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Palestine and the Palestinians in the 21st Century

Palestine and the Palestinians in the 21st Century

Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Indiana University Press
Pages: 292
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  • Book Info
    Palestine and the Palestinians in the 21st Century
    Book Description:

    Recent developments in Palestinian political, economic, and social life have resulted in greater insecurity and diminishing confidence in Israel's willingness to abide by political agreements or the Palestinian leadership's ability to forge consensus. This volume examines the legacies of the past century, conditions of life in the present, and the possibilities and constraints on prospects for peace and self-determination in the future. These historically grounded essays by leading scholars engage the issues that continue to shape Palestinian society, such as economic development, access to resources, religious transformation, and political movements.

    eISBN: 978-0-253-01091-9
    Subjects: History, Political Science
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction (pp. 1-12)

    The first decade of the twenty-first century witnessed both significant ends and noteworthy beginnings for Palestinians. In this volume, specialists on Palestinian politics, history, economics, and society examine the continuities that bind the twentieth to the twenty-first century. The contributors address these junctures with an analytical eye on the effects of colonial rule and on the political and ideological trends following the 1948 and 1967 wars, bringing a close reading of history into crucial and critical scholarship on the present. They also consider what the future may hold based on the evidence provided by ongoing political, social, economic, and legal...

    • 1. The Zionist Colonization of Palestine in the Context of Comparative Settler Colonialism (pp. 15-34)

      To deeply understand Zionism and the state of Israel, one must engage with the field of comparative settler colonialism. The expansion and conquest by Europe that began in 1500 produced two kinds of related but clearly distinguishable forms of colonialism. One was metropole colonialism, in which Europeans conquered and ruled vast territories but administered and exploited them without seeking to make them their home; British India is a good example. The other type was settler colonialism, in which the conquest by European states brought with it substantial waves of settlers who with the passage of time sought to make the...

    • 2. Colonial Occupation and Development in the West Bank and Gaza: Understanding the Palestinian Economy through the Work of Yusif Sayigh (pp. 35-59)

      The Oslo peace process initiated in 1993 brought hopes for the emergence of a vibrant economy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS), one that would provide a solid foundation for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. Yet Palestinian economic growth since 1993 has been marked by major fluctuations and unsustainability. Palestinian real GDP per capita income in the West Bank and Gaza in 2007 was 30 percent lower than in 1999. Poverty touched 49 percent of Gaza and 25 percent of the West Bank in 2007.¹ The 2008–2009 Israeli war on Gaza destroyed whatever remained of...

    • 3. War, Peace, Civil War: A Pattern? (pp. 60-80)

      Since 1974, there has been a pattern of war, peace or appeasement, and then civil war or dissent in the ranks of the Palestinian national movement. After the wars of 1971 in Jordan and 1973 between the Arabs and Israel, the PLO adopted the Step-by-Step Program, which opened the door for a two-state solution. This was followed by the establishment of the Rejection Front within the PLO.¹ After the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the Fatah leadership of the PLO accepted the Saudi-sponsored Arab Peace Initiative, which was followed by the first Palestinian civil war in Tripoli, Lebanon. After the...

    • 4. Palestinians Following the 2006 Legislative Election: A Critical Election? (pp. 83-102)

      Elections and change of government are part of the democratic process. Following every democratic election, a government continues its performance as the executive branch or is changed. Such a change is a reflection of the changing preferences of the people, the collective of citizens. The change can be reflected in two ways. The first, in which the new government continues the policies of the previous one, is common and can be considered regular or gradual change, with minor alterations that reflect the guiding principles of the new ruling party or parties or the personal preferences of the newly elected leaders....

    • 5. Before Gaza, After Gaza: Examining the New Reality in Israel/Palestine (pp. 103-120)
      SARA ROY

      In the nineteen years since the Oslo process began, Palestinians have suffered losses not seen since the beginning of Israeli occupation and arguably since the Nakba, the losses of 1948. The scholar Joseph Massad has compellingly argued that it is wrong to think of the Nakba as “a history of the past”; rather, it is “a history of the present,” a historical epoch that remains a living, ongoing reality without end.¹ Yet, what has changed is the conceptualization of loss itself, which has assumed altogether new dimensions. For now it is less a matter of defining losses that demand redress...

