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  • Author: Aseil Abu-Baker, Marya Farah
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: The Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, is one of the natural wonders of the world. Rich in minerals and salt, the lake has attracted visitors for millennia, and the economic value of its mineral riches has been important to both the local Palestinian population and to every colonial power that has ruled the area. Today, Israel exercises total control over the Dead Sea, the northern basin of which lies in the occupied Palestinian territories. Israeli settlements and international businesses, aided by state-funded initiatives, have established a profitable tourism sector and extractive industries based on the Dead Sea’s natural resources, while Palestinians remain effectively excluded from pursuing such opportunities. Qumran National Park, private beach resorts, and the cosmetics company AHAVA, among others, reap enormous profits from settlements in the Dead Sea area, benefiting from Israel’s occupation and unlawful policies and helping to drive a self-serving narrative of the area’s history.
  • Topic: Religion, Territorial Disputes, Settlements, Exclusion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Dead Sea
  • Author: Anne Irfan
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This article examines the relationship of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) during the 1970s, the period when the PLO reached the zenith of its power in Palestinian refugee camps throughout the Levant. Based on archival United Nations (UN) and UNRWA documents, as well as the PLO’s own communications and publications, the article argues that the organization approached its relationship with UNRWA as part of a broader strategy to gain international legitimacy at the UN. That approach resulted in a complex set of tensions, specifically over which of the two institutions truly served and represented Palestinian refugees. In exploring these tensions, this article also demonstrates how the “question of Palestine” was in many ways an international issue.
  • Topic: United Nations, Territorial Disputes, Refugees, PLO
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Laila Parsons
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This is the second installment of a two-part article on the recently released secret testimony to the Peel Commission. Part I ( JPS 49, no. 1) showed how the secret testimony deepens our understanding of the structural exclusion of the Palestinians from the Mandate state. Part II now focuses on what the secret testimony reveals about the Peel Commission’s eventual decision to recommend partition. It turns out that Zionist leaders were less central to this decision than scholars have previously assumed, and that second-tier British colonial officials played a key role in the commissioners’ partition recommendation. British decision-making over the partition of Palestine was shaped not only by a broad ambition to put into practice global-imperial theories about representative government and the protection of minorities; it also stemmed from a cold-eyed self-interest in rehabilitating the British reputation for efficient colonial governance—by terminating, in as deliberate a manner as possible, a slack and compromised Mandatory administration.
  • Topic: Territorial Disputes, Zionism, State, Empire
  • Political Geography: Britain, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Ben White
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: In response to growing Palestine solidarity activism globally—and particularly in countries that have been traditional allies of Israel—the Israeli government has launched a well-resourced campaign to undermine such efforts. A key element of this campaign consists in equating Palestine advocacy; the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement; and anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. The concerted effort to delegitimize solidarity with the Palestinians is taking place even as genuine anti-Semitism is on the rise, thanks to the resurgent white nationalism of the Far Right in Europe and North America—political forces that Israel is harnessing to help shield from scrutiny and accountability its apartheid policies toward Palestinians, both citizens of the state as well as those under military rule. In its efforts to conflate anti-Zionism with anti- Semitism, the Israeli government is assisted by non-state organizations that nonetheless enjoy close ties with the state and its agencies.
  • Topic: Sanctions, Solidarity, BDS, Anti-Semitism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • 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