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Can the Palestinian Leadership Pave the Way from Statehood to Independence?

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Middle Eastern analysts concerned with the Palestinian statehood bid have rightly highlighted the benefits conferred by such status. They assume, however, that the current Palestinian leadership is willing to take the necessary steps in order to lead Palestinians from statehood on paper to independence in practice. In the early 1990s, the Palestinian leadership supplanted its struggle for self-determination with a state-building project. In its narrow pursuit of a mandate to govern, it placed undue faith in the US’s willingness, and arguably its ability, to pressure Israel to end its prolonged occupation thus shunning a resistance platform. In its bid for statehood, the ...

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Legal Brief: Flotillas and the Gaza Blockade

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[This legal brief is the latest from Diakonia on the Gaza blockade and the use of flotillas.] Legal Brief: Flotillas and the Gaza Blockade (July 2011) The Gaza Strip is currently under a continued naval and land blockade.[1] New flotillas are trying to reach Gaza to provide assistance to the people of the Strip. In light of the deadly outcome of the previous flotilla of 31 May 2010, Diakonia IHL Programme would like to reiterate the relevance and importance of international humanitarian law (IHL). The Gaza Strip is an occupied territory The Gaza Strip remains an occupied territory as it is effectively controlled by the Israeli army (land, sea, airspace), which ...

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Palestinians Discuss September Questions in Day-Long Symposium in Al-Bireh

[Image from Symposium]

The Friends School for Boys in Al-Bireh, near Ramallah, was abuzz this Saturday (June 16, 2011) with community organizers and young Palestinian activists, as well as a sprinkling of older residents, all of whom were attending a conference regarding the much talked about September bid for recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN.  The idea of this daylong conference of panels was for it to be an opportunity to learn what it actually entails, procedurally, to go to the UN, what are the possible outcomes and effects, and ask questions to the panelists presenting. The conference was hosted by Muwatin, The Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy, at the ...

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Justice for Palestine: A Call to Action from Indigenous and Women of Color Feminists

[Historical trajectory of direct Israeli control. Image from unknown archive.]

[This statement was recently issued by a group of indigenous and women of color feminists who participated in a delegation to Palestine this summer.] Between June 14 and June 23, 2011, a delegation of 11 scholars, activists, and artists visited occupied Palestine. As indigenous and women of color feminists involved in multiple social justice struggles, we sought to affirm our association with the growing international movement for a free Palestine. We wanted to see for ourselves the conditions under which Palestinian people live and struggle against what we can now confidently name as the Israeli project of apartheid and ethnic cleansing. Each and every one of ...

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Palestine in Scare Quotes: From the NYT Grammar Book

[Qalandiya Checkpoint. Photo by Anees of Jerusalem. Image from Mondoweiss]

When I feel the need for my blood pressure to go up, I read the New York Times’ coverage of Israel-Palestine. The extent to which the Times’ reporting (or misreporting) is deeply slanted, selective, and misleading has been thoroughly documented in Richard Falk’s and Howard Friel’s Israel-Palestine on Record: How the New York Times Misreports Conflict in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Electronic Intifada and Mondoweiss provide excellent ongoing critiques of the Times’ day to day coverage (see, for example, this recent piece by Ali Abunimah), and both were quick to report the seemingly obvious conflict of interest in the fact that Jerusalem Bureau Chief Ethan Bronner’s son ...

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Human Dignity in Jerusalem

[Gravestone broken by Israeli bulldozers on night of June 25-26, 2011. Image from Al Aqsa Foundation]

The lengthy history of Jerusalem is distinguished by diverse episodes of both benevolent tolerance and inhumane intolerance. For several lengthy periods, such as most of the nineteenth century, a spirit of coexistence generally characterized the holy city. On too many other occasions, it witnessed sectarian persecution and cruel massacres. Two of the most horrific of these episodes took place after Jerusalem was captured following a prolonged siege, once by the Persians in 614 CE, and again by the Crusaders in 1099. In both cases, the victors slaughtered thousands of the city’s residents. An area adjacent to the ancient Mamilla Pool west of the city walls of ...

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Of Course the Flotilla is a Political Provocation

[Image from unknown archive.]

