Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti Delivers Edward Said Lecture at Princeton

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti Delivers Edward Said Lecture at Princeton

Article excerpt

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti gave the first Edward Said Memorial Lecture at Princeton University on Nov. 6. A year and a half ago, Barghouti and the late Professor Said, along with Dr. Haider Abdel Shafi and Ibrahim Dakak, founded Al Mubadara, the Palestinian National Initiative, as a democratic opposition movement within Palestinian domestic politics. The-aim of Al Mubadara, Barghouti explained, is to generate hope for Israelis as well as for Palestinians through nonviolent civil resistance to the occupation.

Barghouti said he has learned that, perhaps because of a certain media bias, Americans do not get enough information about the background of the conflict, nor about the reality of the situation today. Few are aware, for instance, that Palestinians made a major compromise in 1988 when they accepted a two-state solution. The U.N. General Assembly partition resolution of 1947 designated 44 percent of Palestine to an Arab state. In the course of the 1948 war, Israel expanded its share of the territory assigned to it from 55 percent to 78 percent, then occupied the remaining 22 percent in the 1967 war. In 1988, Palestinians accepted a state on the 22 percent of their homeland that is legally defined as occupied.

Barghouti described four processes on the ground that are ignored by the international community: ferocious settlement expansion, full reoccupation of the West Bank and of 60 percent of Gaza, siege and closure, and the building of the fence/wall. When he saw the Academy Award-winning movie, "The Pianist," about the Warsaw ghetto and its destruction, Barghouti said he saw Qalqilya, now completely surrounded by the wall, and was reminded of Edward Said's assertion that Palestinians are victims of victims.

As the founder and current president of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, as well as the founder and director of the Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute, Dr. Barghouti is particularly convincing in describing the effects of the siege on the health of the population. Because of the 482 checkpoints within Palestine, 82 Palestinians have died due to prevention of medical treatment, he said, including 27 children, 17 of whom were newborns. He showed slides of ill and wounded Palestinians having to be carried across barriers from one ambulance to another, and noted that 52 women have been forced to give birth at checkpoints in front of soldiers. …

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