Israeli Economy Struggles for Appearance of Solvency

by Joe Stork
published in MER114

In a year when much of the world endured a protracted economic crisis, and Israel itself was politically torn by the invasion of Lebanon, that country&rsquos economy appeared deceptively unruffled. True, inflation rebounded to a near-record level of 131.5 percent, [1] but most of the country’s citizens seemed to be well cushioned from its effects. Unemployment stood even at 5 percent -- about 65,000 persons -- a rate that has not changed since 1979. Unemployment does not seem to have been exported to the Occupied Territories either, as a record number of workers from the West Bank and Gaza are currently employed in Israel.

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"There Is a Basis for an Israeli-Palestinian Strategy of Joint Struggle"

by The Editors
published in MER114

Daniel Amit is a physicist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a founding member of the Committee Against the War in Lebanon and its predecessors, the Committee in Solidarity with Birzeit University and the Committee Against Settlement in Hebron. During the 1982-1983 academic year, he is Einstein Professor at Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Studies. He spoke with MERIP editors in New York at the end of January, just before the Kahan Commission issued its final report on the Beirut massacres.

What are the main accomplishments of the Committee Against the War?

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Settlement Secularism

by Callie Maidhof
published in MER269

Scan the headlines for news about Israeli settlers, and you are likely to be overwhelmed by stories of a radical and violent religious nationalism: extremists marching on the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, guarded by Israeli soldiers, to pray atop the Temple Mount; West Bank colonists torching olive trees and cars, or making midnight jaunts into Palestinian villages armed to the teeth, to put a “price tag” on both Israeli state slowdowns of the settlement project and Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets. But lately tales have emerged of a kinder, gentler settler as well. Take this Associated Press dispatch:

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Iron and a King

The Likud and Oriental Jews

by Kenneth Brown
published in MER114

There is a new wisdom, already becoming conventional, which explains Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and the attendant massacres of Palestinians and Lebanese by reference to two crucially interconnected developments in Israel: the “orientalization” of Israeli society and the rise to power of the Likud government. “Sharon’s war” is seen as a consequence of Begin’s alliance with the Oriental Jews. [1] Even Chancellor Bruno Kreisky of Austria, a consistent and outspoken advocate of mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO and of the establishment of a Palestinian state, has explained Israeli policy in similar terms: “So today Israel has a majority of Moroccan Jews, Jews from the Arab world....

Israeli Settlement Policy Today

by Peter Demant
published in MER116

Israeli settlements in the occupied territories have recently become much more central to the whole Israeli-Arab conflict. Massive loss of land by West Bank Palestinians, and an upsurge in Jewish settlements and in the number of settlers, have attracted international attention to Israeli colonization of Palestine -- a phenomenon which dates back to the June 1967 war in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and, before 1982, the Sinai. In Israel proper, this “Judaization” of the land has been a central tenet and practice of Zionism ever since the waves of Jewish immigration began in the late nineteenth century. In the last two years, colonization across the Green Line (Israel’s pre-1967 borders) has shown qualitative as well as quantitative changes.

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From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER122

The war between Iran and Iraq has entered its most gruesome phase. Iran has stepped up its “human wave” attacks, sending tens of thousands of new recruits, including many young boys, to face entrenched Iraqi gun positions or to serve as human mine detonators. Tehran, with some evidence, accuses the Iraqi high command of using chemical weapons, including mustard gas, to turn back the Iranian attacks. Iraq’s deputy foreign minister, in Washington in mid-March, weakly responded to these charges by pointing to US use of chemical weapons, such as napalm and Agent Orange, in Indochina, and the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as if to say that Iraq was entitled to some quota of war crimes.

Adams, Israel and South Africa

by Tim Frasca
published in MER133

James Adams, Israel and South Africa: The Unnatural Alliance (London: Quartet Books/Namara, 1985).

James Adams, a senior executive at the Sunday Times of London, scores an overwhelming victory in undermining the thesis of his own title. After even a few pages, his book convinces us, albeit unintentionally, that the Israel-South Africa courtship (and its many consummations) is quite a natural alliance after all, though not without the usual bumps. Mercifully, his remarks on the presumed improbability of the relationship betweeen “a people in flight from racism” and a state “founded on the ideas of racial superiority” absorb little of the author’s energy or the reader’s time.

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The Resistance Front in South Lebanon

by Samir Kassir
published in MER133

Though it fell like a piece of ripe fruit into the hands of the Israelis, southern Lebanon rapidly became a quagmire for the most powerful armed forces in the Middle East. An armed resistance developed, which by early 1984 was carrying out two attacks daily. Popular mobilization did not diminish in spite of the occupier's use of an intimidating arsenal of repression: prolonged arbitrary detention, collective punishment, harassment, repeated closure of the single road of access to the region. In fact, repression only fueled the mobilization.

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Eyewitness to the Iron Fist

by Joan Mandell
published in MER133

Jim Yamin is Middle East program coordinator for Grassroots International, a relief organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with programs in Lebanon and the Horn of Africa. He spoke with Joan Mandell and Kathryn Silver in April, 1985.

You’ve just spent ten weeks in south Lebanon. What were your most striking impressions of the occupation?

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Hanna K. and Farah H.

by Miriam Rosen
published in MER124

Michel Khleifi, The Fertile Memory (Marisa Films, 1980).

Costa-Gavras, Hanna K. (Universal Studios, 1983).

I didn’t make this film to judge, but to transmit the diversity of attitudes. And also, because I can’t forget that as children my brothers and I had to steal fruits and vegetables in order to live in our own land.

The filmmaker is Michel Khleifi, a Palestinian from Nazareth who now lives in Belgium, and his film is The Fertile Memory, a collage of experiences that begins, in fact, with the image of a bowl of fruit on the table.

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