An Artist’s Ode to Al-Shabaka

The Palestinian artist Kamal Boullata has created a work of art dedicated to Al-Shabaka, the global Palestinian think tank. All proceeds of its sale are going to support our mission.

The artist dedicated this limited edition of a silkscreen print to Al-Shabaka because of his belief in our unique role in establishing a platform for solid Palestinian analysis and debate across borders and walls, helping to transform the difficulties of dispersal into an intellectual  force.

Titled Qasida, the print’s geometric components mirror the rhythmic structure of the classical Arabic ode. The silkscreen is hand-printed on acid-free MultiArt Silk, 400 gr. and produced in the studios of Martin Samuel in Berlin in a limited deluxe edition of 50, titled, dated, numbered and signed by the artist with 10 artist’s proofs noted in Roman numerals.  

To acquire a copy of this exclusive print please email [email protected]

About Kamal Boullata

The award-winning Palestinian artist and writer Kamal Boullata was born in Jerusalem. In her review of his book Palestinian Art From 1850 to the Present, the British art critic Jean Fisher wrote, “Kamal Boullata’s magnum opus stands alongside the works of Mahmoud Darwish and Edward Said as a testimony to a Palestinian generation that refused to relinquish its faith in a just and radical humanism.”

Public collections holding Kamal Boullata’s paintings, prints and artist books include the British Museum, London; the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Arab Art, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; Patronato de la Alhambra Islamic Museum, Granada; Khalid Shoman Foundation, Amman; New York Public Library, New York; Bibliothèque National de France, Paris; Bibliothèque Louis Notari, Monaco; Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah; Zimmerli Art Museum, Rudgers University, New Brunswick, NJ; Birzeit University Museum, Birzeit; Library of Congress, Washington, DC;  Centre Canadien d’Archtecture, Montreal.

About Al-Shabaka

Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network was founded in 2009 and is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. It draws upon the knowledge and experience of the Palestinian people, whether under occupation, in exile, or in Israel, so as to engage the broadest spectrum of perspectives in debate on policy and strategy to promote freedom, justice, and equality. It communicates its findings and recommendations to policymakers, civil society, and the media worldwide.

The post An Artist’s Ode to Al-Shabaka appeared first on Al-Shabaka.

Israel Is Voting Apartheid

There will be one certain result from Tuesday’s election: Around 100 members of the next Knesset will be supporters of apartheid. This has no precedent in any democracy. A hundred out of 120 legislators, an absolute of absolute majorities, one that supports maintaining the current situation, which is apartheid.

With such a majority, it will be possible in the next Knesset to officially declare Israel an apartheid state. With such support for apartheid and considering the durability of the occupation, no propaganda will be able to refute the simple truth: Nearly all Israelis want the apartheid to continue. In the height of chutzpah, they call this democracy, even though more than 4 million people who live alongside them and under their control have no right to vote in the election.

Of course, no one is talking about this, but in no other regime around the world is there one community next to another where the residents of one, referred to as a West Bank settlement, have the right to vote, while the residents of the other, a Palestinian village, don’t. This is apartheid in all its splendor, whose existence nearly all the country’s Jewish citizens want to continue.

A hundred Knesset members will be elected from slates referred to as either right-wing, left-wing or centrist, but what they have in common surpasses any difference: None intend to end the occupation. The right wing proudly says so, while the center-left resorts to futile illusions to obscure the picture, listing proposals for a “regional conference” or “secure separation.” The difference between the two groupings is negligible. In unison, the right and left are singing “say yes to apartheid.”

As a result, this election is so unimportant, so far from crucial. So let’s cut the hysteria and the pathos over the outcome. Neither civil war nor even a rift is in the offing. The people are more united than ever, casting their vote for apartheid. Whatever Tuesday’s results may be, the country of the occupier will remain the country of the occupier. Nothing defines it better than all the other marginal issues, including the Zehut party’s campaign to legalize marijuana.

So there’s no reason to hold our breath over Tuesday’s results. The election is lost in advance. For the country’s Jews, it will shape the tone, the level of democracy, the rule of law, the corruption in which they live, but it won’t do a thing to change Israel’s basic essence as a colonialist country.

How the mysteries of Khashoggi’s murder have rocked the U.S.-Saudi partnership

It has been nearly six months since Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, but the aftershocks continue. The U.S.-Saudi defense and intelligence partnership has been rocked. The future of the relationship is on hold, pending answers from Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia still hasn’t explained officially how and why the Post Global Opinions columnist was killed. But Saudi and American sources have begun disclosing new information about the people and events surrounding Khashoggi’s fatal visit to Istanbul. They’ve described secret intelligence deals that are now frozen. And they’ve explained, in the clearest detail yet, how an operation that began as a kidnapping ended with a gasping, dying Khashoggi pleading: “I can’t breathe.”

