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  • Author: Danya M. Qato
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This introductory essay contextualizes the special collection of papers on the pandemic and seeks to map the terrain of extant public health research on Palestine and the Palestinians. In addition, it is a contribution in Palestine studies to a nascent yet propulsive conversation that has been accelerated by Covid-19 on the erasure of structures of violence, including those of settler colonialism and racial capitalism, within the discipline of epidemiology. Using public health as an analytic, this essay asks us to consider foundational questions that have long been sidelined in the public health discourse on Palestine, including the implications for health and health research of eliding ongoing settler colonialism. Rather than ignoring and reproducing their violence, this essay seeks to tackle these questions head-on in an attempt to imagine a future public health research agenda that centers health, and not simply survivability, for all Palestinians.
  • Topic: Health Care Policy, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: How are refugees responding to protect themselves and others in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic? How do these responses relate to diverse local, national, and international structures of inequality and marginalization? Drawing on the case of Beddawi camp in North Lebanon, I argue that local responses—such as sharing information via print and social media, raising funds for and preparing iftar baskets during Ramadan, and distributing food and sanitation products to help people practice social distancing—demonstrate how camp residents have worked individually and collectively to find ways to care for Palestinian, Syrian, Iraqi, Kurdish, and Lebanese residents alike, thereby transcending a focus on nationality- based identity markers. However, state, municipal, international, and media reports pointing to Syrian refugees as having imported the virus into Beddawi camp place such local modes of solidarity and mutuality at risk. This article thus highlights the importance of considering how refugee-refugee assistance initiatives relate simultaneously to: the politics of the self and the other, politically produced precarity, and multi-scalar systems that undermine the potential for solidarity in times of overlapping precarities.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Refugees, Solidarity, Public Health, Humanitarian Crisis, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Kurdistan
  • Author: Osama Tanous
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This essay explores representations of Palestinian physicians in the Israeli health-care system during the Covid-19 pandemic and the dynamics that have played out in that system during the public health emergency from the perspective of a Palestinian physician. It argues that the health-care system, an essential pillar and infrastructural foundation of the settler-colonial project, is naively imagined as an apolitical, neutral sphere. As the site of a metaphorical battlefield against Covid-19, it has been window-dressed as an arena for brotherhood between Israeli Palestinians and Jews, and fantasized about as a gateway to political gain or equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel (PCIs). Throughout the process, settler militarism, settler symbols, and settler domination have continued to be normalized.
  • Topic: Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Medicine
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Sobhi Samour
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: The situation of West Bank Palestinians working in Israel has highlighted a number of parallels with the conditions of global labor employed in essential sectors during the Covid-19 pandemic. Under capitalism, the compulsion to work, ostensibly to cultivate life, comes at the risk of being exposed to death, but is preferred over immiseration caused by unemployment. The pandemic has merely amplified existing structural features of such employment. For Palestinian workers, with the risk of infection in Israel being significantly higher, the perilous conditions experienced by Palestinian labor have turned the preservation of life enabled by such employment more firmly into the production of death. The Palestinian Authority (PA), too, faces a conundrum: to balance the economic benefits it derives from Palestinian disposability in the Israeli labor market with public health considerations limiting such employment. This essay argues that the Covid-19 pandemic lays fully bare the necroeconomy produced by the intersection of settler colonialism and capitalism, which also forms the bedrock of the necropolitical order in the West Bank.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Ghassan Abu-Sittah
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This essay explores the challenges and opportunities that the Covid-19 pandemic has afforded Israel as it broadens its settler-colonial objectives internally, in Gaza, and elsewhere. In particular, it sheds light on the heightened militaristic and economic approaches taken by Israel to further entrench its siege of Palestinians in Gaza and to export increasingly advanced technologies of surveillance and state control long deployed against the Palestinian people. This investigation thus offers an opportunity to probe settler colonialism’s strategic opportunism in the face of the historic pandemic.
  • Topic: Public Health, Settlements, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Weeam Hammoudeh, Samah Jabr, Maria Helbich, Cindy Sousa
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare the devastating and disproportionate effects of structures of violence that produce vulnerability in communities of color globally, including with respect to mental health-care provision. While coping and resilience are dominant mainstream frameworks to understand mental health in crisis—both in Palestine and elsewhere—the three contributors to this roundtable were asked to offer a rejoinder to that approach. They reflect on the pandemic as an opportunity to revisit how we understand and advocate for critical approaches to mental health in Palestine in the midst of prolonged crisis.
  • Topic: Mental Health, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: José S. Vericat
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Fatah leaders routinely accuse Hamas of plotting to establish an “emirate” in the Gaza Strip. Gaza is in fact turning into a statelet separate from the West Bank, but it is Israeli policies that are driving the “Gaza is Palestine” option with a series of measures that have been implemented since the early 1990s to sever Gaza from the West Bank. This development has intensified under the administration of U.S. president Donald Trump. In the White House’s vision for Middle East peace, which turns the West Bank into a series of isolated Bantustans enveloped by Israeli territory and shorn of Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip becomes the centerpiece of any future Palestinian entity. The international community, laser focused on avoiding another war in Gaza, has prioritized the humanitarian over the political crisis, furthering the excision of the Palestinian territory. As aid flows directly into Gaza, bypassing Ramallah, and Israel and Hamas negotiate a long-term ceasefire, the Palestinian Authority (PA) finds itself increasingly marginalized.
  • Topic: Territorial Disputes, State, Settlements, Palestinian Authority
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Sadiq Saffarini
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: The article analyzes President Trump’s vision for a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, the so-called Deal of the Century announced on January 28. While the proposal uses the language of hope and prosperity and expresses support for the two-state solution, its provisions actually render the Palestinian “state” inviable. The plan does not empower the Palestinian state with full sovereignty over its territory nor does it recognize its internationally accepted borders, while at the same time nullifying the Palestinian right of return. In short, the plan seeks to legalize and legitimize the status quo by enabling Israeli expansionism and the systemic denial of Palestinian rights, which is a flagrant violation of international law and has no legal validity.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Sovereignty, Treaties and Agreements, Territorial Disputes, Peace, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ehud Eiran
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Israel is still holding to its traditional security maxim. Based on a perception of a hostile region, Israel’s response includes early warning, deterrence and swift – including pre-emptive – military action, coupled with an alliance with a global power, the US. Israel is adjusting these maxims to a changing reality. Overlapping interests – and perhaps the prospect of an even more open conflict with Iran – led to limited relationships between Israel and some Gulf states. These, however, will be constrained until Israel makes progress on the Palestine issue. Israel aligned with Greece and Cyprus around energy and security, which may lead to conflict with Turkey. Russia’s deployment in Syria placed new constraints on Israeli freedom of action there. The US’s retrenchment from the Middle East is not having a direct effect on Israel, while the Trump administration’s support for Israel’s territorial designs in the West Bank may make it easier for Israel to permanently expand there, thus sowing the seeds for future instability in Israel/Palestine. The EU could try and balance against such developments, but, as seen from Israel, is too divided to have a significant impact. Paper produced in the framework of the FEPS-IAI project “Fostering a New Security Architecture in the Middle East”, April 2020.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Gas, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, United States of America, Mediterranean
  • Author: Yara Hawari
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As of early September 2020 more than 27 million cases of COVID-19 have been recorded worldwide, along with approximately 890,000 deaths. After many months of lockdown, countries are having to re-open despite growing infection rates and fears of a second wave while people adapt to a “new normal” which includes restrictions, social distancing and limited travel. At the start of the lockdowns, many Palestinians commented that the world now finally understood what life was like for them. Particularly in the West Bank and Gaza, the curfews, the closure of public spaces, the inability or difficulty to travel, lingering anxiety and perpetual uncertainty are features common to Palestinian life. However, this new global reality reflects only a fraction of the Palestinian experience of suffering from nearly a century of ongoing settler colonialism.
  • Topic: Health, Settler Colonialism, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine