Beyond failed frameworks: A re-imagined collective future

photo: Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network
A policy brief focusing on the possibilities for building a collective vision for a Palestinian future.

By Yara Hawari | Al-Shabaka | July 23, 2020

As Israel moves from de facto to de jure annexation of the rest of the occupied West Bank many third parties desperately hold on to the two-state solution as the one that best protects their diplomatic and trade interests with Israel.

Palestinian futures have long been discussed without Palestinian input or within an imposed and limited framework. Indeed, most ideas of the future in mainstream political spaces rather consistently establish the containment of the Indigenous Palestinians and security for the Israeli settler state as their primary concern. The most recent manifestation of this was the “Vision for Peace” published by United States President Donald Trump’s Administration. 1 2

This “vision” is a far cry from the revolutionary political mandate of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that was established in the 1960s and which sought to liberate Palestine and its people from the Zionist settler colonial project that established Israel. ³ It is also a far cry from the two-state solution, which was imposed as the most appropriate and feasible future for Israelis and Palestinians and was embedded in the narrative of Israel and Palestine as two warring national groups rather than the outcome of the Zionist project.

The adoption of this narrative was implicit in the PLO’s Ten Point Plan in 1974 and became explicit at the Palestinian National Council in 1988. It was further cemented by the Oslo Accords in the early 1990s which laid out a timetable for achieving Palestinian statehood in the 1967-occupied lands. The PLO’s previous political framing of an anti-colonial struggle was turned on its head, shifting the focus from collective liberation to one that prioritized individual success and capital gain within a façade of a “state-in-waiting.”

This political and discursive shift also set about a fundamental transformation of Palestinian civil society, which became largely reliant on external donor patronage and bound much of the Palestinian capacity for collective imagination within a very specific political agenda, marginalizing both the refugees and the Palestinian citizens of Israel.

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