Israel

The enemy within - Palestinians in Israel

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Abu and Umm Shams are members of Harakat Abnaa elBalad (Sons of the Land Movement), a revolutionary organisation based in Israel and active since the 1960s. They talked to Chris Jones about life as Palestinians living within Israel, and their daily struggles against Zionism.


Over 1.3 million Palestinians live within Israel and constitute nearly 20 percent of its total population. Can you give us some indication of your situation today?

What you refer to as Israel we refer to as 1948 Palestine. This is the land of Palestine that was occupied by Israel in 1948. The West Bank we refer to as 1967 Palestine, following the Israeli occupation in 1967. And Gaza is Gaza. The three together form Palestine as far as we are concerned.

Dead-end solution in Palestine

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As the US makes plans for new talks between Israel and Mahmoud Abbas's administration, Palestinian author and activist Ghada Karmi, just back from the Occupied Territories, challenges the claim that Palestinians have no alternative but to agree a two-state deal with Israel.

The Fatah conference, which took place in Bethlehem last month, has aroused renewed interest in the Palestinian cause. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has lasted so long and proved so resistant to resolution that hardly anything is "news" any more. Even the Gaza tragedy, so well covered by the media during late December and January, has long slipped off the front pages and scarcely features at all. I pick up a palpable weariness in people's feelings about the issue, both among Palestinians and many commentators outside.

The BBC bows to Zionist pressure

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The Zionist lobby has been deeply damaged by Israel's assault on Gaza in January. It is now trying to claw back some of the ground it lost - with the help of its friends in high places, namely in the senior management of the BBC.

Last month the BBC Trust censured the corporation's Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, for breaches of the BBC's guidelines on impartiality in his coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The complaints concerned an article by Bowen on the BBC website two years ago, and a radio broadcast in January 2008.

The other occupation

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Every mass campaign has its symbols. For me the most moving of the Gaza campaign were the dolls dressed in bloodstained baby clothes, carried by children or teenagers, brought up to the front of demos and cradled in people's arms.

Young people have been central to the campaigning since Israel launched its attack on Gaza on 27 December. Young people have been burning the Israeli flag, organising demos, carrying placards, collecting money and organising boycotts.

Most impressive has been the wave of student occupations in solidarity with Gaza. More than 30 colleges have been in occupation since the middle of January. They have broken new ground in a number of ways.

No change in Israel

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The Israeli general election has resulted in Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud Party being invited to form a new government.

Likud, by Israel's standards, is on the centre-right of the political spectrum. But this is in a country where the entire political sphere is already skewed far to the right.

Tzipi Livni of the "centrist" Kadima Party, together with the Labour Party of Ehud Barack, look set to reject entering a coalition with Netanyahu, because, as Livni put it, "We were not elected to legitimise an extreme right government and we must be an alternative of hope and go to opposition." And these were the people who, as defence and foreign secretaries respectively, led the massacre of Gaza.

BBC: Whose side are you on?

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The refusal of the BBC's top management to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Gaza aid appeal focused public anger over media coverage of the Israeli assault.

The BBC Board's position had nothing to do with "impartiality". When a dog savages a child, it is not impartial to stand back and watch the child bleed - that is siding with the dog. Hiding behind the shibboleth of impartiality in reality meant that the BBC sided with Israel.

Gaza and the Palestinians - an unsustainable injustice

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Israel's brutal attacks have inflicted untold suffering on Gaza's beleaguered population. Yet Israel, despite its military might, has not succeeded in its mission to smash Hamas, Saree Makdisi tells Socialist Review.

The assault on Gaza was described implicitly by Israel and the media as a war of military and economic equals. What were the living conditions in Gaza before the war?

How can Palestine be free?

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Israel's war on Gaza provoked huge protests across the world. People are asking what the solution is for Palestine. It lies with the working class in the region, argues Anne Alexander. Recent struggles in Egypt show that the road to liberation goes through the streets of Cairo.

The recent attack on Gaza has exposed the brutal nature of the Israeli state to millions around the globe. Gaza remains a potent symbol of Palestinian resistance. The area is crammed with refugees and their descendants who fled ethnic cleansing by Zionist militias in 1948. They suffered decades of direct Israeli occupation and the theft of their land and water by Israeli settlers. They have seen their already weak and stunted economy strangled by Israeli policies of "closure", transformed into a near total blockade since 2005.

Palestine: 60 years after the Nakba

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Sabby Sagall recently visited Palestine as part of a twinning project. Here he describes the daily struggles of Palestinians as they continue to resist the Israeli occupation.

The taxi skirts round the 16th century Ottoman wall of Jerusalem's Old City, reaching for the hills of Palestine. The rocky, sun-dried slopes roll east towards the Jordan river and north towards Galilee; silent witnesses of the unending suffering of the Palestinian people, but also of their unbelievable courage and resilience.

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