Stories about Palestine

A lesson from Thaer Halahla’s hunger strike

This week, a Palestinian prisoner ended the 77th day of his peaceful hunger strike after Israeli authorities agreed to release him on June 5. Thaer Halahla was on the brink of death as the deal was secured. The father of one had been detained without charge for two years and has never even met his daughter – her existence is only known to him through a few pictures. Ironically, an Israeli spokesperson had stated: This is about hard-core activists, from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who through this protest are trying to instigate violence. Clearly this representative hasn’t heard of the term ‘non-violent resistance’ ...

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Six long decades of the Arab-Israeli conflict

It has been more than 60 years now since the start of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Before the start of the First Intifada in 1987, the Palestinians knocked at every door of the international world for someone to address their issue. No one lent an ear. A total of 42 Security Council resolutions were vetoed unilaterally by the United States alone. The Intifada — imbued in shreds of violence and counter-violence both on the part of Arabs and Israelis — made the world realise that there was, indeed, a problem to be addressed in the Middle East. Arafat had to be ...

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Americans care about Palestine

In my last blog post “An American in Lahore”, someone commented that: “American citizen[s] should stand against their government for [its] inhumane behavior towards the rest of the world.” A large number of the readers agreed and posted similar comments. Actually, like you, many of us in the United States do care about what happens to our fellow human beings around the world; like you, many of us are frustrated by our government’s unjust foreign policies and the apathy of our fellow citizens towards the plight of oppressed groups around the world; like you, many of us have our eyes ...

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Mideast peace process: Hampered throughout history

The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal that concluded on April 27, 2011, was a good omen for the stalled Palestine peace process. Both factions displayed commitment to resolve the outstanding issues and reached an agreement on forming an interim government for holding of legislative and presidential elections. But the news of the resignation of George Mitchell as US Envoy in Middle East dashed the hopes of any progress on the peace front. Mitchell enjoyed the reputation of being a “tireless advocate” of peace, but his extraordinary skills failed in the face of Israeli obduracy. A few days ago, US President Barrack ...

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Palestine, behind the Osama smokescreen

The Bin Laden killing has gripped the global media and has been a source of relief, as well as misery, for many people around the world. Nevertheless, the practical impact of his killing on international terrorist activities and the war against terror is yet to be seen. This event, however, has inadvertently served as a smoke screen for more substantive events in the Middle East, specifically Palestine. Recently, Fatah and Hamas, the two groups representing the Palestinians, came together in an agreement to end the tensions between them and to formulate a plan for government formation. The history of these two ...

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Model UN: Breeding pointless leadership

The plague of Model United Nations (or MUN, an abbreviation that makes the idea sound slightly more worthwhile) has gripped most institutions in the country. For those few of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, MUN is an event where students represent different countries and stage a United Nations meeting. They supposedly ‘discuss’ world issues, propose solutions and argue with each other over the share of resources – little else is achieved in this process. Some of its supporters may argue that this platform is an excellent way of making the younger generation take an interest in current affairs. But ...

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An American compromise for peace in the Middle East

The sheer amount of media reports about these talks has been deafening. The amount of comment has been an absolute deluge to the point where I have been reluctant to write about it (until now), due to the difficulty of contributing something new to the discussion. However, a new piece of information has come to light that I could prove very important to the future of talks and solutions. These past few days has seen a flurry of reporting, and to-ing and fro-ing, about an article filed by David Makovsky for the Washington Institute of Near-East Affairs: According to senior US ...

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US rule book: America’s precedent for illegal attacks

Having lived in the US for the majority of my adult life, I have seen the numerous positive aspects of American society that are missing in Pakistani society. Their support for ‘freedom of speech’ and their judicial system are precedents that I hope are followed in Pakistan someday. That being said, America has also set some dangerous precedents by its actions and inactions in the recent past.  It is these precedents that undermine their efforts in Pakistan and make Pakistani’s even view their goodwill efforts with skepticism. If America wishes to improve its relationships with the Pakistani people, it must ...

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Turkish Armada or Peace Flotilla?

It is hard to believe that aid workers carrying 10,000 tonnes of supplies to 1.5 million people could have provoked an attack against the powerful Israeli military, as reported by BBC. Although with a media blackout, speculation is all we have. Of course, if events did unfold as they say they did, why have a media blackout? Why not show the world that the aid was a façade and that every inch of the western media has been right about Gazans and Hamas? With 10 people dead, the United Nations (UN) has still only verbally condemned the attack. But in all honesty, we should ...

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