The Electronic Intifada

Keepers of the Peace

A few days ago on the first day of the holiday Eid al Fiter, a mother with children in tow, all in their Eid best, gave the border a try against all odds, hesitantly showing her West Bank ID to the Israeli police squinting behind his bullet-proof glass window, only to be promptly turned back. That she should even be trying at this point is in itself incredible. In her mind, the reality of this pop-up border is so unfair, so grossly callous, it is simply hard to accept. Or perhaps, she thought, innocently, that the Israeli border police would let her in just this once. After all, it was Eid al Fiter, wasn’t it? This is how little she understood the political dynamic all around her. 

No right to health: Abu Musa Jahalin's story

Abu Musa had to go back to his shack, under threat of demolition and ethnic transfer by the Wall and army (the very un-Civil Administration!), to find 20,000 shekels for treatment. If he does, he can go back and try to save his leg and life. Then he can start saving $15,000 for a back operation he hasn’t been able to afford for the past two years, without which he won’t get back on his legs — if one hasn’t had to be amputated by then. He’s only 52. His heart is starting to go. Abu Musa was told long ago by an Israeli professor that he needed an operation on his back. He was badly beaten by Israeli Border Police, when homes - tin and cardboard shacks — were bulldozed on his hillside. 

Suspending my signature from the cultural boycott petition

To whom it may concern, I hereby suspend my signature from the petition of Palestinian and Lebanese artists, which calls for a boycott of, what was supposed to have been, all cultural activities participated in and sponsored by the state of Israel. I signed and vehemently supported this petition against the barbaric Israeli war of destruction of Lebanon and its continuing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. My suspension comes in protest of the practices of certain artist petitioners who recently participated in cultural activities around the world. 

Boycotting Myself?

This is an open letter to my colleague Elia Suleiman who has withdrawn his signature from a petition by Palestinian film-makers calling for a boycott of Israeli cultural events and of artists supported by Israeli government institutions. I myself am one of the signatories of this petition. Elia defines his act as a protest against what he considers as a total boycott of Israeli artists, regardless of their views or political activities; a boycott that does not distinguish between one Israeli and another “all of which is tainted by chauvinism and other heresies that stem from the dark side of nationalism”. 

World silent as fascists join Israel government

Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has brought Yisrael Beitenu into his coalition, a party that has openly advocated the “transfer” — ethnic cleansing —of Palestinians, and has made clear that a Jewish supremacist state is more important than a democratic one. Yet spokesperson for European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana affirmed that the EU would take no action against Israel. In contrast, the EU has imposed crippling sanctions on the Palestinian Authority, starving ordinary Palestinians for having elected a government of the which the European Union disapproves. EI co-founder investigates a new low in western double standards and appeasement of Israeli extremism. 

Palestinians apprehensive about CIA money

Palestinian nationalist and Islamic leaders have strongly denounced efforts by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and affiliated foreign aide bodies to recruit Palestinian journalists, politicians and certain political groups to work against the Islamic group Hamas. Western news agencies last Friday reported that the US was quietly starting a campaign projected to cost up to $42 million to bolster Hamas’s political opponents ahead of possible early elections. The plan includes funding the Fatah group, providing training as well as offering “strategic advice” to politicians and some liberal secular parties opposed to Hamas. 

Photostory: Ramadan in Ramallah

With the coming of Eid al Fiter and in spite of the depressed economy and Israel’s chokehold on Palestinian revenues and customs, traders and vendors in Ramallah are hoping to make some money. Some of them are children, since government schools have yet to open in the West Bank because of the strike by government employees. The vendors’ merchandise is all cheap, but it is colorful and maybe affordable. Popular items appear to be plastic weapons — plastic guns and swords. To Palestinian children, the scene in downtown Ramallah is as exciting as any Christmas season is in downtown New York to American children. 

Denial of Entry: Rice's Probe and the Israeli Administration

The good news that Condoleezza Rice “wants the Israeli government to explain restrictions on Palestinian-Americans traveling on U.S. passports in Israel and the Palestinian territories” spread like wildfire in the occupied Palestinian territories. Rice has apparently listened to something from the Palestinian side! Maybe she saw the ads that the Palestinian grassroots Campaign for the Right of Entry/Re-Entry into the oPt had placed in all the local papers during her most recent visit - a photograph of her and Abbas with the caption “Wish we could be there to help you!”, meaning that Americans, and Palestinian-Americans especially, are being denied entry to the oPt, and so are also denied the opportunity to play a role in the peacemaking she was seeking. 

The BBC and Israel's plan for a military strike on Iran

The Middle East, and possibly the world, stands on the brink of a terrible conflagration as Israel and the United States prepare to deal with Iran’s alleged ambition to acquire nuclear weapons. Israel, it becomes clearer by the day, wants to use its air force to deliver a knock-out blow against Tehran. It is not known whether it will use conventional weapons or a nuclear warhead in such a strike. At this potentially cataclysmic moment in global politics, it is good to see that one of the world’s leading broadcasters, the BBC, decided this week to air a documentary entitled “Will Israel bomb Iran?”. It is the question on everyone’s lips and doubtless, with the imprimatur of the BBC, the programme will sell around the world. 

A re-run of the Lebanon war in Palestine?

There are ominous signs that the long-contemplated plan to overthrow the democratically-elected Hamas-led Palestinian Authority cabinet is about to enter its most dangerous phase: a political coup, supported by local militias, with foreign and regional backing. This could ignite serious intra-Palestinian violence. EI co-founder Ali Abunimah and contributor Hasan Abu Nimah write that with Iraq providing a dreadful warning of how foreign occupation can foster civil bloodshed, everything must be done to expose and thwart this dangerous conspiracy.