Most veteran observers, including Israeli security authorities and Palestinian leadership, were dumbfounded by recent events in Jerusalem, where tens of thousands of Palestinians mobilized non-violently in response to the Israeli closure of the Old City and placement of metal detectors at the entrance of the Dome of Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. What was the secret ingredient that made such a mass action take place and be a successful example in Palestinian non-violent resistance to the 50 years of Israeli military occupation? How did it happen so spontaneously, non-violently and with seemingly no leadership?
A new report by the group, titled, Relations Between Palestinians Across the Green Line (Arabic here, English translation forthcoming), in the works for over two years, may hold the answer to some of these questions. For months, a group of dedicated Palestinian analysts, activists, intellectuals and politicians working with the Palestine Strategy Group (PSG) have been meeting to explore an angle of the Palestinians reality that is many times ignored—the relationship between the Palestinians living inside Israel, today coined as Palestinian citizens of Israel, and Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
Transcending artificial boundaries
The report identifies Jerusalem as a place where, paradoxically, the boundaries of Israel and Palestine collapse — a site for joint work, cooperation and struggle against Israel’s colonial policies. Many political leaders (Palestinian members of Knesset, as well as Jerusalemites, Fatah members, Hamas-affiliated academics, etc.) who were part of the group that produced the report testified to the existing, nascent cooperation and possibility and need to further develop it.
Even beyond the recent developments in Jerusalem, there are also indications of grassroots and bottom-up engagements transcending conventional and formal realms of political engagement elsewhere. The cross-border mobilization and cooperation to address the Prawer Plan, for instance, a 2011 Israeli government plan to forcibly relocate some 40,000 Bedouin citizens living in dozens of villages in Israel’s Negev desert, was identified as additional proof to this growing phenomenon of Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line finding common ground.
The PSG report starts with stating an obvious, but no less bold, fact that
“Fifty years after the Israeli occupation and forced annexation of Palestinians under Israel’s discriminatory ruling regime, political projects associated with ending the occupation and attaining full citizenship have ended in stalemate.”
That statement is not groundbreaking in and of itself. When coupled with the following realization, however, it provides more than just food for thought — it also sheds light on this rather invisible phenomenon which has the potential to rejuvenate the entire Palestinian national liberation movement. The report continues:
“In light of different political projects, national cohesion among the Palestinian people on both sides of the Green Line is a key tool to create a unified, collective umbrella that allows networking, empowerment and development. While it does not abolish political specificities, this umbrella will seek to integrate political projects. Every component of these projects will support the other with a view to realizing respective demands, including ending the occupation of the 1967 territory, return of the refugees, full citizenship, and individual and collective equality inside the Green Line.”
A new Palestinian agency?
The strategy presented is premised on two hypotheses. First, is the need to maintain a clear distinction between the national and the political realms. That means an inclusive Palestinian national project that brings together all Palestinian people — those under occupation in the (New) State of Palestine, those in Israel, and those refugees and diaspora abroad. Secondly, discrepant political interests and perceptions of Palestinian groups need to be viewed as complementary, rather than contradictory to one another. Doing so means embracing diversity, transforming it from a source of divisions into a foundation for rebuilding a national project.
It is important to emphasize that support, networking and joint action of Palestinians across the Green Line have always been in place. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Palestinian party leaders inside Israel have acted in concert and coordinated with and supported each other on innumerable occasions. However, coordination always took place beyond any institutional frameworks. Oftentimes, the report notes, “collaboration was arbitrary, individual [and not] bona fide.” Today, this cross-border cooperation is not only targeted, collective and authentic, but has within it the seeds of a new type of Palestinian leadership.
In this context, namely the lack of institutional networking, PSG discussants proposed several potential options to institutionalize relations between Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line. A major thrust of the report entertains the “creating an inclusive, apolitical framework for all Palestinians.”
Palestinians are 12 million in number, and stuck in institutional paralysis. The nearly 25-year-old Oslo Peace Process successfully, and sadly, facilitated Israel’s strategic desire to utilize the age-old divide and conquer strategy to reduce Palestinians to disparate fragments, each with their own challenge to merely survive. It’s time to reset that reality and view the Palestinians for what they are, physically fragmented, politically divided, but a whole people nonetheless, from Ramallah to Santiago.
About the author:
Sam Bahour is a Secretariat member of the Palestine Strategy Group and policy adviser to Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. He blogs at www.epalestine.com. @SamBahour. The PSG report was implemented in cooperation with the Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies (MADAR) and the Oxford Research Group (ORG). It was supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Representative Office of Norway to the Palestinian Authority (2015-2017) and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (2016-2017). This latest report is the most recent of a series of important and influential documents the PSG has issued since its founding in 2008.
Up to June 1967, a border separated Jews living in Israel and Palestinians residing in the West Bank and Gaza. The Six Day War, which occurred exactly fifty years ago, erased that line. Israel has been occupying these territories ever since. This has been the source of an endless conflict between Jews and Arabs. Who started that war? Having won the war, Israel set out to give an answer to that question which would suit its needs.
To cement its hold over the new territories Israel had sought to mold the story of the Six Day. The attempt to frame the ...
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The World must demand an end to race-based Apartheid Israel after the example of post-Apartheid South Africa and its replacement by a unitary state in Palestine with ...
