Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Israeli-Palestinian Relations: Pasts, Urgencies, Prospects

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Mediterranean Institute

DESCRIPTION This study-unit will offer an in-depth vista and analysis of Israeli-Palestinian relations today, the conflict and its beginnings in nineteenth-century Europe and the demise of Ottoman rule, Zionism in pre-war, interwar and post-WWII Europe, and how these events and the foreign-political decisions of the European powers beyond Europe’s frontiers at the time set the scene for the fragmentation and factionalisation of the post-imperial Mashriq, and prepared the ground for the ongoing tensions and hostilities in the region and its enduring mistrust of the West.

Initially, the study-unit will offer a brief overview of the rise of Zionism in Europe, the WWI context, the Sykes-Picot Agreement, the Balfour Declaration, the situation in Mandatory Palestine and the gradual waves of Jewish settlement in Palestine leading up to the 1947 UN Resolution on the Partition of Palestine and the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt. The study-unit will assess the impact of these processes on the creation of the Jewish state, and will look into the interests, international lobbies and manoeuvres involved in the build-up towards the creation of the State of Israel in May 1948. The study-unit will then analyse and explore the contrasting narratives of the 1948 events and the ensuing conflict, reading through the divergent accounts and often controversial arguments presented by Ilan Pappe, Rashid Khalidi, Tom Segev, Benny Morris, Walid Khalidi, Edward W. Said and others. It will also look into the existent documentation on the expulsion of the Arab inhabitants of the Palestinian territories and the divergent narratives presented by both parties in the conflict and their allies. The discussion will raise the ongoing debate around of questions of political memory, selective remembrance and interpretation around the 1948 events, and the role of these ongoing strategies in the formation of the current state of play in Israel-Palestine, alternately aiding and hindering the current prospects for a resolution of the question.

The study-unit will then examine the train of salient events leading from (and as a result of) 1948, with particular emphasis on the rise of the Palestinian Para-State, the rise of Fateh and the PLO, the 1967 June War and the Occupation, the Yom Kippur (1973) War and the First Intifada, in the lead-up to the Arafat-Rabin rapprochement and the highly controversial 1994 Oslo Accords. This analytical reading of the events will serve as a basis for the ongoing debate around the main issues that structure Israeli-Palestinian relations as they stand today, the prospects and possibilities towards negotiation, common grounds and impasses, and the evolving role of the international community in the face of a factionally divided Palestine and an ongoing military Occupation. The study-unit will explore texts by Eyal Weizman, Gabriel Piterberg, Rema Hammami, John Berger, Ibrahim abu-Lughod, Ramzy Baroud and others, as well as films by Michel Khleifi and Eyal SIvan, in order debate the urgencies and issues any Israeli-Palestinian negotiating table will have to address: the question of Palestinian statehood and self-determination, the possibilities of a binational state or two-state solution, the return to pre-1967 borders, the right of return, questions of infrastructure and what Weizmann has called its ‘six-dimensional’ Occupation of the Palestinian Territories, Israel’s concerns with internal and border security, the impact of Israeli politics on its foreign policy in relation to Palestine, the questions of political prisoners, Arab-Israeli citizenship, the status of and humanitarian in Gaza, and the status of Israeli settlements and annexation of agricultural land and water facilities, the dismantling of a century-long legacy of fear and mistrust and the role of major international stakeholders like the US, the UN, the EU and China in achieving this outcome.

Students will benefit from the lecturer’s research and field work on the Israeli-Palestinian question including interviews, collaborations and conversations with intellectuals and writers at the forefront of the international debate, including Raja Shehadeh, Mourid Barghouti, Suad Amiry, Bashir Abu-Manneh, Rafeef Ziadeh, Elias Khoury, Ghada Karmi, Tamim Barghouti and others.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit seeks to acquaint students with the issues and stakes involved in the Israel-Palestine question at present as well as from a critical-historical perspective. The unit aims, moreover, to familiarise students with the agendas and central historic events that have come to shape and characterise Israel-Palestine relations as they stand today.

This study-unit contributes to an in-depth understanding of the international relations issues currently re-drawing the map of the eastern Mediterranean region, enhancing the students' broader IR purview on the region as acquired through other aspects of the IR undergraduate degree.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- define the salient present-day and historic issues and urgencies that underpin the Israel-Palestine question;
- demonstrate knowledge of both the origins of the conflict and its present status from an international relations viewpoint;
- display a mastery of the regional context of Israel-Palestine and of arguments pertinent to its impact upon and re-dimensionalisation of neighboring-state relations in the Mashriq;
- demonstrate a proficient grasp of the current problematics surrounding a possible near-future solution for Palestinian self-determination, an end to the Occupation, and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- discuss the content of the events that shaped Israel-Palestine from bilateral and multilateral perspectives and be able to deliver an informed assessment of their implications;
- assess and interrogate cutting-edge developments pertinent to Israel-Palestine on the basis of knowledge acquired through the study-unit;
- formulate informed opinions on the evolving Israel-Palestine context and project possible alternative future scenarios to the ongoing bilateral caveats;
- associate, relate and contextualise Israel-Palestine within and as part of the broader international relations and geopolitical urgencies currently affecting the Mashriq region.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- Ben Soetendorp, 'The Dynamics of Israeli-Palestinian Relations: Theory, History, and Cases' (Palgrave, 2007)
- Rashid Khalidi, 'Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness' (Columbia UP, 2010)
- Rashid Khalidi, 'The Origins of Arab Nationalism' (Columbia UP, 1991)
- Ilan Pappè ed., 'The Israel/Palestine Question — Rewriting Histories' (Routledge, 1999)
- Louise Fawcett, 'International Relations of the Middle East' (Oxford UP, 2016)
- Anna Bernard, 'Rhetorics of Belonging: Nation, Narration, and Israel/Palestine' (Oxford University Press, 2013)

Supplementary Texts:

- Elizabeth Matthews ed., 'The Israel-Palestine Conflict: Parallel Discourses', (Routledge, 2011)
- Ilan Pappè, 'Ten Myths About Israel', (Verso Books, 2017)
- Jamil Hilal, 'Where Now for Palestine?: The Demise of the Two-State Solution' (Zed Books, 2013)
- Sean McMahon ed., 'The Discourse of Palestinian-Israeli Relations: Persistent Analytics and Practices' (Routledge, 2010)
- Gabriel Piterberg, 'The returns of Zionism: myths, politics and scholarship in Israel' (Verso, 2008)
- Raffaella A. Del Sarto, 'Fragmented Borders, Interdependence and External Relations: The Israel-Palestine-European Union Triangle' (Palgrave, 2016)
- Louise Fawcett, 'International Relations of the Middle East' (Oxford UP, 2016)
- Tom Segev, '1967: Israel, the War and the Year that Transformed the Middle East', (Abacus, 2008)
- Anna Bernard, 'Rhetorics of Belonging: Nation, Narration, and Israel/Palestine' (Oxford University Press, 2013)
- Rashid Khalidi, 'Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness' (Columbia UP, 2010)
- Rashid Khalidi, 'The Origins of Arab Nationalism' (Columbia UP, 1991)
- Ilan Pappè ed., 'The Israel/Palestine Question — Rewriting Histories' (Routledge, 1999)
- International Law and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Rights-Based Approach to Middle East Peace
- Susan M. Akram et al eds., 'International Law and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Rights-Based Approach to Middle East Peace' (Taylor and Francis, 2010)

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Norbert Bugeja

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.