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Parallels
2:21 am
Tue March 17, 2015

A New Community Rises In The West Bank ... And It's Not Israeli

A Palestinian family leaves the visitors center at Rawabi.
Tanya Habjouqa for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 9:23 am

Palestinian investor Bashar Masri is building an entirely new city in the West Bank. It's a huge investment, with 5,000 new homes for tens of thousands of families. And, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it's also a political statement.

As we approached this new city of Rawabi, north of Ramallah, we saw a row of high-rise apartment buildings topped by construction cranes. Scaffolding surrounds the minaret of an incomplete mosque. Nobody has moved in yet.

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Parallels
2:24 am
Mon March 16, 2015

A Rail Line That Crosses Jerusalem's Divide, But Can't Unite It

Israel's light rail runs through Jewish areas in East Jerusalem, then into Palestinian neighborhoods and on to old Israeli communities in West Jerusalem. On occasion, it has been a target for violence.
Tanya Habjouqa for NPR

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 12:43 pm

David Felber was out of breath when he met up with us at the Pigsat Ze'ev Light Rail station in East Jerusalem.

"We missed the 8 o'clock train," he panted. He didn't want to miss the 8:05.

The 53-year-old was on his way to work at the Ministry of Education in West Jerusalem.

We stepped on board to glimpse how the battle for land touches so much in this region, including Felber's commute.

Jerusalem's light rail system connects the two halves of a divided city. Israel captured East Jerusalem in the Six-Day War against Arab nations almost half a century ago.

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Parallels
4:27 am
Sat March 14, 2015

Palestinians Ask: The Two-State Solution Or The Two-State Illusion?

Palestinians held rallies last November, like this one in the West Bank city of Nablus, to mark the 10th anniversary of the 2004 death of Yasser Arafat. Palestinians are increasingly frustrated with the two decades of on-and-off peace talks that have not led to an independent Palestinian state.
Jaafar Ashtiyeh AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 4:20 pm

Palestinians in the West Bank don't get to vote in Israel's election on Tuesday, but they do have opinions.

And at a time when talks toward creating a Palestinian state have stalled, there are Palestinians like Ahmad Aweidah who are seeking alternatives to the traditional call for a two-state solution.

Aweidah is among those busy building the outward signs of a Palestinian state. Such efforts were visible when we went to visit him in the city of Nablus. His office is upstairs from the National Bank of Palestine, so named even though there is no country by that name.

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Parallels
3:29 am
Fri March 13, 2015

2 Israeli Candidates Struggle With Nation's Uncertain Future

Stav Shaffir, 29, left, is considered a rising star in the left-leaning Labor Party. Anat Roth, 40, is a candidate for the Jewish Home Party.
Daniella Cheslow for NPR

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 12:43 pm

While traveling in Israel this month, we asked several Israelis if they worried about the future of their country.

"Of course I'm concerned," answered Stav Shaffir.

"We're threatened from all over," said Anat Roth.

Both women are candidates for Israel's Knesset, or parliament, in Tuesday's election. They have a common concern about their country's future — its conflict with Palestinians, its relations with the rest of the world — that has driven them to vastly different political positions.

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Parallels
2:40 am
Wed March 11, 2015

In The West Bank, Living Side By Side — But Agreeing On Nothing

Murad al-Khuffash (right) and his twin brother, Hazem, are Palestinian farmers living in Marda. Khuffash remembers when settlers took charge of Ariel in the 1970s.
Tanya Habjouqa for NPR

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 2:06 pm

No matter how much you've read about the struggle for land in the Middle East, it deepens your understanding to visit an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

The Israeli settlements, founded in areas that Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, raise some of the more contentious issues in the conflict.

Israel is under pressure to stop building them, and eventually to surrender many of them to make way for a future Palestinian state. The United Nations long ago said they are not legal, and critics of Israel cite them as a reason to boycott or divest from the Jewish state.

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