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Creating Change through Theater: The Freedom Theater in Jenin: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation with Nabil Al Raee and Alia Al Rosan

The Freedom Theater is the backdrop of this fascinating interview about art, performance, justice, and liberation in Jenin refugee camp and throughout Palestine.  Nabil Al Raee was born and raised in Aroub Refugee Camp in the Hebron hills of Palestine. He grew up during the First Intifada, trying to go to school between shootings, tear gas and curfew. In the 90s, Nabil joined Theatre Day Productions – a theatre company in Hebron working mainly with children and youth, and training actors. He finished his professional training there, and began training others for the next two years, also working throughout the West Bank as a musician and actor. Nabil then studied ...

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New Texts Out Now: Vijay Prashad, Letters to Palestine: Writers Respond to War and Occupation

[Cover of

Vijay Prashad, editor, Letters to Palestine: Writers Respond to War and Occupation. London and New York: Verso, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this collection? Vijay Prashad (VP): Slowly, surely, the apparent consensus around US support for Israel’s occupation of Palestine seems to be breaking. There was a time when it was impossible to have a rational conversation about Israeli policy in the US, with large sections of people taking the view that criticism of Israel was off-limits. My friend Alexander Cockburn used to say that censure of Israeli policy was the third rail of US politics. Only on the very margins of US life was such a political ...

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New Texts Out Now: Noam Chomsky, Ilan Pappe, and Frank Barat, On Palestine

[Cover of

Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé, On Palestine, edited by Frank Barat. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this book? Frank Barat (FB): Professor Chomsky, Professor Pappe, and I had already worked on a book together called Gaza in Crisis a few years back. The experience was amazing, but the fact that the interviews between Noam and Ilan weren't interactive left me wanting more. I really wanted a chance for the two professors to have a proper conversation, to be able to argue and debate. I spoke to Ilan about this last year and he was totally for it. We then asked Noam, who, despite his crazy schedule (not that Ilan's is that ...

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After the Elections: Solidarities Old and New

[Poster created by the the Palestine Solidarity Committee of South Africa. Image via Wikimedia Commons.]

It is no exaggeration to say that some of the most positive assessments of the recent election results in Israel have come from within the Palestine solidarity movement. “Positive” is, of course, not quite the right word, since no one serious about justice in Palestine would suggest that there is any bright side to the fact that Israeli voters rewarded Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party for a campaign that was deeply, viciously, and explicitly racist even by the degraded standards of contemporary Israeli political discourse. That said, there has been a strong sense that Netanyahu’s victory represents a clarifying moment, especially for those viewing the results from ...

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New Texts Out Now: Noura Erakat, Palestinian Refugees and the Syrian Uprising

[Cover of

Noura Erakat, “Palestinian Refugees and the Syrian Uprising: Filling the Protection Gap During Secondary Forced Displacement.” Oxford International Journal of Refugee Law 26.4 (2014). [Full text available online until June 2015.] Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Noura Erakat (NE): I began to write this article as an LLM student in National Security at the Georgetown University Law Center. In the spring of 2012, I was enrolled in a research seminar on refugees, and at that point there had been very little discussion of Palestinian refugees caught in the middle of the Syrian Uprising, now civil war, which began in March 2011. That was largely attributed ...

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Five Decades of Painting and Innovation: An Interview with Samia Halaby

[Samia Halaby,

Last month, Samia Halaby’s retrospective, Five Decades of Painting and Innovation, traveled to Lebanon. Organized by Ayyam Gallery, the retrospective was held at the Beirut Exhibition Center, where it was shown from 2 to 26 February. For the Beirut installment, Halaby added nearly two dozen rarely seen drawings and several more paintings, significantly expanding the original list of included works. Lebanon’s Agenda Culturel interviewed Halaby about her artistic practice shortly before the show opened. The text below is the original transcript of the interview, which was conducted in English via email. Halaby’s Paintings from the Sixties and Seventies, a selection of ...

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In Need of Aid but Hungry for Peace

[A line to receive food aid in Yarmouk Refugee Camp, Damascus. Image by UNRWA.]

