The Guardian

Bassem Eid v Ali Abunimah

The Palestinian Right of Return was considered 28 March 2007 at the Doha Debates, a public forum for dialogue and freedom of speech in Qatar. Yossi Beilin, a Knesset member and Chairman of the Meretz-Yachad party, and Bassem Eid, of the Palestine Human Rights Monitoring Group, argued for the motion that “the Palestinians should give up their full right of return.” Ali Abunimah, cofounder of The Electronic Intifada, and Israeli academic Ilan Pappe challenged the motion, which was rejected by almost 82 percent of the audience. The following is an email exchange between Bassem Eid and Ali Abunimah published on the Guardian’s Comment is free blog. 

Obama loses ground in vital campaign rally

A week ago they were competing for African-American votes in the Deep South. But late on Monday Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama went head to head for another key demographic group: Jewish voters. In one of the most important campaign stops yet, supporters from the Clinton and Obama camps, as well as other presidential hopefuls, flooded the hallways of the Washington Convention Centre distributing fliers and shouting through loudhailers in their bid to draw people in. Mr Obama made his pitch in room 150, and a few minutes later, in room 152, it was the turn of Mrs Clinton. 

A project of dispossession can never be a noble cause

Perhaps because the stakes are now so high, people are once again speaking of the visionary solution: the secular democratic state, a homeland for both Israelis and Palestinians. The Palestinian social scientist Ali Abunimah and the Israeli historian Ilan Pappé’s recent books are the latest to make the case for this. They find hope, as Pappé puts it, in “those sections of Jewish society in Israel that have chosen to let themselves be shaped by human considerations rather than Zionist social engineering.” 

Here's hoping: Primal Scream for Palestine

“Tomorrow our band Primal Scream, together with Spiritualized and some other special guests, are playing in London for the children of Palestine. As far as I know, it’s the first time that a benefit gig has been staged on this scale in Britain for the Palestinian people. It is often said that the Palestinian issue is so difficult and sensitive that it’s better not to get involved. But the truth is, it’s not. It’s easy. There is no shortage of musicians ready to show their support for the Palestinians at this time in their struggle.” Bobby Gillespie spreads some hope in the pages of The Guardian

The story TV news won't tell

Since the Palestinians began their armed uprising against Israel’s military occupation three years and eight months ago, British television and radio’s reporting of it has been, in the main, dishonest - in concept, approach and execution. In my judgment as a journalist and Middle East specialist, the broadcasters’ language favours the occupying soldiers over the occupied Arabs, depicting the latter, essentially, as alien tribes threatening the survival of Israel, rather than vice versa. The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is shown, most especially on mainstream bulletins, as a battle between two ‘forces’, possessed equally of right and wrong and responsibility. It is the tyranny of spurious equivalence. That 37 years of military occupation, the violation of the Palestinians’ human, political and civil rights and the continuing theft of their land might have triggered this crisis is a concept either lost or underplayed. 

Sharon's banana republics

After the horror of 9/11, when the predictable retaliation was being discussed, the pro-Israel lobby emerged as the “maximalist school”, which wanted to expand the theatre of operations beyond Afghanistan to engulf Iraq, Syria and Libya. That lobby has grown accustomed to using one muscle too many and one pressure too far. The collusion between the US and Israeli agendas has put America on a collision course with the Arab World, which now perceives the US as Israel’s belligerent Sparta and the aim of American foreign policy to be docility, not democracy. 

Too late for two states?

More than three years into the intifada, the Palestinian situation seems worse than ever: the weekly death toll, the poverty and now the wall. So has the uprising failed? Seumas Milne had exclusive access to leaders across the political spectrum - from president Yasser Arafat to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. He found an unprecedented willingness to compromise - but a growing belief that the wall will scupper the best ever hope for peace. 

Edward Said: Controversial literary critic and bold advocate of the Palestinian cause in America

Edward Said, who has died aged 67, was one of the leading literary critics of the last quarter of the 20th century. As professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, New York, he was widely regarded as the outstanding representative of the post-structuralist left in America. Above all, he was the most articulate and visible advocate of the Palestinian cause in the United States, where it earned him many enemies. Malise Ruthven remembers Said in The Guardian. 

Addition and long division

The Guardian’s coverage of the Middle East has been questioned this week. One is the name used for the structure being erected by the Israelis across Israeli and Palestinian territory and called by Israel the “security fence”. Finding terminology that favours neither one view nor the other is not easy. The fact is, it is a wall in some sections and a fence in others. The headline on a long discussion of the terminology by the pro-Palestinin ian website Electronic Intifada seems to state the reality fairly: “Is it a fence? Is it a wall? No, it’s a separation barrier.”