Jadaliyya Co-Editor Noura Erakat Discusses Resumption of Peace Talks on Al Jazeera’s ‘The Stream’

In this episode of Al Jazeera’s The Stream, Jadaliyya Co-Editor Noura Erakat joins Dimi Reider, Hussein Ibish, and Gil Hoffman to discuss the significance of the resumed talks. Noura explains that returning to the negotiating table benefits the United States and Israel, and will likely result in an economic plan that incrementally improves the lives of Palestinians without altering the power dynamics at all—thus extending the shelf life of the current Palestinian leadership. She emphasizes:

[W]e shouldn’t lose sight of that what is fundamentally at issue here isn’t that Palestinians can’t govern themselves in statelet or some sort of territorial entity. The fundamental issue here is that Palestinians as a population are subject to a settler-colonial regime which deems them inferior to their Jewish Israeli counterparts.

Israeli war planes illegally fly over the country daily, low enough to taunt people with their own helplessness. The sonic booms, a staple of Lebanon’s soundscape, are a clear message that the country is at the mercy of Israel’s brutal war machine. This message vibrates in the bones of those that have lived and died under countless Israeli raids over civilian villages, towns, and cities. It is a strange thing being bombed from the sky while knowing that there is no air force or anti-aircraft to protect you, and that you have only the concrete of your building to shield you from one of the strongest air forces in the world. To be teased with your own death and the deaths of those that you love. How does one ever feel safe again?

Alone: Palestinian Children in the Israel Military Detention System (Video)

The above video was produced by Defense of the Children International (DCI). It depicts Israel’s methods and practices of detaining Palestinian children.

Quotes from the video:

"Since 1967, Palestinians from the West Bank have lived under Israeli Military law. This Law is different from the civil law applied to Israelis living in the same territory."

"7,500 Palestinian children are estimated to have been detained, interrogated and imprisoned within this military system since the year 2000."

The Infrastructure of Israeli Settler Colonialism (Part 1): The Jordan Valley

Since its establishment, Israel has distinguished the persons under its civil and military jurisdiction based on religion. Throughout Israel Proper and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), comprised of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, Israel applies a different set of laws to its Jewish and non-Jewish inhabitants respectively. By bifurcating Jewish nationality from Israeli citizenship, the State is able to afford demonstrable and significant privilege to Jewish persons even beyond Israel’s undeclared borders (hence the reference to Israel Proper) at the expense of the political and socio-economic well-being of its non-Jewish citizens. Within the OPT, the brunt of Israel’s policies are more severe as they are applied under a military occupation regime for which no oversight or legal redress exists. The impact of these policies is to diminish the number of Palestinians, to remove them from their original lands, and to concentrate them geographically. Within the OPT, they are concentrated into Area A; into no-man’s land within the Seam Zone between the Apartheid Wall and the Green Line; and into isolated communities surrounded by Israeli settlements and their associated military apparatus. Within Israel Proper, they are concentrated in urban townships, in unrecognized villages, and other ghettoized communities.  

In this series of videos featuring interviews with Palestinians facing forced displacement, we seek to show a glimpse into Israel’s infrastructure of settler-colonialism. 

We start with Part 1, on the Jordan Valley.

Click here to read more and scroll to the bottom for the second part of the above video.

[Download full-sized version here.]
Not Enough Water in the West Bank?

This Friday is World Water Day and an opportune time to highlight the gross misallocation of water resources between Israel and the Palestinians. Water is one of the five permanent status issues in the Oslo Peace Accords, twenty years old this year. Accordingly, its accesss and consumption is relegated to political negotiations and beyond the purview of international law on water. As a result, the Palestinian Authority has had little basis upon which to challenge Israel’s confiscation of water for the past twenty years. 
Sixty percent of one of Israel’s most significant water sources, the Western Aquifer, is located in the occupied West Bank. Israel derives eighty percent of the Acquifer’s annual yield and Palestinians receive the rest. Prime Ministers Menachim Begin, Ariel Sharon, and Ehud Barak consider control and use of Palestinian water use as a precondition to any Palestinian state. Were it subject to international law, at most Israel would receive only fifty percent of shared water resources.
Failure to abide by these terms of reference has devastated the Palestinian economy. Consider that a little more than one-third of the irrigable land in OPT is actually irrigated, which costs the economy 110,000 jobs per year and ten percent of its annual GDP. 
While the security sector remains robust, the agricultural sector has shrunk from 28.5% of the economy in 1993 to 5.8% today.

Continue reading here

[Download full-sized version here.]

Not Enough Water in the West Bank?

This Friday is World Water Day and an opportune time to highlight the gross misallocation of water resources between Israel and the Palestinians. Water is one of the five permanent status issues in the Oslo Peace Accords, twenty years old this year. Accordingly, its accesss and consumption is relegated to political negotiations and beyond the purview of international law on water. As a result, the Palestinian Authority has had little basis upon which to challenge Israel’s confiscation of water for the past twenty years. 

Sixty percent of one of Israel’s most significant water sources, the Western Aquifer, is located in the occupied West Bank. Israel derives eighty percent of the Acquifer’s annual yield and Palestinians receive the rest. Prime Ministers Menachim Begin, Ariel Sharon, and Ehud Barak consider control and use of Palestinian water use as a precondition to any Palestinian state. Were it subject to international law, at most Israel would receive only fifty percent of shared water resources.

Failure to abide by these terms of reference has devastated the Palestinian economy. Consider that a little more than one-third of the irrigable land in OPT is actually irrigated, which costs the economy 110,000 jobs per year and ten percent of its annual GDP. 

While the security sector remains robust, the agricultural sector has shrunk from 28.5% of the economy in 1993 to 5.8% today.

Continue reading here

The Empire of Sexuality: An Interview with Joseph Massad
أخونة السلفيين
Mainstream Taboo on Criticizing Israel Suffers Visible Cracks (Video)
Almost Two Years of Bloodshed in Syria: What End is There in Sight?
The Sad Potential End of Beheadings in Saudi Arabia
الخوف والغضب: المرأة وعنف ما بعد الثورة
She Who Tells a Story: Interview with the Photography Collective Rawiya
Tunisia and the IMF: A Beggar State and an Impoverished People
جميلة بوحيرد
مجلس التعاون الخليجي وحق العقوبة المقدس

Mainstream Taboo on Criticizing Israel Suffers Visible Cracks (Video)

For those of us in the United States who have been advocating for Palestinian rights for many years, our impact can seem dismal by looking only at the unshakable bias of US foreign policy on the issue. However, since real political change happens from the ground up, and the political establishment is often the last element to respond to social change, the impact of our activism can be more accurately measured by looking at how public discourse has changed over the last decade.

A decade ago, sympathy for the Palestinian quest for justice was virtually nonexistent in the United States. But in the last ten years, some noteworthy signs of change have appeared: a former President wrote a book about Israeli apartheid in the occupied territories; leading academics at Harvard and the University of Chicago wrote a book criticizing the Israel lobby’s influence in Washington; and major Jewish American organizations emerged to challenge the fiction that AIPAC speaks for a singular American Jewish community on U.S. policy towards Israel. Also, a plurality of Americans and a majority of Democrats now believe that Israeli settlements should be dismantled and the land returned to Palestinians. We certainly still have a lot of work ahead of us in expanding the debate further as well as translating the shift in discourse into an actual shift in policy. Still, it is important to remember that we are making a difference. The following video shows the extent to which our efforts have penetrated mainstream American media.

Several days after Israeli air force struck targets inside Syria, President Bashar al-Asad bravely condemned the assault. Moreover, he also asserted with defiance that Israel is trying to “destabilize” Syria, debunking thereby the claims that, by striking a part of Syria’s sovereign territory, Israel was trying to promote Arab unity and social justice from the gulf to the ocean. The Syrian regime reserved for itself once more the right to retaliate when it sees fit, augmenting thereby the rights that it affords itself to retaliate to Israeli strikes inside Syrian territories. In 2007, Israel also struck targets north of Syria and the regime was not quick in responding with defiance also by condemning the attack and reserving for itself the right to respond when it saw fit. When you collect three instances in which you are attacked and you reserve for yourself the right to retaliate, you get a prize from the international community.

As if these retaliatory actions were not sufficient, Syria also formally complained to the United Nations about the attack.

