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.

Above image: Rifqa Il Kurd sits with Noura Erakat, discussing the takeover of her home by settlers to the Delegation. Image by Dr. Ralph C. Watkins.
Below is an excerpt from Jadaliyya co-editor, Noura Erakat's introduction to her diary entries while in Palestine:

Even after editing the original diary, the one before you now, I remained uneasy. It does not do justice to the layers of violence, historical depth, and struggles within each of these local encounters. It was simply personal. However, because of my conviction in the justness of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, freedom, and dignity, I feared that the personal could appear unfair and even manipulative. Absent these binaries and rife with the complexity it deserves, I believe the justness of the cause would be just as piercing. Israeli settler-colonialism, apartheid, and occupation should not cease because Palestinians are good and Israelis are bad. Those structural conditions are an anathema to all whom they directly and indirectly impact—whether they happen to manifest across historic Palestine or elsewhere. Still, my writings reflected a jarring encounter with the brute crudeness of violence—as if I were discovering it for the first time. This, perhaps, is the power of bearing witness, over and over again.

Click here to read the rest of the introduction, as well as her diary entries accompanied with images.

Above image: Rifqa Il Kurd sits with Noura Erakat, discussing the takeover of her home by settlers to the Delegation. Image by Dr. Ralph C. Watkins.

Below is an excerpt from Jadaliyya co-editor, Noura Erakat's introduction to her diary entries while in Palestine:

Even after editing the original diary, the one before you now, I remained uneasy. It does not do justice to the layers of violence, historical depth, and struggles within each of these local encounters. It was simply personal. However, because of my conviction in the justness of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, freedom, and dignity, I feared that the personal could appear unfair and even manipulative. Absent these binaries and rife with the complexity it deserves, I believe the justness of the cause would be just as piercing. Israeli settler-colonialism, apartheid, and occupation should not cease because Palestinians are good and Israelis are bad. Those structural conditions are an anathema to all whom they directly and indirectly impact—whether they happen to manifest across historic Palestine or elsewhere. Still, my writings reflected a jarring encounter with the brute crudeness of violence—as if I were discovering it for the first time. This, perhaps, is the power of bearing witness, over and over again.

Click here to read the rest of the introduction, as well as her diary entries accompanied with images.

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.

Almost Two Years of Bloodshed in Syria: What End is There in Sight?

With the second anniversary of the Syrian uprising fast approaching, there seems to be no end in the near future to the nightmare the country is currently going through. What are the myths and realities of the Syrian uprising, as well as the roots and the trajectories? Professor Beshara Doumani of Brown University spoke about these issues with Syrian-born activist and sociologist Yasser Munif.

VOMENA also received an update on the current Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) efforts at Stanford University from Omar Shakir; a member of Students for Palestinian Equal rights.

The last decades have seen the emergence of a range of attempts to address the conflict of Palestine that use music, along with several Western classical musical initiatives that seek explicitly to involve Palestinians. These are in themselves examples of a much broader contemporary phenomenon in which the arts are brought into sites of political conflict or other strife.

An excerpt from Rachel Beckles Willson, Orientalism and Musical Mission: Palestine and the West. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Read a longer excerpt, as well as in interview with the author here.