Hamas’s landslide victory in the January 25 elections for the 132-seat Palestinian Legislative Council is an unprecedented turning point for politics in both Palestine and the broader Middle East. Arguably for the first time since the establishment of Israel in 1948, an official administrative power in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has strong popular support and is not directly beholden to Israeli or Western interests. The Hamas victory helps to dispel the myths surrounding the negotiations of the last decade. Hamas’s victory expressed a political sentiment and desire for a real alternative to the Oslo straitjacket. The Hamas leadership clearly recognizes this and has shown little inclination to implement far-reaching social changes along religious lines. Read more about The End of a Political Fiction?
The Electronic Intifada
Any Arab who has watched a few movies in their time knows that their people and Tinsel Town have a few things to work out. With no shortage of caricatures, stereotypes, and other negative portrayals flickering across cinema screens year after year, passing unnoticed in American society bar the reflexive condemnations by Arab American groups, it was high time someone did something proactive. The New York Arab-American Comedy Festival, which held its third annual event in Manhattan last November to sold out crowds, recently took the Festival on the road to the industry’s front door: Hollywood, Los Angeles. Read more about The Perfect Antidote to the War on Terror
Paradise Now has been nominated “best foreign language film” for the 78th Annual Academy Awards — better known as the Oscars. The film was directed by Palestinian Hany Abu-Assad from a screenplay he cowrote with Bero Beyer, the film’s Dutch producer. Three years ago, it was the first time a Palestinian film entered the Oscars race for best foreign film. Elia Suleiman’s Divine Intervention, acclaimed at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the international critics’ prize, could have been a contender for the Oscars. At first Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Pictures refused to accept the film as a candidate for the best foreign-language film because the Academy believed that Palestine was not recognized as a nation. Read more about Palestine gets its first Oscar nomination with Paradise Now
There is a risk that Palestinian children who grow up under violence will perceive their parents and adults as being unable to protect them. This psychological reaction is a direct threat to the relationship between a child and their parents. The impact of violence caused by the occupation on children can be life long. It can distort their outlook on life, which will not only influence their lives, but also those of future generations. For how long will the international community continue protecting Israel? What will it take before it finally shifts its attention to protecting Palestinian children? For those not intimately connected with the events in Palestine, it is almost impossible to imagine how the world has been able to turn a blind eye for so long to their pain and suffering. Read more about The ongoing betrayal of Palestinian children (2/2)
The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, dispossession of Palestinian land and properties and discriminatory policies in Israel have hit Palestinian children hard. Recent research of the Palestinian Counselling Centre (PCC) has conclusively established that the wall has had a profound negative impact on the mental health of Palestinian children1 and created a major obstacle to them obtaining an education.2 In this article, Adri Nieuwhof and Jeff Handmaker examine certain violations of children’s rights caused by the formation of the State of Israel and following Israel’s occupation since 1967 and further explore their social and psychological impacts on children. Read more about The ongoing betrayal of Palestinian children (1/2)
Policies have repercussions, sometimes bitter ones. The historic election landslide victory of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, in Palestine on January 25 was merely a confirmation of this basic fact. Palestinians simply voted in a manner that reflects their reality. Secular Palestinians, such as myself, are not thrilled to see an Islamist movement come to the forefront of the historically secular Palestinian struggle to end the occupation and continue with the state-building process. However, those of us willing to look beyond the daily headlines, which emerge out of professionally spun mainstream media, are fully aware that Hamas’ victory does not emerge from a vacuum. Read more about Palestine’s New Paradigm
Less than 24 hours after the sweeping Hamas victory in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections, it is clear that the consequences of this event are likely to be so profound that they are capable of bringing about a political tsunami once the wave finally reaches shore. Although the final implications of the elections are yet to be seen regarding how Hamas will form its governing coalition, what this means for the “peace process”, and how this will affect Palestinian-Israeli and Palestinian-World politics, certain things can already be deduced from the structure of prevailing power relations. Read more about The Hamas Victory: Green Dawn, Red Dusk?
“A time of testing and challenge awaits Hamas. The West — especially the EU — ought to welcome and assist the democratically elected members of the new Palestinian legislative council for the sake of stability in an already volatile region. No matter how it is viewed, Hamas’ victory marks a crucial intersection of new opportunities and persistent dangers, not only for Palestinians or the Middle East as a whole, but also for the US, the EU, and the UN.” EI’s Laurie King-Irani assesses the political landscape in the wake of Hamas’ victory and Ariel Sharon’s demise. Read more about The Hamas victory: democratization – but not what the US expected
Acres of analysis will be dedicated over the coming days to the significance of this week’s Palestinain general election and what it heralds for the Middle East conflict. But that spectacle and Hamas’ starring role in it have overshadowed a far more important drama playing out in the wings. Barely anyone has remarked on the unfolding events at the Herzliya Conference, Israel’s most important annual policy-making jamboree. This week Israeli elites converged in Herzliya, to share their thoughts on the country’s central concern. It will matter little whether Hamas or Fatah are heading the Palestinian Authority. Israel made up its mind long ago about how best to protect its interests. Read more about Herzliya Conference reveals Israeli plans after disengagement
Hamas’ victory in the Palestinian Authority legislative elections has everyone asking “what next”? The answer, and whether the result should be seen as a good or bad thing, depends very much on who is asking the question. Although a Hamas success was heavily trailed, the scale of the victory has been widely termed a “shock.” Several factors explain the dramatic rise of Hamas, including disillusionment and disgust with the corruption, cynicism and lack of strategy of the Fatah faction which has dominated the Palestinian movement for decades and had arrogantly come to view itself as the natural and indisputable leader. The election result is not entirely surprising, however, and has been foreshadowed by recent events. Read more about Hamas Election Victory: A Vote for Clarity