The Arc: A Formal Structure for a Palestinian State

The Arc: A Formal Structure for a Palestinian State

The Arc: A Formal Structure for a Palestinian State

The Arc: A Formal Structure for a Palestinian State

Excerpt

In 2003, the RAND Cooperation was approached by a donor who was concerned that a large-scale return of refugees to a Palestinian state would destabilize the new entity and perpetuate conditions that had engendered decades of violence between Palestinians and Israelis and among Palestinians themselves. The donor also expressed a conviction that Palestinian militant groups, especially Hamas, might be induced to work constructively toward successful statehood and peace with Israel if the group’s leadership and supporters had a tangible vision of the benefits of peace. This combination of anxiety and hope led him to ask RAND to explore resettlement possibilities for Palestinians in the aftermath of a final status accord with Israel.

In keeping with his insight into the inspiring power of symbols, the donor proposed that RAND focus particularly on the potential of a new city that would be dedicated to accommodating the influx of Palestinian refugees and, 50 years after exile, their many descendants. The donor is a builder, so his instinctive approach might have been expected to lean in this direction. Nonetheless, the image of a new city is a potent one in the American imagination. In 1630, upon landing at Plymouth, John Winthrop declared to members of the assembled Puritan community that they “shall be as a city upon a hill” and a beacon unto the nations. He was drawing on the New Testament , not the Qur’an, but the image is nevertheless strikingly apt, since Winthrop’s Gospel source drew on an older biblical tradition that portrayed Shemer—the eponymous Samarian city—as the city on a hill. And Shemer is the ancient Semitic name for the northern West Bank, a large part of the territory that will constitute a Palestinian state.

In accepting the donor’s challenge, RAND set out to develop a range of planning options, both for reasons of analytical completeness and a sense that a single new mega-city, despite its poetic virtue, might not be economically, logistically, or environmentally feasible. Yet throughout this process, we sought an urban and infrastructural solution that would embody the iconic power that would dramatize the emergence of a new independent state. Our research objective, therefore, was not simply to develop a . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.