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Occupation

Urban Scars, An Unfinished Essay: Jaffa/Tel Aviv

[Image from author's archive]

Urban scars, cutting deep into the flesh of the city. Lines of division that linger through the civic body, long after their political and social meaning was lost. Areas of inexplicable void within a thriving city. Areas that are constantly on the drawing tables of architects and city planners, who seek to redeem the past, to bring closure to whatever conflict there were, to move on, god dammit. The property value is huge. The return on investment promising. So why do they still stand empty and dead, like in Amsterdam’s former Jewish neighbourhood, lifeless even 65 years after the deportation? And why, even when they are filled with parks and monuments and museums – like ...

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Jaffa, with Jellyfish [Gone to Palestine: 2]

We decided to walk around the old Arab city of Jaffa, which Rachel described as “a lanced boil on Tel Aviv’s thigh.” It was a hot July day, and we were happy to take a walk after our leisurely lunch on Sheinkin St. We asked to be seated as far away from the door as possible, and preferably behind one of the concrete pillars. Though my companion told me that I had no reason to worry nowadays, I was incredibly nervous about the possibility of exploding people. I had the gazpacho and yam fritters, while my friend had the basmati rice with grilled vegetables. The lunch was perfect, even though the owners’ present of a free “iced tea,” made for some reason with ...

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Thanksgiving In Beirut

[Mass Grave at the Massacre of Wounded Knee: Image from Wikipedia, Indian Costume: Costumes Galore]

On November 24, people from across the United States will gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. They will travel (on the busiest travel day of the year), they will eat turkey and pumpkin pie, and they will shop at the orgiastic sales that are a fixture of what is perhaps the most widely celebrated holiday in the USA. Like all ideologically inflected nationalist myths, holidays such as Thanksgiving or Columbus Day both commemorate and mask the histories of violence that build and sustain nations. Such masking enables us to know that people lived on and were removed from the land but also allows us to disregard the fact that the descendants of those ...

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Present Absent: Palestinians in Israel (Part 1)

[Jaffa. Image from unknown archive]

The color of the Jaffa sea was reflected in his blue eyes so that they were even bluer. He had six decades behind him and was in his seventh, but was still laboring as a construction worker in order to pay for his youngest son's tuition at Tel-Aviv University. The campus of Tel-Aviv university is in the Ramat Aviv area or, as he calls it, Al-Shaykh Mwannis. Al-Shaykh Mwannis is a name engraved in Abu Hasan's memory. Whenever he mentions the university's name he mentions it, as if it were a synonym. So many names! Some are engraved in memory, others on street signs. Palestinians in Israel live between two names. Names that once were, and names that refer now to all that ...

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حاضرون غائبون: الفلسطينيون في الداخل

[ يافا Image from unknown archive]

  حاضرون غائبون: الفلسطينيون في الداخل (١)  وكأن لون البحر اليافاوي انعكس في لون عينيه فازدادت زرقتهما زرقة. قطع عقده السادس واقترب من السابع وما زال يعمل في البناء ليؤمن لإبنه الأصغر الذي يدرس في جامعة تل أبيب جزء من تكاليف التعليم الباهظة. جامعة تل ابيب الواقعة في منطقة رمات افيف، الشيخ مونس. الشيخ مونس إسم محفور في ذاكرة أبو حسن ويذكره كلما ذكر  إسم الجامعة، حتى ليبدو وكأنه إسم مرادف لإسم الجامعة. أسماء وأسماء، بعضها محفور على اللافتات والبعض الآخر في الذاكرة. بين إسمين يعيش الفلسطينيون في الداخل. بين إسم كان وإسم أصبح لكل ما حولهم وفي وطنهم. يتذكر أبو حسن منطقة الشيخ مونس جيداً عندما كانت في غالبيتها أراض زراعية جاء للعمل بها في الخمسينيات وكان أغلب ...

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Lessons in Morphology [Gone to Palestine: 3]

It was a strange but mutually beneficial arrangement. I needed to travel north through a number of checkpoints to visit a town that had borne the brunt of the occupation and I needed to get back to Ramallah at a decent hour so as to see friends before I left the next day. They had a service taxi for hire, but little business and few customers. I hired the taxi for a day, and the driver asked if his best friend and his best friend’s son could come along. I said, “The more the merrier.” As we left ...

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Review: The Burden of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 2010 Report, Adva Center

The Adva Center, an Israeli think tank dedicated to studying equality and social justice, recently published its second issue of a bi-annual report entitled, The Burden of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The report seeks to examine the costs of occupation on Israel in economic, social, military, political, and diplomatic terms and concludes that Israel would be richer socially and economically if it ended the occupation. In its own words,  The prolonged conflict with the Palestinians ...

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Aftermath . . . America's Wars in the Middle East (Part 1)

In my new book “Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America’s Wars in the Muslim World,” I look at sectarianism, civil war, occupation, resistance, terrorism and counterinsurgency from Iraq to Lebanon to Afghanistan. While half of the book looks at how the civil war in Iraq began and how it came to an end, other chapters look at the Taliban, the American military in Afghanistan and the Afghan police. The two chapters I am proudest of however deal with Lebanon, where I lived with my wife and son during ...

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Collective Punishment or Not, Gaza Blockade Illegal (Part I)

Israel’s blockade of Gaza is illegal irrespective of the manner in which it is imposed because a blockade is an act of war and an occupying power cannot declare war upon the territory it occupies. To do so would conflate the right to initiate war (jus ad bellum) with the laws of occupation (jus in bello) and render useless the distinction of the permissible use of force in each case. This analysis is different in kind from the one that characterizes the blockade as illegal for its contravention of ...

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.. مستوطنة اريئيل والأمير الضفدع

 إنضمت وزيرة الثقافة والرياضة الإسرائيلية ليمور ليفنات إلى جوقة المنددين برسالة وقع عليها 53 ممثلاً وكاتباً مسرحياً إسرائيلياً يعلنون فيها عن رفضهم الإشتراك في أي فعاليات فنية أو عروض مسرحية ستقام في أي مستوطنة بنيت في الأراضي الفلسطينية المحتلة، بما في ذلك مستوطنة اريئيل. وبحسب مركز"بتسيلم"م لحقوق الإنسان في الأراضي المحتلة، فإن المستوطنات الإسرائيلية في الأراضي المحتلة يفوق عددها ال 150  مستوطنة إضافة إلى أكثر من  100 بؤرة إستيطانية. يعيش قرابة النصف ...

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