I am in the Yarmouk refugee camp, Damascus, during an aid delivery. A man approaches me and utters three words, “I am hungry”. The sunken eyes in his face are equally eloquent.  His fragile frame expresses volumes. He speaks for a people brutalized, a people sick of war. He is a living symbol of the world’s failure to resolve the crisis in Syria. Yarmouk has become a powerful icon of the wider war and of the Palestinian experience. It was once the densely populated heart of Syria’s Palestinian community. Yarmouk’s pre-war population exceeded one million, among them 150,000 Palestinians. Today it is home to just 18,000 civilians. Its once bustling thoroughfares have ...

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What is the Role of Academia in Political Change?: The Case of BDS and Israeli Violations of International Law - from STATUS/الوضع Panels

In addition to a collection of rich individual interviews and special segments, Status also publishes panels and lectures with every issue of the audio journal. For Issue 2.1, we highlight the debate on academic freedom at the December 2014 meeting of the American Anthropological Association, and provide an exclusive audio recording of the panel.  Leading up to the 2014 American Anthropological Association Meeting, over 1,000 anthropologists signed a boycott pledge to protest Israel’s systematic and widespread violations of Palestinian academic freedom and human rights. Many spoke and wrote publicly about why they now feel boycott is the best way to ...

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Open Letter Urging ‘Docunight’ to Cancel its Participation in Festival Sponsored by Israeli Government

What has quickly brought together a diversity of individuals—including a former Iranian political prisoner, a celebrated Palestinian filmmaker, important public intellectuals, and various professors, activists, students, artists, poets, writers, and cultural programmers? What has brought them together is their commitment to support the growing Palestinian civil-society call for cultural boycott, which is one element in the Palestinian call for  Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). This BDS movement, inspired by the international boycott campaign that helped to abolish apartheid in South Africa, aims to pressure Israel and send the message that there will be no ...

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من ذكرياتي عن العام 1948

[أحد مخيمات الاجئين الفلسطينيين في سورية]

في مثل هذه الأيام تعود بالإنسان الذاكرة إلى أيام من عام 1948، عام النكبة، عام التشريد والضياع. وتعود صور الأحداث وذكراها تشغل الذاكرة وتغص حزنا وألماً، فقد مضت أربعة وستون عاماً، إلاّ إنّ الأمل لا يزال يداعب النفس بأن الغد سيكون أفضل.  ولما كنت قد عاصرت تلك المرحلة، وعايشتها، فقد رأيت أن أدوِّنها لأنقل صورة تلك الأحداث إلى القارئ، الذي لم يشهدها. ولدتُ في أواخر 1937 في البيت الذي بناهُ جدّي سعيد أحمد الحسيني، وكان مكوناً من طابقين أحدهما لسكنه وولده إبراهيم، والدي؛ والآخر لسكن ولده الثاني رجائي، عمّي.  وفي الوقت الذي انتقل فيه العم رجائي إلى العمل في المكتب العربي بلندن، أحد فروع المكاتب العربية التي أنشأها موسى العلمي، أُنشئت جماعة "الإخوان ...

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O.I.L. Monthly Edition (February 2015)

[Crop of image of a Swedish poster calling for a boycott of Israel. Image by Jacob Rask.]

[This is a monthly archive of pieces written by Jadaliyya contributors and editors on the Occupations, Interventions, and Law (O.I.L.) Page. It also includes material published on other platforms that editors deemed pertinent to post as they provide diverse depictions of O.I.L.-related topics. The pieces reflect the level of critical analysis and diversity that Jadaliyyastrives for, but the views are solely the ones of their authors. If you are interested in contributing to Jadaliyya, send us your post with your bio and a release form to post@jadaliyya.com (click "Submissions" on the main page for more information).] Cornell University Event: Jadaliyya ...