For its part, the US administration yet again demonstrated its customary political integrity in foreign relations in its dealing with the news of a hostile attack on one’s soil. Its response to the Israeli strike against Syria was literally to warn Syria about transferring weapons to Hizballah. Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security adviser, said “Syria should not further destabilise the region by transferring weaponry to Hezbollah.” The best analysis attributes this concern to the potential ability of Hizballah to strike Israeli jet fighters that have never stopped violating Lebanese airspace since 2000, or to F-16s and F-18s that bomb Lebanese cities, quarters, and villages to smithereens, as in summer 2006. The US administration, consistent with previous US administrations, takes sovereignty very seriously when it involves allies, a perfectly understandable position. What is confusing to the US government, however, are the attempts by state and non-state actors to defend themselves against the violation of their airspace and the destruction of their land and peoples.

Instead, the US administration suggested the export to Lebanon of water/soap bubble dispensers that, upon impact, over the years, might cause the sides of jet fighters either to rust or experience discoloration. (a yellow duck dispenser will be provided to avoid suspicion, and to match Hizballah’s colors, which is a really nice touch).

Continue reading…

"Twitter is important.  When there is an action on the ground, it is extremely important that people are on Twitter tweeting about it and spreading the word. The problem is that the majority decide to take that role. The balance is not quite as everyone hopes. We need more people on ground. Nonetheless, as I said before, a lot of the tweeps are active on ground. And when they tweet, they tweet from the field. 
It is human nature to have a tendency to slack off. But at the end of the day, I cannot judge the level of activity of anyone by how active they are on Twitter. And let us remember, the acts of struggle and resistance are not only the ones we see.
Sometimes actions could be so sensitive that they remain covered in secrecy during planning and after execution. Many Palestinians are in Israeli prisons now just because of this unhealthy phenomenon. Many people have full time jobs of just pointing fingers at people and deciding who is an activist and who is not, or who is patriotic and who is not. In a way, they help the occupation in trying to make actions planned in secrecy surface, and thus fail.”
—Read more of Maath Musleh’s interview with Jadaliyya

"Twitter is important.  When there is an action on the ground, it is extremely important that people are on Twitter tweeting about it and spreading the word. The problem is that the majority decide to take that role. The balance is not quite as everyone hopes. We need more people on ground. Nonetheless, as I said before, a lot of the tweeps are active on ground. And when they tweet, they tweet from the field.

It is human nature to have a tendency to slack off. But at the end of the day, I cannot judge the level of activity of anyone by how active they are on Twitter. And let us remember, the acts of struggle and resistance are not only the ones we see.

Sometimes actions could be so sensitive that they remain covered in secrecy during planning and after execution. Many Palestinians are in Israeli prisons now just because of this unhealthy phenomenon. Many people have full time jobs of just pointing fingers at people and deciding who is an activist and who is not, or who is patriotic and who is not. In a way, they help the occupation in trying to make actions planned in secrecy surface, and thus fail.”

—Read more of Maath Musleh’s interview with Jadaliyya

[Left: Old market in al-Khalil. Image by Isis Nusair.]

[Middle: Israeli security checkpoint by the Ibrahimi Mosque. Image by Isis Nusair.]

[Right: Israeli security tower at the entrance to al-Shuhada Street. Image by Isis Nusair.]

Parallel Walks in al-Khalil: A Photo Essay

I last visited al-Khalil (Hebron) with my family when I was a child in the mid 1970s. I only have vague recollections of that visit, except for the place where Ibrahim (Abraham) was to sacrifice his son. For some reason, and maybe because as a child I was unable to comprehend why a father would be asked to sacrifice his son, that visit remained ingrained in my memory for years to come.

While studying in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, I always visited Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Birzeit, especially for solidarity student visits during the first Palestinian Intifada. I have been living in the United States since 1993, yet despite my repeated visits back home for research and to see my family in Nazareth, al-Khalil was never on my agenda. It was not until I agreed to be a discussant for the film This is My Country Hebron—which at the time was to be screened in January 2012 as part of the annual Human Rights Film Festival at Denison University—that I went back to al-Khalil to see with my own eyes what was happening on the ground. I went again for another visit in early May of that year, and by now it seems that al-Khalil will be part of every future visit I make.

Continue reading