The basic questions remain much the same as they did in October, when Khashoggi died: How was the Istanbul strike team that carried out the operation trained and controlled? What exact roles did Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his close aides play in the killing? What new controls can be implemented, in Riyadh and Washington, to make sure that such a grisly murder of a journalist never happens again?

And most important, will anyone be held accountable?

Saudi Arabia’s initial lies about the killing collapsed soon after Khashoggi disappeared on Oct. 2. But MBS, as the crown prince is known, still hasn’t taken responsibility for the killers’ actions, which were done on his behalf and perhaps his orders. Until he provides real answers, the U.S.-Saudi military and intelligence partnership, important for both countries’ security, is likely to remain in limbo.

This case is personal for us at The Post. Khashoggi was our colleague, and my friend for 15 years. To understand how his gruesome murder happened and whether it’s possible to rebuild the U.S.-Saudi relationship, I’ve interviewed more than a dozen knowledgeable American and Saudi sources, who revealed some previously secret details because they hope to establish new rules and accountability that might preserve the relationship. The sources requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

Algeria: massive protests has a great piece on what’s going on in Algeria. Summary: Algerian peaceful protests now in millions. Bouteflika and FLN have had it. Future unclear.
Daily peaceful protests throughout Algeria have continued to grow. There are no official figures but estimates which were in the ten thousands are now in the hundred thousands or even millions. Writing for Foreign Policy the French-Algerian journalist Nabila Ramdani comments on a sense of solidarity, civility and celebration, comparing Algeria where there has been “at least one tragic death” with the yellow vests protests in France in which at least 12 people have been killed and hundreds seriously injured. An Al Jazeera article comments that even football fans seem more interested now in politics than in football; “We have to fix the problems in the country before we can have fun in the stadium.”
On 11 March the presidency announced that Bouteflika (82) would not stand for a fifth term as president, the election due in April was postponed, and a new constitution would be submitted to a national referendum. The Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia (66) resigned and Noureddine Bedoui (59) was appointed in his place, with Ramtane Lamamra (66), previously diplomatic adviser to Bouteflika as Deputy Prime Minister. Bedoui’s CV is at linkand there is a word picture by Jeune Afrique at link (both in French); he was minister of interior since 2015, previously a technocrat and Énarque with experience in central and regional government, and is regarded as close to Bouteflika’s brother Nacer. Bedoui says his government will be inclusive and democratic, bringing in young Algerians who have been staging protests.
According to a government source quoted by Reuters Lakhdar Brahimi (85), veteran diplomat and peacemaker, is to chair a conference planning Algeria’s future. On 13 March the chief of staff and deputy defence minister Ahmed Gaed Salah (79) said the army would preserve Algeria’s security in all circumstances. Lamamra said the government was ready for dialogue with the opposition.
On 13 March Reuters reported that protesters had chosen prominent reformist lawyers and rights activists to spearhead reaction against the regime. They dismissed Bouteflika’s decision not to stand and the measures announced by the government as half measures; “We refuse to negotiate transition with the regime. No negotiations. The balance of power is on our side, let’s strengthen our movement. We need to maintain pressure for up to three weeks. Our key goal now is to strengthen the movement so more forces could join and protect the movement from infiltration from Bouteflika’s system.” Four activists (listed by Reuters and aged from 48 to 73) are said to be trusted by demonstrators on the streets.
Demonstrations on Friday 15 March were the biggest yet including for the first time workers at Algeria’s biggest gasfield, though production was not affected. According to social media reports Algerian police have joined the demonstrations chanting “123 –vive l’Algerie”.
Throughout the the 2011 Arab Spring and since then most commentators have agreed that Algeria’s terrible experience of civil war (1992 – 2002) was a main reason why it did not follow Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria (and some of the credit for restraint goes to Bouteflika). It is to be hoped that that experience has been reinforced by observing the consequences of the Arab Spring, most of all in Syria. Al Jazeera quotes Abderrazak Makri , head of the Islamist Movement for the Society of Peace (MSP) ; “We have to make sure that this [protest] movement will not slide into violence. This is the responsibility of [the] people as well as the security and military agencies”.
Commentators now agree that Bouteflika and the FLN are history, but like the demonstrators themselves they have not so far offered much of roadmap for the future. According to a comment on the United World International website “critics of the authorities say that the situation today is at a stalemate, and as a result of stagnation, people are now ready to attempt to change the government despite the risks.” Nabila Ramdani in the Foreign Policy article quoted above concludes merely “Algeria must use this opportunity to respond to the demands of a technologically savvy, ambitious young society. Bouteflika’s retirement is a historic chance that must not be wasted.” A comment behind a pay wall by the US consultancy Stratfor, after quoting a statement by al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that it is seeking to take advantage of the unrest, concludes inevitably but perhaps correctly that “the absence of a capable successor [to Bouteflika] who is acceptable to the protesters increases the likelihood of a politically messy transition, meaning that the next leader could take years to consolidate power. Moreover, with the possibility of massive instability on the way, political and militant groups alike will have an opportunity for action they have not had for years. Algeria…beware!”

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