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Bureaucratic dispossession

On 20 August 2007, a story appeared in the Israeli daily Haaretz about the disputed ownership of a piece of land in East Jerusalem. The “land in question,” the report said, is “an olive grove called Kerem Hamufti” and part of the “Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.” [1] According to Haaretz, the “Israel Lands Administration (ILA) is working together with the Ateret Cohanim association to wrest from Palestinian landowners control of 30 dunams (7.5 acres) of land in East Jerusalem and to transfer it to the association without a tender.” Petitioning the High Court, the land’s owners, the Palestinian Arab Hotels Company, described the purpose of this expropriation as “extraneous, illegitimate, racist and discriminatory.” Read more

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Apologetically imperial: Liberals, political Islam, and a war of terror

Long before Nick Cohen ruminated on “What’s Left?” and Martin Amis imagined the sexual frustration of millions of Muslim men, even as the ink dried on opinion pages in the “liberal” New York Times, Guardian and Independent urging on the slaughter in Iraq, those on the left still committed to resisting imperialism were already ably despatching the accusations of “appeasing Islamofascism”. It is not my intention to repeat those thorough demolitions here. Read more

Dying to live

Every death from the thousands of Palestinians killed by the Israeli occupation has been a despicable crime. Yet some of them acquire a symbolic significance in the way that the personal horror speaks to something more fundamental in Israel’s colonial policies. The murder of Nizar al-Adeeb is one such case. Nizar was shot dead by Israeli soldiers as he approached the border separating the occupied Gaza Strip from Israel. He was 22 years old and a resident of Nusseriat refugee camp. His death was recorded by the Associated Press in the following way:

Israeli troops shot three Palestinians as they approached the fence around the Gaza Strip Saturday, killing one and lightly injuring the other two, the army said. Read more

The Nakba in Israeli textbooks and official discourse

The contents of school textbooks in Palestine/Israel have often been the cause of controversy, normally when a report is published purporting to reveal “shocking revelations” about the alleged indoctrination of Palestinian schoolchildren. Last week, however, it was Israeli textbooks in the spotlight, as the Ministry of Education approved a new textbook with a difference. As the BBC reported, “for the first time” the “Palestinian denunciation of the creation of Israel in 1948″ had been included. This incident afforded a perfect opportunity for seeing how the Nakba — what Palestinians called their expulsion by Zionist forces from their homes and villages in what is now Israel during 1947-48 — is viewed by “official” discourse in the West (through the filter of the mainstream media), and within Israel itself. Read more