Sam Bahour

The silent transfer: Israel says I've lived with my family long enough

The Occupying State of Israel has decided that I have been living with my family and two daughters long enough. After being given a one month tourist visa when I entered through the Israeli border to reach the Palestinian areas (which is the only way to enter), the Israelis have responded to my request for a three month extension by saying one more month would be more than enough. Not only that, but they were kind enough to relieve me from the humiliation and agony of requesting another extension to remain with my family by hand writing, in Arabic, Hebrew and English, LAST PERMIT, on the visa. 

Israel Spinning Out of Control

Israel’s Defense Minister Amir Peretz announced today that Israel is preparing a global “propaganda offensive” to counter the recent barrage of news reports and writings that condemned Israel for the recent killing of 10 civilians, including 5 children, on a Gaza beach. In political and media lingo this is called spin, to twist and turn an event so as to give an intended interpretation, and Israel excels at it. Sam Bahour writes from Ramallah/Al-Bireh, occupied Palestine. 

Begging for a Response: Israel's ongoing air strikes on Gaza are politically motivated

Israel kills with purpose. Following the rise to government of the hard line Hamas movement to the Palestinian government, Israel is optimizing on the US led campaign to bring a full collapse of the democratically-elected Palestinian government, by killing on a daily basis of what the world’s media has sadly accepted as “targeted assassinations.” There is a clear political agenda in the latest round of Israeli attacks. Israel is begging for Hamas to react in kind by breaking its one sided truce that Hamas has held for over a year, despite Israel’s continued provocations. Sam Bahour writes from El-Bireh. 

Crushed by Gate of Occupation

Thaer was awaiting his family to visit from Beit Lekya, his village that is besieged by Israel’s Separation Wall. He was not sure who exactly would be his visitors this time or what kind of news they would bring. He was busy in his cell thinking of how to receive his family. He never thought in his worst nightmares that, instead of the joy of receiving his family, he would receive the news of his daughter’s fatal injury which led to her death. At home, Thaer’s daughter Rafida was rushing to her fate. She woke early in the morning and then woke her mother, wanting to get an early start on the long trip to her father. 

Israel at 58: A Failing Experiment

Since its inception, Israel has arrogantly refused to address the most crucial prerequisite of its establishment as a conventional State — accepting the Palestinians — those people that just happened to be living in that ‘empty’ land of Israel. The Palestinians, those that were forcefully expelled from their homes in 1948, 1967, and more recently in 2001, have been living in squalid refugee camps throughout the region. The Palestinians, those that did not flee Israel-proper in 1948 are today fourth class Israeli citizens. The Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem that have lived under Israeli military occupation for 40 years, to the day, will continue to haunt the international community until justice is served and the Israeli occupation is ended, in its entirety. 

Hamas Being Forced To Collapse

The greater fear is that if the U.S. and Israel are successful in collapsing the Hamas government and Hamas in turn decides to abandoned democratic means to express itself, we will be back where we started from, suicide bombings killing innocents and setting the agenda from outside any known political framework. Does this serve U.S. and Israeli interests? We are all wondering! Sam Bahour, a Palestinian-American businessman living in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian city of El-Bireh, the sister city of Ramallah, comments. 

The Third Intifada

Welcome to the third Palestinian intifada. The first was with stones, the second a mix between non-violent and more violent means, and this one via a ballot box. With Hamas’ landslide victory in the Palestinian elections breaking years of political stagnation, we are witnessing, right before our eyes, a chapter of history being made. In an attempt to make sense of the rapidly moving situation following the elections, I pose the following for consideration. Three ironies, three potential failures and three challenges. 

Palestine’s New Paradigm

Policies have repercussions, sometimes bitter ones. The historic election landslide victory of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, in Palestine on January 25 was merely a confirmation of this basic fact. Palestinians simply voted in a manner that reflects their reality. Secular Palestinians, such as myself, are not thrilled to see an Islamist movement come to the forefront of the historically secular Palestinian struggle to end the occupation and continue with the state-building process. However, those of us willing to look beyond the daily headlines, which emerge out of professionally spun mainstream media, are fully aware that Hamas’ victory does not emerge from a vacuum. 

Ring Around the Rosy, Pockets Full of Palestinians

The 38-year Israeli military occupation of Palestine and 57 years of ongoing Palestinian dispossession at the hands of the State of Israel has brought us to a point of total despair. Today, in 2006, Palestinians have been condensed into pockets of caged-in communities, taking on varying shapes and forms. Over 50 percent of the Palestinian population lives in exile and squalid pockets called refugee camps. Having being forced out of their homeland, they eke out a meager existence in the land and countries surrounding Israel and yearn to return home. All of the political activity in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip completely ignore these pockets of people living outside of Israel/Palestine. The end result will be that the majority of Palestinians, those living as refugees and in exile, will not be part of any organized process of governance, and thus the chance for any stability at all has been reduced dramatically. 

Turning the page, again

Under a traditional leadership, with a stagnated political environment of internal hegemony and external military occupation, elections have been used over the years to entrench the already entrenched polity. Add to this the multi-pronged foreign interventions into Palestinian society � politically, economically, and socially � and elections have become watered down to the point where they are no longer enough of a force to turn the pages of history. Our future can only be shaped by our own hands. Are we ready, not only to turn the page, but to rip out and then rewrite the last chapter of the chronicle that has imprisoned us in occupation like never before?!