The Daily Star

Is Arab-American irrelevance our goal?

What was amazing in the response to the much-publicized recent paper written by Steven Walt and John Mearsheimer on the influence of the pro- Israel lobby on American foreign policy was not the chorus of condemnations from Israel’s supporters, but similar criticism from some on the Arab-American left. The paper, a set of fairly obvious observations about the workings of one of the most influential centers of power in Washington, combined with a few debatable claims and a couple of minor errors, should have produced little comment. 

New documentary a family tale older than Israel itself

Nizar Hassan’s latest documentary is a hybrid. Part oral history project, part detective story, Karem Abou Khalil (Abou Khalil Grove) tells one Palestinian family’s history from the Ottoman to the Israeli periods. It’s also an amused study of misplaced premises and faulty representation. It’s not a story of burning tires and bulldozed houses - a la Ijtiah, Hassan’s 2002 documentary on the Jenin invasion. It’s a family tale older than Israel, though its telling is fenced in by the tense courtesy of life under Israeli domination. 

Israeli link possible in US torture techniques

The head of the American defense contracting firm implicated in the torture of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison has close ties to Israel and visited an Israeli “anti-terror” training camp in the occupied West Bank earlier this year, EI’s Ali Abunimah reveals. How are US defence contractors, lobbyists and Israel connected in a web of influence, back-scratching and cash? 

Palestinian painter portrays raw emotions of Palestinians who long to go home

The figures in Zahi Khamis’ paintings have twisted necks, their almond-shaped eyes peering upside down, tragically staring out at a land they will never know. The visual experience of the exhibit Of Exile and Return replicates the emotional experience of pain, love, longing and fear that Palestinians feel as they struggle to define themselves. Khamis, a Palestinian who has lived in the US for 22 years, sees his paintings as a commentary not only on Palestinians exiled from their homeland, but on humanity as a whole, for whom home plays a central role in defining the self. 

Exhibit in Amman conveys horrors of Israel's separation wall

Photographs, sound effects, replicas of barrier give visitors feeling of imprisonment, suffocation experienced by Palestinians The horrifying illusion of a journey through prison confronts anyone visiting the first extensive exhibition on the separation wall that Israel is building on occupied West Bank land. Combining photography, sound effects, replicas of the Israeli-built double walls, medieval-style observation towers, and barbed wire ripping through seized land, the Stop the Wall exhibition, which opened in Amman on Saturday, triggers feelings of pain, anger and claustrophobia. 

Remembering Sabra and Shatila -- and Atoning

“Last year, 20 years after the massacre, I returned to Beirut to be part of the commemorative events. I was there during Yom Kippur. I tried to find the remaining Jews of Beirut, but could not. I wanted to spend this day with them. Instead I went to the Khiam detention center — a place where Palestinians and Lebanese were held during the Israeli occupation of the south, many of them tortured. It was fitting to be in a place where one could ask for forgiveness for the sins committed in this horrendous chamber of horrors by my people.” Ellen Siegel, a registered nurse and an active member of the US Jewish peace movement, examines Yom Kippur’s meaning from a unique angle. 

"We did not have one good day since the massacre"

“I will not forget the massacre until I go to my grave,” says Mohammed. The last time he saw his father, Shawkat, was when he was lined up with some nine other men at a wall in Shatila. He remembers how his father had to raise his hands, placing them on the wall shoulder-width apart. As the little child walked hurriedly away through the narrow alleyways of the wretched Shatila camp with his mother and sister, they heard a loud burst of bullets. “I kept saying to myself, ‘Daddy must have escaped and he will come back to us.’” After several days, however, Mohammed knew that he would never see his father again. The Daily Star’s Cilina Nasser talks with Sabra and Shatila survivors on the 21st anniversary of the massacre. 

Belgian court to rule whether Sabra and Shatila plaintiffs can proceed

“Just as it appeared that the case was lost, it emerged that another complaint against Sharon had been lodged by some Belgian citizens in 2001, only two weeks before the Sabra and Shatila plaintiffs filed their own suit. ‘Everybody had forgotten about this complaint,’ Belgian lawyer Luc Walleyn said. ‘It was sleeping for two years’.” The Daily Star’s Nicholas Blanford interviews Luc Walleyn, one of three lawyers representing the survivors of the Sabra and Shatila massacre in a case that continues to keep legal scholars, activists, and war criminals on the edge of their seats. 

Needed: A new cognitive road map for peace

“Perusing the Middle East map today, we find a region strewn with populations traumatized by decades, if not centuries, of suffering. Unless they are helped in overcoming their traumas, all talk of peace that does not begin with a search for justice and an honest acknowledgement of past wrongs is a waste of time.” Political scientist George E. Irani and EI co-founder Laurie King-Irani emphasize the need for a moral and legal basis for peace-making in the Middle East in the pages of Beirut’s Daily Star

Dynamic husband-wife team fight Israeli occupation

With the advent of the intifada in September 2000, Adam Shapiro witnessed the unprovoked killing of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli Army. ‘One of my friends, Aseel Asleh, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was killed in civilian protests against the occupation,’ he remembers. ‘I realized that I could not stand by and watch. As someone who was an American but understood and experienced life in the Arab world, I could not be silent, especially as American-made weapons and the American government gave such overwhelming support to the Israelis’.” Kristel Halter of Beirut’s Daily Star interviews Adam Shapiro and Huweida Arraf, husband and wife, Jew and Arab, about their struggle to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine.