Dolbee, Samuel and Shay Hazkani. “‘Impossible is not Ottoman’: Menashe Meirovitch, ‘Isa al-‘Isa, and Imperial Citizenship in Palestine.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 47.2 (2015): 241-62.
This article explores a covert partnership between a prominent Zionist agronomist, Menashe Meirovitch, and the Christian Arab editor of the newspaper Filastin, ʿIsa al-ʿIsa, a founding father of Palestinian nationalism. Under the literary guise of an Arab Muslim peasant called Abu Ibrahim, the two men produced a series of Arabic-language columns in 1911–12 that exhibited imperial citizenship par excellence, demanding political and agrarian reforms in Palestine in the name of strengthening the Ottoman Empire. The article explores their short-lived political alliance to interrogate historiographical uses of the press as a source for social history. Moreover, it challenges the portrayal of cooperation between Jews and Arabs as “collaboration” in its pejorative sense. Far from a simple story of betrayal or corruption, the partnership between the two men demonstrates how a shared commitment to Ottoman modernism brought them together more than nationalism, language, or religion pulled them apart.
On the foundation of the first Jewish settlements in the Negev, at the start of the 1940s, the Bedouins welcomed the Jewish settlers. The local personal connections and mutual acquaintance between them created a feeling of closeness. The symbiosis of daily life and mutual help in the fields of personal needs, from medicine to transport, replaced their mutual fears.
However, two factors quickly changed this attitude. The first was a severe drought, which struck the Negev in the winter of 1947, and brought with it a difficult economic situation, followed by several robberies and disputes, and damage to property. The second factor was the incessant encouragement given by the leaders of the Palestinian National Movement to the Bedouins to join the struggle against the Jewish population, especially after the UN decision in November 1947, that is, after the partition of Palestine and the inclusion of the Negev within the borders of the Jewish state.
Most of the Bedouins joined the Palestinian National Struggle. Friends of yesterday became today’s enemies. The years 1947–1949 were a period of anarchy, which continued well into the 1950s. In this period the State of Israel was established. Consequently, the Jewish population in the Negev was no longer the party responsible for the relationship with the Bedouins, as the Israeli government took its place. Also contact between neighbors was reduced after the Bedouins were evacuated toward the ‘fence’ region, in the Beer-Sheva Valley. The freedom the Bedouins enjoyed before the war did not exist anymore.
Though research on Israel/Palestine often privileges the macro-geopolitical perspective, a growing body of work has begun to catalogue the ways in which the violence of occupation is carried out through intimate spaces and practices. However, often missing from such accounts is an understanding of intimacy as a counter-veiling political force. Looking at the ‘Love Under Apartheid’ project in Palestine, and queer anti-occupation organising in Israel, this paper considers how storytelling can serve as both a research methodology and political intervention, changing the way geopolitical stories are told and unfold.
The display of unity in protest however was semiotically and politically
unstable, inviting moments of radical intervention (like the
Guillotine) only to disavow them as moments of transgression,
inappropriate for a “responsible” leadership. This fluctuating process,
which we term situational radicalism, was the outcome of an indecisive
play of boundaries, of presence and absence, inside and outside. The
double meaning of the concept of situational radicalism reflects the modus operandi
of the summer protests first as a performance of radicalism divorced
from a revolutionary constitution; and secondly, as a protest held
hostage by the ‘situation’ (ha-matzav) – a phenomenological
emic term Israelis use to collapse the temporality and spatiality of the
politics of permanent conflict onto the lived present.