The Electronic Intifada

Syria is a convenient fallguy for Gemayel's death

Commentators and columnists are agreed. Pierre Gemayel’s assassination must have been the handiwork of Syria because his Christian Phalangists have been long-time allies of Israel and because, as industry minister, he was one of the leading figures in the Lebanese government’s anti-Syria faction. President Bush thinks so too. Case, apparently, settled. Unlike my colleagues, I do not claim to know who killed Gemayel. Maybe Syria was behind the shooting. Maybe, in Lebanon’s notoriously intrigue-ridden and fractious political system, someone with a grudge against Gemayel — even from within his own party — pulled the trigger. Or maybe, Israel once again flexed the muscles of its long arm in Lebanon. 

Artist Suzanne Klotz's Indispensable Guide to the Holy Land

Suzanne Klotz is the creator of Thy Kingdom Come — Pocket Guide to the Holy Land, a vividly coloured book of captioned drawings that portray Israeli-occupied Palestine as she saw it between 1990 and 1995. To describe this work is in a sense to add a fourth lens to the view of the Israeli occupation and the associated war crimes being committed to perpetuate it, because the book is the artist’s vision of images seen through the naive eyes of an imaginary American tourist woman and her little daughter who arrive in the Holy Land excited to explore it. 

The Ugly Israeli

The phrase “Ugly America” which epitomized American arrogance, corruption and tragic blunders in South East Asia in the early sixties is no longer in vogue in that region. But “Ugly Israeli” is alive and well in the Middle East, wherever there is an agreement of any kind between Israel and an Arab partner. There are two essential rules to follow for anyone attempting in good faith to “normalize” relations with Israel: Avoid ambiguity in any transaction and make sure that working procedures as well as processes of arbitration and enforcement are firmly in place. 

Principled Dutch ASN Bank ends relations with Veolia

This week, ASN Bank, a Dutch bank based in The Hague, announced that it would end its relationship with Veolia Transport, and all companies that benefit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. Since it first announced its intentions to become involved in an Israeli project to build a light rail/tramline system, to be constructed in occupied East Jerusalem, Veolia Transport, a French multi-national corporation, faced a lot of criticism from all over the world. The tramline aims to connect the illegally-constructed settlements in East Jerusalem with towns and cities in Israel. The case of ASN Bank shows that a call for boycott and divestment can be successful. 

Hollow visions of Palestine's future

David Grossman’s widely publicised speech at the annual memorial rally for Yitzhak Rabin earlier this month has prompted some fine deconstruction of his “words of peace” from critics. Grossman, one of Israel’s foremost writers and a figurehead for its main peace movement, Peace Now, personifies the caring, tortured face of Zionism that so many of the country’s apologists — in Israel and abroad, trenchant and wavering alike — desperately want to believe survives, despite the evidence of the Qanas, Beit Hanouns and other massacres committed by the Israeli army against Arab civilians. Grossman makes it possible to believe, for a moment, that the Ariel Sharons and Ehud Olmerts are not the real upholders of Zionism’s legacy, merely a temporary deviation from its true path. 

The New York Times Marginalizes Palestinian Women and Palestinian Rights

A November 7, 2006 New York Times news article about a Human Rights Watch report on domestic violence against Palestinian women brings welcome attention to human rights issues. Unfortunately, the same article, viewed in the context of The New York Times’ reporting on Israel/Palestine over the last six years, provides a powerful example of typical US mainstream media bias against Palestinians. Research shows clearly that The New York Times pays little attention to human rights in Israel/Palestine, downplays the larger context in which violence against Palestinian women occurs and generally silences Palestinian women’s voices. By omitting crucial details and emphasizing certain others, The New York Times, one of the US’ most respected and powerful media outlets, has turned a valuable piece of human rights reporting into a tool that can be used to reinforce a Western agenda that has cynically exploited “saving Muslim women” as an excuse for dominating and abusing the rights of people from other cultures. 

Happy Independence Day

The rate of unemployment in the occupied Palestinian territories has reached through the roof - 31.1% in the first quarter of 2006. Palestinian academics are concerned, even as they quibble over methodologies and exact figures. The Palestinian Economic Policy Research Institute (MAS) held its annual conference on the 13th of November at Birzeit University to discuss this problem. Unfortunately, very little by way of original ideas came out of this conference. What is sorely needed is consensus over a bold governmental policy that deals squarely with the current major cause of unemployment - Israel’s closing of its labor market, which at one time absorbed as many as 200,000 Palestinian workers. 

Lieberman: Vocalizing Israel's Apartheid Reality

Former President Jimmy Carter’s new book, which slaps the “apartheid” label on Israel, comes out this week. Before the book hit the stands though, members of his own party rushed to distance themselves from his allegations. While the label makes supporters of Israel uncomfortable, there is ample evidence that Israel practices institutionalized discrimination against its non-Jewish citizens. Israel, in fact, goes further than South Africa. While whites in South Africa sought to control non-whites, Israel has since its establishment pursued various means of getting rid of its non-Jewish population altogether. 

Palestinian Reporter Wins the Ethnic Media Award in Washington DC

Palestinian reporter Mohammed Omar, 22, won the best Ethnic Media Award, organized by New America Media in Washington DC. Omar won the award for his story “”Sharon, Why Did You Destroy My House?”: Operation Rainbow a Year Later” published by Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and the Norwegian “Morgenebladet” last year. Omar, who is heading to attend the “New America Media’s First National Ethnic Media Awards” in Washington DC told WAFA that he is the first journalist from the Middle East to win this award.His story sheds the light on the daily suffer and human details of Palestinian family who was turned to homeless as Israeli Occupation Forces destroyed their home in the refugee camp of Rafah, south of Gaza, last year. 

Photostory: Palestinian Youth at Yasser Arafat's Memorial

National unity was a theme of the commemoration of Yaser Arafat’s death on November 11, 2006. Many people came from various parts of the occupied Palestinian territories for the commemoration, those who were able to get past the checkpoints. Predictably, there were bottlenecks at Huwwara (Nablus) and Qalandiya (Jerusalem). Nevertheless, busloads of school children were ferried in and several scout groups had prepared to march. The main ceremony took place in Al Muqata’a, close to where Arafat is buried. The photographs in this photostory illustrate the commemoration and youth at the site in the days following.