The context of Israel’s post-1967 rule over the Palestinian territories, which began well after the end of empire, the mandates, and the major waves of decolonization, sheds new light on the relationship between late-twentieth-century occupation and the persistence of prolonged statelessness. This essay examines how a particular practice within the political and diplomatic repertoire of transformative occupation—the promotion of local autonomy—was successfully deployed in the Israeli-Palestinian arena. It charts the emergence of autonomy from the time of the 1978 Camp David Accords and delineates its broader impact as a tool of state prevention curtailing Palestinian sovereignty until today.
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This post appears in conjunction with a dossier on transformative occupations in Humanity issue 8.2 There are two schools of thought on transformative occupations. Adam Scheffer narrowly contrasts it with the international humanitarian law (IHL) concept of belligerent occupation, whose main hallmark is its temporary character. Nehal Bhuta offers a broad historical version, running the gamut from the occupatio bellica of the post-Napoleonic settlement to transformative humanitarian interventions both in the post-WWII and the post-Cold War era, and more recently in Iraq. The 20th century Continue reading →