Introduction: Public Health and the Promise of Palestine
Special Feature: 
Palestinian health
public health
settler colonialism
racial capitalism
West Bank

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.

Author biography: 

Danya M. Qato is assistant professor and Graduate Program director at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, with appointments in the School of Pharmacy and the School of Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. In the 2015–16 academic year, she was a Fulbright scholar and professor at the Institute of Community and Public Health at Birzeit University in Palestine.