Thursday, May 15, 2008

Unipolar Power, Gaza, Covert Politics, & the 60th Anniversary/Nakba in Palestine: 3 New Articles

Fatah gunmen loyal to Muhammad Dahlan, a powerful official in the party and a former security chief, parade in Gaza City.

The Gaza Bombshell

By David Rose, Vanity Fair, April 2008

After failing to anticipate Hamas’s victory over Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election, the White House cooked up yet another scandalously covert and self-defeating Middle East debacle: part Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs. With confidential documents, corroborated by outraged former and current U.S. officials, David Rose reveals how President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Deputy National-Security Adviser Elliott Abrams backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever. READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

Rashid Khalid, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies & Director of the Middle East Institute, Columbia University.

Palestine: Liberation Deferred
By Rashid Khalidi, The Nation (May 8, 2008)

The "Palestine Question" has been with us for sixty years. During this time it has become a running sore, its solution appearing ever more distant. Whether the events sixty years ago that created this question solved the previously perennial "Jewish Question" is once again open to debate. This is the case after many years when the apparent triumph of Zionism stilled doubts and drowned out the protests of those who argued that what purported to be the solution to one problem had created an entirely different one.

It is considered by some to be a slur on Israel and Zionism, and indeed even tantamount to anti-Semitism, to suggest that these events sixty years ago should be the subject of anything but unmitigated joy. Commemoration, or even analysis, of what Palestinians call their national catastrophe, al-Nakba--the expulsion, flight and loss of their homes by a majority of their people sixty years ago--is thus considered not in terms of this seminal event's meaning to at least 8 million Palestinians today (some estimates are over 10 million) but only because it is directly related to the founding of Israel. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.

Buy Prof. Khalidi's must-read book Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East here.

Avi Shlaim, professor of international studies at St. Antony's College, Oxford. He is one of the Israeli "New Historians" who revolutionized Israeli historiography by critically examining the nation's founding stories through a careful analysis of newly (in the 1980s) declassified Israeli government archives. Shlaim, a dual Israeli-British citizen from an Iraqi Jewish family, wrote the seminal book Collusion Across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement, and the Partition of Palestine in which he exposed the level of agreement between Abdullah I of Jordan and David Ben-Gurion over the quashing of Palestinian nationalism and a split of British Mandatory Palestine between the new state of Israel and the newly formed Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan.

A Somber Anniversary

By Avi Shlaim, The Nation (May 8, 2008)

Israelis approach the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment of their state in a subdued and somber mood. Israeli society is deeply divided, and there is no consensus on how to mark the milestone. On the one hand, Israel can boast some stunning successes: a democratic polity with universal suffrage; a highly developed, some might say overdeveloped, multiparty system; an independent judiciary; a vibrant cultural scene; progressive educational and health services; a high standard of living; and a per capita GDP almost the size of Britain's. .................

On the other hand, some failures can be noted. The most pronounced one has been the failure to resolve the conflict with the Arabs, which has accompanied the Zionist enterprise from the very beginning. That conflict involved neighboring Arab states, but in origin and in essence it was a clash between two movements for national liberation: the Jewish one and the Palestinian one. In 1948 the Zionist movement realized its aim of Jewish national self-determination in Palestine. Israel's War of Independence was the Palestinians' catastrophe, al-Nakba in Arabic. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.

Buy Prof. Shlaim's seminal book The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arabs here.

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