Charmaine Seitz

Sharon's minimum solution

The disengagement plan is intended to forestall international intervention and Israeli public dissension. As incomplete as Palestinians perceive the roadmap plan to be, this broadly accepted document talks about ending the occupation, establishing a viable Palestinian state, and incorporating an international framework outside the sole purview of the United States. “Sharon will fight with a few more settlers, everyone will say that is wonderful, and the roadmap will be discarded,” predicts Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. In the meantime, the strategic settlement project will grow. 

USAID proposes Palestinian company 'caretaker' for Gush Katif lands

One of the major questions facing Palestinians as the time nears for Israel to evacuate 17 Gaza Strip settlements and four more in the northern West Bank is the manner in which they will be transferred to Palestinians. Israel has so far refused to transfer the properties directly to the Palestinian Authority, and has not finalized which assets - houses, infrastructure and greenhouses - will remain. Palestinians have requested that Israel demolish all assets that do not fit into their planning needs, but Ministry of Planning officials admit that the Palestinian Authority itself is lagging terribly behind in developing scenarios for the withdrawal. 

Arafat's departure brings uncertainty

In the early hours of October 28, as dozens of journalists, mid-rung political officials and curious onlookers milled around outside President Arafat’s Ramallah compound speculating on the health of their leader, one Palestinian reporter evoked critical minutes in the shaping of early Islam. Cynically, he recalled how the Prophet Mohammed’s followers disputed the succession only hours after he lay dead. It was an acknowledgement of the moment’s import (some believed the president had already passed away) and impending uncertainty. From this week’s Palestine Report, Charmaine Seitz reports. 

Reality Check for "Palestinian Idol"

While reality programming was the source of much Palestinian parlor discussion when the genre first hit Arab satellite television, critics didn’t get into the pulpit until Palestinian crooner Ammar Hassan made his way into the final rounds of Superstar, which allows viewers to register their preference for the Arab singer of the year. When Hassan became one of the 12 finalists, a Ramallah sheikh listed the distraction of satellite television among the ills plaguing the Palestinian cause. Hamas officials were more blunt, saying in a statement, “Our people are in need of heroes, resistance fighters and contributors to building the country and are not in need of singers, corruption mongers and advocates of immorality.”