Evolving Regimes of Land Use and Property in the West Bank: Dispossession, Resistance, and Neoliberalism
Regimes of land use and property
settler colonial dispossession
land politics
rural West Bank

This article examines the strategies of land use and property that Palestinians have implemented to oppose and complicate processes of land dispossession under changing political-economic circumstances. Specifically, it focuses on the period from the beginning of the 1980s until the Oslo accords, and on the post-Oslo era. Through an in-depth analysis of site-specific practices of land use and property in the villages of al-Walaja and Wadi Fukin, it argues that in the rural areas of the West Bank, from the pre- to the post-Oslo period, the core of the property strategy through which Palestinians have advanced claims over the land has evolved from a set of collective relationships into an individual, market-based relationship. Based on extensive ethnographical fieldwork carried out in 2018 and 2019, this article brings together insights from the fields of agrarian political economy, settler colonial studies, and indigenous studies to question the assumption that individual ownership of land is an effective protection against land dispossession, especially in settler-colonial contexts.

Author biography: 

Fadia Panosetti is a PhD candidate in agricultural and rural development at the Centre for International Cooperation and Development Studies-CECID, Université Libre de Bruxelles. Her research adopts an interdisciplinary approach to examine the dynamics of agrarian change in Palestine/Israel. Her work is funded by the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research.

Laurence Roudart is professor of Population and Development Studies in the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences at the Université libre de Bruxelles, a member of CECID, heads the Master in Development Studies, and is president of the Department of Social Sciences and Labor Sciences at this university. Her teaching and research focus is on agricultural and food issues.