Chair: Dr Nigel Parsons, Senior Lecturer, Politics Programme, Massey University
Paper 1: The Palestinian Authority Strikes Back: Bureaucratic Resistance through Statistics and Planning in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
Dr Nigel Parsons, Senior Lecturer, Politics Programme, Massey University
Drawing on fieldwork conducted in the West Bank during summer 2011, this paper examines two Palestinian bureaucratic responses to the Israeli biopolitical agenda. It focuses on the work of two Palestinian Authority (PA) institutions in Ramallah: the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) and the Ministry of Planning. Based on interviews with PA personnel and documentation from PA institutions, the study considers the ways and extent to which statistical data can be used to expedite forms of ‘bureaucratic resistance’ to Israeli demographic engineering in the OPT. The analysis then explores the mechanisms through which Palestinian planners look to cope with the dilemmas of planning under foreign military occupation, colonisation and the uncertainties of a post-Oslo order. The presentation includes a case study of successful PA responses, at national and municipal level, to Israeli pressure on the city of Hebron. >> download the paper
Paper 2: Facets of Resistance and Aspects of Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Dr Sandra Pogodda, Research Fellow, School of International Relations, University of St Andrews
During the Arab Spring, Palestine remained strangely quiet given that many Palestinians regard their intifadas as the origin of the current Arab revolts. In March, the occupied territories briefly echoed the revolutionary fervour of the region when demonstrations organised by a youth movement (‘March 15’) demanded the resumption of unity talks between Fatah and Hamas. In contrast to the anti-regime movements elsewhere in the region though, March 15 fell apart as quickly as the protesters realised that the real obstacle to Palestinian self-determination lay beyond the reach of domestic resistance. This paper studies the resistance against different aspects of peace and the movements’ limitations in achieving their goals. How do different types of resistance and different aspects of peace interact? What are the limitations of resistance movements in shaping the peace process? Where does the theory on political resistance sit uneasily with the everyday resistance in Palestine?
Paper 3 :Neo-liberalism for Development and Statehood in Palestine: Fayyadism, Aid Dependency and State Building
Alaa Tartir, PhD candidate and Researcher, Department of International Development, LSE
In the post-Arafat era, dramatic changes took place in the Palestinian polity and system of governance. Fayyadism became the magical paradigm. It acquired unprecedented levels of international aid as an investment in building a Palestinian state. This paper aims to explore aspects of the Fayyadism paradigm and its interaction with the aid-dependency status and the Palestinian national goals. This paper argues that Fayyadism is not only a strategy but also an outcome; it is a ‘home-grown’ phenomenon even though it is externally sponsored. It achieved ‘successes’ at the Palestinian Authority’s institutional level; however, these successes failed to be reflected on the daily lives of Palestinians. Finally, by eliminating the hybridity in the security provision, it altered the national liberation goals; largely lessen informal mechanisms for resistance and protection as tools for struggle against the occupation; and thus it did not result in protecting the security rights and needs for the Palestinians in the West Bank.
Paper 4: Rethinking Rights, Reconfiguring States: Palestinian Refugees in the Geo-political Restructuring of the Middle East
Dr Ruba Salih, Reader in Gender Studies, SOAS
This paper analyses Palestinian refugees’ predicaments in light of changing geo-political configurations in the Arab region. Palestinian refugees’ status is, at best, that of temporary citizens and, at worse, that of stateless subjects. Yet, (almost concomitantly with the birth of Arab host countries as modern nation-states) the enduring nature of the Palestinian refugees’ question offers grounds for analysing the constitutive aporia, contradictions and precariousness of nationality, citizenship and rights in the Middle East. However, far from being just passive victims, Palestinian refugees articulate a powerful critique, from below, to their state of political denial. As camp dwellers, they express a ferocious critique towards their “leadership” which they see as corrupted and lacking any type of accountability, or they see themselves subjected to a dehumanising humanitarian assistance. In this sense, Palestinian refugees are symbolically and potentially a political avant-garde, urging us to rethink new political democratic reconfigurations in the context of the formidable historical geo-political changes in the region.These are abridged versions of the abstracts submitted by the presenters.