There is hardly a problem of contemporary society and politics that does not possess a particularly severe form in the Middle East. Nevertheless, in all the various countries, there have always been people who have challenged the status quo with the vision of a future that, however distant and elusive, nonetheless contains some hope. The journal Khamsin was founded in 1975 by a small group of such people.
The state of Israel was built in struggle against the Orient; but once it had been built, about half its (Jewish) people were offspring of that same Orient. Neither the Zionist movement nor the state of Israel has ever been able to resolve that contradiction.
Articles about women in the Middle East inevitably touch on many facets of social, political, and economic life in the countries concerned, and will tell us as much about the nature of Zionism and the Arab societies as they do about women themselves.
The two articles in this section, written nearly seven years apart in time, share common concerns, seek to call attention to the Lebanese, as opposed to international or inter-Arab, components of the crisis and the war. Both refuse to endorse any of the warring sides, or to countenance their behaviour.
Khamsin 8 was entirely devoted to the 'Politics of Religion in the Middle East'. All the articles in this section are taken from that attempt to take up what the issue's editorial called 'the sadly neglected twin tasks of confrontation with Islam and Judaism'.
Whatever may be said about Hammami's political views on particular points, there is no denying the non-sectarianism of his attitude to the Israeli Jewish population: he recognizes that they constitute a nationality just as much as the Palestinian Arabs, and that they, too, are entitled to national right in Palestine. To hear a Palestinian spokesman say this was not necessarily congenial to fanatics on both sides.