Hbs gladly announces the new edition “We Are Still Watching You” of our long-standing partner Institute for Jerusalem Studies (Institute for Palestine Studies), which is accessible online now. The IJS is the oldest institute in the world researching and publicizing on Palestinian affairs and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Established in 1963 in Beirut as an independent, non-profit Arab institute it is regarded as the major source of accurate information on Palestinian affairs throughout the Arab world. It provides comprehensive material of current regional affairs with an emphasis on peaceful conflict resolution. The Jerusalem Quarterly is the only journal that focuses exclusively on the city of Jerusalem’s history, political status, and future. It addresses debates about the city and its predicament, as well as future scenarios for solving the problems of Jerusalem. Sponsored by the hbs, the new issue examines the intelligence and security regimes that have monitored Palestinian lives over the last century. It addresses the continuities and developments of information collection in the pursuit of political control. The historical approach ranges from the World War One Jewish spy network NILI to current roundtable discussions exploring new strategies of resistance to the occupation.
The Ramallah team of hbs extends its congratulations to South African activist Nomarussia Bonase on receiving the prestigious Anne Klein Women’s Award. In raising her voice for the victims of Apartheid and in fighting for equal rights she is an inspiration to us. Her dedication to women’s rights and social justice is commendable. Non-violent resistance to racism and injustice is a path equally shared by Human Rights Defenders in Palestine. We wish Nomarussia Bonase success in her struggle.
The new American president Donald Trump has moved into the White House and immediately started implementing his program. For the Middle East his first announcements and acts don’t spell hope. Palestinians fear that the new administration will side with the Israeli extreme right and that they will be further marginalized.
We have asked the prominent Palestinian writer Nour Odeh to give us her view on the new president and what it means for Palestine.
70 high ranking participants have attended the opening of the Paris Conference on Peace in the Middle East, initiated by French president Francois Hollande. It aims to restart the peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians based on the two-state solution. Israel has declined to participate in the meeting. The Palestinians, who were expected to be present, have postponed their participation to a later stage.
What are the Palestinian expectations from the conference in Paris?
Sami Abdel-Shafi, who writes from the besieged and marginalized Gaza strip, gives his opinion.
Nur Arafeh from our partner Al Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network, has prepared a policy brief on the collapse of the economy in East Jerusalem. Her study’s focus is on the tourism sector and the markets in the old city of Jerusalem. Starting with a chronological and comparative analysis of the decline in these two sectors Nur Arafeh continues to offer a comprehensive account of already existing civil society strategies to encourage Palestinians to remain resilient against the growing restrictions. Furthermore, she stresses the need to develop a common approach on envisioning the kind of Jerusalem Palestinians would want to promote and live in.
Muwatin is holding its 22nd Annual Conference on Friday 30/9/2016 and Saturday 1/10/2016 at Birzeit University, titled'The Complex Challenges Facing Palestinian Universities: Is there a Way Out?', and funded by hbs.
Which Jerusalem? – This question was raised in a Böll Debate on July 12 2016 in the Meeting Room of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Ramallah. The discussion was based on a policy brief presentend by the excellent young expert Ms. Nur Arafeh, Policy fellow of Al Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. In her paper she had researched “Israel’s Little Known Master Plans for Jerusalem”, which aim to develop the city exclusively for the Jewish people and to further marginalize the Palestinian population.
Two years after the last devastating war on Gaza, the situation in the impoverished strip remains grim and hopeless. Gaza’s population of almost 2 million predominantly young people is still suffering the ramifications of this war. Moreover ten years of blockade have left them in destitution. Lack of clean drinking water, recurring and daily electricity cuts, delays in reconstruction and a decade-long isolation from the world has brought the population to the brink of despair.
The Association of International Development Agencies in Jerusalem is therefore calling on world leaders to press for an immediate lifting of the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Hbs Palestine and Jordan is part of the AIDA network. Please find below a short video on the plight of Gazans, the AIDA press release and the link to a petition, calling for the end of the siege on Gaza.
