Countdown to Statehood: Palestinian State Formation in the West Bank and Gaza

Countdown to Statehood: Palestinian State Formation in the West Bank and Gaza

Countdown to Statehood: Palestinian State Formation in the West Bank and Gaza

Countdown to Statehood: Palestinian State Formation in the West Bank and Gaza

Excerpt

This essay on Palestinian state formation attempts to fill a significant gap in the burgeoning literature on Palestinian nationalism. While aspects of Palestinian nationalism such as national liberation, revolution, and institution building have been extensively researched, and while studies of the intifada emphasize the importance of institution building in sustaining the uprising, no one has yet explored the impact of such matters on Palestinian state building. In fact, the only European-language studies that specifically deal with the issue of statehood have been policy blueprints for attaining independence, not historically sensitive investigations that take into account the relationship between prestate institution building and eventual state formation.' Dealing mainly with the transfer of power and the functional and geographical boundaries of the state, those studies neglect the state-in-the-making process and its implications for state consolidation.

I, on the other hand, shall endeavor to sketch the historical development of institutions within the Palestinian national movement in its diaspora and within the Palestinian community in the occupied territories, to highlight the relationship between the two, and to link all of this to the process of creating and sustaining a Palestinian state. This approach emerges from the literature on state formation, and indeed my book is written with an eye toward enriching the theory of state formation, particularly as it relates to the non-European world.

To these ends, my study addresses the following questions: What relationship is there between the politicization of Palestinian society and state formation? What is the relationship between the mode of struggle and state building? How did the structural properties of Palestinian nationalism, its division between diaspora and local Palestinians, impact upon state formation? How was this reflected in PLO policies of institution building in the West Bank and Gaza? Are the "national" institutions created under Israeli rule developing into efficient state bureaucracies? Have conflict-resolution mechanisms developed that can sustain pluralism?

In what follows, Palestinian state formation will be analyzed in reference to the Zionist experience. As we shall see, the two cases contain striking structural parallels in addition to sharing geographical contiguity and historical continuity. For example, chapter 1 argues that in the modern system of . . .

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