This selection of 18 articles from the week between August 11 and August 18th reflects some of the main issues being covered, not including the death of Mahmoud Darwish and Raja Shehadeh’s hiking through the hilltops of the West Bank. Another thing not covered (other than in the two concluding commentaries below, #s 17 and 18) is the so-called “shelf agreement” for Israel’s final borders proposed by Olmert to Abbas. While such an offer would normally dominate the news in any given week, the utter emptiness of the offer (no viable Palestinian territory, no equitable exchange for lands annexed) is not worth comment beyond the two pieces at the end of this selection laying out precisely why the “shelf agreement” is a non-starter.
Despite this, there is news of diplomatic activity from Rice’s apparent plan for another trip to the region, to Olmert’s “gesture to Abbas” of releasing 200 arbitrarily detained (i.e., abducted) Palestinian prisoners, to efforts to resolve controversy over one recent example of attempted Israeli colonization of further Palestinian land in the West Bank (through new outposts) by simply moving the outpost adjacent to another parcel of land illegally occupied by Israelis (turning the outpost debate to one about settlement expansion). And so the deck furniture is rearranged by yet another Israeli government clinging to the sinking ship of settlements while purportedly supporting a two-state solution.
Several articles below speak to the receding hopes for any two-state solution, precisely as a result of such strategies on the part of the Israeli government. An additional theme of the selection below is the continuing harassment, torture and murder to which Palestinians are daily subjected by Israel — ranging from the story about the exoneration of those who killed Palestinian journalist Fadel Shana, to stories about settler attacks on Palestinians, to the priceless piece on the apartheid system of 1948-Israel, where Palestinian citizens are not permitted in municipal swimming pools.
Finally, as Ramadan approaches it is fitting to include coverage of the ongoing shortages in Gaza, forcing a run on banks and restrictions on the desperate measures taken by Palestinians — e.g., trying to run cars on cooking oil — in order to avoid an even more extreme food shortage, i.e. the lack of cooking oil for Gazans to prepare their Ramadan iftar meals. As ever, a review of the week’s news from Palestine leaves one with little to do but hope that the next week proves somewhat less dire.