Toufic Haddad is a Phd candidate in Development at the School for Oriental and African Studies in London working beneath the guidance of Prof. Gilbert Achcar. His dissertation focuses on the political economy of neoliberal approaches to conflict resolution and statebuilding in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, from 1993 to the present. He is the co-author and editor of Between the Lines: Readings in Israel, the Palestinians and the U.S ‘War on Terror’ (Haymarket Books, 2007) and Towards a New Internationalism: Readings in Globalization, the Global Justice Movement and Palestinian Liberation (Muwatin: Ramallah 2006.) His writings on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been featured in The National, Al Jazeera English (web), the Journal of Palestine Studies, Monthly Review Zine, Znet, Counterpunch, Jadaliyya, Al Akhbar (english), the International Socialist Review among others.
‘Peace’ as the Architecture of Leveraging and Counter Leveraging Submission
The Declaration of Principles (DOP) between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, was the product of particular historical circumstances between the contending parties (the Israeli and Palestinian) and the international chaperones to this process led by the U.S., who each found in this Accord the alignment, at least momentarily, of various ideological, geostrategic and political interests. The agreement itself was hardly a final agreement at all, but the erecting of an interim arrangement, intended to revise the framework by which the contending parties mediated their interests and conflicts vis-à-vis one another. This open-ended nature of the DOP hints to how the accord functioned in practice as an attempt to find the ways and means to leverage and counter-leverage one another over time, in pursuit of realizing the parties’ individual (and largely contending) goals. In this respect, “peace” allowed for a new architecture of coercion and leverage to be erected, drawing heavily from neoliberal conceptions of conflict, development and statebuilding, and which greatly complimented the pre-existing (but also evolving) architecture of military/ colonial leverage created by Israel’s settler colonialism of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The ‘conflict’ thus became a conscious struggle in imposing contending political economic realities: on the one hand, attempting to the find means to force the internalization of submission around themes of political and economic pacification, and on the other, to escape such submission and leverage, by counter-leveraging them via the limited means of agency available to the weaker (Palestinian) party, within the existent asymmetry of power.
This paper will explore the structure of this new architecture; transformations in its modeling; and how such modeling was transposed into policies and practices that saw the manipulation of social relations as the new theatre in which the conflict would be determined.