Book Review: The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. The Theatrics of Woeful Statecraft

The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. The Theatrics of Woeful Statecraft

The international community, through the Oslo Accords, has created an intricate web of terminology that points towards a permanently stalled state-building process. In their book, The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank: The Theatrics of Woeful Statecraft (Routledge, 2019), Michelle Pace and Somdeep Sen expose what lies beneath the façade coined as the “State of Palestine”, a term which the Palestinian Authority covets and disseminates to validate its own role in the political process.

Pace and Sen depart from the premise that the “imagined state” is a means of subversion that works against Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories. “The PA has persisted as an institution that acts like a state but concurrently undermines the Palestinian struggle for sovereign statehood.”

Using theatre as a metaphor for the duplicity determining the absence of Palestinian statehood, Pace and Sen point out inconsistencies in the Oslo Accords which are overlooked, notably the fact that there is no explicit reference to a Palestinian state as a result of negotiations. The text, the authors note, uses the term “interim self-governance”, which impedes independence and curtails the Palestinian anti-colonial struggle. The latter, they say, “aspires for the real state but remains burdened by the task of performing the state in its limited form.” Read more.

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