NGOs are currently facing growing problems worldwide - and not only in non-democratic states. Governments increasingly target NGOs that work in the field of Human Rights, Justice, Democracy and Social and Environmental Rights. Barbara Unmuessig, president of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, explores in her landmark article the shrinking space for NGOS, which to some degree, threatens to affect our work in Palestine too.
Dead Sea cosmetics, Jordan valley dates and peppers from the northern Westbank – these Israeli products sell well in Europe. But as they are produced in illegal settlements in the occupied Westbank the EU has decided to put a label on them. Consumers can now decide whether they want to buy them or not. Critics suggest that this could impair Palestinian workers earning a living in Israeli settlements. Palestinian researcher Nur Arafeh, a partner of Heinrich-Boell-Foundation in Ramallah, disputes this thesis. Her article was first published on Le Monde Diplomatique.
Since 1994, the formerly flourishing Shuhada Street in Hebron’s historic centre is turned increasingly into a ghost street. It became a symbol for Israel’s policy of Human Rights violations and segregation in the occupied Palestinian territories. In this situation, Youth Against Settlements (YAS) advocates in nonviolent ways for Human Rights and equality in Hebron. One of the cornerstones of their work consists of the “Open Shuhada Street” campaign that takes place each year in February. Abed Salayma, activist of Youth Against Settlements, and Mufid Sharabati, resident of Shuhada Street, traveled to Germany this February in order to carry out a Speaking Tour (or, as the group calls it, a “SpeAction tour” as it involves some elements other than speaking as well). They talked about the Human Rights situation in Hebron, their approach of nonviolent resistance and what people in Germany can do to support their cause.
Without radical policy change new violence will erupt in 2015 and Gaza will become unlivable. Meanwhile Israel is relieved of any responsibility as an occupying power under international law for the UN’s Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism.
They are only 'hot air' but anyone who has been affected by rumours is familiar with their unhallowed dynamics, and the serious consequences they can entail. Rumours fulfil social functions. They serve as a medium through which unfulfilled hopes or unspecific fears can be voiced. They bond and drive a wedge between people and population groups at the same time. They can destroy reputations, credibility and even lives. Read here twelve experts from the MENA region discussing the topic!
For months, there has been an intense debate about whether Germany should assume greater foreign policy responsibility. Yet when it came to the conflict in Gaza, Germany's politicians have once again slipped into the role of the horrified bystander.
For a sustainable ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, the blockade of Gaza must be lifted. After several failed mediation attempts, the war in Gaza has continued to escalate. Israel has widened its military operations and targeted leaders, rocket bases and tunnels of Hamas and other militant groups, in a bid to destroy their infrastructure and bring them to their knees. Hamas, in turn, has employed the whole of its arsenal to demonstrate steadfastness and improve its own position, both domestically and regionally.
Israel's heavy-handed acts of retaliation against both Hamas and Palestinian civilians are threatening to provoke a new escalation of violence. The Israeli military deployment in the West Bank is the biggest since the end of the second Intifada in 2005. A commentary by Dr. René Wildangel - hbs Palestine- Jordan office director.
Hamas and Fatah have sealed an agreement and a new technocrat government has been formed. Reconciliation remains complicated and needs more players on board than the two major parties. The danger of failure is great. It is for precisely this reason that the US and Europe should actively support this process writes hbs Palestine- Jordan office director René Wildangel.
While the negotiations about the framework agreement facilitated by US Secretary of State John Kerry are still ongoing, Palestinians are debating their political options beyond the talks which many regard as futile. The Heinrich Böll Foundation organized a round table debate entitled “The Kerry Framework – (Any)where to go from here?” aiming to discuss this issue with Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh, former negotiator and senior advisor to president Mahmoud Abbas, political analyst, legal advisor, and former PLO spokesperson Diana Buttu, as well as the director of the human rights organization Al Haq, Dr. Shawan Jabarin.
During a recent visit to Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan I had the opportunity to see part of the reality of the Syrian conflict at first hand, and to experience the unique and constantly evolving urban landscape of Za’atari camp. This landscape has changed dramatically since Dr René Wildangel, director of hbs Palestine/Jordan visited Za’atari in October 2012 just 3 months after it opened (his report can be read here).