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  • Author: Geoffrey Aronson
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This section covers items—reprinted articles, statistics, and maps—pertaining to Israeli settlement activities in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. Unless otherwise stated, the items have been written by Geoffrey Aronson for this section or drawn from material written by him for Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories (hereinafter Settlement Report), a Washington-based bimonthly newsletter published by the Foundation for Middle East Peace. JPS is grateful to the foundation for permission to draw on its material.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Jerusalem, Gaza
  • Author: Ismael Sheikh Hassan, Sari Hanafi
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This article examines the intersection of the Lebanese state's post-conflict security policy in Nahr al-Barid refugee camp and the reconstruction of the camp, which was destroyed in a battle between the Lebanese army and the militant group Fatah al-Islam. The significance of the government's security focus derives from its intention to make Nahr al-Barid a “model” for all the other camps in the country. After discussing the Lebanese security context, the characteristics of the pre-conflict camp, the arrival of Fatah al-Islam, and the ensuing battle, the authors focus on the urban planning process for a reconstructed Nahr al-Barid, highlighting both the state's militarization of the process and the local grassroots planning initiative which, in partnership with UNRWA, managed to secure some concessions. Also analyzed is the government plan submitted to donors, which conceives of “governance” as community policing without addressing the status of the Palestinians in Lebanon. IN THE SUMMER OF 2007, the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Barid, the second largest of the fourteen United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) camps in Lebanon, was totally demolished. This was a result of a battle between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam, an Islamist fundamentalist group, predominantly foreign, that had implanted itself in the camp only six months earlier. After its destruction, the camp remained a strict militarized zone, imposing additional hardship on a post-disaster community of refugees struggling to rebuild their lives. Various security-based projects and policies affecting the camp's urban form, governance structure, and legal status that were planned, negotiated, or approved by the Lebanese government signaled a new era in Lebanese-refugee relations. With the events of Nahr al-Barid, the Lebanese state entered the realm of the camp, and security concerns and practices assumed new forms that would potentially affect the future lives of Palestinian refugees in all Lebanon. The camp remains a military zone to this day. More importantly, the Lebanese government's plan to make Nahr al-Barid a security model for the other Palestinian refugee camps in the country brings the issue of security more urgently to the forefront of the debate about Palestinians in Lebanon. Nahr al-Barid also fits into a wider security discussion relating to Palestinians in the host countries in the context of the “war against terror,” with issues relating to the status of camps becoming intertwined with the correlative themes of good governance, refugee rights, human security, and integration for the benefit of international donors and development agencies, even as policies on the ground disregard and sometimes contradict these concepts. This article is based on two years of fieldwork and action research in Nahr al-Barid camp. Our involvement included participation in local community post-conflict initiatives, in-depth interviews with Nahr al-Barid residents and community leaders, and up-close observation of various Palestinian and Lebanese actors in the reconstruction planning process. Our aim is to contribute to the debate on the role of “security” in dictating state policy and actions during and after the battle. The fact that government policies are still in flux makes reflection and debate on these events all the more urgent. CONTEXTUALIZING SECURITY WITHIN PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMPS A variety of themes and discourses at the local, regional, and global level intertwine as a backdrop to a discussion of the heightened security measures for Palestinian refugee camps in general and Nahr al-Barid in particular. One of these is the state's traditional fear of refugees as a potentially threatening and disruptive political force. Ironically, this fear—and the security measures it engenders—is shared by those who produced the refugee problem and the host states that suffered its consequences; indeed, some disturbing parallels have been drawn, mutatis mutandi, between measures against Palestinians enacted by Israel and Arab states in the name of security. Thus, whereas historically the violent conflicts between the Palestinian movement and various Arab regimes were attributed to ideological differences and power struggles, the current situation seems to be heading in new directions. Today, what has become a seemingly universal obsession with security and fighting terror increasingly infiltrates Arab slogans to validate various practices against Palestinian camps and neighborhoods (not to mention against their own citizens). These practices affecting citizens/refugees and cities/camps alike are empowered by largely uncritical international military, financial, and political support for the “war on terror.” As a result, massive urban destruction has been wreaked on densely populated communities with scant consideration for civilian populations, with the suspension of civil liberties and imposition of siege now standard procedures validated by security-based arguments for Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Jenin/Nablus in the West Bank (2002), Lebanon (2006), Nahr al-Barid (2007), Gaza (2008), and Yemen (2009).
  • Topic: Islam, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Gaza, Lebanon
  • Author: Toufic Haddad
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Swedish photojournalist Mia Gröndahl complements her thirty-year history of documenting the Palestinian experience in this beautiful, illustrated book exploring the rich and colorful world of Gaza's graffiti. But this work is more than just a collection of images suitable as a gift for urban art aficionados. It equally provides insightful commentary on Gaza's graffiti culture and the society that produced it, demonstrating the acumen of a veteran investigative journalist. Images and commentary combine to guide readers into a world they would otherwise have little exposure to, allowing them to assess Gaza's graffiti both as free-standing works of art and as objects of propaganda.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Geoffrey Aronson
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This section covers items—reprinted articles, statistics, and maps—pertaining to Israeli settlement activities in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. Unless otherwise stated, the items have been written by Geoffrey Aronson for this section or drawn from material written by him for Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories (hereinafter Settlement Report), a Washington-based bimonthly newsletter published by the Foundation for Middle East Peace. JPS is grateful to the foundation for permission to draw on its material.
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Gaza
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This 112-page report by human rights NGO Amnesty International examines the main patterns and trends affecting Palestinians access to water in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, highlighting the extent to which Israels discriminatory policies affect their rights in this area. Parts of the report not reproduced here include detailed chapters on the water resources available in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT), the water crisis in Gaza, water-related expulsions of Palestinians, the effects of military attacks on water resources, and Palestinian mismanagement of water resources.
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: The following report, covering the period from September 2008 to August 2009 and submitted to the UN General Assembly, provides an overview of key aspects of the humanitarian and human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, such as the Israeli blockade on Gaza, the firing of rockets against Israeli civilian areas, restrictions on freedom of movement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and house demolitions and forced displacement in area C and East Jerusalem.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: New York, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: While the main concern at the conference was electing a new leadership, other significant issues were discussed. Eighteen committees dealt with a wide range of topics, though meetings for the most part were sparsely attended, in many cases by no more than 10 or 15 delegates. Most sessions did not produce minutes, and significant decisions were left for the new leadership bodies to tackle later. No action was taken on corruption, for instance, despite the fact that it was a major concern entering the conference.
  • Topic: Corruption
  • Political Geography: Palestine, Gaza, Brussels
  • Author: Lynn Welchman
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: SINCE THE ESTABLISHMENT of the Palestinian Authority (PA), one result of the political uncertainties and inadequate security in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been an increasing recourse to “unofficial” arbitration and the adjudication of disputes in the context of contests over political power. Three main bodies of “law” appear most frequently as overlapping normative frameworks in dispute resolution processes: statutory legislation (the law “on the books” in the areas under the PA's jurisdiction), Islamic law, and various forms of customary law—specifically, in the case examined here, “tribal adjudication” (al-qada' al-`asha'iri).
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Frida Berrigan
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Enforcement of U.S. law concerning weapons exports and the disbursement of military aid are subject to highly politicized interpretations of concepts like "legitimate self-defense" and "safeguarding internal security." As illustrated by Israel's July 2006 war in Lebanon and its 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, Washington has essentially allowed Israel to define "self-defense" however it chooses. This overview of U.S. military aid to Israel, including weapons sales and related support of its domestic military industrial complex, examines in detail the mechanisms through which aid is funneled, the restrictions on aid that do exist, and the uses to which U.S. military aid has been put-particularly in terms of Israel's military operations and its exports abroad. Frida Berrigan is senior program associate of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation in Washington, DC.
  • Topic: Law
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Israel, Gaza
  • Author: Ilana Feldman
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This essay explores the possible negative consequences of identifying the current situation in Gaza primarily as a humanitarian problem. Scholarship on the complicated effects of humanitarian action in general, the early history of humanitarian intervention in the lives of Palestinians, and the current politics of aid in Gaza all underscore these problems. The essay reflects on several aspects of what can be called the "humanitarianism problem" in Gaza by considering both how humanitarianism is sometimes deployed as a strategy for frustrating Palestinian aspirations and the often unintended political effects of the most well-intentioned humanitarian interventions.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Palestine, Gaza