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  • Author: Rashid I. Khalidi
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: THIS ISSUE OF THE JOURNAL carries an article, a report, and three essays which share a focus on recent events, as well as two substantial articles on historical topics with continuing relevance, about the Greek Orthodox and Armenian communities of Palestine.
  • Topic: Development, United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: Palestine, Gaza, Armenia
  • Author: Margret Johannsen
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This article looks at the use of ultra-short-range rockets by Palestinian militant factions in the Gaza Strip as part of the overall dynamic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and as a tool employed within internal Palestinian rivalries. Against the background of the gross military asymmetry between the parties to the conflict, it assesses the strategic utility of the rockets, including their psychological value as an “equalizer” to Israeli attacks. The article scrutinizes Israel's options to counter the rocket threat and identifies steps toward containing violence in Gaza. While bearing in mind that several Palestinian militant groups are involved in the production, acquisition, and firing of rockets, this article focuses on Hamas because, due to its leadership role in the Gaza Strip, a solution for the rocket issue will not be found without factoring in and providing a role for the Islamic organization.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Alain Gresh
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This essay addresses the Palestine question within a European context. After reflecting on why Palestine has been widely embraced as a “universal cause,” the author explores its relationship to the “Jewish question” in the changed context following World War II: Whereas prior to the war it was the Jews who were perceived as a threat to European civilization, today it is the Muslim immigrants who have the scapegoat role. Also discussed are philosemitism (and its manifestations in the West) and anti-Semitism (as it relates to the Arab world), and how these phenomena have been impacted by the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The essay concludes with “utopian musings” on possibilities for a future Palestinian-Israeli peace.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Richard Falk
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict, edited by Adam Horowitz, Lizzy Ratner, and Philip Weiss. New York: Nation Books, 2011. vii + 426 pages. Index to p. 449. $18.95 paper FINALLY, the reading public has been provided with an edited text that makes possible a comprehensive understanding of the Goldstone Report (GR)—the investigation commissioned by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) into war crimes allegations arising from the Gaza war (2008–09)— and the controversy that followed its release. Given the near certainty that no further official action will result from the report, without such a book the GR could well be removed to the vast graveyard of excellent UN reports prepared at great expense and effort, but which rarely see the light of day unless one is prepared to embark on a digital journey of frustration and discovery to track down the text and its necessary context online. Yet the GR, however discredited thanks to the tireless efforts of Israel and the United States, is a milestone in a number of ways, not least because its authoritative demonstration of the lawlessness of Israel's behavior in these attacks helps us understand why, at this stage of the conflict, the Palestinian struggle needs to rely on non-violent soft power coercion, as by way of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. The present volume, edited by Adam Horowitz, Lizzy Ratner, and Philip Weiss, offers not only substantial excerpts of the main body of the report, but also eleven solicited essays by expert commentators holding a range of views as well as an illuminating timeline of relevant events. All in all, the editors of The Goldstone Report have made an exemplary contribution to the ideal of an informed citizenship so crucial to the responsible functioning of a democratic society.
  • Topic: Human Rights, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Geoffrey Aronson
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This section covers items—reprinted articles, statistics, and maps—pertaining to Israeli settlement activities in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. Unless otherwise stated, the items have been written by Geoffrey Aronson for this section or drawn from material written by him for Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories (hereinafter Settlement Report), a Washington-based bimonthly newsletter published by the Foundation for Middle East Peace. JPS is grateful to the foundation for permission to draw on its material.
