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.”  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
Before leaving for Palestine earlier in the summer, a friend of mine gave me a postcard by a Palestinian artist that expressed, he said, the fact that “the situation in the Middle East always seems to get worse, never better”. Sadly, three months in Palestine seemed to confirm this grim reality, as with each passing day, the occupation’s grip becomes tighter and ‘Palestine’ gets smaller. As 2006 begins to draw to a close it is useful to take a step back from the daily horrors in Gaza or the arrest raids in the West Bank, to assess three broad Israeli strategies vis à vis the Palestinians, and how they might be resisted. Read more
Since the start of the intifada most Palestinians have greeted the various peace efforts with weary scepticism or downright pessimism. However, some refuse to let the vicissitudes of political manoeuvring affect their vision for the future. Daoud Nassar’s story is one of both hope and despair, where injustice meets inspiration.
Daoud lives with his wife and children in Bethlehem, and his family owns a piece of land southwest of the city. One Friday morning, in the summer sun, I stood with Daoud looking out across his fields and beyond, up the hill towards the Neve Daniel settlement. Read more