As the launch of the Freedom Flotilla – Stay Human approaches, increasing numbers of Zionist officials and commentators illuminate the depths of their moral and intellectual bankruptcy by arguing that it is a political – not humanitarian – project. Ran Curiel, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, offers an example as good as any other. On May 10, he actually went to the trouble of calling a press conference in Strasbourg to offer this conclusion. “In our view, the flotilla is clearly a political provocation . . . since there's no need for a flotilla to aid Gaza,” he said. “You can pass whatever you want to Gaza through normal channels.” Curiel’s reasoning leaves ...

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Iraq After Maliki's "100 Days": An Interview with Iraqi Organizer Uday al-Zaidi

[Uday al-Zaidi. Image from Associated Press.]

On February 27, 2011, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki gave his parliament 100 days to "reform" their sometimes totally nonfunctional ministries or face consequences, in response “to people’s demands” as he put it. Those demands have taken the form of some of the least noted events of the Arab Spring: large mobilizations in Baghdad's Tahrir Square; mass acts of civil disobedience and a general strike in Mosul; and the resignations of several governors all over Iraq, including two Basra governors. The Iraqi state has responded violently, with curfews, live ammunition, and wide scale arrests (signaled by Iraqis calling March 18th, "The Friday of ...

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44 Years Since al-Naksa: Qalandia - June 5, 2011

[Protesters at Qalandia. Image from Nour Joudah.]

I spent most of this week undecided on whether or not to head to Qalandia today, though I suppose from the moment I considered going, I should have known that I wouldn’t be able to suppress the thought. The consensus by many was that buzz on the ground was relatively weak - not to be compared with the Nakba day protests - but between online promotional videos and Facebook statuses, I remained encouraged and intrigued, to say the least. Protesters were called to meet at the Qalandia checkpoint at 11am for the peaceful march to Jerusalem. I got off the service (servees) from Ramallah near a supermarket on Qalandia’s main road - a little over a quarter of a mile from the ...

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Returning to the Border: Preparing for June 5th on the Lebanese Border

[Bullet that was inside Miled Majthoub. Image from Nour Samaha.]

[Editors' Note: Since the writing of this report, the Lebanese Army declared the border area a closed military zone. Several Palestinian groups have cancelled their plans to organize and participate in the event and instead have chosen to hold protests in their respective refugee camps. Several of those injured on May 15, as well as their relatives and friends, have decided to reach whatever check-point is closest to the border and hold a sit-in there.] “I’m going to attend on Sunday, of course I am,” said Um Mohamed, with a smile. “I have already given one martyr for this, I don’t mind dying for Palestine.” Um Mohamed, sitting in her cramped living room surrounded by ...

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Legal Fallout of Israeli Attack on Lebanese Nakba Day March (Video)

The below video (courtesy of Wissam al-Saliby) was recorded on Friday, May 27th, 2011, when Omar Nashabeh (Arabic) and Salah El Dabagh (Arabic then English) held a press conference to discuss possible legal action against the Israeli authorities responsible for the attack on the Nakba Day commemorators that were marching in the Lebanese border village of Maroun al-Ras. The press conference was held at the Press Syndicate H.Q. in Beirut.     

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Whither Palestinian Resistance? Part III Roundtable on Palestinian Diaspora and Representation

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[This is PART III of a three-part roundtable on Palestinian Diaspora and Representation moderated by Jadaliyya Co-Editor Noura Erakat. It features Naseer Aruri, Seif Da'na, Karma Nabulsi, and Sherene Seikaly. Read the 

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Breaking the Siege and the Diplomatic Impasse: An Interview with Huwaida Arraf

[This interview was conducted by Jadaliyya co-editor Noura Erakat. Huwaida Arraf is Chairperson of the Gaza Freedom Movement Coalition and Co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement.]  NE: Let's get some of the basics first—how many passengers were a part of the Freedom Flotilla II? How many ships and how many nations did they represent? HA: Twenty-two initiatives or national campaigns participated in organizing Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human. Each of these had hundreds, if not ...

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Call for Papers: BDS as a Means of Enforcing International Law in Palestine

Call for Papers: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions as a Means of Enforcing International Law in Palestine   Institute of Law – Birzeit University   The Theme of Volume XVII of the Palestine Yearbook of International Law is “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions as a Means of Enforcing International Law in Palestine”.    One of the principle criticisms of public international law remains the relatively impoverished mechanisms available for its effective enforcement, particularly when ...

