Telling a story in Tweets

OK, here we go, in an experiment in new media journalism: I’m going to repost, in chronological order from first to last, my Tweets this morning on a story about Jerusalem.

Some related background, by Khaled Abu Toameh, was published on 17 December in the Jerusalem Post here.

[Maybe it’s a bit rough, this experimental hybrid technique may need polishing, or maybe it won’t work — but here’s a try. Meanwhile, my Twitter name — you can, if you’d like, follow me there — is @Marianhouk]

(1) Palestinians in “East” as well as N + S Jerusalem have sulked 4 years about PA abandonment, are unprepared to carry out their own resistance
9:52 AM – 21 Dec 11 via web

(2) Palestinian grievances in East, N + S Jlem are very grave, very real, leadership lacking. Sparks now: huge new IDF terminal near Shofat Camp
9:53 AM – 21 Dec 11 via web

(3) Nobody knows when huge new IDF/Border Police will open, next to Shoafat Refugee Camp, once only camp in Jlem, now behind military checkpoint
9:54 AM – 21 Dec 11 via web

(4) But very bright lights at night show huge Israeli military structure next to Shoafat Camp, 7-8 passenger + cargo lanes almost ready for use.
9:55 AM – 21 Dec 11

(5) Why new road construction [unexplained] bet. Maale Adumim + huge new about-to-open “border” terminal next to Shoafat Refugee Camp in E Jlem?
9:57 AM – 21 Dec 11 via web

(6) Fears of the apparent inevitable in EJlem are rising, incidents weekly or more at Israeli military checkpoint going in+out of Shoafat Camp
10:00 AM – 21 Dec 11 via web

(7) Shoafat tensions seem related to new shock strategy of Fatah’s Jlem area leader, Hatem Abdel Qader, to attack Israeli-Palestinian meetings
10:09 AM – 21 Dec 11 via web

(8) Hatem Abdel Qader is, as Gershon Baskin notes, the only Fatah leader behind call to block Is-PAL meetings in Jlem, but there’s a FB campaign
10:10 AM – 21 Dec 11 via web

(9) Palestine-Israel Journal had their EJlem meeting abt Arab Spring yesterday cancelled at last minute by Legacy Hotel management after threats
10:13 AM – 21 Dec 11 via web

(10) Legacy Hotel in EJlem [management from N Israel] told PAL-Is Journal that there were threatening phone calls, demands not to host meeting
10:15 AM – 21 Dec 11 via web

(11) Explanation from PAL-Is Journal [email]: Legacy Hotel owner said “he cares about his business + doesn’t want any political involvement”
10:17 AM – 21 Dec 11 via web

(12) A previous Israeli-Palestinian meeting at the Ambassador Hotel in EJlem was cancelled last week after PAL protesters disrupted session
10:18 AM – 21 Dec 11 via web

(13) Stated reason for new shock campaign against Is-PAL meetings in EJlem: coexistence + normalization projects ignore devastating PAL reality
10:22 AM – 21 Dec 11 via web

(14) PIJ editors say that bitter feelings are against the PA too, “which is also held responsible for letting down the Palestinians of Jerusalem”
10:38 AM – 21 Dec 11 via web

(15) Palestine-Israel Journal Co-Editors who wrote about cancellation under threat of meeting at Legacy Hotel: Ziad AbuZayyad + Hillel Schenker
10:40 AM – 21 Dec 11 via web


Update: Meanwhile, Gershon Baskon, JPost columnist and just-retired co-Director of the Israel-Palestinian Research and Information Center [IPCRI] which has thrived on such meetings which are now threatened, has just weighed in, writing this:

    “The Al Quds al Arabi newspaper, published in London, gave voice to senior Fatah member Hatem Abdel Qader Eid from Jerusalem announcing that Fatah has decided to boycott and prevent all meetings between Palestinians and Israelis, official and non-official.

    Being one of the leading Israeli advocates of such meetings and someone who has organized more than 2,000 of them over the past 24 years, many people have asked my opinion of the move.

    First of all, I put little faith in Al-Quds al- Arabi. The paper brings to mind the old joke that the only thing (usually) accurate in the newspaper is the date. Its editor and publisher, Abdel Bari Atwan, is a strange character who is known for taking money from all kinds of bizarre and infamous sources.

    Secondly, Hatem Abdel Qader Eid is without doubt a serious Fatah leader, popular within Fatah, especially in places like the Shuafat refugee camp, his home district. But he is also well known for his opposition to meetings with Israelis, so this is not a new position for him.

    I have not yet heard or seen an official decision of Fatah to boycott all official or unofficial meetings with Israelis. That does not mean that such a decision might not be in the offing. It could happen, and if it does, I believe it would be another unfortunate mistake by the Palestinians.

    It is important, though, to understand the Palestinian argument against negotiations in order to be able to counter it. Palestinians claim that Israel’s goal is to achieve legitimacy from the Palestinians and from the Arab world. The Palestinians and the Arab world are willing to grant that legitimacy, but only when Israel pays the price: ending the occupation and allowing the creation of a Palestinian state in the territory of the pre-1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital.

    Until that time, most Palestinians and most of the Arab world would agree that Israel should be denied legitimacy and normalization. By normalization they mean normal relations that exist between states – cultural relations, scientific cooperation, joint educational programs, etc.

    The anti-normalization campaign is part and parcel of the BDS campaign (boycott, divestment and sanctions) – locally and internationally. The BDS website defines the group as ‘a global movement against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights’.

    Many Palestinians, especially in activist civil society organizations, are tired of waiting. They believe they must do something to shock the system, to create an understanding that Palestinians are not willing to continue to live under full Israeli control forever. One of the steps they are taking is to boycott Israel and Israelis, including meetings with Israelis.

    For some reason they have the misconception that meeting Israelis in workshops, seminars, conferences and other activities organized by peace organizations – Israeli or international – is a form of punishment or some kind of motivation to get those Israelis to work harder for ending the occupation and making peace.

    Unfortunately these ideas are mistaken and misconstrued and are counter-productive. I have asked Palestinian friends who support this form of anti-normalization just how not talking to me will advance the cause of Palestinian statehood, an end to the occupation and peace with Israel. I have yet to find a supporter of anti-normalization who can answer that question.

    Anti-normalization campaigns are bogus and self-defeating and if Fatah leaders like Hatem Abdel Qader Eid support them, then I expect and hope to hear louder voices from within Fatah who demonstrate by actions that they will continue to search for real peace with Israelis who are equally committed to end the tragedy of our conflict which has gone of for much too long”.

This commentary by Gershon Baskin, ex-Co Director of IPCRI, was received by email — and is also now posted here.

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