. In Montreal Ahmed was an active member of the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees, a group of Palestinians in Montreal organizing against deportation by Canadian immigration authorities. 

Palestine: Making a Bad Situation Worse

With Hamas in control of the Palestinian Authority (PA) government, and Western donors are halting all direct aid to it, an already precarious humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza could potentially turn worse. Virtually bankrupt, the PA needs $120 million a month to pay its staff, and an additional $40 million for continued minimum basic services to its constituency. With Israel suspending the transfer of $60 million a month in Palestinian customs receipts, the $35 million the PA collects each month in domestic revenues are not enough to keep it afloat. 

Audio Documentary - Burj el-Shemali Refugee Camp

Listen to a radio documentary on Burj el-Shemali refugee camp, located on the outskirts of the southern Lebanese city of Tyre & home to upwards of 20 000 Palestinian refugees. Recorded in Burj el-Shemali during the summer of 2005, this documentary focuses on the present day political, economic and social situation facing the Palestinian residents of the camp, within the context of ongoing major political changes taking place in Lebanon. 

Aid agencies: Suspension of aid is accelerating slide into crisis

The Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) cautioned donor governments and Israel that the strategy of starving out the newly elected Hamas government by rerouting aid to outside agencies is deepening the suffering of civilians. Thirty-six aid agencies operational in the occupied Palestinian territories said the suspension of direct aid to the Palestinian Authority — a move initiated by Canada, the US and EU — is accelerating a slide into crisis. The sanctions have left unpaid for a second month the entire Palestinian public sector, comprising 150,000 police, doctors, teachers and other public service workers. Aid agencies the situation is most acute in the Gaza Strip. 

Annan to host Quartet meeting on Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Tuesday

Secretary-General Kofi Annan will host a high-level meeting on Tuesday of the diplomatic Quartet, the partnership of the United Nations, European Union (EU), Russia and the United States that is seeking to bring a two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid a potentially dangerous deterioration looming on the horizon. The meeting at UN Headquarters in New York is being held at the principals’ level and is expected to be attended by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, with the EU represented by its High Representative for a Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik of Austria, as well as Benita Ferrero Waldner. 

Umm al-Zinat: Commemorating the Catastrophe

Some 2,000 Palestinian demonstrators gathered deep in a pine forest on the slopes of Mount Carmel near Haifa on Wednesday this week as most Israelis celebrated their 58th Independence Day with open-air barbecues and parties. The Palestinian refugee families were joined by 150 Israeli Jews in an annual procession to commemorate the mirror event of the establishment of the State of Israel — the Nakba (Catastrophe), when the overwhelming majority of Palestinians were driven from their homes and out of the new Jewish state under cover of war. This year the families marched to Umm al-Zinat, a Palestinian farming village whose 1,500 inhabitants were forced out by advancing Israeli soldiers on 15 May 1948, a few hours after Israel issued its Declaration of Independence. 

Israeli authorities impose more restrictions on UNRWA staff members' access to Jerusalem

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has today protested to the Israeli Government the introduction of further restrictions affecting the freedom of movement of UNRWA staff crossing into Jerusalem from the West Bank. In an unprecedented development, the Israeli Government failed to officially inform UNRWA, and other United Nations agencies, about its decision to impose a general closure from 1 May through 4 May and did not inform the Agency that its West Bank staff, holders of Israeli-issued travel permits allowing them access to Jerusalem, would be prevented from reporting to work.