Last week, ahead of the parliamentary elections in Israel this Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised that if re-elected, he would annex up to one-third of the occupied West Bank.
His announcement prompted widespread international condemnation. But for most Palestinians such declarations mean nothing. We’ve heard many statements of support over the years, and nothing ever changes. Cynicism is widespread; by now, many of us would prefer straight talk. As Gideon Levy, a columnist for Haaretz, wrote recently, referring to Mr. Netanyahu’s plan: “Let him turn the reality in this territory into a political reality, without hiding it any longer. The time has come for truth.”
Israel already is reaping all the benefits of annexation in the West Bank, and without having to bear any responsibility for the welfare of the Palestinians living here.… Seguir leyendo »
Israel is holding an election on Tuesday, and Palestinian communities in the occupied territories are not following it with much interest. This is not because whoever is elected will not have a strong impact on our lives. It’s because none of the leading candidates has a program for peace. The main contenders are committed to maintaining the illegal Jewish settlements that have been established in the West Bank. They do not seek to end the occupation.
Israel has not formally annexed the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, but it lords over these lands like a sovereign power. Or worse. It has seized tax revenues from the Palestinian Authority, which is supposed to administer the West Bank; it keeps Gaza under siege.… Seguir leyendo »
My nephew Aziz, a bright young man who returned to Ramallah this summer after studying in London, called me on Thursday morning, the day after the decision by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“I don’t know what can be done,” he said, with obvious pain in his voice. I didn’t have much to propose. I had just heard an announcement from the nearby mosque calling on people to go to the center of town at noon. There we could gather to denounce the American decision. I suggested to my nephew that we go together and see what was happening.… Seguir leyendo »
Every conflict has its heroes. In Palestine they’re the taxi drivers.
After living for half a century under occupation, I can no longer endure the anxiety of what might appear on the road, whether it is angry drivers bottlenecked at the hundreds of barriers scattered through the West Bank or the pathetic boys who throw themselves at your car pretending to clean the windshield, asking for money. The plight of these boys invariably makes me hate myself, forcing me to confront the extent to which my society has failed. Then, of course, there is the indignity of having to wait on the whim of an Israeli teenage soldier to motion me to pass.… Seguir leyendo »
If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it,” Daniel Reisner concluded in 2009, after a decade serving as head of the Israel Defense Force’s international law department. “An action that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries.”
As proof, Reiner cited the “targeted killings” Israel conducted continually until the practice was, in his words, “in the center of the bounds of legitimacy.” The Israeli government’s latest attempt at legitimization takes the form of a new law passed by Parliament on Monday. The bill retroactively legalizes government expropriation of privately owned Palestinian land on which settlements or outposts were built “in good faith or at the state’s instruction.” In effect, it makes the illegal legal.… Seguir leyendo »
Moments of hope are rare in this miserable, interminable Israeli-Palestinian conflict, so archaic in its colonial character, so postmodern in the methods Israel uses to oppress the Palestinians living under its rule.
There was one such moment around the time Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. Soon after, the Israeli filmmaker Esther Dar contacted my mother proposing to make a documentary film about her and some friends, two Palestinian Arabs and two Israeli Jews who had spent four years together at an Anglican boarding school in Jerusalem, starting in 1939, during the British Mandate in Palestine.… Seguir leyendo »
Tout dépend d’où on part. Il y a dix ans, la loi n’interdisait pas aux citoyens israéliens de pénétrer dans les villes palestiniennes de la Cisjordanie, et la bande de Gaza n’était pas assiégée comme elle l’est aujourd’hui. Il est bien plus facile d’imposer votre définition du peuple que vous avez ghettoïsé si vous n’autorisez pas vos citoyens à juger par eux-mêmes. Soixante-dix ans auparavant, sous le mandat britannique, il existait un certain nombre de villes et villages palestiniens dont la population était mixte, à la fois juive et arabe. En remontant encore plus loin dans le temps, on s’aperçoit que sous l’Empire ottoman, il n’y avait aucune frontière dans toute la méditerranée orientale : ni entre les Etats-nations arabes (Syrie, Jordanie, Liban), ni avec l’état juif d’Israël.… Seguir leyendo »
I can remember the appearance of the hills around Ramallah in 1979, before any Jewish settlement came to be established there. In the spring of that year I walked north from Ramallah, where I live, to the nearby village of A’yn Qenya and up the pine-forested hill. A gazelle leapt ahead of me. When I reached the top I could see hills spread below me like crumpled blue velvet, with the hamlets of Janiya and Deir Ammar huddled between its folds. On top of the highest hill in the distance stood the village of Ras Karkar with its centuries-old citadel that dominated the area during Ottoman times.… Seguir leyendo »