Al-Ahram Weekly

Gaza is still a prison

The media reports that the Gaza Strip is no longer under Israeli control, but two weeks ago I was blocked from entering Gaza from Egypt by Israeli agents. The day before, two French citizens were prevented from entering for a sister city project in Gaza. Israeli authorities invoked “security reasons” and false claims of links to terrorism, a typical strategy used against foreign supporters of Palestinian rights. Despite the fanfare over Israel’s August “Gaza disengagement”, Gaza remains a prison, with no visitors allowed. My case provides one small example, thousands of which are repeated every day, of how the Israeli government has exploited the cover of real security concerns to continue to control Gaza, denying Palestinians freedom and trapping them in poverty. Opportunities for progress through Israel’s Gaza withdrawal were squandered, and American promises on the Middle East were again shown to be empty. 

Israel's Settler Rampage

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is calling on the international community, including the “Quartet” (the US, EU, Russia and the UN), to pressure Israel to put an end to nearly daily pogrom-like attacks by messianic Israeli terrorists on defenseless Palestinian villagers throughout the West Bank. Attacks have mushroomed recently as extremist Israeli settlers vow to commit acts of “unprecedented violence” to thwart Israel’s planned “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip. “We urge the international community to intervene immediately to stop this unprovoked and unjustified aggression against our civilians,” said Ahmed Subh, deputy minister of information in the PA

Culture for All

Sitting perched on a hill in the suburb of Al-Masyoon, the Ramallah Cultural Palace has an almost conspicuous air of tranquillity to it. Just down the road lie the mangled remains of half a dozen cars destroyed by Israeli tanks as out in the distance one can see the first signs that the separation wall is finally beginning to encroach on the city. The gleaming new building, however, almost seems to rise above these troubling reminders of the enduring Israeli occupation, offering instead a sense of hope and renewal. The grand opening of the West Bank’s first and only Palestinian cultural centre of its kind is generating a great deal of buzz in the occupied territories. From Ramallah, Jaideep Mukerji looks at what the centre means for the Palestinians’ sense of identity. 

Rounding up the Arabs

Among advocates of Arab-American rights in the US, the response to the proposed mass deportations has been significant. In an interview with Al-Ahram Weekly Ali Abunimah, vice-president of the Arab-American Action Network and co-founder of the Internet magazine Electronic Intifada, cautioned against the consequences of such draconian measures. “The fact that the government is moving to deport so many people will potentially harm efforts to fight terrorism, because it will erode trust in the government.” 

Traces of poison

Israel, not Iraq, holds that distinction of being the first country in the region to use weapons of mass destruction with genocidal intent. Salman Abu-Sitta digs into a dark history. 

An unacceptable helplessness

The clash of civilisations that George Bush and his minions are trying to fabricate as a cover for a preemptive oil and hegemony war against Iraq is supposed to result in a triumph of democratic nation-building, regime change and forcible modernisation a l’americaine. Meanwhile, the soul-and-body destroying situation in Palestine worsens all the time. Writing in Al-Ahram Weekly, Edward Said urges an Arab alternative to the wreckage that is about to engulf our world.