Thursday, August 23, 2018

  • Thursday, August 23, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

Here is an abstract of a paper given at the European Association of Social Anthropologists meeting in Stockholm last week, with my fact checks.

Shifting populations, permanent instability, suspended stay: contemporary mobilities in Palestine and Israel
Caitlin Procter (University of Oxford)
Nayrouz Abu Hatoum (Columbia University )
Branwen Spector (London School of Economics) 
Contemporary Palestine and Israel are populated and shaped by groups with different mobilities and border realities. Restricted by continuing Israeli settler colonial expansion and military occupation, Palestinians are confined to small geographies.
There is very little actual settlement expansion, practically no new settlements, and the areas taken up by Jewish communities has remained virtually the same since the 1990s. 
 Palestinian refugees, resident in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), are unable to return to their own lands but forced to remain in camps often mere kilometres from their places of origin.
No one is forcing them to remain in camps. They are allowed to buy and build land in Areas A and B. They choose to remain in camps because they get free housing, paid for by the world. This is a lie.

Also, they aren't "mere kilometres" from their place of "origin." The ones who lived in the West Bank in the 1940s aren't considered refugees. And most Palestinians do not originate in the boundaries of British Mandate ("historic") Palestine but moved there from Syria, Lebanon and Egypt in response to Jewish economic growth in the late 1800s/early 1900s.  The Arab population of Palestine remained pretty small and steady for centuries before Zionism.

The idea that Palestinians must be able to return to specific "lands" in Israel that their ancestors lives in for a time and cannot be permanent residents in other areas of Palestine is a completely fictional construct, and actually discriminatory against them, implying that they are somehow less "Palestinian" than others and don't belong in areas under Palestinian rule.
Israelis, are, however able to mobilise and settle the remaining of the West Bank.
No, they can't. Virtually no new settlements have been approved. Any new building must be on public land, not on land privately owned by Arabs. Obviously all of Areas A and B are completely off limits, but at least 95% of Area C is also not allowed for Jewish settlement either. This is a complete lie.
Settlements offer upward mobility for Jewish Israelis, impacting a catastrophic downturn in social mobility in the surrounding Palestinian spaces.
Virtually no Israelis move to the territories for "upward mobility" except for the haredim who live in border communities. Most of the growth in population comes from natural growth and ideological immigrants.
The Palestinian landscape is continuously being militarized, walled, and destroyed by a colonizing state, resulting in gross land loss and displacement.
Again, the amount of new displacement is vanishingly small, mostly for illegal structures in Area C where only about 2-3% of Palestinians live. There is no "gross land loss." And Israel reimburses those who are displaced.
The Wall and the military checkpoint matrix in the oPt render Palestinian bodies as incarcerated.
This is hyperbole, and not suitable for a paper that is supposedly based on an academic field. It is also completely false. Palestinians can travel, a hundred thousand of them voluntarily go to Israel every day to work.
This panel examines how, in Palestine and Israel, populations and spaces simultaneously and differently stay, move, and settle and the effect these dynamics have on their lives, bodies, environments and nationalist political imaginations. It asks the following: What does it mean to fight for staying put, and steadfast on the land resisting government displacement, relocation or land confiscation? What are the dwelling practices utilized by those who are forced to relocate, or those who choose to move? What are the processes of meaning-making that people generate to speak of the transforming landscape (urban, village, border, historical, visual)? Finally, how do changing mobilities speak to a shift away from (historical) nationalist narratives and a discourse of state formation?
When the assumptions are false, the paper is worthless.

(h/t Irene)

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