Palestine

The Question of Palestinian Statehood and the Future of Decolonization

Is statehood the desired end goal of decolonization struggles or is it instead a useful tool along the way to achieving national liberation? The answer to this question has been at the heart of many national liberation movements since the twentieth century. Most struggles for decolonization have pursued the creation of a sovereign independent nation state as a right that is enshrined in international law with the 1960 United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1514, which defined colonialism as a crime and specified that “all people have an inalienable right to complete freedom, the exercise of their sovereignty and the integrity of their national territory.” This resolution granted colonized people the internationally recognized right to political independence and self-determination.

Indigenous Wine and Settler Colonialism in Israel and Palestine

In 2008 the first Palestinian wine made from indigenous grapes was released, introducing a discourse of primordial place-based authenticity into the local wine field. Six years later, Israeli wineries started marketing a line of indigenous wines. Since then, a growing number of Palestinian and Israeli winemakers and scientists have been using the research, production and marketing of indigenous wines to bolster their historical claims to the land. These producers have emerged in a global era in which terroir—defined as an idiosyncratic combination of soil, climate, culture and history that gives food its distinct taste—shapes economic and cultural value. Against the dominance of international grape varieties, the indigenous turn in the wine world is mobilizing genetics, enology and ancient texts to rewrite the Israeli and Palestinian landscapes.

“But if I don’t steal it, someone else is gonna steal it” – Israeli Settler-Colonial Accumulation by Dispossession

In a video clip widely shared on social media platforms in late April 2021, Mona al-Kurd (a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood) is seen confronting Jacob Fauci (an Israeli Jewish settler from Long Island) in the yard of her family home.[1]Mona al-Kurd speaking with Yaakov Fauci in Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem, April 2021 (Screen shot from video posted to Instagram.)“Yaakov, you know this is not your house?” she said. “Yes,” he replied, “but if I go you don’t go back [either]. So, what’s the problem? Why are you yelling at me? I didn’t do this. I didn’t do this…It’s easy to yell at me but I didn’t do this,” he categorically responded. “You are stealing my house,” al-Kurd continued, to which Fauci countered, “Yes, but if I don’t steal it, someone else is gonna steal it.”

Settler Entanglements from Citrus Production to Historical Memory

Although settler colonies are often depicted as unique and distinctive, Muriam Haleh Davis argues that analyzing settler colonialism in a global framework reveals their multiple commonalities. Here she examines the large-scale production of citrus in Algeria, Israel and California as one fascinating example of the myriad links—both economic and ideological—that bound different settler-colonial projects. Davis also explores the serious ramifications for historical memory and contemporary politics of viewing these projects as exceptional.

Settler Colonialism in the Middle East and North Africa: A Protracted History

Settler colonial studies developed as a distinct field of research to address the particular circumstances of settler societies. Since its advent in the 1990s, this field has only marginally considered the Middle East and North Africa, focusing instead on the Anglophone settler societies of North America and Australasia. And yet, this neglect is unjustified. Settler colonialism targeted countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa, and these endeavors were crucial to developing a transnational network of settler-colonial ideas and practices.

Settler Entanglements from Citrus Production to Historical Memory

Although settler colonies are often depicted as unique and distinctive, Muriam Haleh Davis argues that analyzing settler colonialism in a global framework reveals their multiple commonalities. Here she examines the large-scale production of citrus in Algeria, Israel and California as one fascinating example of the myriad links—both economic and ideological—that bound different settler-colonial projects. Davis also explores the serious ramifications for historical memory and contemporary politics of viewing these projects as exceptional.

The Challenges of Palestinian Solidarity in Amman’s Street Art Scene

In the summer of 2021, street artists in Amman risked crossing the Jordanian government’s red lines when they painted murals and graffiti expressing solidarity with Palestinians in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Kyle Craig spoke with the artists about this unexpected shift in their public art practices and the sometimes contradictory responses of state officials. He examines the entanglements and power dynamics between artists, the government and institutional art patrons revealed by this unusual moment.

Jerusalem Youth at the Forefront of 2021’s Unity Intifada

The Palestinian uprising of April, May and June 2021—known as the Unity Intifada—is part of a long tradition of revolutionary political activity in which Palestinians from Jerusalem have often played a role. Akram Salhab and Dahoud al-Ghoul report from the city about the reasons youth feel compelled to act and how they are organizing. They investigate the ways this uprising builds on earlier civic action and why this intifada is so important.

Israel’s Latest Effort to Fragment and Disempower the Palestinians

Joost Hiltermann 11.10.2021

In October 2021, Israel spuriously designated six Palestinian civil society organizations as “terrorist” groups, liable to suppression and severe punishment under Israel’s counterterrorism law. Joost Hiltermann analyzes why Israel is targeting these well-regarded groups—including the oldest Palestinian human rights organization, Al-Haq—and why now. Israel’s focus on crushing Palestinian nationalism, the decline of the PA’s relevance in Palestinian life and international complacency all play a role.

On the Ground with Palestine’s Intifada Generation

In December 1987, Palestine’s “generation of occupation” erupted in popular rebellion not seen since the 1936 revolt against British mandate rule. By the autumn of 1988, MERIP had already dedicated nearly three full issues to the roiling Intifada against Israeli...

The Enduring Question of Palestine

The guiding mission of MERIP’s founders was not centered around cultivating a better understanding of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. Rather, their magazine consciously emphasized the range and diversity of progressive and revolutionary struggles...

Revisiting MERIP Coverage of Gaza, Jerusalem and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The Editors 05.20.2021

For more than 50 years, MERIP has provided a depth of analysis on Palestine and Palestinian politics that is unmatched. Here we dive into the archives to highlight both historical and recent MERIP articles that provide key context for the current crises in Gaza and Jerusalem as well as important background for understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Cultural Heritage and the Politics of Sovereignty in Palestine

Elif Kalaycıoğlu reviews Chiara de Cesari’s book Heritage and the Cultural Struggle for Palestine, which explores the complex and shifting terrain of Palestinian heritage politics at work in both the Palestinian Authority and civil society organizations over time and under the conditions of settler colonialism.

The Dilemmas of Practicing Humanitarian Medicine in Gaza

Humanitarian medical aid was developed to provide life-saving assistance to populations suffering from war and disease. What happens when this model is applied to help those living under occupation and coping with chronic deprivations and long-term siege conditions? Osama Tanous, a Palestinian pediatrician in Israel, recounts how he saw the logic of medical aid shattered during trips to Gaza and reflects on the limits of humanitarianism. Forthcoming in MER issue 297 “Health and the Body Politic.”

The Dilemmas of Practicing Humanitarian Medicine in Gaza

Osama Tanous 12.8.2020

Humanitarian medical aid was developed to provide life-saving assistance to populations suffering from war and disease. What happens when this model is applied to help those living under occupation and coping with chronic deprivations and long-term siege conditions? Osama Tanous, a Palestinian pediatrician in Israel, recounts how he saw the logic of medical aid shattered during trips to Gaza and reflects on the limits of humanitarianism. Forthcoming in MER issue 297 “Health and the Body Politic.”

An Interview with Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins

Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins, an assistant professor of anthropology at Bard College, is the author of Waste Siege: The Life of Infrastructure in Palestine (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2020), which won the Albert Hourani Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association in 2020. Tessa Farmer talked to her about her research, the book and her next project.

Terra Infirma – Dead Sea Sinkholes – A Photo Essay

The colonial vision of terra nullius—unoccupied or empty land—is the epistemological basis of any settler colonial project. A vision of land as empty or null drives the dehumanization of indigenous communities and the violent elimination of existing land claims. A great deal of scholarly attention has been focused on the nullius piece of terra nullis. But what happens when the terra does not behave?

The Kurdish Movement’s Relationship with the Palestinian Struggle

The Palestinian and Kurdish struggles for self-determination share several common features. Both are stateless movements fighting against colonial, apartheid regimes in the Middle East and both have tortured histories of oppression and resistance. Despite the...

Palestine on the Brink of Crisis

Colin Powers 06.30.2020

Palestine is heading into a disastrous recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic’s paralysis of economic life combined with structural factors specific to the Palestinian economy. Colin Powers explains why the Palestinian Authority is unable to generate the necessary level of revenue to support its citizens, including the pernicious role of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the PA’s misguided choice to hand economic management to Palestinian business elites.

Looking Beyond the Struggle for Palestinian Statehood

It is difficult to overstate the crisis in which Palestinians find themselves over 100 years after the Balfour Declaration and over 70 years after the Nakba. Palestinians are living as refugees without civil rights in places like Lebanon. Refugees who had lived in...
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