Highlights from al-Majdal, BADIL's quarterly magazine
Palestine after Arafat
For Immediate Release
No. (E/04/05) 17 February 2005
There has been an election for President in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. This is the second such election, not the first. The last was in 1996 when Yasser Arafat was elected President of the Palestinian Authority, a continuation of the long history of democracy among Palestinians.
But, points out the editorial in the new issue of BADIL’s quarterly magazine al-Majdal (December 2004, Issue 24), Palestinians have to undergo a litmus test on democracy and elections that is not applied to Israel. The test applied to them has to do with the ability of the Palestinian leadership to neutralize Palestinians’ rightful desire for a state with Jerusalem as its capital, full Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders and the right of return. (See Palestine after Arafat, p. 4)
And as in the earlier election in West Bank and Gaza, more than half of the Palestinian people still cannot vote in democratic elections. The international community seems blind to the fact that refugees forced to live abroad and in neighboring Arab countries cannot vote in national Palestinian elections. Foundations for Participation Workshop (p. 16) by Karma Nabulsi deals with wider participation of Palestinians in decision making and the new initiative (Civitas) underway in all parts of the Palestinian diaspora.
The former homes of refugees are the subject of two articles in Majdal. One article focuses on a visit by internally displaced Palestinians within Israel to their former homes. The other is a photo essay on old Haifa still in ruins and almost empty after 57 years.
Al-Majdal also reports on the recent BADIL study visit to Cyprus which brought a number of Palestinian refugees to Cyprus in order to look at the peace plans for the island and how refugees are being looked at under the plans.
Other sections of the magazine report on the role of 'Jewish nationality' and 'national institutions' in Israel in the dispossession of Palestinians, deportation of Palestinian refugees from Canada, attempts to cut funding for UNRWA, and presents the final statement from the 5th coordination meeting of the Palestine Right of Return Coalition.