This article explores the theoretical bases of the Israel-Palestine peace process to see how that impacts peacebuilding and everyday life in Palestine. It begins by examining the lens through which classical and contemporary realist and liberal thought approaches peace, nonpeace, war, and peacebuilding. Second, it examines how knowledge production on peacebuilding has been applied in the Israel-Palestine peace process based on selected confidential documents from the negotiations’ record that was made available in the so-called Palestine Papers published by the Al Jazeera Transparency Unit in 2011. My analysis of this source reveals how an embedded security and market metaphor regulated the Israel-Palestine peace negotiations. I argue that in an ambiguous context of decades-long negotiations, the results are in effect a “buyout” in which security is understood in exclusionary terms by the powerful side.
A Protracted Peacebuilding Process
Death and Grief Rituals
Aref Abu-Rabia and Nibal Khalil
This article presents various mourning rituals and death rites as they are practised in Palestine. It focuses on differences in the mourning experience among fellahin and Bedouin Arabs but also shows certain parallels in their mourning and grieving customs. The article provides information on the prescribed set of rituals that Palestinians perform, beginning with how the body is treated and the way that it is prepared for burial. Combinations of mourning practices, which vary from rending one's garments to throwing earth on one's head, provide socially sanctioned expressions of grief and sorrow. Mourning practices differ between women and men: the former lament loudly and scratch their faces, while among the latter tears are neither encouraged nor welcomed. Parallels can be seen in these rituals with mourning for Palestine.
Olive Pickers in Palestine
This article focuses on the way in which olive-picking volunteers in Palestine become transformed into 'accidental pilgrims', and unconventional ones at that, by virtue of their participation in the olive harvest. Undergoing the difficulties of mobility that constrain the Palestinians and witnessing holy sites through the eyes and narratives of Palestinian guides, they are exposed to an alternative knowledge and affect regarding the Holy Land, unlike the experience offered by more conventional religious pilgrimage. Several vignettes reflect the diverse backgrounds of olive-picking pilgrims, who come from many different religions, class positions, and nationalities. Drawn together in a communitas of sorts through their shared commitment to learning about Palestine, they try to do what they can to further the Palestinian cause on their return home. Instead of a 'moral geography', they perceive a profoundly 'immoral geography' of occupation and oppression, which has a powerful transformative effect.
Samira Alayan and Naseema Al-Khalidi
This article analyzes history, civics, and national education textbooks used between grades seven to twelve of the Palestinian and Jordanian school systems from a gender perspective. It focuses on the ways in which men and women are presented within the context of the prevalent culture, which portrays men as the more superior, capable, creative, productive, and therefore dominant, and women as weaker, inferior, dominated, and thus unable to play more than minor roles. As culture affects the perceptions, desires, and ambitions of both males and females, it becomes a key factor in changing the role of women in modern society, and is developed and transferred from one generation to another. This study also emphasizes the need to identify the approaches toward gender adopted by the curricula of Jordan and Palestine, as well as the nature of the language they use. The results from the sample used in this study indicate that although the stereotyping of men and women in both the public and the private sectors varies according to school grade and subject, there is an obvious bias in favor of men.
Two Productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Palestine
This article documents two Palestinian productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that took place in Ramallah at Ashtar Theatre in 1995 and Al-Kasaba Drama Academy in 2011. This exploration demonstrates how Shakespearean plays have become a medium for international collaboration and exchange between European and Palestinian theatre training institutions. Recognizing that the works of Shakespeare have been used as a tool to further British imperialist ambitions, and drawing upon the author’s own experiences as director of the 2011 production, this article examines the ways in which these two contemporary productions both acknowledge this colonial heritage in Palestine and use it to further the mission of training emerging actors.
Iconic Spaces, Territoriality, and Borders in Israel-Palestine
Nurit Stadler and Nimrod Luz
This article explores the role of sacred places and pilgrimage centers in the context of contemporary geopolitical strife and border disputes. Following and expanding on the growing body of literature engaged with the contested nature of the sacred, this article argues that sacred sites are becoming more influential in processes of determining physical borders. We scrutinize this phenomenon through the prism of a small parcel of land on the two sides of the Separation Wall that is being constructed between Israel and Palestine. Our analysis focuses on two holy shrines that are dedicated to devotional mothers: the traditional Tomb of Rachel the Matriarch on the way to Bethlehem and Our Lady of the Wall, an emergent Christian site constructed as a reaction to the Wall. We examine the architectural (and material) phenomenology, the experience, and the implications that characterize these two adjacent spatialities, showing how these sites are being used as political tools by various actors to challenge the political, social, and geographical order.
The Integration of Arabo-Islamic Culture in Pre-state Palestine
This article examines the ways in which Zionist intellectuals interacted with Arabo-Islamic culture in the Yishuv by looking into the cultivation of Islamicate knowledge pertinent to land and nature and its impact on the construction of the Jewish cultural landscape. I argue that in establishing a connection between Jews and the natural landscape of Palestine/ Israel, Jewish intellectuals relied on Arabo Islamic culture and its centuries of knowledge about the flora and the land itself. In their search to comprehend the flora and place names of the land of the Bible, Jewish individuals consulted Arabo-Islamic sources, finding them instrumental to their national enterprise. The culmination of these endeavors is that, in addition to Jewish and Western sources, Islamicate culture was one of the wellsprings from which Jewish intellectuals drew in shaping the emergent culture in the Yishuv and the early decades of the State of Israel.
What do secular, left-wing Israelis living inside the Green Line have in common with religious, right-wing 'settlers'? Despite their conflicting positions, I argue that there is a depth of commonality that fuels the hatred and intolerance between these groups. This article aims to reveal a positional unity that appears as conflict, difference, and disunity. Resituating the apparently incommensurable discourses, I contend that this discord is best understood within the context of a society that is continually struggling with the outcomes of its settler origins and ongoing settlement activity. The focus is on the arguments between the two groups concerning uses of the past, which serves as a reference from which to demonstrate that the desire, particularly among the secular, to differentiate rather than identify is located in a fear of what today's settler activity reveals about the Zionist project in a broader sense and what it therefore stands to potentially undermine.
Assaf Likhovski’s Law and Identity in Mandate Palestine is an excellent and most welcome study of legal thought and judicial practice in inter-war Palestine as they intersected with, and were defined by, colonial and nationalist ideologies. What marks Likhovski’s volume as especially timely and important is that it analyzes all three major communities of Mandatory Palestine—the British, the Jews, and the Arabs—and does not fall into the usual trap of setting up a binary opposition between one of these communities and the other two. Thus, at one and the same time, Likhovski rejects the conventional Zionist historiographical approach that views the Jews of the Yishuv as facing a combined enemy of the Arabs and the British. And unlike much ‘post-Zionist’ and Palestinian historiography, he equally rejects a starting point that pits the Arabs against a different combined enemy: the Jews and the British.
The Comics Journalism of Joe Sacco
This article explores the graphic reportage of Joe Sacco and his comic book travels through the conflict zones of Bosnia and Palestine. It traces the roots of travel writing comics to the politically antagonistic work of underground artists such as Robert Crumb and S. Clay Wilson, the alternative autobiographical scene that followed and how this informs the work of Sacco. The article analyzes two of Sacco's texts in particular, Palestine (2003) and Safe Area Gorazde (2000), looking at them as a whole and subjecting individual panels and sequences to close readings. This analysis teases out the ways in which Sacco engages with trauma and the wounded. It argues that although explicit violent imagery could be considered exploitative and voyeuristic, Sacco uses it to restore a sense of humanity to those dehumanized by the pace of globalized media.