The Palestinian experience has been aptly characterized as carceralism, in both literal and metaphorical senses. It is arguable that ever since the 1967 occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the most consensual pillar of national Palestinian discourse has been the issue of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. After Hamas’s so-called takeover of Gaza in 2007, however, a new, intra- Palestinian carceralism emerged.
On March 15, 2017, the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) released a report entitled “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid.” Only two days later, the Under-Secretary General of the agency, Rima Khalaf, resigned rather than withdraw the report as she had been ordered to do by the newly inaugurated UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. Indeed, the report, which concluded that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole,” triggered a campaign by Israel and its allies, especially the United States, to discredit the report.
It is evident, just three weeks in, that Mr. Trump’s presidency is one of dramatic fluctuations, not only where Israel and Palestine are concerned, but also in regard to his other campaign promises. This month’s Special Focus: Palestine, Congress, and the White House, features nine Journal of Palestine Studies (JPS) articles* and three recent JPS Congressional Monitor reports that, together, illuminate Palestine’s status amidst these fluctuations in an historical context. Focusing on the role of various U.S. administrations, five of these articles highlight the ways that the White House often deviously navigated the tumultuous road to peace in the Middle East. Four additional articles examine how the question of Palestine is addressed in Congress. The Congressional Monitor provides a snapshot of the 113th and 114th sessions of Congress, where 211 and 178 measures pertinent to Palestine were introduced, respectively.
PALESTINE IN RECENT MONTHS has witnessed a new kind of continuous, low-level ferment that betokens many Palestinians’ profound disquiet with the status quo: Israel’s ever more entrenched military occupation and the ceaseless expansion of its colonization project. Predictions that this ferment would erupt into something bigger and more general, akin to the two intifadas of the past three decades, have proven misplaced.
In recognition of World Refugee Day, we present Nidal Bitari's personal account of life in Syria's largest Palestinian refugee camp, Yarmuk, which has been the site of devastating regime attacks and infiltration by anti-regime militants:
In recognition of World Refugee Day, we present Ghada Karmi's personal account of how the Nakba affected people's lives in the immediate wake of the exodus from Palestine:
Jerusalem Quarterly (JQ) is preparing a special issue on residual spaces and their historical context. The idea behind the contributions is to create a dossier that examines a number of architectural remnants and derelict spaces in the greater Jerusalem area, which have been transformed by successive regimes, wars, reuse, negligence and/or abandonment.
Unlike others who have also known and been transformed by tragedy, the Palestinian people remain consigned to their tragic fate. Notwithstanding their struggles, Palestinians continue to stand out for their remarkable professional achievements and as examples of steadfast resistance. Honoring their legacy serves to preserve collective Palestinian memory and history.
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On May 29, 1996, Likud opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, opponent of the Oslo accords, was elected Israeli Prime Minister. Netanyahu's first electoral victory held portents for his subsequent return to the office in 2009. As Benny Morris wrote at the time, the “peace process would grind to a halt” and “ultranationalism [and] . . . fundamentalist religious currents that have taken hold of the minds and souls of growing numbers of Israelis since the 1967 war” would be further galvanized.
Institute for Palestine Studies Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani spoke to Palestine Square on developments on the ground in Palestine after his recent trip to the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Senior Fellow Ahmad Samih Khalidi: