The Electronic Intifada

Book Review: The Scar of David

Susan Abulhawa’s first novel, The Scar of David, is an intricately woven tapestry of historical fiction chronicling the Palestinian Abulheja family over four generations. The novel begins in Ein Hod, the village where patriarch Yehya Abulheja, a peasant olive farmer, and his family, wife Basima and sons Hasan and Darweesh, live. This land of olive trees has been nurtured by Yehya’s relatives and ancestors for over forty generations. We witness the simple and charming life of these peasants when son Hasan, on errands for his father to the Old City in Jerusalem, meets with his best friend Ari Perlstein; both boys share their lives, families and dreams with each other. 

Audio: Interview with "Angry Arab" As'ad AbuKhalil

Last week, As’ad AbuKhalil, creater of the Angry Arab News Service blog, was in Chicago to speak at the Sixth Annual Chicago Palestine Film Festival. The Electronic Intifada’s Maureen Clare Murphy and Ali Abunimah sat down to talk with him about the film festival selection Summer 2006, Palestine, as well as the role Palestinian culture has had in the Palestinian national movement and its influence in the wider Arab world. AbuKhalil also touched upon current events unfolding in the Middle East, including his home country of Lebanon. Also, he recommends where one can find a good felafel sandwich in the Windy City. 

Looking for alternatives to failure: An answer to Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery accuses the supporters of the one-state solution of forcefully imposing the facts onto the “Bed of Sodom”. He seems to regard these people at best as daydreamers who do not understand the political reality around them and are stuck in a perpetual state of wishful thinking. We are all veteran comrades in the Israeli Left and therefore it is quite possible that in our moments of despair we fall into the trap of hallucinating and even fantasizing while ignoring the unpleasant reality around us. 

The Unearthing of Secrets: Palestinian Art, 6+ and a Series of Transgressions

As contemporary Palestinian artists continue to exhibit internationally with the same determined and prolific impetus that has characterized their work for decades, their impact on international art will further underscore the fact that the Palestinian struggle coincides with larger international political issues that the global community cannot continue to ignore. Amidst the creative and sociopolitical contexts that configure contemporary Palestinian art, the 6+ artists collective chose to embark upon a journey that would take them not only across time zones, military check points and red tape, but through the experiences of 14 artists working to negotiate social, historical and political realities. 

Israel's choice: "Jewish only" or democratic?

The time will have to come for Israel to declare its hand: is it “a state of the Jewish people throughout the world” as it defines itself, or a state of all its citizens, both Jewish and non-Jewish? So far Israel has managed to convince the Western world that it is the only democracy in the region, but neglects to add that this democracy works only for its Jewish citizens. This is the conundrum: Israel has been unable to reconcile what it says it is, with want it wants to be — democratic and exclusively Jewish. 

Iraqi militants force Palestinians to leave Anbar

RAMADI, 24 April 2007 (IRIN) - Palestinians living in Iraq’s Anbar province have come under increasing pressure from militants to leave or be killed, NGOs and Palestinians say. Palestinians in the capital, Baghdad, have long been threatened by armed groups and harassed by authorities but threats to them in other provinces are a new development, aid workers say. Sunni-dominated Anbar used to protect Palestinians, who are predominantly Sunni too, but times have changed. “Palestinians had been looking for safety and had found it in Anbar province but now they are being targeted [there also]. They have nowhere to go and might be killed if they try to go to another place,” Mahmoud Aydan said. 

The Legend of the Removed Checkpoints

Let’s refresh our memory. It all started last December, when Olmert met Abbas. Olmert promised to remove checkpoints in the West Bank: “I intend to personally supervise it,” he told Abbas, “so that the Palestinian society would feel the relief” (Ha’aretz, Dec. 24, 2006). The same day, Ha’aretz reported that Defense Minister Amir Peretz and his deputy Ephraim Sneh were actually working on a plan to facilitate Palestinian movement in the West Bank. The two must have spent the whole night in their office, devising a plan for dismantling not less than “45 out of approximately 400 checkpoints.” 

Tempers Rise Over Reconstruction

BINT JBAIL, 23 April 2007 (IPS) - Eight months after Israeli attacks left devastation across many villages in southern Lebanon, reconstruction comes with mounting anger towards both Israel and the central Lebanese government.The war which raged between Israel and Hezbollah Jul. 12 to Aug. 14 last year destroyed many villages in the south, and left others badly damaged. Starting from within hours of the ceasefire, about a million people who had fled southern Lebanon began to return, many to wrecked homes. 

Interdependent Palestinian and Jewish Histories

The title of Joseph Massad’s book The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians does not do justice to the contribution this book makes to the history of Zionism, Israel, and the Jews. Massad’s brilliant and scholarly work is profoundly illuminating not only for the history of Palestine and the discourses surrounding it, but for the history of Europe and the United States and, finally, as an account that raises compelling theoretical questions. 

Film Review: "It's Not a Gun"

What role can music play in confronting the Israeli occupation? This is the question posed yet not definitively answered in Helena Cotinier and Pierre-Nicolas Durand’s documentary It’s Not a Gun, which follows Palestinian musician Ramzi Aburedwan as he realizes his dream of establishing a music education school in Palestine as part of his al-Kamandjati (meaning “the violinist”) project. Ramzi, who grew up in Ramallah’s Al-Amari refugee camp, says, “I spent my whole childhood during the first intifada throwing stones. And then, by chance, I had the [opportunity] to play music.”