Saree Makdisi

Politics, Language and the Palestinians

After Hamas’ election victory, the organization’s exiled leader Khaled Meshal wrote an article that was printed in several western newspapers. EI contributor Saree Makdisi says “what was refreshing about Meshal’s piece was his use of a defiant language of struggle—one appropriate to their desperate circumstances—rather than the meaningless, empty, bankrupt language all but handed to current and previous Palestinian leaders by a team of American and Israeli script-writers.” Makdisi writes that whether one disagrees with Hamas or not, the article reminds us of the importance of redefining the Palestinian struggle and the language used to shape it. 

Illusion of democracy: The Palestinian Elections

With about 80 percent of eligible voters registered, and more than 700 candidates running in a hotly contested campaign, the stage is set for what is being packaged as an impressive exercise in democracy when Palestinians in the occupied territories. But writes EI contributor Saree Makdisi, the talk of elections is part of an attempt to impose a sense of normalcy on a highly abnormal situation: not just the endless occupation, but the unresolved future of the Palestinian people, two-thirds of whom are excluded from the electoral process because they do not live in the occupied territories but rather in refugee camps or in the diaspora, or as second-class citizens of the state of Israel. 

The whitewashing of Ariel Sharon

AS ARIEL SHARON’S career comes to an end, the whitewashing is already underway. Literally overnight he was being hailed as “a man of courage and peace” who had generated “hopes for a far-reaching accord” with an electoral campaign promising “to end conflict with the Palestinians.” But even if end-of-career assessments often stretch the truth, and even if far too many people fall for the old saw about the gruff old warrior miraculously turning into a man of peace, the reality is that miracles don’t happen, and only rarely have words and realities been separated by such a yawning abyss. 

Israel's fantasy stands in the way of peace

The recent election of Mahmoud Abbas as the new President of the Palestinian Authority has renewed speculation that 2005 will bring genuine peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Insofar as it depends on Israel’s own intentions, however, such hope is entirely misplaced. Israel has made it clear that the first thing it expects of the new Palestinian leader is for him to bring the Palestinian population under control, something it could not achieve with its gloves off during almost two decades of direct military occupation of Palestinian land. Professor Saree Makdisi comments for EI

While Israel Voted...

Surely the most remarkable thing about last week’s election in Israel was the fact that, even as Israeli citizens were enjoying their right to vote, their army was enforcing a lockdown that kept over 3 million Palestinians confined to their homes for three days, writes Saree Makdisi for EI