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الجرف الصامد والدروع البشريّة

  "الجرف الصامد" والدروع البشريّة "تشنّ حركة حماس هجمات على إسرائيل على نحوٍ عشوائيّ، وتفعل ذلك من مناطق مأهولة بالسكّان، وحتّى من الجوامع والمستشفيات والمدارس. وهي تحوّل الجامعات إلى مراكز للذخيرة، وتخزّن صواريخها في الجوامع وفي داخل مدارس الأونروا. يعمل قادتها ومنظوماتها الرقابيّة في الكثير من الأحيان من أقبية المستشفيات، ولا يحارب مقاتلوها بالبزّة العسكريّة الموحّدة (باستثناء ارتدائهم زيّ جيش الدفاع الإسرائيليّ عندما يصبّ الأمر في صالحها). تنتهك حماس جميع الأعراف والمعايير المكتوبة دون أن يهتزّ لها جفن، وبدون ضمير مؤنّب". آسا كاشير، "أخلاقيّات حملة الجرف الصامد"، Jewish Review of Books، خريف 2014 في الوقت الذي يتّهم فيه آسا كاشير ...

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On Palestinian Cinema: The State of Israel vs. Suha Arraf

Suha Arraf is a Palestinian filmmaker based in Mi’ilya in the Galilee in Israel. Arraf is a journalist by training. This interview with Arraf was conducted following the recent screening of her debut feature film, Villa Touma, at the Cleveland International Film Festival in the United States. Isis Nusair (IN): Where did the idea for the film, Villa Touma, come from? Suha Arraf (SA): I got the idea for making the film in 2000, following the signing of the Oslo Accords (and before the start of the second ...

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New Texts Out Now: Ran Greenstein, Zionism and its Discontents: A Century of Radical Dissent in Israel/Palestine

Ran Greenstein, Zionism and its Discontents: A Century of Radical Dissent in Israel/Palestine. London: Pluto Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Ran Greenstein (RG): History is frequently written from a skewed perspective, as we tend to look at developments in retrospect, knowing already what their outcomes were. A better approach would be to look at events and responses as they unfolded in time, from the point of view of actors located within their own context, rather than from ...

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ملف من الأرشيف: سحر خليفة

                    الاسم: سحر خليفة تاريخ الولادة ومكانها: ولدت في مدينة نابلس عام 1941 المهنة: كاتبة فلسطينية وناشطة في الحركة النسوية الفلسطينية، تاريخ الولادة ومكانها: ولدت في مدينة نابلس عام 1941 المسيرة الدراسية: درست في جامعة بيرزيت في الضفة الغربية، ثم حصلت على منحة فولبرايت لتتابع دراسة الماجيستير في الادب الانكليزي من جامعة نورث كارولاينا ثم حصلت على شهادة الدكتوراه في الدراسات النسائية في جامعة أيوا. سحر ...

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Palestine Becomes a State Party to the ICC: An Occasion to Return to the Register of Israel’s Racialized Violence

Today, Palestine will formally become a member of the International Criminal Court. This will give it the authority to refer a situation in its territory for investigation as well as give the Office of the Prosecutor the authority to initiate an investigation based on her discretion (propio motu). When Palestine, or the representatives of a shadow of a state, submitted an application for ad-hoc jurisdiction as well as acceded to the Rome Statute in late December 2014, analysts wrote a flurry of articles ...

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هل كان الفردوس المفقود فردوسا؟

تنشر في شبكات التواصل الاجتماعي يوميا الكثير من الصور التي تعكس الحياة في فلسطين في فترة ما قبل النكبة عام 1948 وبكلمات أخرى، تلك الفترة التي تم بناءها ثقافيا وأكاديميا ضمن توصيف "الفردوس المفقود"، هكذا بعد نشر تلك الصور يتم مشاركتها عبر الآلاف من الفلسطينيين الذين يحنون للفردوس المفقود الذي لم ولن يعيشوه على ما يبدو وخاصة أولئك من أبناء الجيل الثالث والرابع للنكبة. يمكن تقسيم هواة الفردوس المفقود إلى ثلاث فئات رئيسية : 1- أولئك الذين ذوتوا بعمق الخطاب الإسرائيلي التاريخي والمعاصر والذي روج ...

