Omar Karmi

From layman to expert, economic prospects look bleak

Hasan Namle, 51, remembers better days. When he used to work in Israel, he could make as much as NIS6,000 (approx. $1,400) a month in the construction field, he says. Those days are long gone. He was barred from working in Israel in 1996, long before the Aqsa Intifada broke out. His crime was being suspected of having links to Hamas. He says he has none now and had none then. Nevertheless he was never allowed back and had to think of alternatives. Now he runs a small poultry shop in the camp. “I make 36 agarot per kilo. On a good day I will make NIS36 ($8),” he said, sprawled on a mattress where he and two sons sleep when it is warm on the porch outside their three-room dwelling. 

Nablus rocked by clashes

In a hospital room in Nablus’ Specialty Hospital, two gunshot victims share a room. The young men are both awake and alert, and their room is filled with relatives and colleagues. They look fine, though one only speaks with some difficulty and the other has to lie on his side because of his injuries. The scene is not an unusual one in a Palestinian hospital after four years of the Intifada, but the circumstances of their shooting have rocked Nablus. The two are policemen and were wounded when clashes broke out between the police and members of an armed group, the Fateh-affiliated Al Awda Brigades, on March 4. Their colleagues are not only there to wish them well but to protect them from possible further attacks. A policeman is stationed at the entrance to the hospital. 

Hunger strike "final avenue" for prisoners

Israeli prison authorities have declared they are ready to weigh prisoners every day, and force-feed them if necessary. On August 17, it was reported that prison guards would use “psychological warfare” to break the strike, including holding large barbeques in jailhouses. While Jarrar is not concerned about the BBQs, she’s more worried by the threat of force-feeding prisoners.”In 1980,” she recalls, “two prisoners [Ali Ja’fari and Rasem Halawi] in Nafha prison were force-fed after a lengthy hunger strike. When they put the tubes down, they put them in the wrong place, and they ended in their lungs.” Ja’fari and Halawi both died. 

Meanwhile, in Palestine...

The US appears to be the only country in the world that fails to realize the centrality of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for Middle East peace. It appears that the road map this administration is navigating by will take it to Baghdad, Damascus, Tehran and Riyadh before it realizes that all roads lead to Jerusalem. That’s a long route to take.