125 Chapters
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2. Colonial Occupation and Development in the West Bank and Gaza: Understanding the Palestinian Economy through the Work of Yusif Sayigh

NoContributor Indiana University Press ePub

 

Understanding the Palestinian Economy through the Work of Yusif Sayigh

LEILA FARSAKH

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 Palestinian economic activity there, demolishing major social and economic infrastructure at a total estimated cost of $1.4 billion. The siege imposed on it since 2006 further severed its links to the West Bank, putting in jeopardy the unity of the Palestinian economy. Although real GDP grew by over 5 percent in the West Bank and by more than 9 percent in the Gaza Strip from 2009 to 2012, it was mainly fueled by international assistance, which amounted to over 20 percent of GDP.2 Poverty rates still stood at 33.7 percent in the Gaza Strip in 2010, where over 71 percent of the population receives some form of aid.3 The Israeli war on Gaza in November 2012 further proved the unsustainability of growth in the Occupied Territories.

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1. The Zionist Colonization of Palestine in the Context of Comparative Settler Colonialism

NoContributor Indiana University Press ePub

 

GABRIEL PITERBERG

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 colonies their national patrimony. This process entailed a relationship with the indigenous people that ranged from dispossession to elimination, or from slavery to cheap labor, depending on the land and labor formations of a given settler society. Settler colonialism can be said to have begun in earnest with the English—and later Scottish-Presbyterian—settlers in Ireland in the second half of the sixteenth century, and continued with the settler colonies in what would become Virginia and New England in the seventeenth century. It is within the burgeoning field of comparative settler colonialism that I seek to place the Zionist colonization of Palestine and the state of Israel.1

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5. Before Gaza, After Gaza: Examining the New Reality in Israel

NoContributor Indiana University Press ePub

 

Examining the New Reality in Israel/Palestine

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 than of living in an altered, indistinguishable, and indeterminate reality in which those losses have no place, no history, and no context, where reclamation is, in effect, meaningless, without purpose or justification. This altered reality has been shaped and defined over the last few years by certain critical paradigmatic shifts in the way the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is conceptualized, understood, and addressed. I will touch upon some of these shifts, ending with a brief reflection on the changing socioeconomic reality in Gaza.

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9. Palestine in the American Political Arena: Is a Reset Possible?

NoContributor Indiana University Press ePub

 

Is a “Reset” Possible?

MICHAEL C. HUDSON

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 business-people and development professionals. They were genuinely attached to the Arabs of Palestine. After World War II, when the United States elected to support the Jewish nationalist, or Zionist, project in Palestine, which led in 1948 to the forced displacement of some 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, they supported the Palestinian cause. But these people constituted a small minority.

The other narrative, which has come to frame America’s collective understanding of the Middle East, is the story of Zionism, which from its European origins succeeded in establishing Israel in historic Palestine. This is a story, celebrated in novels and films, of European Jews fleeing discriminatory European pogroms and ultimately the Holocaust, braving callous British officialdom, and creating a safe haven for a people uniquely persecuted in the West. To most Americans the Israelis were pioneers (like American whites) settling undeveloped territory, making the desert bloom, and fighting off or educating the “backward” natives. Israel became an extension of the “Judeo-Christian civilization” of which Americans were a part. It is this narrative to which most American elected politicians have subscribed up to this day.

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4. Palestinians Following the 2006 Legislative Election: A Critical Election?

NoContributor Indiana University Press ePub

 

A Critical Election?

ASʾAD GHANEM

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. These elections can be classified as “regular elections.”

The second mode of change, in which a deep and fundamental change occurs in the agenda or the political, economic, or social situation of the state or in its international status, is “critical elections.”1 Such critical elections occurred in the United States in 1860, after which the Civil War started around the question of the future of the union. Such elections also occurred in Germany in 1933, when the National Party and Hitler took power democratically and promoted a revolutionary change in German internal and external policies. Another example is the South African elections of 1989, which signaled the end of the apartheid regime. Smooha and Peretz consider the 1992 Israeli elections as critical elections, in that following those elections Israel entered a new phase in its relationship with the PLO.2

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