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Liz Taylor, A Personal Reflection. Last Of The Unforgettable Stars

Liz Taylor, A Personal Reflection. Last Of The Unforgettable Stars

Famed Italian director Franco Zeffirelli worked with Elizabeth Taylor, and was also a longtime friend. Here are his reflections on the death of the legendary American actress at the age of 79.

Elizabeth Taylor (spleeny)

People like Liz no longer exist. With her passing, the sun has set on that image of the unforgettable diva. Today, we are witnessing a vertiginous descent in the quality of public personalities, in every field: you just don't find people like her anymore in an age where breaking through is so much harder, where certain kinds of films no longer get made, and fairy tales don't come true.

Liz was born a star, a major league star, on screen, but also in life. When she appeared, she immediately captured the attention of everyone, a unique woman who left a deep mark over many years in the history of global show business.

I was lucky enough to know her well. We worked together on two films (Taming of the Shrew, 1967; Toscanini, 1988), and we became very good friends. She possessed a winning mix of rare qualities -- beauty, intelligence, talent – that made her the diva she was and could provoke a certain kind of embarrassment in those who met her.

She also had a great sense of freedom, so she could allow herself, in times very different from those of today, seven husbands and eight marriages. As a friend, she was formidable, witty, cheerful; we loved the same things, had great fun together, and shared the same taste in making fun of others. If someone fell down in our web, we were capable of tormenting them for days on end. Between us, there was a great understanding, we would call each other often, exchanging confessions and allowing each others' outbursts.

On the set, she paid incredibly close attention in what she did and said, always with the desire that everything was absolutely perfect. Among her best films there is definitely "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." She was also very careful with the press and the manner in which news of her was communicated. The last time I saw her was in Los Angeles last year, and had talked to her by phone since then. I am deeply saddened, and sorry to hear how much she suffered. All of us are destined to disappear from the scene, but she was inimitable, and her passing will leave a huge void.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Settlers, Prisoners, Resistance: How Israeli Occupation Ties Gaza To The West Bank

The fate of the West Bank is inevitably linked to the conflict in Gaza; and indeed Israeli crackdowns and settler expansion and violence in the West Bank is a sign of an explicit strategy.

Settlers, Prisoners, Resistance: How Israeli Occupation Ties Gaza To The West Bank

Israeli soldiers take their positions during a military operation in the Balata refugee camp, West Bank.

Riham Al Maqdama


CAIRO — Since “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood” began on October 7, the question has been asked: What will happen in the West Bank?

A review of Israel’s positions and rhetoric since 1967 has always referred to the Gaza Strip as a “problem,” while the West Bank was the “opportunity,” so that former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s decision to withdraw Israeli settlements from Gaza in 2005 was even referred to as an attempt to invest state resources in Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank.

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This separation between Gaza and the West Bank in the military and political doctrine of the occupation creates major challenges, repercussions of which have intensified over the last three years.

Settlement expansion in the West Bank and the continued restrictions of the occupation there constitute the “land” and Gaza is the “siege” of the challenge Palestinians face. The opposition to the West Bank expansion is inseparable from the resistance in Gaza, including those who are in Israeli prisons, and some who have turned to take up arms through new resistance groups.

“What happened in Gaza is never separated from the West Bank, but is related to it in cause and effect,” said Ahmed Azem, professor of international relations at Qatar University. “The name of the October 7 operation is the Al-Aqsa Flood, referring to what is happening in Jerusalem, which is part of the West Bank.”

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