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Israel, Jerusalem, Gaza
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: A1. Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), Summary Report on the Challenges of Aid Delivery in the Occupied Territories, Jerusalem, 8 June 2011 (excerpts) A2. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Territories (OCHA ), "Fast Facts" for the Gaza Strip and Area C, Jerusalem, July 2011 (excerpts) A3. International Crisis Group (ICG ), Report on the Palestinian Reconciliation Agreement, Ramallah, Gaza, Jerusalem, Washington, Brussels, 20 July 2011 (excerpts)
  • Political Geography: Washington, Palestine, Jerusalem, Gaza
  • Author: Jamil Hilal
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Arguing that the polarization of the Palestinian political field did not start with Hamas's takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, the author analyzes the factors that have eroded the cohesiveness and vitality of the Palestinian polity, namely, the paralysis of Palestinian political institutions, territorial and social fragmentation, and egregious outside interference. In this context, and in the absence of an internal Palestinian debate about the objectives of holding elections under occupation, the author shows that the timing and circumstances of the 2006 legislative elections were bound to precipitate the current state of disarray. Finally, he considers the way forward, highlighting the potential of public pressure in promoting national reconciliation. NO ONE WOULD QUESTION today the utter disarray of the Palestinian political field [i], where two separate entities governed by bitterly rival factions are ensconced in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, one under Israeli occupation, the other under a suffocating Israeli siege. Each of the two governments, one primarily secular (controlled by Fatah), the other “Islamist” (controlled by Hamas), has its own security forces and, to the extent possible, bans the activities of members of the rival faction within “its” territory (if it does not arrest or imprison them). Both political “entities” are heavily dependent on external funding (from different donors) and are allied to different regional powers overtly or covertly opposed to one another. As time passes, the two entities grow further and further apart, threatening a repetition in some form of the Pakistan-Bangladesh experience. This state of polarization did not begin in June 2007 when Hamas installed itself as the dominant political, military, and administrative power in the Gaza Strip while Fatah took steps to tighten its control over the West Bank. Rather, these events deepened trends long in the making, enfeebling still further a political field that had been battered since the early 1990s by many changes and events, regional and international. The present essay [ii] seeks to highlight the factors underlying the precariousness and vulnerability of the Palestinian polity and its consequent polarization, the paralysis of its national institutions, and egregious foreign interference. Similar situations have been noted in other regional states subject to invasion and war (Lebanon, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, and the Sudan, among others), but the disarray is perhaps more visible in Palestine for reasons relating to its history, its specific regional and international context, and its ongoing subjection to settler-colonialism and territorial fragmentation. THE MAKING OF THE PALESTINIAN POLITICAL FIELD The Palestinian political field differs from most others in that it includes Palestinian communities with differing socioeconomic, state, and civil society structures, not only in historic Palestine (the 1967 occupied territories and Israel) but also in the diaspora (al-shatat) created by the 1948 Nakba. It was also formed outside the national territory, not by a state but by a national liberation movement that arose in the Palestinian shatat. From the outset, then, lacking a sovereign state, the Palestinian political field has been subject to powerful outside influences and pressures. Its leading institution, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), was founded at the initiative of the Arab states in 1964 and was initially under their control. It was only after the 1967 war, when the PLO was democratically taken over by Palestinian resistance organizations led by Fatah, that it became a popular mass movement and, several years later, the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.” For the next twenty-some years, the PLO and its constituent organizations conducted their political, military, and other activities from bases in countries bordering Israel and later from Tunisia. While this situation made it vulnerable to the machinations of various regional powers seeking to determine the political and economic shape of the Middle East, the fact that the pressures were conflicting helped the PLO maintain to a tangible degree its hegemony over a relatively autonomous Palestinian political field throughout the 1970s and 1980s. PLO hegemony over the Palestinian political field began to be challenged in the late 1980s with the emergence in the occupied territories of political Islam, whose main embodiment, Hamas, had been established at the start of the first intifada in 1987, and the smaller Islamic Jihad several years earlier. Both these organizations were indigenous, having grown out of local branches of the Muslim Brotherhood, and their prominence in the first intifada showed them to be a force to be reckoned with. However, it was not until the 1993 signing of the Oslo accords, which laid out the stages that were supposed to lead to full peace with Israel by the end of the decade, that the magnitude of the challenge posed by political Islam became fully apparent. Under the Oslo accords, the PLO leadership returned from its long exile to the Palestinian territories, thus moving the center of gravity of Palestinian politics to the “inside” for the first time since 1948. There it established the Palestinian Authority (PA), a self-governing body whose powers were sharply limited by the Israeli occupier but which was understood as the first step on the road to statehood. The accords were fiercely opposed by political Islam, as well as by a number of secular PLO factions, most importantly the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). With a growing following, and already endowed with a high degree of discipline and organization, political Islam and especially Hamas found in opposition to Oslo a powerful cause around which to mobilize.
  • Political Geography: Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Salim Tamari, Khalid Farraj, Nasr Abdul Karim
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Dr. Mohammad Mustafa is chairman and CEO of the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF) and an economic adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas. PIF, the leading investor in Palestine, is a publicly limited company fully owned by the people of Palestine. It was established in 2003 with the transfer of assets managed by the Palestinian Authority. Financially and administratively autonomous, it is governed by an independent board of directors and a general assembly representing civil society, nongovernmental organizations, academia, and the public and private sectors. In pursuit of its mandate—which is to strengthen the local economy through investments that foster sustainable economic development while maintaining and increasing existing national reserves—PIF owns direct majority and minority stakes in companies and follows a business model based on public-private partnerships. Currently, PIF has approximately $800 million in assets under management and is leading a $4 billion investment program aimed at stimulating economic growth and creating over 100,000 new job opportunities within the next five years. The interview was conducted in Amman, Jordan, in mid-December 2009 by Nasr Abdul Karim, former dean of economics at An-Najah University, Nablus, and by Salim Tamari and Khalid Farraj, respectively director and associate director of the Institute for Palestine Studies, Ramallah. Abdul Karim: We wanted to start by asking about the current state of the Palestinian economy, particularly after the 2007 split [between Fatah and Hamas]. There have been reports of significant improvement in the gross domestic product (GDP). Is the improvement due to government action or to Israeli steps to facilitate trade and economic development after Netanyahu's call for “economic peace”? Mustafa: There's been a marked improvement in the Palestinian economy in the West Bank in the last three years. Obviously, it hasn't reached where we want it to be. The Israeli occupation and its harsh and arbitrary policies negatively impact its performance and make it heavily dependent on the Israeli economy. Despite our recent efforts to decrease trade with Israel, it still constitutes 90 percent of total Palestinian trade. The result is an economy with only limited self-reliance and high donor dependency. And even though it is stable at present, it's still below its 1967 and 1999 levels. Let me go into some detail with regard to the current economic indicators. According to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund [IMF], the growth rate for the first half of 2009 was about 5 percent. Without Israeli restrictions, it would have been higher, perhaps as much as 12 percent. There is no question that the very considerable international support received by the [Palestinian] Authority—which amounted to $1.7 billion in 2008 and a bit less in 2009—played a large part in realizing this growth, but a significant part also resulted from the political stability and improved security in the West Bank, and from institutional, legal, and economic reforms. These two factors—international support and the improved situation on the ground—led to the recovery, albeit partial, of the private sector. One factor that had very adverse effects on the economy this year—especially on small investors whose ventures depend on Israel—was the difference in the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar against the Israeli shekel. The world economic downturn also had an impact on inflation, which decreased by 2 percent in 2009 relative to 2008 thanks to a drop in the price of certain commodities, specifically oil and some foodstuffs. It could decline further in 2010. Finally, unemployment remains extremely high, reaching 26 percent overall—40 percent in Gaza, 18 percent in the West Bank. These figures do not even include disguised unemployment. For the West Bank, however, we expect to see the rate begin to fall soon. We still have a long way to go, of course, before we reach our goal of an independent, sustainable economy, but this requires not only continuing the program of reform but also removing Israeli restrictions. Farraj: You mentioned unemployment in Gaza. What about the economic situation there? Mustafa: Gaza's economy is in a catastrophic state as a result of Israel's embargo and the absence of Palestinian legitimacy. The economy has been totally destroyed, particularly the private sector. The organized destruction of the economy in the past two years has completely done away with the economic wealth it took decades to build. Some enterprises established in the 1920s and 1930s have now been destroyed and cannot be rebuilt without huge effort. At present, Gaza's economy is based on three sources: (1) the salaries paid by the Authority to nearly 60,000 employees, which support about a million people; (2) the salaries and donor aid paid by the government in Gaza to its employees and members of its security forces; and (3) informal trade—in other words, the tunnels. I think Israel's ongoing embargo and policy of collective punishment of the entire Gaza population is utterly disgraceful. Even a partial reconstruction of Gaza has not been allowed to take place. The Sharm al-Shaykh donor conference [held on 2 March 2009] raised $4 billion, which was allocated for reconstruction, yet to this day there is no mechanism for getting even a fraction of these funds into Gaza. Furthermore, the Israeli embargo prevents materials, such as cement, steel, and wood, needed to restore destroyed homes and buildings from entering. Certainly Gaza's economy was already bad before the blockade, but with the ongoing embargo and the catastrophic destruction of the Israeli invasion it continues to get worse. In my view, the Palestinian economy will never be strong until the two halves of the nation are reunited, national reconciliation is achieved, and Palestinian legality in Gaza is restored.
