An Interview with Salah 'Abd al-Shafi

by Graham Usher
published in MER186

Salah ‘Abd al-Shafi directs the Economic Development Group in Gaza. Graham Usher, a journalist currently working in the Gaza Strip, interviewed him in September and October 1993.

What do you think the agreement means economically?

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An Interview with Samir Hleileh

by Joe Stork
published in MER186

Samir Hleileh, an economist who teaches at Birzeit University, is deputy director of the Palestinian Technical Committees and a liaison with the World Bank and other international agencies. Joe Stork spoke with him in late October 1993.

The Oslo agreement builds in an Israeli economic component to a surprising degree.

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Squatters and the State

Back Street Politics in the Islamic Republic

by Asef Bayat
published in MER191

The early 1990s saw a period of renewed urban popular uprisings in Iran, unprecedented since the 1979 revolution. From August 1991 to August 1994, six major upheavals took place in Tehran, Shiraz, Arak, Mashhad, Ghazvin and Tabriz, and there were frequent minor clashes in many other urban centers. Most of these incidents involved urban squatters concerned with the destruction in their communities. This was the case in Tehran, Shiraz, Arak, Mashhad and Khorramabad.

The Menace and Appeal of Algeria's Parallel Economy

by Deborah Harrold
published in MER192

In March 1994, fighting between Algerian security forces and armed Islamist guerrillas reached a critical intensity around Blida, about 90 miles east of Algiers. A commercial strike to protest army killings of young men became the target of yet another military action. Blida is a center for private agriculture, where numerous small private food processing plants operate, not all of them licensed. With its concrete villas surrounded by high walls that conceal both family space and underground production, Blida presents an interesting conjunction of private property and wealth that has escaped state assessment and control, and support of political movements challenging the state.

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"I Am Living in a Foreign Country Here"

A Conversation with an Algerian "Hittiste"

by Meriem Verges
published in MER192

A friend introduced me to ‘Abd al-Haq during the elections in Algeria in December 1991. I was surveying the electoral behavior of youths of the poorer quarters of Algiers (the casbah), the suburbs (Bachdjarah) and a mixed neighborhood (El-Biar). At the time I was trying to meet pietistes (devout ones) and “Afghans” to test my thesis about the rise of “neo-communitarianism” in Algeria. [1]

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Stacking the Deck

The Economics of the Israeli-PLO Accords

by Emma Murphy
published in MER194

For many Palestinians, the political success or failure of the Palestinian Authority (PA) hinges on its ability to bring rapid economic improvement to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where peoples’ livelihoods have been seriously eroded by the Israeli occupation, the intifada and the repercussions of the Gulf war. Some improvements in basic living standards after 30 years of occupation might stave off political opposition to the agreements sufficiently so as to give them a chance of working.

Transfers and Powers

The August Agreement and the Jordanian Option

by Raja Shehadeh
published in MER194

The Declaration of Principles (DOP), signed between Israel and the PLO on September 13, 1993, provided the “agreed framework for the interim period.” [1] This was to be based on the establishment, through elections, of a Palestinian interim self-governing authority for a transitional period not exceeding five years. The jurisdiction of the council was to cover the West Bank and Gaza Strip with the notable exception of Israeli settlements.

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Palestinian Trade Unions and the Struggle for Independence

by Graham Usher
published in MER194

Not so long ago, to visit the Erez checkpoint on Gaza’s “border” crossing with Israel was to witness a modem slave market. Tens of thousands of Palestinian workers would wake up at 3 am and gather at Erez for the privilege of working in their occupier’s economy, predominantly in construction and agriculture, undertaking the “dirty work” that Jewish workers would not do, for a wage on average a third less than their Jewish peers. At least 30 percent of Gaza’s GNP derived from wages earned in Israel.

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Economic Deterioration in the Gaza Strip

by Sara Roy
published in MER200

On February 25, 1996, following several Hamas suicide bombings in West Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel imposed a heightened closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. [1] This most recent heightening of the closure has severely damaged the already precarious economy of the Gaza Strip and caused immense hardship and suffering to the local population. The overwhelming majority in the Gaza Strip have been left with no source of daily income. Many can no longer adequately feed their children. The struggle -- no longer against Israel or even the Israeli occupation -- is now against hunger and humiliation.

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Bread Riots in Jordan

by Jillian Schwedler , Lamis Andoni
published in MER201

On August 13, the Jordanian government lifted its subsidies on wheat. When bread prices immediately doubled, residents of the southern town of Karak demonstrated against the move, calling for a reversal of the policy and the resignation of the prime minister. The protests deteriorated into riots that lasted two days and ended only when the army occupied the town and enforced a strict curfew.

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