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Ghassan Kanafani's The Stolen Shirt

[What follows is a translation of a short story written by Ghassan Kanfani in 1958, entitled “The Stolen Shirt.” Although among his relatively lesser known works, especially as compared to his far-reaching novels Men in The Sun and All That’s Left for You, this short story is no less representative of Kanafani’s masterful storytelling. It is also just as representative of the often subliminal, disjointed, and non-linear narrative style he is known for, and through which he vividly captures the harsh and ...

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Snapshot: Palestinian Spring

As a Palestinian photojournalist living in the West Bank my daily work is very far from the quiet and fabulous nature that is seen in these pictures. Every week I spend hours covering protests, clashes, and the military operations of the Israeli occupying forces. In between I give myself some rest time, which I prefer to spend in hills and mountains around the trees and flowers, away from the usual places I work. Every year I try to take advantage of the spring season to take some green frames before ...

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On Palestinian Cinema: An Interview with Film Director Najwa Najjar

Najwa Najjar is a Palestinian filmmaker based in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. She has worked in both documentary and fiction. Her debut film was the feature  Pomegranates and Myrrh (2009), and her second feature is. Eyes of a Thief (2014). The latter was selected as the Palestinian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards, but was not nominated. This interview with Najjar was conducted following the recent release of Eyes of a Thief ...

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ابتسام عازم.. عائدة إلى يافا

بعد حيفا، التي شكّلت خلفية لرواية ابتسام عازم الأولى "سارق النوم - غريب حيفاوي"، تحضر شقيقتها يافا في رواية عازم الثانية "سفر الاختفاء"، الصادرة حديثاً عن "دار الجمل". فالمدينة التي ألصقت اسمياً بتل أبيب بعد احتلالها وتهجير سكانها، تشكّل مساحة شخصية للكاتبة التي تخوض في أثقالها، في حقيقة تذبذبها بين واقع فرضه الواقع الاستعماري، المتمثل بتأسيس دولة إسرائيل، وماضٍ يتنفس في جدرانها وأزقتها. لكن عازم لن تفصح صراحة عن "أزمنة" يافا. فهناك تجنّب لاستسهال الذاكرة ...

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The Wanted 18: On Film, Comedy, and Resistance in Palestine: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation between Amer Shomali and Noura Erakat

In this interview, Amer Shomali discusses his film debut The Wanted 18, including the filmmaking process, creative resistance during the first Palestinian Intifada, and why he chose talking cows as his protagonists. Shomali tells Noura Erakat that the mix of animation, comedy, and documentary was a vision that many funders dismissed as impossible, but that he believed the non-traditional resistance of the first intifada also required a non-traditional way of telling the story. Wanted ...

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Letter to Sponsors of International Conference for the Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, regarding Israel's Indiscriminate Bombardment and Destruction of Palestinian Educational Institutions in July and August 2014.

[The following letter was issued by the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association on 25 February 2015] Hosts of the International Conference for the Reconstruction of Gaza  Børge Brende Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway via utenriksminister@mfa.no via fax +47 23 95 00 99  Sameh Shoukry Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt via fax + 20 2576 7967   Your Excellencies,  On behalf of the Committee on Academic Freedom (CAF) of the Middle East ...

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القرار الفلسطيني لمجلس الأمن: فتش عن حق العودة

اتسعت حدّة الجدل حول مشروع القرار الفلسطيني الذي قدمه الأردن، العضو العربي الوحيد في مجلس الأمن، بالاتفاق مع الفلسطينيين وجامعة الدول العربية. وعلى الرغم من رفض القرار في 30 ديسمبر/كانون الأول الماضي من قبل مجلس الأمن، فقد أكد الفلسطينيون أنهم سيحاولون تقديمه مرة أخرى. وجاء التأكيد الفلسطيني على لسان سفير فلسطين للأمم المتحدة، رياض منصور، في النقاش الأخير أمام مجلس الأمن حول الوضع في فلسطين، من دون أن يعطي موعداً محدداً، أو إشارة إلى تغييرات قد تطرأ على نواة المشروع. أما السفير الإسرائيلي، رون ...

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