  • Political Geography: Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Geoffrey Aronson
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This section covers items—reprinted articles, statistics, and maps—pertaining to Israeli settlement activities in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. Unless otherwise stated, the items have been written by Geoffrey Aronson for this section or drawn from material written by him for Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories (hereinafter Settlement Report), a Washington-based bimonthly newsletter published by the Foundation for Middle East Peace. JPS is grateful to the foundation for permission to draw on its material.
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Gaza
  • Author: Michele K. Esposito
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This section is part of a chronology begun in JPS 13, no. 3 (Spring 1984). Chronology dates reflect Eastern Standard Time (EST). For a more comprehensive overview of events related to the al-Aqsa intifada and of regional and international developments related to the peace process, see the Quarterly Update on Conflict and Diplomacy in this issue. 16 NOVEMBER As the quarter opens, Israel's siege of Gaza continues, with Israel barring all exports, all but limited humanitarian imports, and most cross-border transit by individuals (with very limited exceptions for extreme medical cases, VIPs, and international NGO workers). Violence in the West Bank is low and restrictions on Palestinian movement between major population centers have eased noticeably. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are on hold as Palestinian Authority (PA) Pres. Mahmud Abbas refuses to resume negotiations until Israel implements a comprehensive settlement freeze (which Israel rejects).Today in Gaza, 4 Palestinians are injured when a smuggling tunnel under the Rafah border collapses. In the West Bank, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Tubas, in Bayt Fajjar nr. Bethlehem, and in Qalandia refugee camp (r.c.) nr. Ramallah. Of note, 6 IDF soldiers refuse orders to dismantle structures at an unauthorized settlement outpost; they are relieved of duty pending a court-martial hearing. (NYT 11/17; OCHA, WP 11/18; PCHR 11/19) 17 NOVEMBER The Israeli Interior Min. approves construction of 900 new housing units in Gilo settlement in East Jerusalem, precipitating sharp criticism from the White House not only for the Gilo project but for “the continued pattern of evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes” in Jerusalem; UN Secy.-Gen. Ban Ki-moon “deplores” the decision. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Hebron (evicting 1 Palestinian family from their home, occupying it as an observation post), Jericho, Nablus. In the Jerusalem environs, Israeli forces demolish 2 Palestinian homes (1 in Wadi Qaddum, housing 30 Palestinians; 1 in Bayt Hanina, displacing 11 Palestinians). (IFM, NYT, OCHA, PLONAD, WP, WT 11/18; PCHR 11/19) 18 NOVEMBER New York State assemblyman Dov Hikind leads a delegation of 50 Jewish Americans to lay the cornerstone of a new settlement housing project (Nof Zion) in the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabal Mukabir in East Jerusalem (see Quarterly Update for details). Meanwhile, the IDF demolishes a Palestinian home and store in Issawiyya (14 residents) on the outskirts of Jerusalem, 4 Palestinian structures in other Arab areas of East Jerusalem, including Silwan. In the West Bank, the IDF searches greenhouses nr. Jenin, looking for unlicensed wells; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Tulkarm and nr. Jenin. Also in East Jerusalem, an Israeli youth stabs, wounds a Palestinian laborer in Ramat Eshkol settlement. The IDF also makes 2 incursions into s. Gaza nr. Abasan and Khuza to bulldoze land along the border fence, clearing lines of sight. Late in the day, unidentified Palestinians fire a rocket into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In response, the IDF makes air strikes on 2 smuggling tunnels along the Rafah border (injuring 1 Palestinian) and on a Hamas training site in Khan Yunis (destroying 2 structures). (NYT, XIN 11/19; PCHR 11/25; JPI 11/27) 19 NOVEMBER In the West Bank, the IDF stages synchronized late-night raids on the homes of 5 PA intelligence officers in villages nr. Nablus and Salfit, detaining the men (including the PA's Salfit regional