The Nation

Starving Gaza

Working together, Hamas and the people of Gaza have forced Egypt’s hand and made much more visible than ever before the role it had been playing all along in the Israeli occupation and strangulation of Gaza; now that its role in assisting Israel has been revealed, it will be difficult for Egypt to go back to the status quo. Gazans have thrown Israel’s plans into disarray, because Israel’s leaders could do little more than watch with pursed lips as the people of Gaza burst out of their prison. Saree Makdisi comments. 

Israel's Palestinians speak out

The Annapolis peace talks regard me as an interloper in my own land. Israel’s deputy prime minister, Avigdor Lieberman, argues that I should “take [my] bundles and get lost.” Henry Kissinger thinks I ought to be summarily swapped from inside Israel to the would-be Palestinian state. I am a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship — one of 1.4 million. We are Palestinian Arabs — Christian, Muslim and Druze — not Jewish. More than twenty Israeli laws explicitly privilege Jews over non-Jews. Nadim Rouhana comments. 

For a Secular Democratic State

For, having unified all of what used to be Palestine (albeit into one profoundly divided space) without having overcome the Palestinian people’s will to resist, Zionism has run its course. And in so doing, it has terminated any possibility of a two-state solution. There remains but one possibility for peace with justice: truth, reconciliation — and a single democratic and secular state, a state in which there will be no “natives” and “settlers” and all will be equal; a state for all its citizens irrespective of their religious affiliation. Saree Makdisi comments. 

AIPAC Alternative?

Tapping into the restlessness among young left-wing Jews might be a place to start. “I meet these kids all the time on campuses all over the country,” says author Ali Abunimah. “This generation of young Jews is not as tied to the romantic Exodus story of their parents. They want a free and open debate about the rights and wrongs of supporting a country that privileges people based on arbitrary characteristics.” “The danger for AIPAC is that once Humpty Dumpty drops off the wall, you can’t put him together again,” says Abunimah. “And what is keeping the debate from happening now is political brute force. That’s what we see in the Obama case.” 

Blowback in Lebanon

Arab regimes and the United States are rushing to shore up Siniora’s government. On January 25, the same day of the bloody protests and curfew in Beirut, Siniora attended a donors conference in Paris, where he received pledges of $7.6 billion in aid and loan guarantees. Some of the funding will go toward reconstruction after last summer’s war, but much of it will be used to make interest payments and refinance Lebanon’s crushing $41 billion public debt. The country’s debt-to-GDP ratio is now about 180 percent—the second-highest in the world (after Malawi). A large proportion of the pledges received at the Paris III conference are tied to unpopular economic reforms that Siniora has vowed to undertake, including raising taxes and privatizing state assets. Most of these measures—such as raising gasoline surcharges and the value-added tax—will most heavily affect Lebanon’s poor and working classes, who are disproportionately Shiite. 

People's Revolt in Lebanon

Ever since Hezbollah and its allies began an open-ended protest against the US-backed government on December 1, Beirut’s gilded downtown—built for wealthy Lebanese and foreign tourists—has become more authentically Lebanese. Where Persian Gulf sheiks once ate sushi, families now sit in abandoned parking lots, having impromptu picnics, the smell of kebabs cooked over coals wafting through the air. Young men lounge on plastic chairs, smoking apple-scented water pipes, and occasionally break out into debke, the Lebanese national dance. 

Mideast News: Beyond the Mainstream

From an unscientific survey, the better blogs seem to include Beirut Spring and From Beirut to the Beltway. The Angry Arab News Service offers less polemical content than its name would suggest, though the especially disturbing pictures of children killed in recent bombings do inspire anger, among other emotions. The Electronic Intifada is a good portal for news, commentary, analysis, and reference materials about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a Palestinian perspective. Since Israel’s attack on Lebanon began, the site has posted 112 articles from the ground on the conflict while continuing to keep track of simultaneous Israeli aggression in Gaza. And check out Electronic Lebanon, a new section of the site devoted exclusively to the new (but old) Israeli invasion. 

Freedom Summer

Amman, Jordan, 17 July 2003 — The International Solidarity Movement’s second Freedom Summer has begun, and much has changed since our last: the war on Iraq, which focused all eyes on the region; the much-hyped road map; full-blown construction on what Palestinians have come to call the Apartheid Wall. Sadly, though, much remains the same: the continuing deterioration of the lives of Palestinians, with poverty and health crises in a crescendo. Adam Shapiro, an organizer with the International Solidarity Movement, writes in The Nation. 

Road Map or Road Kill?

“in failing to focus on the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, about to enter its thirty-seventh year, and on Israeli settlements, which underpin that occupation, the road map misses an opportunity to end this conflict. Instead, it concentrates on Palestinian violence and how to combat it—as if it came out of nowhere, and as if, were it to be halted, the situation of occupation and settlement would be normal. This is a reflection of the preponderant US role in the drafting of this document. It is also a sign of why it will probably fail, for official Washington is obsessively fixated on Palestinian violence as the root cause of all the problems between Palestinians and Israelis.” Noted Palestinian-American academic Rashid I. Khalidi takes a jaundiced accounting of the Road Map in the pages of The Nation