CHALLENGE is a leftist magazine focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within a global context. Published in Tel Aviv, it features political analysis, investigative reporting, interviews, eye-witness reports, gender studies, arts, and more. Its editorial staff includes Jews and Arabs. Challenge is part of a network including Al Sabar (in Arabic) and Etgar (in Hebrew).
CHALLENGE is one of the very few sources in English focusing on the problems of Arabs in Israel. We emphasize such issues as the plight of local Arab workers amid the forces of globalization, gender issues and political discussions taking place in the community. We give space to issues of human rights and the progressive cultural scene in Israel today. You will find a strong bond between Challenge and the Workers Advice Center, as well as Sindyanna of Galilee, a fair-trade organization led by women. We also promote a documentary film group, Video48.
CHALLENGE had its start in 1990 during the first Intifada. For the last seventeen years, on a bimonthly basis, we have offered our readers an uncompromising analysis of events. We pointed out the flaws of the Madrid-Oslo process from its very beginning. We didn’t “fall into line” during the rule of Labor (1992-1996), and we did not hold our tongues when the Palestinian Authority violated human rights. (See The Trouble With Oslo.)
On the Second Intifada, CHALLENGE has taken a critical position. Although we regard the Israeli Occupation as the basic reason for the havoc in the Territories, we have also claimed consistently that the second Intifada lacked a coherent goal or strategy. We saw it as a power struggle between the old and new guard of the PLO, with the Palestinian people as its primary victim. Through its early months, we warned of the coming chaos. We condemned both state terror (Israel’s) and the individual terror of Palestinians.
Concerning the Palestinian Elections (January 2006), CHALLENGE has regarded the Hamas victory as problematic. The electoral process, like the Palestinian Authority itself, was a creature of Oslo, which Hamas does not accept. While using the elections as a vehicle to power, Hamas never resolved the question as to how it would behave, once power was achieved, within an international context defined by Oslo (see Hamas: A Victory Too Many). (link). For example, Western donations were predicated on Oslo; after Hamas took power, the Palestinian people suffered a political and economic boycott orchestrated by the Quartet and Israel.
On the Hamas – Fatah split: The schism since June 2007 between Gaza and the West Bank reflects two opposing political currents: Hamas presents a fundamentalist agenda which offers no realistic way out of the conflict. Fatah, led by Abu Mazen, is tied to the American-Israeli wagon, which dictates parameters that the Palestinian people cannot accept. Neither camp challenges neoliberal economic policies. Neither challenges the Arab dictators who continue to impede the development of those they rule.
We say that another way must be found, even if the road is long. Israelis and Palestinians, while demanding the right of Palestinians to a united sovereign state on all lands conquered in 1967, must strive toward a secular, democratic and socialist horizon.