Of Government and Politics

Two peoples and the wall between them

May 23rd, 2009

"For thousands of years, history and culture, religion and nations, politics and conflicts have clashed in Jerusalem. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is merely the latest chapter. talks to the people whose lives are directly affected by the current tensions, and brings you the voices and issues muted too long by the politicking and fighting."

View From Jerusalem to the Palestinian West Bank in a larger map

*The white dotted lines indicate the demarcation between Israel and the Palestinian-controlled territories of Gaza and the West Bank.


For six days the Palestinian Festival of Literature will bring some 20 international writers – western and Arab – to the West Bank. There they will be meeting with students and people who live in the area, in conversation. follows the festival as it sets off from Arab East Jerusalem to the West Bank, going through Ramallah, Jenin, Bethlehem, Hebron and back again. What are they thinking, what are their lives like?

Reality Check or How to hold a festival under occupation 

"You can't escape politics here."

Acting class in Jenin with Monty Python's Michael Palin

Crossing the Qalandia checkpoint into Israel

Hanging out at Hebron University

Of printed words that close the festival

Learning about matters of faith on a Jewish holy day


This series of three stories looks at the issue of land in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with a special focus on the city of Jerusalem.

The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as territory annexed from them during the Six-Day War in 1967. Israel maintains that Jerusalem will not be divided, and has cut it off from the Palestinian-controlled West Bank with the erection of a security wall.

If and when the peace talks between the two sides continue, the status of Jerusalem will be paramount, and control of this holy city may come down to quite literally the situation on the ground and just who owns how much of it.


Dot-p-s, because any sovereignty you can get counts 

The Israeli-Palestinian Numbers Game

There was an old woman who lived in a tent



This is Hebron, where the Jews and the Muslims find their common ground in their shared patriarch Abraham. From him was descended Issac, father of the Jewish people and Ishamel, from whom came the Muslims.

This week we revisit Hebron, the town in where the two warring peoples have to live closer together than anywhere else in the West Bank.


One way Israeli, one way Arabhebron marker

Hebron - where the Jews and Palestinians met and parted ways

The Chinese-Arab connection



Cheat Sheet: Palestinian Territories

Cheat Sheet: Israel


The Birth of a Nation: Israel in Pictures

David Rubinger was there at some of the most significant moments of Israel's history. His photographs are a testimony of its tumultuous past, which remains very much a part of the country's present. He shared these works of his in an exclusive interview with


Related Story:

Israel's Picture Maker


India Votes: Special reports on the 2009 parliamentary elections in the world's largest democracy

View India Votes in a larger map


“What struck me most was it is amazing that in this country of a thousand different Indias, people still manage to live in such relative harmony and function as a democracy. I think we do not give Indian voters the credit they deserve. I realise that I am guilty of it as well, being cynical and pointing out all the problems with this democracy and the corruption. Of course it exists, it is endemic. But at the same time, the fact that over 700 million people can go to the polls and do so in a largely peaceful fashion, all across the country, with divisions based on linguistics, culture, religion, economic, politics.”

Karishma Vaswani on reporting on the Indian elections


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There simply isn't just one Mumbai

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Delhi to Gujarat: Encounters with Indian democracy on the BBC Election Train

Gujarat: At the edge of its religious chasm

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BBC Indian Elections Train Route Map

India Elections in Numbers and Symbols

Cheat Sheets : India

Sleeping on the sidewalk in Jerusalem

August 2009, Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem

Under the shade of an olive tree, an evicted Palestinian family is caught in a strange stand-off with the Jewish settlers who have taken over their home.

Homeless and on the run in Pakistan's paradise


Overnight, more than two million in the "Switzerland of the East" find themselves homeless in their own country as the Pakistani government wages an all-out war against the Taliban.

No stamp of approval

Perhaps one of the most bizarre examples of how confused “loyalty” is for the Chinese diaspora can be demonstrated by the work of a Chinese Canadian businessman, Michael Lo. A Hong Kong immigrant, Lo invested heavily in his private education empire in Vancouver, where he used to have a college and a university.

He befriended politicians. He was able to get a Chinese Canadian member of parliament to connect him to the right people at renowned education institutes and government units in China.

The National Alliance Party

In Canada, there is a 99% chance that you will not be a professional, you will not find employment, and you will not be in the place you feel you deserve.

When Chen Weiping and a few friends came up with the idea of a “Chinese Canadian political party”, they did not envision a nationwide backlash.

Peace, when?


If you are Lebanese and under 30 years old, you definitely would have lived through war.

Post-Election Analysis: Why everyone called it wrong


On Saturday May 16th, India's ruling Congress Party was kept in power, winning an astonishing 262 votes, its best results since 1990. Just ten votes short of the 272 needed for a parliamentary majority, it will be able to govern without the need to make deals with regional parties. The markets responded with a resounding 17 percent surge in share prices, its biggest one-day-gain in three decades. Yet this was a victory margin none of the pundits saw coming.

As India Votes 2009

Illustration: Vikash Sharma

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