Palestine Center

Iraq Study Group: No Military Solution to the Palestine Question

In its 6 December report, The Iraq Study Group made three important points regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: 1) there is no military solution to the conflict; 2) UN Resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of “land for peace” is the only way to achieve peace; 3) hold unconditional meetings to resume negotiations. The group also stressed the importance of an engaged U.S. administration in political negotiations based on a two-state solution. While these recommendations are on target and the significance of the messenger should not be dismissed, the message is not new. Palestinians have long reiterated these points. 

Ali Abunimah speaks about "One Country" at the Palestine Center

According to Ali Abunimah, author of the recently released book One Country, the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has proven to be the least pragmatic and the least workable of all options. In his book, Abunimah proposes an alternative solution, one state shared by two peoples. During a 17 November 2006 Palestine Center briefing, he explains how he reached that conclusion and why his proposal for a one state is best for both people for geographical, economical and security reasons. He also discusses the experiences and lessons to be learned from South Africa and that in order to achieve peace in the region a unifying vision and justice for the Palestinians is needed. 

The state of public health in the occupied Palestinian territory

On the morning of 2 November 2006, Israeli military forces seized Palestinian airwaves to declare the Gazan village of Beit Hanoun a closed military zone and order all Palestinians residing in the area to remain indoors. Still recovering from the humanitarian crisis caused by Israel’s June offensive, “Operation Summer Rain,” residents braced themselves for what appeared to be another looming attack on Palestinian civil society. What they didn’t expect, however, was the week-long siege of brutal force and “reckless disregard” for human life that would eventually claim the lives of nearly 100 Palestinians and injure hundreds more - half of whom were women, children, and other unarmed bystanders. 

Democrats Ignore Subjugation of Palestinians in Vilifying Carter's Book

President Jimmy Carter’s courageous new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, is due on bookstore shelves tomorrow November 14, 2006. In it, Carter reportedly states, “Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement.” As a result of such excerpts - and the title itself - Democrats in the U.S. Congress made significant efforts in October to distance themselves from their former leader who nevertheless maintains his standing as the conscience of the party. 

The Demographic and Economic War against Palestinians

When Israel launched its demographic war against Palestinians in 1947, it was carried out through military tactics that were difficult to conceal from the international community. The unresolved result of that war can be seen in refugee camps all over the Arab world. According to U.N. figures, between 1947 and 1949 Zionist military forces forcibly expelled or caused to flee approximately 800,000 Palestinians (amounting to 75 percent of the Arab population of what became Israel). In 1967, more than 200,000 Palestinians fled their homes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Since 1967, Israel has continued its demographic war but the tactics have become obscured through the use of so-called legal and political criteria. 

Destruction and Violations: Gaza, Lebanon and Israel

Two leading human rights organizations registered serious concerns over Israel’s recent actions in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip as well as Hizballah’s action against northern Israel. However, Curt Goering of Amnesty International and Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch pointed out at this recent Palestine Center event that the nature of the weapons used by Israel indicates that the principles of international humanitarian law had been disregarded and that the consequences to civilians was not considered. Read the transcript of this event held at the Palestine Center last month. 

Information Brief: The Gaza Economy

One year after Israel’s 2005 “disengagement” from the Strip, which was hailed by President Bush as a great opportunity for “the Palestinian people to build a modern economy that will lift millions out of poverty [and] create the institutions and habits of liberty,” a “Dubai on the Mediterranean” according to Thomas Friedman, Gaza is undergoing acute and debilitating economic declines marked by unprecedented levels of poverty, unemployment, loss of trade, and social deterioration especially with regard to the delivery of health and educational services. 

Seeds of Crisis: The U.S., Israel and the Middle East

At a recent Palestine Center briefing, experts analyzed the current developments in the Middle East and addressed the root causes of the conflict. Halim Barakat explained the historical context which allowed for the eruption of the recent events and Electronic Intifada’s Laurie King-Irani discussed the meaning of democracy, terrorism and international law. Sam Husseini pointed out that the media could do a better job in informing the public of the events in the Middle East and Jim Lobe analyzed U.S. Foreign Policy toward the Middle East since 9/11. The briefing was televised on C-Span. 

Information brief: History of Israeli-Arab prisoner exchanges

Arrangements for prisoner exchanges between Arab governments and Israel date back to 1948. During the early 1980s, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel exchanged prisoners, the most famous of which is known as the “Jibril Deal” in May 1985. Through third-party negotiations, Israel and Hizballah carried out three prisoner exchanges starting in 1996. Attempts to secure the release of Palestinian political prisoners through negotiations often failed because Israel regularly suspended talks over prisoners or renegotiated established criteria for their release. 

Palestinian Elections: Exercising Democracy under Occupation

To the outside world and the 800 international observers, the 9 January 2005 Palestinian presidential elections seemed like a normal exercise in democracy. However, what many chose to ignore was the fact that the elections were conducted under “abnormal” conditions. Palestinians, explained Diana Buttu, special advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), speaking at a 10 January 2005 briefing at the DC-based Palestine Center, were exercising democracy under direct occupation.