intelligence cmdr. Lt. Col. Muhammad `Abd al-Hamid Bani Fadil), marking Israel's first arrest of senior PA security officials in 3 yrs.; the IDF also relays to the PA a request to turn over a 6th intelligence officer, but the PA does not comply; the Israeli DMin. confirms the arrests but refuses to comment, with Palestinian security sources speculating (YA 11/20) that Israel was pressuring the PA to back off investigation of a suspected collaborator; all 5 are released on 11/20 after talks between Israel and the PA. The IDF also stages synchronized late-night house searches in 3 villages w. of Jenin, making no arrests. IDF undercover units traveling in a car with Palestinian license plates enter Bil`in village, arrest a Palestinian on an Israeli wanted list. (YA 11/20; OCHA, PCHR 11/25) 20 NOVEMBER In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas at stone-throwing Palestinians taking part in weekly protests against the separation wall in Bil`in (10s suffer tear gas inhalation) and against Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists taking part in weekly nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall in Ni`lin (injuring 3 Palestinians); fires stun grenades and tear gas at Palestinian and international activists taking part in the weekly nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall in al-Ma`sara s. of Bethlehem (injuring 3 Palestinians, including a 9-yr.-old boy); conducts late-night arrest raids on several coffee shops nr. Qalqilya, detaining 3 PA security officers and 3 teenagers (including a 14-yr.-old boy). In Hebron, Jewish settlers fr. Ma'on in Hebron beat 4 Palestinian youths tending sheep nearby, chasing them off the land; Jewish settlers fr. Carmiel attack and vandalize a Palestinian home nearby, attempting to drive the Palestinian family off the land. (OCHA, PCHR 11/25) 21 NOVEMBER In Gaza, unidentified Palestinians fire a rocket into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF retaliates with air strikes on 2 suspected weapons factories and a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border, injuring 8 Palestinians (2 seriously, 2 moderately, 4 lightly) and damaging another 2 factories and 4 homes nearby. Hrs. later, Hamas announces that it has secured renewed pledges from all Gaza factions to halt all rocket and mortar fire toward Israel, to preserve the stability in Gaza and prevent further Israeli retaliation, though the factions say they will respond to any IDF incursion into Gaza. (YA 11/21; HA, WT 11/22; WT 11/23; OCHA, PCHR 11/25; WJW 11/26) 22 NOVEMBER In the West Bank, the IDF makes a late-night incursion into Bayt Liqiya nr. Ramallah, patrolling the streets and firing rubber-coated steel bullets at stone-throwing youths who confront them, causing no reported injuries; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin, Qalqilya. (OCHA, PCHR 11/25) 23 NOVEMBER Unidentified Palestinians fire a rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Late in the evening, the IDF carries out air strikes on smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border in retaliation, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya; conducts late-night patrols inside Jenin town. Jewish settlers stone Palestinian vehicles traveling on the Nablus–Qalqilya road nr. Havat Gilad settlement. The UN reports that in the previous wk., 2 Palestinian militants were killed mishandling explosives, and 1 Palestinian was killed and 1 injured in a smuggling tunnel collapse on the Rafah border. (Jewish Telegraphic Agency 11/23; OCHA, PCHR 11/25) 24 NOVEMBER In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Salfit and nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin. (OCHA, PCHR 11/25; PCHR 12/3) 25 NOVEMBER In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Qalqilya and nr. Nablus, Salfit. (PCHR 12/3; OCHA 12/9) Netanyahu declares a 10-mo. halt to all new residential housing approvals and construction in West Bank settlements, though building in East Jerusalem and work on 2,900 West Bank housing units currently under construction and any “public buildings essential for normal life” (e.g., schools, synagogues) in West Bank settlements would proceed. The U.S. welcomes this move as “significant.” PA PM Salam Fayyad says that the offer is not enough, the PA insists on a total settlement freeze. (IFM 11/25; NYT, WP, WT 11/26)
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine, Gaza