Archives: December 2007
Thu Dec 13, 2007
Prerequisites for peace
As one who for decades has supported a two-state solution and the nonviolent struggle for Palestinian rights, I view the recent conference in Annapolis with a great deal of skepticism - and a glimmer of hope.
Seven years with no negotiations - and increasing numbers of Israeli settlers, an economic blockade in Gaza and an intricate network of roadblocks and checkpoints stifling movement in the West Bank - have led us to despair and distrust. Any commitment must be made not only to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008 but also to end Israel's occupation. More...
Wed Dec 12, 2007
Israel's Palestinians speak out
The Annapolis peace talks regard me as an interloper in my own land. Israel's deputy prime minister, Avigdor Lieberman, argues that I should "take [my] bundles and get lost." Henry Kissinger thinks I ought to be summarily swapped from inside Israel to the would-be Palestinian state.
I am a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship--one of 1.4 million. I am also a social psychologist trained and working in the United States. In late November, on behalf of Mada al-Carmel, the Arab Center for Applied Social Research, I polled Palestinian citizens of Israel regarding their reactions to the Annapolis conference and their views about our future, and how they would be affected by Middle East peace negotiations. More...
Wed Dec 05, 2007
A generous offer to the Palestinian refugees?
Anyone familiar with Israeli politics was not surprised that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not acknowledge Israel's occupation in his speech at Annapolis. What was surprising was that short of mentioning the "R" word- refugees, Olmert acknowledged the Palestinian refugee problem.
Referring to the Palestinians, the Israeli Prime Minister stated in his Annapolis speech: "your people, too, have suffered for many years; and there are some who still suffer. Many Palestinians have been living for decades in camps, disconnected from the environment in which they grew up, wallowing in poverty, in neglect, alienation, bitterness, and a deep, unrelenting sense of humiliation." Olmert's characterization of the refugees is only partially correct. Poverty, neglect, alienation, bitterness and feelings of humiliation, are only one component of the refugee experience. There are also other components, such as community, pride, generosity, and perseverance. This one-dimensional characterization obviously suits Olmert's conception of a solution. It also casts refugees as objects that will be acted upon (once again), rather than subjects who can genuinely participate in finding a solution. A recent article in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz Daily titled "Refugees and Jerusalem : A question of money" sheds light on Olmert's statements. The article revealed the outlines of the deal being cooked to sell the rights of the Palestinian refugees. More...
Mon Dec 03, 2007
Will peace cost me my home?
Sixty years ago, my grandparents lived in the beautiful village of Beit Daras, a few kilometers north of Gaza. They were farmers and owned hundreds of acres of land.
But in 1948, in the first Arab-Israeli war, many people lost their lives defending our village from the Zionist militias. In the end, with their crops and homes burning, the villagers fled. My family eventually made its way to what became the refugee camp of Khan Yunis in Gaza. We were hit hard by poverty, humiliation and disease. We became refugees, queuing for tents, food and assistance, while the state of Israel was established on the ruins of my family's property and on the ruins of hundreds of other Palestinian villages. More...