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Greece and the Gods of Neoliberalism

Just as Zeus put Hercules through a series of humbling labors not so long ago, so too do the Gods of neo-liberalism and colonialism today put Greece’s current fearless leader through many an unsavory janitor’s task. A dirty job, but someone has to do it...      

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Leadership of Palestinian BDS Campaign Responds to New Israeli Law

[The following press release was issued by the Palestinian BDS National Committee on July 12, 2011.] The Israeli parliament (Knesset) last night passed a new law  criminalizing support for the Palestinian civil society campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, penalizing Israeli persons and organizations active in the campaign, or indeed in any other partial boycott of Israel or any of its institutions. The repressive legislation also bars companies that refuse to to deal ...

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Is Palestine Next?

No one in the Arab world was watching the news more closely than the Palestinians during the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. The first emotion they experienced was disbelief; the second – particularly when they saw Palestinian flags being raised in Tahrir Square – was relief that they were no longer alone. Arab lethargy has been a virtual article of faith among Palestinians, who felt that their neighbours had betrayed them in 1948 and had done nothing to help them since. The Palestinian national ...

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On the Possible Recognition of A Palestinian State at the United Nations

There is much interest in what will happen regarding Palestine at the United Nations in September. Contrary to much of what has been written on this subject, this is not a matter of “declaring” Palestinian statehood. The PLO already declared the independence of Palestine in 1988. Like many things in life, this is something you can only do once. Moreover, this already proclaimed state of Palestine did not and does not enjoy sovereignty, jurisdiction or control over the territory it claims. Nor do either ...

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Multilateral Cooperation Between The United States and Israel

[The below remarks were made at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on June 15, 2011, by Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Organization Affairs, U.S. Department of State.] Multilateral Cooperation Between The United States and Israel: Fighting Delegitimization, Moving Forward Together Good afternoon. I want to thank Rob Satloff and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy for this invitation. It is truly a privilege to have this opportunity at this ...

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Translating Palestine: Dispatches from the 2011 Palestine Festival of Literature

Finally, on our way to Jerusalem, the first stop of Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest). There are some twenty of us mainly from the UK, persons engaged in literature, writing, publishing, and teaching. We’re young and old; white and black; from the US, UK, Pakistan, and beyond; speakers of smooth-English as well as its accented variations. Pal Fest activities will include writing workshops, readings, panel discussions, and meetings with local individuals and organizations. The venues will be ...

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Shooting at Protesters at Qalandia Crossing (and the Golan) Today: Live Video by Jadaliyya Researcher

While commemorating al-Naksa before marching peacefully to Jerusalem today, Israeli soldiers shot and injured at least four protesters (with rubber bullets) and dozens were hospitalized from inhaling tear gas.  Jadaliyya researcher Nour Joudah was at the demonstration and was affected by the tear gas but did not require hospitalization. She captured the following video during the protest and managed just recently to edit it and send it to us. In addition to the video below, click here to read ...

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"Freedom for Palestine" Music Video

The following music video (Freedom for Palestine by OneWorld) was recently distributed in anticipation of the CD/iTunes release of the song. It features musicians from around the world, including Maxi Jazz (Faithless), Dave Randall (Slovo/Faithless), LSK, the Durban Gospel Choir, members of the London Community Gospel Choir, and Jamie Catto (1 Giant Leap). It has received significant attention in the past day after the video was linked to by Coldplay on their Facebook page. More information on the ...

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When An Act of War Is Not An Act Of War

Two weeks ago Israel attacked Lebanon. Troops opened fire on a large group of protestors at the border between these two states. The Israeli army used live ammunition, killing at least eleven civilians and wounding over 100 others, some critically. The Lebanese army also fired their weapons at, and over, the protestors who had arrived at the border in order to commemorate the Palestinian Nakba. Since May 15, 2011, the border has been quiet. Local and international powers such as the Lebanese state, the ...

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The PLO: A Positive Model or Doomed for Failure? Part II Roundtable on Palestinian Diaspora and Representation

[This is PART II of a three-part roundtable on Palestinian Diaspora and Representation moderated by Jadaliyya Co-Editor Noura Erakat. It features Naseer Aruri, Seif Da'na, Karma Nabulsi, and Sherene Seikaly. Read the INTRO, PART I: Palestinians Organizing in Diaspora, Part II: The PLO: A Positive Model or Doomed for Failure?.]  2. Is it fair to say that prior to Oslo, Palestinians had effectively organized themselves in a transnational governing body in the ...

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