    • 6. The Legal Trajectory of the Palestinian Refugee Issue: From Exclusion to Ambiguity (pp. 121-141)

      At the end of 2011, out of a total Palestinian population of about 11.2 million persons, some 7.4 million were refugees or internally displaced.¹ The Palestinian people constitute one of the largest and longest-standing unresolved situations of displacement in the world; about one in three refugees worldwide is Palestinian.² Given the size and protracted nature of this refugee flow, one would imagine that a great deal of energy would be expended on adapting international legal principles to craft a durable solution for this problem. Instead, it is often said that the Palestinian refugee problem is unique, that existing principles are...

    • 7. The Debate on Islamism and Secularism: The Case of Palestinian Women’s Movements (pp. 142-157)

      Conflict over the construction of gender and the ideal woman is not a neutral or primarily religious concern. Nationalists and Islamists alike seek to establish an ideal society that depends on a particular conception of womanhood.¹ The difference between the two conceptions is that religious or Islamist groups seek to restore a mythical age in which women were guardians of tradition,² whereas the nationalists tout the fertile, modest peasant as their epitome of the feminine. In both cases, the ideal woman embodies a past when “traditional family and moral values [built] ‘our nation.’”³

      Despite the similarities between them, the Islamist...

    • 8. Other Worlds to Live In: Palestinian Retrievals of Religion and Tradition under Conditions of Chronic National Collapse (pp. 158-188)

      Today, perhaps more than ever, the question of Palestinian identity has become obvious and urgent. The always-fragile national consensus has ceded to open schism. In the wake of devastating interfactional bloodletting, the Islamic political movement, Hamas, now dominates the Gaza Strip while the weakened secular-nationalist Fatah movement putatively controls the West Bank. The choice for Palestinians, as it comes across in media analyses and think-tank position papers, seems stark: either an embattled secular-nationalist Fatah movement reasserts itself, or Palestine becomes “Hamastan.”¹ But, even the very possibility of Palestine, or, for that matter, “Hamastan,” seems ever more unrealizable. Israel, backed by...

    • 9. Palestine in the American Political Arena: Is a “Reset” Possible? (pp. 191-206)

      There are two competing narratives about America and Palestine. One derives from the Protestant missionaries who early in the nineteenth century went to the “Holy Land” to convert the “natives” (an impossible task) and who ended up as educators. The descendants of these hardy and talented people not only established impressive schools and colleges, many of which thrive today, but also went on to become diplomats—the fabled and maligned “State Department Arabists”—as well as businesspeople and development professionals. They were genuinely attached to the Arabs of Palestine. After World War II, when the United States elected to support...

    • 10. Human Rights and the Rule of Law (pp. 207-220)

      Between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, Israel embarked on an unprecedented aerial and ground offensive against the Gaza Strip. In a span of twenty-two days, Israeli ground and aerial forces demolished 2,400 homes, 21 schools, and 60 police stations, and killed approximately 1,300 civilians, 280 of them children. The onslaught was particularly egregious because of the means employed. For eighteen months prior to the attack, Israel had imposed a debilitating naval blockade and ground siege that increased food dependency for survival to 56 percent and increased unemployment to nearly 40 percent. Moreover, Israel prevented Palestinians from fleeing the...

    • 11. Lessons for Palestine from Northern Ireland Why George Mitchell Couldn’t Turn Jerusalem into Belfast (pp. 221-250)

      During Israel’s December 2008/January 2009 invasion of the Gaza Strip, which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians, the vast majority civilians,¹ veteran Irish journalist Patrick Cockburn reported that Israeli society reminded him “more than ever of the unionists in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s.” Like Israelis, he wrote, unionists were a community “with a highly developed siege mentality which led them always to see themselves as victims even when they were killing other people. There were no regrets or even knowledge of what they inflicted on others and therefore any retaliation by the other side appeared as unprovoked aggression inspired...

    • 12. One State: The Realistic Solution (pp. 251-270)

      Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister, declared in April 2009 that Israel is not bound by the commitments it entered into at the Annapolis summit in November 2007.¹ He was followed by Benjamin Netanyahu, the then freshly minted prime minister, in a policy speech in June of the same year, which categorically ruled out the possibility of the creation of a genuinely independent Palestinian state.² These declarations came as close as we are likely to get to an official announcement of the end of the two-state solution to the Zionist conflict with the Palestinians. And in essentially renouncing the two-state...

  8. Contributors (pp. 271-274)
  9. Index (pp. 275-282)