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In an indication of her murderous and psychopathic nature, Clinton also wrote that it was the “right thing” to personally threaten Bashar Assad’s family with death.
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Israel is concealing vital records to prevent darkest periods in its history from coming to light, academics say
Al-Jazeera – 9 June 2016
Israel is locking away millions of official documents to prevent the darkest episodes in its history from coming to light, civil rights activists and academics have warned as the country’s state archives move online.
They claim government officials are concealing vital records needed for historical research, often in violation of Israeli law, in an effort to avoid damaging Israel’s image.
The Israeli army has long claimed to be the “most moral” in the world.
Accusations of increased secrecy come as Israel marks ...
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The Times of Israel, an independent Israeli newspaper that counts among its staff ...
A Reuters news report under the names of presstitutes Robin Emmott and Sabine Siebold shows how devoid the West is of honest, intelligent and responsible journalists and government officials. http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-nato-summit-idUKKCN0ZN2NN
First we will examine the dishonesty or incompetence of the reporters and then that of Western government officials.
Emmott and Siebold describe NATO as a “Western defense alliance.” Since the Clinton regime NATO has been an alliance for waging offensive war, a war crime under the Nuremberg rules established by the United States. Under the NATO banner a number of countries have been bombed, invaded, and had their governments overthrown by ...
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Good evening, thank you so much for taking time out of what I know are your busy schedules to be here now. My thanks to Jenny Tonge for making this meeting possible; and I would like to thank three people without ...
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2. Whilst 75% of Israelis are Jewish, 21% are indigenous Arabs with restricted civil rights.
3. Israel has the highest birth rate in the developed world, with an average of 3 children per woman.
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5. Israel has induced over 500,000 of its citizens to illegally settle in the Occupied Palestinian West ...
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The Golan Heights were opportunistically occupied by Israel after its victory in the 1967 six-day-war. A United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has monitored the region since 1974, when Israel and Syria signed a ceasefire agreement, and it has been considered an occupied territory of the UN and the ...
Andrew Bacevich has written a series of books on the topic of U.S. imperialism and U.S. military power. His latest work, America’s War for the Greater Middle East [the GME War] is the latest in this series and as with the previous works is clearly written and logically presented. It covers more narrowly than the previous works the military aspects of U.S. military endeavours in the Middle East (greater – as in including East Africa and Afghanistan et al). Generally he succeeds well and this work is a good ‘primer’ for anyone interested in a quick historical overview of U.S. ...
First published by GR in February 2015 in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo Terror Attacks
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This video is part of the Council on Foreign Relations’ InfoGuide Presentation, “The Time of the Kurds”: http://www.cfr.org/kurds
The Kurds are one of the world’s largest peoples without a state, making up sizable minorities in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Their history is marked by marginalization and persecution. Yet some Kurds may be on the verge of achieving their century-old quest for independence in a Middle East undergoing the convulsions of Syria’s civil war, Iraq’s destabilization, and conflict with the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
Watch video here: THE TIME OF THE KURDS
Duration: 10 min.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) concluded its annual conference late last month, triggering the usual debate in various alternative media outlets. Why does so much U.S. taxpayer money go to a small and not particularly useful client state that has a vibrant European-level economy and is already a regional military colossus?
Those who support the cash flow argue that Israel is threatened, most notably by Iran; they claim the assistance, which has been largely but not completely used to buy American-made weapons, is required to maintain a qualitative edge over the country's potential enemies. Those who oppose the aid ...
When considering United States President Donald Trump’s decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, we learn many things about him:
+ He is desperate to hold onto his base, which includes so-called Christian fundamentalists, who unquestioningly support Israel;
+ His interest in ‘the ultimate deal’ between Palestine and Israel is non-existent;
+ He has no regard for the opinions of the U.S.’s closest allies;
+ His knowledge of international law is limited, at best;
+ He holds the safety of U.S. personnel abroad in disdain;
+ His understanding of the complexities of the Middle East are far beyond his interest or ability to ...
A decade ago I published a book, Israel and the Clash of Civilisations, that examined Israel’s desire to Balkanize the Middle East, using methods it had refined over many decades in the occupied Palestinian territories. The goal was to unleash anarchy across much of the region, destabilising key enemy states: Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
The book further noted how Israel’s strategy had influenced the neoconservative agenda in Washington that found favour under George Bush’s administration. The neocons’ destabilisation campaign started in Iraq, with consequences that are only too apparent today.
My book was published when efforts by Israel and the neocons to move ...
Saudi Arabia believes that the talks in the Kazakh capital Astana could lead to a stable ceasefire, according to the statement made by the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. He expressed hope for reaching a ceasefire saying that the Astana talks are worth testing. He also confessed that so far the negotiation process has not resulted in the halt of fighting and transition to peaceful settlement.
Al-Jubeir also mentioned that if the talks succeed, the way of political means should be studied more closely. He refused to comment on the talks agenda, pointing out that its possible success does not mean ...
Hannibal Travis, "On The Centenary of The Greek Genocide", AHIF Policy Journal, American Hellenic Institute Foundation, Inc., Vol. 8, Spring 2017, pp. 14
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Was Israel Under Existential Threat in June 1967?
End 50 Years of Genocidal Occupation & Human Rights Abuse by US-Backed Apartheid Israel
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Israel’s Secret Plan For A “Second Israel” In Ukraine
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