Peace Process without the People

Sidelining popular struggle in Palestine

Authored by: Michael J. Carpenter

The Routledge History of World Peace Since 1750

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138069138
eBook ISBN: 9781315157344
Adobe ISBN:


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Since coming under Israeli military occupation in 1967, Palestinians of the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and East Jerusalem (the occupied territories) have been denied citizenship rights, subjected to martial law, and incrementally displaced as Jewish-only Israeli settlements have expanded across the territories. Palestinians have responded with armed attacks, diplomatic efforts, and popular struggle. The militant response has sometimes bolstered national morale and raised international awareness of the Palestinian plight, particularly during 1960s and 1970s; at other times, it has set back the cause, reinforcing destructive cycles of violence and repressive countermeasures by the Israeli military, especially during the suicide bombings of the 1990s and early 2000s. 1 The diplomatic track has gone through various phases and generated significant international legitimacy for the Palestinian struggle, especially through the Oslo Accords of the mid-1990s and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a semi-autonomous governance body in the occupied territories, but diplomacy has failed to leverage enough pressure to alter Israeli policy. 2 The third approach, unarmed popular struggle or grassroots civil resistance, has been the most prevalent and arguably the most effective over time. This chapter examines how this approach has been successful in terms of generating conditions for change, challenging Israeli policy, advancing Palestinian goals, and building global solidarity, even though it has been the least recognized and most misunderstood aspect of Palestinian struggle. 3

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