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  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Cléa Thouin: The Journal of Palestine Studies summer 2010 issue includes a report on the annual conference of the leading pro-Israel lobby , the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, as well as excerpts from a congressional letter to President Obama sponsored by J Street, a new pro-Israel group. I'm Cléa Thouin, assistant editor for the Journal of Palestine Studies.
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Diana Allan, Curtis Brown
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Within hours of Israeli commandos' deadly raid on 31 May 2010 on the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish aid ship attempting to break the siege of Gaza as part of a six-ship Freedom Flotilla, the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) official public relations (PR) and media body had uploaded a series of videos of the attack on the flotilla to YouTube. Edited from footage confiscated from professional journalists, pro-Palestinian activists, CCTV cameras onboard, and IDF surveillance, these videos shaped the U.S. media's understanding of the raid. While the journalists and activists were held incommunicado for days, Israel used the media blackout to present its narrative, justifying the killing of civilian activists by claiming that soldiers were forced to open fire in self-defense. The video footage, we were told, spoke for itself.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Israel
  • Author: Jalal Al Husseini
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Over the last sixty years, UNRWA's relationship to the Palestinian refugees it serves has undergone profound changes. Faced with the difficult task of adapting a humanitarian regime to a highly politicized environment, the agency has had to thread its way through the diverse and sometimes conflicting expectations of the international donor states, the Arab host countries, and the refugees themselves, who from the start were deeply suspicious of UNRWA's mandate as inimical to the right of return. Against this background, the article traces the evolution of the agency's role from service and relief provider to virtual mouthpiece for the refugees on the international stage and, on an administrative level, from a disciplinary regime to emphasis on community participation and finally to the embrace of a developmental agenda. Although UNRWA's presence, originally seen as temporary, seems likely to endure, the article argues that financial and political constraints are likely to thwart its new agenda. SINCE BEGINNING OPERATIONS in May 1950, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has emerged as the main stakeholder in the Palestinian refugee issue. The traditional provider of education, medical care, relief, and social services to the Palestine refugees (today numbering almost 5 million in UNRWA's five fields of operation), it has more recently assumed new responsibilities in infrastructure and camp improvement. As the only existing UN agency created to serve a single national refugee population, its main institutional specificity lies in its unparalleled exposure to that population, with the vast majority of its local staff being refugees themselves. UNRWA's close proximity to Palestinian refugee society has lent itself to controversial and contradictory assessments. On the one hand, it has enabled its staff to adapt efficiently to the refugees' evolving needs and made for impressive operational achievements, including the spread of literacy throughout the entire refugee population, the absence of epidemics, quick responses to emergency situations, and vocational and other training for tens of thousands of refugees. In so doing, it has actively helped “prevent conditions of starvation and distress among refugees and to further conditions of peace and stability” in the Middle East. On the other hand, this very proximity has led to charges, especially in the United States and Israel, that the agency has become hostage to the refugees' political claims, thus contributing to perpetuating the problem. UNRWA's constant efforts to guarantee the politically neutral nature of its activities while adjusting its mandate in keeping with the refugees' changing needs and aspirations have been a defining characteristic of its sixty years in operation. Over the years, it has gradually endeavored to promote the refugees' self-reliance either as actors integrated into the host economies or as partners in the delivery of various services, particularly in the refugee camps. More recently, expanding this participatory emphasis, it has started to apply a human development approach to the full range of its activities as a means of helping the refugees achieve their full potential. UNRWA's programs, as well as the operational norms and regulations it has adopted in order to structure its working relations with the refugees, have been greatly affected by its evolving perceptions of them, as will be seen below. THE POLITICAL LIMITATIONS OF ECONOMIC APPROACHES TO THE REFUGEE ISSUE UNRWA's approach to the Palestine refugees long bore the stamp of the first phase of its operations in the 1950s, when it endeavored to fulfill the goals ascribed to it by UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949. Article 7 states that UNRWA was to “carry out in collaboration with local governments the direct relief and works programs as recommended by the Economic Survey Mission (ESM).” The ESM's recommendations involved giving the refugees, mostly unemployed farmers and unskilled workers, the opportunity to work “where they were” by involving them in a program of temporary small-scale public works (terracing, afforestation, road construction, irrigation works, and other engineering schemes) that would help them become self-reliant. This program, fully funded by UNWRA, was to constitute a first step toward