Eyes Without Country

Eyes Without Country: Searching for a Palestinian Strategy of Liberation

Souad R. Dajani
Copyright Date: 1995
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Eyes Without Country
    Book Description:

    Since Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, the quest for just and lasting peace has been a fountainhead of debate, negotiation, and violent friction. Souad Dajani traces the Palestinians' struggle and argues for a strategy of nonviolent civilian resistance based on deterrence and defense. This strategy would defeat Israel's political will to maintain their occupation and prepare Palestinians for a time beyond the interim period of self-rule agreed upon by Israel and the PLO in September 19932.

    Dajani's formulation of nonviolent civilian resistance is examined against a backdrop of early developments in Mandate Palestine, the impact of Zionist ideology, and the realities of life for Palestinians under occupation. Her assessment of the role of the PLO, objectives of the Palestinian National Movement, developments since the Gulf War, and other factors crucial to an effective strategy raises critical questions surrounding the operation of nonviolent techniques for the Palestinian community, Israeli politics, and international actors, most prominently the United States.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0604-0
    Subjects: History, Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xviii)

    For decades, these opening lines of the famous poem by the Palestinian writer Mahmoud Darwish seemed to capture the essence of the Palestinian experience. These words captured the poignancy of Palestinian dispossession, resignation, and despair. They told of lives of longing and of the depths of pain and suffering from which were born the will and vigor to resist, to endure, and to prevail. When the Palestinianintifadaerupted in December 1987, Palestinians had shifted from hope to disillusionment, and from waiting upon the world to acknowledge the righteousness of their cause to taking matters into their own hands to...

  5. One The Context and Background of the Intifada
    (pp. 1-27)

    The total Palestinian population worldwide is estimated at more than five million people. Since their dispersal following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Palestinians have come to fall largely under three distinct jurisdictions—inside the Occupied Territories, in the diaspora, and as citizens of Israel. By far the largest single concentration of Palestinians comprises those living under Israeli rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

    Estimations vary on the size of the Arab population in these areas. Meron Benvenisti, former deputy mayor of Jerusalem and head of the West Bank Data Base Project, maintains that official...

  6. Two Twenty Years of Occupation: Palestinian Resistance Before the Intifada
    (pp. 28-56)

    Tracing the course of resistance in the Occupied Territories is difficult without first taking into account the Palestinian national liberation movement as a whole, embodied in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

    Palestinian resistance emerged initially in response to British rule and Jewish settlement in Mandate Palestine in the early part of the twentieth century—a resistance that has persisted in one form or another to the present day.¹ There is a distinct historical continuity in the context that defined the genesis of Palestinian resistance, even though goals have not remained the same and the modalities of resistance have changed. Both...

  7. Three The Intifada as Palestinian Civilian Resistance
    (pp. 57-94)

    The exact date of the following incident is not known. It may have occurred just prior to theintifadaor during its early phases. It is recounted here because it captures so vividly the spirit of this uprising in the Occupied Territories.

    Dheisheh camp, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, has long been a site of confrontations between Palestinian refugees and Israeli soldiers and settlers. Because of its location overlooking one of the main roads traversed by settlers, Dheisheh has frequently been the source of stones thrown at passing cars. Some years ago, a group of Jewish settlers led...

  8. Four Nonviolent Civilian Resistance: Theoretical Underpinnings
    (pp. 95-113)

    As was pointed out in an earlier chapter, analysis of both theintifadaand the general feasibility of nonviolent civilian resistance derives from the strategic or “practical” school. This perspective defines a nonviolent struggle as a “war,” albeit one that is waged without lethal weapons. Instead of aiming to change the heart of the opponent or to convert the enemy to one’s point of view, nonviolent action rests on changing the balance of power between the resistance and the opponent. The aim is to prevent the latter from exercising its power, and to force it to reach an acceptable accommodation...

  9. Five Assessing Strategic Directions: Prospects for a Strategy of Nonviolent Civilian Resistance
    (pp. 114-154)

    The defeat of Iraq at the end of the Gulf War in 1991 lent new urgency to strategic thinking regarding the future directions of Palestinian resistance. Most Palestinians, whether inside or outside the Occupied Territories, agreed on one thing—that theintifadashould continue. By the summer of 1993, however, all but a few of the active groups in the Occupied Territories had turned to simply monitoring the discussions in Washington and waiting for these negotiations to produce results.

    The expected outcome of these talks envisioned no more than limited Palestinian self-rule in certain populated areas of the West Bank...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 155-158)

    Palestinians have generally come around to accepting a two-state solution, as demanded by international legitimacy. Yet a two-state solution may always be perceived as a “compromise,” with all of its attendant negative connotations and with a sense of having given up something valuable. Most obvious is that it may fall short of what each of the parties truly desires, whether a Greater Israel or a reconstituted Palestine. Still, many people view this solution positively. These include large sectors of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, a number of PLO factions, and Israelis who support a state of Palestine coexisting alongside Israel....

  11. Abbreviations
    (pp. 159-162)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 163-228)
  13. Index
    (pp. 229-238)