Sonja Karkar

The first intifada 20 years later

The first Palestinian intifada (uprising or shaking off) erupted dramatically on 9 December 1987 after twenty long years of brutal Israeli military occupation. The Palestinians had had enough. Not only had they been dispossessed of their homeland and expelled from their homes in 1948 to make way for the boatloads of European Jewish immigrants flooding into Palestine on a promise of a Jewish state, they had been made to suffer the indignities of a people despised and rejected by the whole world. Sonja Karkar comments for EI on the anniversary of the beginning of the first intifada. 

Book review: "Married to Another Man"

Ghada Karmi’s latest book Married to Another Man: Israel’s Dilemma in Palestine opens with the problem European Zionists faced over a century ago when they first mooted the idea of a Jewish state in Palestine. They found then that there was already a well-established Palestinian society existing in the land they wished to claim as their own. Hence the message sent back to Vienna by the two rabbis who made the discovery: “The bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man.” EI contributor Sonja Karkar reviews. 

Heritage uprooted

Universally regarded as the symbol of peace, the olive tree has become the object of violence. For more than forty years, Israel has uprooted over one million olive trees and hundreds of thousands of fruit trees in Palestine with terrible economic and ecological consequences for the Palestinian people. Their willful destruction has so threatened Palestinian culture, heritage and identity that the olive tree has now become the symbol of Palestinian steadfastness because of its own rootedness and ability to survive in a land where water is perennially scarce. Sonja Karkar comments for EI

One week in July

Despite the media’s fixation on Hamas and Bush’s renewed interest in “peace,” the truth of the matter is that nothing has changed on the ground for the Palestinians. Each week Israel rolls its tanks into the West Bank and fires its missiles on Gaza. These are specific attacks on people that will be recorded as statistics; the stories of those affected will never be told. Sonja Karkar writes for EI

Who will save Palestine?

These days the Hamas acting government and Fatah “emergency government” are sapping the interest from any news story that might report on Israel’s criminal acts inside Gaza and the West Bank. Both these Palestinian enclaves are still under Israel’s military occupation — one shunned and isolated by political intrigue and the other apparently working at cooperating with the occupier, and there’s the tragedy of it all. Nothing that has happened in the last fortnight has stopped Israel in its tracks. 

Howard's dubious Jewish National Fund honor

There is something worrying about a prime minister of a liberal, democratic country who imposes values on his country’s citizens and those who wish to become citizens, yet does not adhere to those values when he regards it politically expedient to ignore them. This is precisely what Prime Minister John Howard has done in accepting the “honour” of having a forest named after him in Israel’s Negev Desert and also the Jerusalem Prize for his support of Israel and its “values”. 

World Bank exposes the blatantly obvious

It should have happened sooner, but at least it has happened now. Israel has been exposed by the august World Bank for its oppressive control of the West Bank. Three weeks before global protests begin against 40 years of Israel’s occupation, the report reveals what every government knows, but not one has been prepared to stop. Effectively, the report challenges the notion of a viable two-state solution under Israel’s current restrictions and illegal land appropriations. 

Honoring Israel's apologists

Every now and then, journalists who have shown excellence in their work are rewarded. A prize that recognises their investigative skills and critical thinking is a worthy achievement; a prize that rewards them for using their profession to “conspicuously” support a foreign state in conflict, is not. Rather, it raises questions about their impartiality, good judgment and integrity. Their professionalism can no longer be trusted. It happened in Australia this past week. 

Israel's choice: "Jewish only" or democratic?

The time will have to come for Israel to declare its hand: is it “a state of the Jewish people throughout the world” as it defines itself, or a state of all its citizens, both Jewish and non-Jewish? So far Israel has managed to convince the Western world that it is the only democracy in the region, but neglects to add that this democracy works only for its Jewish citizens. This is the conundrum: Israel has been unable to reconcile what it says it is, with want it wants to be — democratic and exclusively Jewish. 

Photostory: Australians protest Apartheid Wall

As part of the International Week of Action Against the Apartheid Wall, Australians for Palestine took part in a Stop the Wall rally today and contributed an amazing mock wall. The wall was assembled before the rally began and attracted many curious onlookers who soon learned that this wall was only a third of the height of the actual wall being illegally built by Israel in the West Bank. The 3 metre-high wall had been designed and constructed by three Palestinian brothers - Nasser, Moammar and Kamahl Mashni and then re-assembled with the help of Amin Abbas, Joe Lui and Robert Martin.