Palestine and the Palestinians in the 21st Century

By Rochelle Davis; Mimi Kirk | Go to book overview

5. Before Gaza, After Gaza
Examining the New Reality
in Israel/Palestine

SARA ROY

In the nineteen years since the Oslo process began, Palestinians have suffered losses not seen since the beginning of Israeli occupation and arguably since the Nakba, the losses of 1948. The scholar Joseph Massad has compellingly argued that it is wrong to think of the Nakba as “a history of the past”; rather, it is “a history of the present,” a historical epoch that remains a living, ongoing reality without end.1 Yet, what has changed is the conceptualization of loss itself, which has assumed altogether new dimensions. For now it is less a matter of defining losses that demand redress than of living in an altered, indistinguishable, and indeterminate reality in which those losses have no place, no history, and no context, where reclamation is, in effect, meaningless, without purpose or justification. This altered reality has been shaped and defined over the last few years by certain critical paradigmatic shifts in the way the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is conceptualized, understood, and addressed. I will touch upon some of these shifts, ending with a brief reflection on the changing socioeconomic reality in Gaza.


Key Paradigm Shifts: Reconfiguring the Defining
Conceptual Framework

Since the beginning of Israeli occupation there has always been an implicit and often explicit belief among Palestinians, many Israelis, and members of the international community that the occupation can and will end, and that Israel’s expansion into Palestine will be stopped. This was how many under-

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