their “reintegration” into the host state economies, according to the ESM; their longer-term integration required large-scale economic development schemes that could only be borne by the interested governments themselves. In the meantime, UNRWA was to consult with these governments “concerning measures to be taken by them preparatory to the time when international assistance for relief and works projects is no longer available.” As early as mid-1951, UNWRA had shifted to a new approach, emphasizing more ambitious development schemes designed in cooperation with the host governments to directly “resettle” or “re-establish” the refugees in those countries. This would be achieved by expanding the latter's absorptive capacity through various medium- to large-scale housing, agricultural, and infrastructural projects; loans or grants for the establishment of small enterprises; training for occupations where there was a shortage of indigenous trained workers; and assistance for migration abroad. By 1957, however, the failure of the approach was clear: the number of refugees who had become fully self-supportive since 1950 stood at a mere 24,000, whereas 933,000 persons were still dependent on UNRWA services.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Joel Kovel
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Richard Becker's Palestine, Israel and the U.S. Empire is a succinct yet ambitious study of the conquest of Palestine eventuating in the formation of the State of Israel, and of the history of Palestinian resistance to this development. The narrative covers the whole twentieth century and extends to the present, and its point of view is strongly pro-Palestinian and politically alert. Its chief merit is an uncompromising look at the potent role played by U.S. imperialism in the history and behavior of the State of Israel. This is refreshingly different from customary views of the Jewish state that regard Zionism and its triumph in Palestine through the lens of Jewish history and abstract from the great power relations that necessarily condition the fortunes of a settler-colonial society like Israel. I have already endorsed Becker's book for this reason. But I had to set aside some qualms in doing so; and while I would not change my overall assessment, I welcome this opportunity to correct the balance.
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Michael Fischbach
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Refugees and Rescue: The Diaries and Papers of James G. McDonald 1935–1945, edited by Richard Breitman, Barbara McDonald Stewart, and Severin Hochberg. Published in association with the United States Holocaust Museum, Washington, D.C. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2009. x + 338 pages. Index to p. 359. $29.95 cloth.
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, India
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This section includes articles and news items, mainly from Israeli but also from international press sources, that provide insightful or illuminating perspectives on events, developments, or trends in Israel and the occupied territories not readily available in the mainstream U.S. media.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel
  • Author: Michele K. Esposito
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: The Quarterly Update is a summary of bilateral, multilateral, regional, and international events affecting the Palestinians and the future of the peace process. More than 100 print, wire, television, and online sources providing U.S., Israeli, Arab, and international independent and government coverage of unfolding events are surveyed to compile the Quarterly Update. The most relevant sources are cited in JPS's Chronology section, which tracks events day by day.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Sara Roy
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This essay argues that the climate of intimidation and fear surrounding a more critical discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the United States has begun to change. Despite the obstacles that still remain, a counterdiscourse challenging dominant conceptualizations and understandings of the conflict, particularly Israel's role, has not only emerged but also gained growing legitimacy and weight. These changes can be found in academia (at all levels of the educational hierarchy), civil society, and policy circles. Some of the most dramatic changes have occurred within the U.S. Jewish community in which an oppositional movement-in part, generational-has grown increasingly strong and well organized, ending any notion of a Jewish consensus on Israel.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Climate Change
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: The United States and other Western powers have for some time been pushing Saudi Arabia to make more gestures toward Israel. More recently, the crown prince of Bahrain urged greater communication with Israel and joint steps from Arab states to revive the peace process.
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain
  • Author: Jean-Pierre Filiu
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: François Mitterrand, the longest-serving French president in history, never ceased to be a passionate advocate of Israel, in contrast to his Gaullist predecessors. But he was also the most committed to Palestinian statehood, and among the earliest to insist on the PLO's full engagement in the peace process, often at considerable cost to his ties with Israel. By the time Mitterrand left office in 1995, France's Middle Eastern role had greatly declined, with the United States having assumed full control of the peace process; during the 1980s, however, its contributions had been significant. This article examines Mitterrand's fourteen-year presidency and the paradoxes of his Middle East policy.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel