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Politics and Conflict in the Middle East

Also in this issue: Perspectives of Youth in Egypt Rema Hammami on the State of Palestine Lebanon as a Failed State?

DevISSues DevelopmentISSues

Volume8/Number2/December2006


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From the Editorial Board The Middle East is now, as it has always been, at the centre of international scrutiny. Noam Chomsky, who published extensively on the region, once said when invited to a conference on the Middle East, that he would entitle his lecture ‘The Current Crisis in the Middle East’ because there has always been a crisis in the Middle East. Whether or not this is true is debatable, but 2006 certainly has been a conflict year, with ongoing bloodshed in Iraq, a regional war in Lebanon, and an almost total destruction of the peace process in the holy land. These conflicts are ignited by inter-state conflicts and by clashes between the diverse cultures and religions of the area. This DevISSues, addressing Politics and Conflict in the Middle East, reflects and analyses the current internal and inter-state conflicts in the region. Linda Herrera’s article illustrates the impact of political turbulence in Egypt on the personal lives of tomorrow’s adults. Rather than questioning politics itself, the piece illustrates what ramifications the politics has on the perceptions and values of Egyptian youth. Karim Knio addresses the stability of Lebanon in light of the recent bombings by Israel over the summer. Looking at the ongoing struggle in Lebanese power politics, he questions whether Lebanon could be perceived as either a failed, or a captured, state. Rema Hammami - Prince Claus Chair holder of 2006 - speaks extensively on both her experience as an academic during the ongoing conflict with Israel, as well as the Western reaction to the recent elections in Palestine, and the concomitant effects this has for the future of Palestine. Mansoob Murshed looks back into the history of the region, and how its borders have been shaped, to better understand today’s conflicts in the area. And Clare Louis Ducker, a prize-winning MA participant of ’04-’05, gives deeper insight into the forced socio-cultural repression of Arabs living in Israel. In addition to our main theme, we also take a look at new types of learning through virtual simulation, as well as virtual searching through social book-marking, both innovative techniques that ISS has adopted for better learning. The Editorial Board

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Lebanon, Tyre (Sur). A boy saves a few books from the rubble of his home, a six storey apartment building which was bombed by the Israeli air force during the most recent bombings. The building was in the middle of a densely populated area in the city of Tyre.

The Institute of Social Studies

© Jeroen Oerlemans / Panos Pictures

ISS is an institute for advanced international education and research offering Diploma, Masters and PhD programmes. The Institute generates, accumulates and transfers knowledge and know-how on human aspects of economic and social change, with a focus on development and transition. ISS is a leading centre in this field.

Website launched

55 Years of ISS this October In October we had the celebration of our 54th year of existence, and still going strong! For this year’s celebration Professor Joris Voorhoeve (Professor of International Security Studies) delivered a speech on “Peace Building for the Rule of Law”, with attending students and invited guests. The 55th anniversary will be an even bigger bash, celebrated during the Lustrum week of 1519 October 2007; so pencil the dates in your agenda and make sure ISS rector Louk Box (bottom right) you’re there! with Joris Voorhoeve (with moustache)

In mid-September we launched the new ISS website! With this new portal to our Institute we hope to have increased the ease with which you can find new opportunities, old friends and upcoming courses and events that spark your interest. The new features include a better overview of our courses, including 5 new MA specialisations, improved navigation through the site, and increased support and explanation for prospective students. In addition we are working to increase the communication we have with you, the DevISSues reader. In the future you’ll be able to give us your perspectives on the articles published, as well as download each or all of them. Please visit www.iss.nl/devissues

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CONTENTS

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4 / Theorising the State of Affairs in the Lebanese State: Is Lebanon a Failed State? Karim Knio

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7 / When Does Life Begin? Youth Perspectives from Egypt Linda Herrera

Page 10 / Being There... Well, Virtually Helen Hintjens

Page 14 / Education in the Struggle For Palestine An interview with Rema Hammami

Page 18 / The Middle East: Cradle of Civilization or a Cauldron for Conflict Syed Mansoob Murshed

Page 22 / Complex Realities & Self-Serving Illusions in the Middle East Conflict Clare Louis Ducker


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Theorising the s t at e of af fair s in the Lebanese St at e:

Is Lebanon a Failed State? Karim Knio This piece aims to explore how to conceptualise the Lebanese State in light of Hezbollah’s increasing influence in Lebanese politics especially during the recent war with Israel in July 2006. The ports of Lebanon welcomed their first big cargo ships on 9 September 2006, ending an eight week Israeli blockade on Lebanese territorial waters and air space. Although the surprisingly ongoing ceasefire took effect on 14 August (UN Resolution 1701), Israel has kept a firm blockade on its northern neighbour in fear of a possible Hezbollah rearmament normally supplied by its regional allies. Many issues have been associated with this devastating war that has thrown Lebanon back into the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict as it once was twenty years ago. The focus of this piece delimits itself to the context of Lebanon wherein the significance of Hezbollah’s recent manoeuvre and its impact on Lebanese politics and society is analysed. Have the recent developments rendered Lebanon as the epitome of a ‘Failed State’, or can it more appropriately be labelled as a ‘Captured State’? Both conceptualisations in fact fit well with the Lebanese context as they add more complexity into the understanding of this small Middle Eastern state. LEBANON AS A FAILED STATE? Like any other concept in Political Science, ‘Failed States’ have never been identified in a monolithic fashion. Indeed, definitions often reflect the basic understanding of the institution or the organisation that is actually dealing with the term. For example, the UK Department for International Development considers that a considerable lack of security defines one of the most important features of this concept. From this perspective, 900 million people today live in Failed States. The World Bank, on the other hand, draws up a narrower

understanding since it associates the concept with low income countries that are under stress. Nevertheless, an accepted general definition refers to Failed States as countries that are unable, unwilling (or more often, both) to provide their people with the core functions of the State. These functions comprise individual and collective security, protection of property, basic public services and essential infrastructure Applying this general definition to the Lebanese context, we find that all the description’s embedded features are vividly present. Many observers hold that Hezbollah has today formed a ‘State within the State’ in Lebanon. Hezbollah, or the party of God, was formed as a response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Sponsored financially by Iran, the party initially proposed the formation of an Iranianstyle Islamic state which was later abandoned in favour of a policy that proclaimed Jihad against the Israeli invader. During the 1980s and early 1990s, the party refused to partake in the atrocities of the Lebanese civil war, and allocated much of its capacity to liberate the occupied southern Lebanese territories. After the end of the civil war in 1991, the party had an implicit understanding with the government, which was completely dominated by Syria, whereby the central authority refrained from sending its army into the South, and allowed the party to have the upper hand in these specific areas. In 2000, the guerrilla warfare approach endorsed by the party was largely credited for forcing the Israeli army to end eighteen long years of occupation. Despite this military success, the party has continued its bombarding of Northern Israel in order to force the Jewish State to hand over the Shebaa Farms, claimed by Hezbollah to be Lebanese, and to exchange prisoners’ releases between the two sides. On 12 July 2006, the

party’s unilateral and unprecedented abduction of two Israeli soldiers inside Israel triggered the recent conflict in the Middle East. From a socio-economic point of view, the party has built up broad support, drawn from the Shiite community in Lebanon, by providing various social services, educational institutions and healthcare. In this ambit, Hezbollah’s investments filled a vacuum generated by a historical marginalisation and deprivation of the Shiite community by the Lebanese State. Moustashfa Al Rassul Al A’ azam (hospital), Al Kouliah Al Islamiah (university), Al Manar (TV station) and Iza’ at Al Nour (radio station) are just a few examples of the provisions delivered by the party. After the cessation of bombardments during the recent conflict, the party has spent massively (ironically in US Dollars) in order to rebuild homes and get basic services restored. For all of these reasons, it is quite clear why some scholars would brand Lebanon as a classical example of a Failed State. A CAPTURED STATE? The capture of the State as a notion refers to the ability of a powerful political group, or an alliance of certain political groups, to set the policy-making agenda in a way that effectively reflects and consolidates its firm grip of power over the State and its institutions. Once the objective is achieved, the group’s strategy aims to institutionally block any potential source of reform or any major drive to reverse the status quo. A major prerequisite for this notion entails the acceptance by this powerful group of the rules of the game. In other words, the group is definitely systematically represented, and should fully accept the governance structure where it is operating. If we assume that Lebanon is a Failing State, then the inability and/or unwillingness of the central government in providing some basic provisions for its citizens means that it is challenged by a political


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force or a movement alien to its apparatus and machinery. In other words, the notion of Failed States necessitates the existence of another force operating fully independently from its inner circle but located within its own territory. Is this the case in Lebanon? A quick answer for this question is simply no. Although the party has successfully transformed itself into a ‘ State within the State’, it remains essentially embedded in the Lebanese political configuration, and represents an important fabric of its social structure. The party has contested

of Sunni, Druze and Maronite leaders that possess a simple majority in the parliament, from directing the country in the way they politically desire. After the Syrian disengagement from the country in 2005, the 14th of March Group has relentlessly tried to table a proposal that envisions a complete recovery of sovereignty. This sovereignty is envisioned through the deployment of the Lebanese army to the southern border with Israel and the confiscation of arms held by Hezbollah warriors, in line with UN Resolution 1559. Yet the weight occupied by Hezbollah and its

between all Lebanese political forces operating in the country including Hezbollah. These series, which started a few months before the outbreak of the war, aimed at forging a consensus on various sensitive issues that still divide the various Lebanese communities today. These issues included the identity of the Shebaa Farms, the future of Hezbollah as a resistance force and its weapons, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, the Presidency of the Republic as an institution, and the redrawing of borders with Israel and Syria. Apart from agreeing on the Lebanese identity of

Residents return to find large areas of southern Beirut reduced to rubble by Israeli bombardment. Sean Sutton / MAG / Panos Pictures

every parliamentary and municipality elections in the country since 1992. Currently, it has 23 seats in the Lebanese parliament (out of 128) and has three ministers in the cabinet (out of 30). It is officially in alliance with Hizb Al Tayar Al Watani (Orange movement) headed by Michel Aoun, a former head of the Lebanese army and one of the major two Christian leaders represented in the parliament today. Together they form a blocking minority that has prevented the 14th of March political movement, a conglomeration

allies has meant that the 14th of March does not have the two thirds majority of the parliamentary house to pass such a resolution. Moreover, the president of the republic, who can be considered as a relic from the outgoing pro Syrian regime, is also a firm ally of Hezbollah. To move beyond this potential institutional impasse, the house speaker (Nabih Berri), who is a major Shiite leader and another ally to Hezbollah and Syria, called for consecutive National Dialogue series to be held

the previously mentioned farms, nothing concrete emerged after four months of intense deliberation, with Hezbollah firmly rejecting any attempt to deploy the Lebanese army into the South or to relinquish its weapons. For all of these reasons, many observers conclude that Hezbollah’s strategies have successfully captured the Lebanese State. A FAILED/CAPTURED STATE? Given these short explanations, both conceptualisations fit well the Lebanese situation. It is clear that Hezbollah has


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managed to create a unique position fully independent from the State, and it appeals to a large segment of the population that has been historically suffering from the lack of essential provisions. Yet the party has built a certain political leverage where it is firmly represented in the Lebanese system, and can strategically block any political manoeuvre that seeks to reduce its power. Clearly the two concepts do overlap in certain cases, but the nuance between the two needs to be carefully examined, for a Captured State

need not necessarily be a Failed one, or vice versa. In the Lebanese context however, the Failed State has paved the way for the other one to emerge, with Syria being the main exogenous factor that has facilitated such a transition. In order to solve these problems in the future, the Lebanese government must monopolise the process of reconstruction in the country. It must also minimise the financial contribution of the party as much as possible if it is serious in addressing the real roots of this chronic problem. Despite

the human and physical devastation inflicted on Lebanon during this recent war, the process of reconstruction is an ideal occasion for the State to re-establish primarily its authority and most importantly the trust of its citizens; a concept easy to describe, but very difficult to implement. Karim Knio is a lecturer in Politics at ISS. He can be reached at knio@iss.nl

ISS News Prince Claus Chair holder Professor Nasira Jabeen is appointed as chair holder for 2006 – 2007. Professor Nasira Jabeen (1959) is attached to the Institute of Administrative Science, University of Punjab, Lahore – Pakistan. She has authored publications in different areas including Administrative Science and Human Resources, as well as on the issue of the position of women in Pakistan. Coming from a Pakistani background, Professor Jabeen will focus her teaching and research on the possibilities and constraints of Good Governance as a concept in the world of development.

ISS qualified for Erasmus Mundus progamme of European Commission In a consortium with three other leading European institutions, ISS will offer the Erasmus Mundus Masters Program in Public Policy (Mundus MAPP). This is a 2-year international Masters course that provides a thorough understanding of how political institutions, processes and public policies operate and interact from the global political economy through to national and local levels. There is a direct focus on European engagements at these levels of governance.

Philippines Alumni and short course Graduation of ISS’ last refresher course on “Mainstreaming Human Rights in Development and Governance through a Rights Based Approach” in September 2006 in The Philippines. Convenor was Philippines graduating group dr. Karin Arts while the Hosting Organisation was the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP) and the Philippine Association of Extension Program Implementers (PAEPI).

The programme is run by the following institutes; the Central European University in Budapest (Hungary), the Barcelona Institute of International Studies in Spain, the University of York in UK and ISS. Students start with a foundation year in policy studies and research methods at either ISS or York, followed by a Summer School and an internship at a relevant policy institution while they are going to specialise in the second year in either Budapest or Spain and finish the program with an applied research or policy paper. When at ISS, the Mundus MAPP students will be enrolled in the Governance & Democracy programme.

Over 20 ISS alumni have met in Manila, The Philippines, on 2 October 2006 were dr. Karin Arts of ISS hosted the meeting, with dr. Des Gasper in attendance. The informal Des Gasper (with beard) with Alumni meeting in Manila, Philippines gathering was also attended by representatives of the Royal Netherlands Embassy and the Netherlands Fellows Foundation of the Philippines. Rectification Ms Els Mulder is not retiring, as was announced in the June edition of DevISSues, but is leaving her position as ORPAS project Officer.

The European Commission will provide 15 fellowships a year for the next five years. For more information please visit the website www.mundusmapp.org or contact ISS’ dr. Wil Hout at hout@iss.nl Staff Changes Anirban Dasgupta joined the staff group in Rural Development. He is a lecturer in Poverty Studies. Alumni Assassination Ketesh Loganathan, an alumnus of ISS (MA Agriculture and Rural Development specialisation, 1983-84) and a committed peace activist in Sri Lanka, was killed on Saturday August 15, 2006. Ketesh was a lively and engaging personality. Softspoken, he had a sharp, critical mind, and a fine sense of humour. He was much appreciated by fellow students and staff while at ISS and he will be missed.


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W h e n D o e s L i fe Begin?

Youth Perspectives from Egypt Linda Herrara

In Egypt, as in other countries of the Muslim Middle East, there has been intensified international focus on the ‘youth question.’ Within a climate of deteriorating economies, rising employment, growing radicalization and an escalation of regional conflicts, development interventions attempt to steer youth on a path that favours economic and political liberalization. Yet young people themselves are rarely consulted about their personal desires and priorities for reform. The following captions (next page) taken from twelve in-depth interviews with Egyptian urban youths will attempt to provide insights into youth lives and aspirations.

Certain conditions of the contemporary period are bringing to the fore a new politics of development in which today’s young people, “the most highly educated generation in human history,” as described in the UN World Youth Report 2005, are recognized as critical actors. Whether in policies dealing with employment, education, social equity, citizenship or security, the youth question is penetrating development debates. Despite some efforts by local and international NGOs to foster participatory policy approaches, youth perspectives are generally lacking, and the lives and desires of young people little understood. What follows are expressions of young people based on excerpts taken from twelve in-depth interviews conducted in the summer of 2006 with youths between the ages of 16 to 25 from the cities of Alexandria, Aswan and Damietta. Each interview took between one and three hours spaced over one to two sessions. A set of questions guided the process, meaning the interviews were semi-structured and open-ended, and categorised around four general areas:

family background and peer and family relationships, attitudes about social - particularly educational - institutions, views on globalization and the politics of development, and outlooks on geopolitics and regional politics. Research is perennially difficult in Egypt due to the restrictive political climate, suspicion of research in general, and

the modern nation. In other words, it has been incumbent upon the burgeoning middle class, with its participation in education, urban and globalized lifestyles, media and other institutions, to support and propel the project of development. Yet in actuality the middle class in Egypt, as in much of the region and Third World, has scant access to economic resources and in many ways

“They are saying there are opportunities. Where are these opportunities? Where is the starting point, the beginning? If only I could start I could continue my life? But where is the starting point? Tell me, where can I begin?” Ahmed, 22 years, Alexandria

foreign funded research in particular. To ensure a level of trust among researcher and researched, participants went through a hand-picked process of selection. All respondents were deliberately selected from the lower to middle strata of the urban middle classes, for it is this social class that theoretically constitutes the backbone of

is denied meaningful participation in political institutions. In a society which is also ageist and hierarchical, young people are at an added disadvantage. What follows are glimpses into youth lives and fragments of their thoughts around issues of politics, justice, development and the future.


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You n g L ive s a n d Yo uth’s Words On injustice, corruption and the root causes of terrorism… These young people overwhelmingly point to the fact that lack of justice stands at the root of society’s problems. They understand injustice as a lack of democracy and accountability, corruption, and a social system that runs not on merit, but on favours, bribes, nepotism and connections. They view oppression as the root cause of radicalism and terrorism.

Marwa, a 21 year old student at the faculty of veterinarian science: “The Egyptian political system is stable in a negative way. It does not change. It doesn’t make room for expressing opinions or changing the status quo. Security is the most important thing. It’s run as if it were a kingdom from the time of Kings. Even kingdoms don’t connect the president’s name with the name of the State like we do here in Egypt. We have the expression, ‘Misr Mubarak’[Egypt is Mubarak] Why do people feel the president deserves his name to be connected with the country when he doesn’t work towards developing the country? Egypt has been changing for the worse.”

Samir, a 22 year old unemployed male, explains the lack of freedom and rights as the root cause of terrorism: “Terrorism starts from oppression, from a lack of rights. The terrorist sees his life as a closed path. It is closed in its past, future, material aspect and moral aspect. He needs someone to help him but doesn’t find anyone. He doesn’t belong to a strong family that can protect him from unjust and failed laws. He is angry about the failures of his life, his work, love. He doesn’t believe in the social structure since it’s neither just nor legitimate. He considers this system responsible for his failures and the destiny of society. He expresses his anger by attacking Israel and the United States. He knows that nothing he does will affect his own life or society. He has nothing to do but to escape.”

Sarah, an 18 year old first year student at the Faculty of Commerce: “What’s good about the Egyptian system is its stability, but the government is not interested in a dialogue with the people. They don’t give us freedom to express ourselves. People don’t trust the government because of the system of ‘wasta’ (favours through connections) and oppression. The worst thing is when they make decisions without asking people their opinion.”

Sherif, a 22 year old university graduate working in his father’s vegetable stand says: “The government should start trying to listen to the problems of youth. There should be social justice and an honorable life for every citizen. No group should feel like a neglected body. The government does what it can to make foreigners comfortable but neglects its own citizens.”

Ahmed, a 17 year old highschool student notes: “There is no democracy and justice. The President has absolute power and makes all the decisions and the people go along with it. It’s like that saying, ‘If the father plays the drum (tabla) his sons and daughters will dance.’ If the big one is a thief then everyone else will be a thief.”

On lack o f f re e d o m … . Young people are enormously frustrated by what they describe as a lack of freedom. They complain about an absence of outlets to express opinions, and feel that adult society ignores them. They do nevertheless find solace in the sense of freedom that exists among them.

Mona, a senior in high school, states: “So many young people suffer from depression because of a lack of freedom. The government is not interested in a dialogue with the people. They don’t give them freedom to express themselves. The worst thing is when they make decisions without asking people their opinion. They just make decisions and it’s final.”

Mohamed, 20 year old engineering students: “Young people are suffering from many problems in every domain of life: political, economic, personal since they can’t get married due to the other problems. The Egyptian people take it for granted that these problems will be neglected and don’t do anything about it. Young people do not trust the justice of Egyptian society and the evidence is that they leave the country at the first opportunity. Egyptian youth don’t trust that the society will satisfy his needs or allow him a life.”


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O n the role of the US in regional d e v e l o p m e n t … The role of the US in regional politics and political economy is a major subject of public debate. Young people express vigorous opinions about the imperial policies of the US and harbour suspicions about the motivations of US development aid in their country. They see the US interference in national politics as a central cause of their government’s corruption.

Zeibab, a 22 female university graduate explains: “Egyptian society has been dominated by greed. I suspect that the Egyptian government frankly is influenced by a bigger power. To tell you the truth I do not respect the Egyptian rulers. We know very well this great power (US) is ruling over us, but God is greater, subhan wa ta’ala.”

Amjad, a 17 year old student in his third year at a technical highschool where he’s studying to be an electrician, says: “I want to be a successful man, to get married and have my own company. But for now I can’t even replace my old shoes. My parents make me wait.”

Ahmed: “I need to succeed in something but I can’t find what it is. I feel that something big will happen. What is it? When? Sometimes I believe something good will happen and I find my heart secure. But the truth is I don’t have anything to guarantee tomorrow.”

“Young people are deeply tired (ta`aban). We need to feel there’s some justice.” Soraya, 18 years

In posing the question in the title, “when does life begin?” the aim has been to probe into youth attitudes about basic conditions they feel are necessary to live a meaningful, productive and dignified

Ahmed: “If there actually was something called American aid in Egypt it should be benefiting Egypt. But where is it? This aid divides us, it doesn’t help us. If our leaders have a consciousness they should see that we have the Suez Canal; the money from this alone can let people live as Pashas. We have power through our work force. We have agricultural land and we have an enormous desert. We have good resources but nothing works out because of economics. The United States could be the reason for this bad economic situation.”

An 18 year old male states: “The US needs Arab systems that are weak and submissive. The US does not give Egypt aid for nothing. American aid is a bribe for the price of peace with Israel and the silence of the political system in Egypt about the existence of Israel and its crime towards Arabs. US aid is not just for controlling the economy but also for controlling our thinking. Our dept is 40 billion, most of it to the US. If the US continues to control us we will reach the point when they take our country.”

On in d i v i d u a l d e s i re s a n d t h e f u t u re … To an overwhelming extent these young people express similar desires for their lives. They want to feel useful, to earn a livelihood, find love, have a home and build a family. While seemingly simple desires, these goals for the most part are hopelessly out of reach. There is an overwhelming sentiment of “being stuck,” of not knowing how to get to the future, of facing insurmountable obstacles. This sentiment sometimes gives way to a kind of fatalism.

Mahmoud: “I hardly know how to dream anymore. I need to fulfil myself and be a useful human being. I want a job, an apartment, to get married. I want stability and self assurance.”

life. Many respondents allude to the fact that, although they are alive, they do not feel they are living; they do not possess what they consider a life. Living would require certain conditions of freedom, justice, opportunity and respect which they find largely absent in their lives. These young people express simple desires for individual fulfilment: those of stability, love, family, employment, and housing and, to a lesser extent professional satisfaction. Life then begins with justice and the ability to live a dignified present that can lead

18 year old Mohamed says: “My future is in the hands of God, but still, I want to be able to see it. How do I see it? I want to see a good future.”

Ramadan: “My future has no light. It’s dark. What I need is to feel that I’m a useful human being.”

to a stable future. For from justice will follow opportunities and the genesis of change. Linda Herrera is a lecturer on Development Studies at the ISS. This research was conducted with Kamal Naguib from the University of Alexandria as part of a larger comparative research project of ICCYS (International Center of Child and Youth Studies), entitled Newly Emerging Needs of Children and Youth II. For more information please email to herrera@iss.nl or visit www.iss.nl/iccys


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Teaching News

Being There… Well, Virtually Helen Hintjens In May of this year over twenty ISS students took part in an online role play Simulation (ORPS) on Venezuela which formed part of the Realising Rights and Social Justice course. Each participant took on a role from a real-world contemporary individual from Venezuela. By the end of two weeks many of the participants had gained great insight from the experience

students to be much more creative than they themselves think possible; “I think I did relatively well in combining fact and fabrication to simulate a human rights climate through an ‘oppositional’ lens”, said one actor. “Overall I was flexible, reactive and creative”, she notes, “but in retrospect could have been more aggressive and sneaky!” “It was a good idea”, noted another student, “not to give too much input or too structured a plot within which to work, as it forced the players to find out what is actually happening in Venezuela and then see how they can apply the facts to the game, while at the same time being creative and giving their own input”.

because of the emotional, narrative and imaginative impulses the simulation generated. Stories and games can be deadly serious because of their ability to capture the imagination. They are powerful, symbolically, and as tools for (de)mobilising publics and other actors. Diplomatic and international relations are full of stories that highlight how important the ‘not-so-serious’ issues can be. The so-called cartoon wars are one example, [wherein there were mass demonstrations following the cartoon impression of Muhammad in Danish newspapers]. I first came across this teaching method through virtualsimulation, when visiting the Department of Politics at the University of Melbourne in 2002, where it was wellreceived by students. The Venezuela Role Play Simulation was designed jointly with Roni Linser of Fablusi, a small educational games company based in Melbourne, and with support from ISS Staff Group ‘States, Societies and World Development’ as a pilot. Students were thrown into their roles with relatively little guidance as to what they should do. This is deliberate as, after all, creativity requires ‘spaces’ in which to create. Participants gathered information for themselves, and as Roni Linser explains, it is precisely the empty, awkward bits in the simulation that are most useful, pedagogically speaking. In the words of one ISS participant; “overall, the most useful part of the entire exercise was the interaction – the spaces between each character’s position. It was very different from engagement with texts for example, in that you could virtually, and later physically, move from private into public space to consider your positions and issues, weighing them against others, which then forced you to strengthen your own ideas, or in some cases change your mind.” IMAGINATION Letting your imagination go can be difficult when you are used to being focused on specific assignments and ‘learning outcomes’ in class and outside. The ORPS method stimulates

EMOTION Emotions are also part of the learning experience, as characters feel guilt, anger, amusement and enjoyment playing their roles. Perhaps the most important point here is how the spaces within the simulation opens up players to the intricacy of achieving social justice whilst also protecting human rights, such as the Venezuela simulation did. To take on the roles, students were obliged to do a lot of background work, as one participant, who played a human rights lawyer noted; “this allowed us to think from the assigned role, not from our own perspective…it forced the participants to learn [about human rights in Venezeula]…it encouraged us to know about the relevant provisions of human rights instruments…and through this process the acquired knowledge is retained for longer [than through other learning methods]”. Being motivated to read and reflect is part of the beauty of the role play on-line as a teaching method. On the other hand, relating the simulation to reality is not straightforward. One player considered that the exercise “allowed me to see the traditional way I considered a state, and how it addresses human rights and social justice issues, was a rather simplistic one; in reality, it is in fact a complex ‘game’, much like this simulation”. As players invent, they can paradoxically get a better grasp of reality than by uncovering ‘facts’ presented for example in academic research or the media. NARRATIVE Narratives and game-type scenarios can often convey very complex logics in a digestible way. More conventional forms of academic research and teaching struggle with this aspect of the dynamics of power, change and the interplay of ideas and actions. This year’s Venezuela Simulation exercise was a pilot for ISS, with an aim to integrate on-line role play simulation teaching in more courses. Evaluations of the Venezuela ORPS for this year included some positive suggestions for improvement, including the


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Teaching News request to focus on more specific aspects of human rights in Venezuela. In reflexive mode, one participant commented that overall in the simulation: “As if with x-ray vision, we saw how information circulates in a political Human Rights climate. The mobility of power – like iridescent traces of light – was more visible from the ‘inside’ perspective than it would have been through conventional methods – literature, film or lectures”. This comment suggests that the on-line role play method can reach parts of the memory and stimulate learning processes in ways that is not possible (or

much harder) with other, more conventional and face-toface, teaching methods. Helen Hintjens is a lecturer at the ISS in Development and Social Justice. For questions or a demo please email her at hintjens@iss.nl. The ORPS was part of the Realising Rights and Social Justice course, a component of the Human Rights, Development and Social Justice MA specialisation that began at ISS in 2005. To learn more about virtual learning, please visit www.simplay.net Many thanks to ISS IT staff for helping enable this project.

Helen Hintjens (far left, sitting) with virtual learning class

A N E W F O C U SS ON DEVELOPMENT Focuss provides a high quality search engine for practitioners, researchers and students in the area of global development studies. Other than generic search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, Focuss indexes a specific choice of electronic resources, selected by librarians, researchers and practitioners working in participating institutions. The resources are selected based on their relevance for the development studies and the quality of the information. Focuss is an initiative of ISS Library and IT Services; currently librarians from institutes such as the African Study Centre, the Chr. Michelsen Institute, GDI, InWent, IUED, KIT and NIAS have made their selection of web resources available. Individual researchers, students and practitioners can contribute their resources by adding them to the Development_Matters group in the social book mark space www.citeulike.org. The entries in this group are indexed on a regular basis. The current Focuss initiative is based on the personal activities of a limited number of individuals. We believe that with the help of other librarians, practitioners, researchers and students we can set up a valuable service for many people who are active in the development arena as well as for people who live and work in the global south. This is why we are looking for people who wish to join the initiative and contribute their e-resource links to the search engine. And equally important: we seek your support in promoting this initiative in your institution or organisation! Here are five easy steps to help you familiarise yourself with the page: 1. Go to http://focuss.eu and explore 2. Send your feedback to wesseling@iss.nl 3. Register at CiteUlike: www.citeulike.org 4. Once your account has been created, go to manage groups, search for “development_matters” and request to be added 5. Post sites and references to the group


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New Staff Publications International Criminal Accountability and the Rights of Children Karin Arts and Vesselin Popovski. International crimes and other forms of violence and the abuse of children are disturbing daily realities in today’s world. Children and young persons are increasingly and routinely targeted for the purposes of murder, rape, abduction, mutilation, recruitment as child soldiers, trafficking, sexual exploitation and other abuses. Particularly in situations of armed conflict children prove to be vulnerable and at risk. The situations in Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Philippines, Nepal, Colombia, and many others tragically illustrate this. This book is among the very first academic publications that are solely devoted to the topic of international criminal accountability and the rights of children. A rich combination of practitioners (including ICC, ICTY and SCSL prosecutors) and academics present a wealth of relevant material in this field. They explore to what extent international law instruments and international criminal accountability mechanisms are potentially useful for countering violations of children’s rights in and after armed conflict. Likewise, they analyze to what extent the tendency of profiling children’s rights much more strongly than before - mainly under the umbrella of the 1989 kTW Convention on the Rights of the Child and in the form of child rights-based approaches - converges with the features of international criminal accountability mechanisms such as the International Criminal Court, the Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals, and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Next to academics interested in the fields of international criminal law and human rights law, practitioners, policy makers and representatives of the military will benefit from reading this book.

Cultures of Arab Schooling: Critical Ethnographies from Egypt Linda Herrera and Carlos Alberto Torres, eds. Little is known regarding the inner workings of the educational systems of most Arab countries. Cultures of Arab Schooling fills this void using critical social theory to offer a rare glimpse into schools in contemporary Egypt. Giving voice to the educators and students through personal testimonies, the book sheds new light on issues of educational quality, the impact of social movements--particularly Islamist—on school cultures, the growing cultures of resistance to authoritarianism, and the gap between official policies and the realities of schooling. In a political climate that demonstrates increasing change in the Arab world, this critical ethnography of Arab education will aid in providing a better understanding of issues relating to social justice, participation, and democracy in this part of the world.

Engendering Human Security: Feminist Perspectives

Thanh-Dam Truong, Saskia Wieringa and Amrita Chhachi, eds. This book engages with current debates on human security, offering a variety of feminist perspectives on the gender reconfigurations of the state, power/knowledge systems, sexuality, care, labour and the implications of globalisation on people’s quotidian security. A key thematic area concerns the intersection between gender - as a domain of power - and human security as a new policy framework. The contributions in this book present an integration of a feminist materialist analysis of gender relations with post-modern approaches to gender representation and cultural constructions, linking culture with politics and economics, and integrating analysis of class, ethnicity and other dimensions of gender identity. The book calls for new modes of imagination that counter the dominance of the andro-centric ontology of neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism.


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New Staff Publications Science and Technology Policy for Development: Dialogues at the Interface

Louk Box and Rutger Engelhard, eds. What social relations make for successful science and technology policies? In particular, the contributions focus on what happens at the social interfaces between policy makers and researchers, or users and producers of knowledge. Knowledge networks are the real subject of this book, as they emerge between the many different actors involved in the development of science and technology. The effects of epistemic communities on successful research and technologies are shown. Scholars from the Global South (Brazil, India, Kenya, South Africa) and the North (Canada, France, Netherlands, UK, USA) reflect on research policy and policy research. Their linkages are studied, and policy implications for donors, NGOs and host countries are drawn. This is one of the first books on the subject which is published at the same time in hardback and on the internet for open access. For online access go to http://knowledge.cta.int/en/content/view/full/3613

African Perspectives on New Public Management: Implications for Human Resource Training

African Parliaments: Between Governance and Government M.A. Mohamed Salih, ed.

Nicholas Awortwi and Eduardo Sitoe, eds.

Desarrollo y Transición en Asia Seán Golden y Max Spoor, eds.

Managing Cities in Developing Countries: The Theory and Practice of Urban Management Meine Pieter van Dijk.


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Education in the Struggle For Palestine An i n t e r v i e w w i t h Rema Hammami Rema Hammami has been professor at the Institute for Women’s Studies at Birzeit University, Ramallah since its founding in 1994. The university has had to develop and adapt its curriculum rapidly under the circumstances of the Palestinian occupation. The struggle of life under the occupation has forced changes in the daily experiences and mentality of all Palestinians. Following the elections of Hamas at the beginning of 2006, and the critical response by the international community, it is now a question of how life must continue. The following is an abbreviated version of an interview with Rema Hammami. The full version can be found at www.iss.nl/devissues.

What is the role of academia in Palestine? As in most of the third world, especially in the context of anti-colonial struggles and state-building projects, academics in Palestine often have a role and influence far beyond the university. This is both a privilege and a burden. On the one hand, academics in the occupied territories are often thrust into the role of being public intellectuals – in ways that their colleagues in the West might find enviable. At the same time there is a price; by having to engage in the daily society and politics means losing the critical distance and space to work at a more abstract and conceptual level. In addition, when we are at international forums most people expect a Palestinian speaker - no matter their academic discipline - to talk directly about the latest situation on the ground. But I think the most complex part of the dilemma is the ways in which our academic priorities are always being shaped by the social and political imperatives of the day. During the period of the peace process, for instance, at Birzeit we were suddenly called upon by the political leadership and donors to develop research and programmes to meet the emerging state building process. Overnight we were having to contend with providing answers to a whole array of development and public policy agendas. Few of us had any formal training in development studies and, having been stateless, had very little

experience of policy making at that level… but these were the priorities of the times, and if the universities didn’t provide them, there was no one else who could. So our research and teaching priorities changed

The phy s i c a l dismem b e r m e n t o f t h e West Ba n k a n d t o t a l imprison m e n t a n d s o c i a l destruct i o n o f G a z a are no l o n g e r f e l t a s moment a r y e ff e c t s b u t have ed g e d u s t o w a rd s a sense o f f i n a l i t y, t h e closing o f a d o o r o n w h a t we had a l w a y s t h o u g h t would b e o u r f u t u re dramatically as we all had to suddenly meet the urgent challenges of the new environment. I’m just one example; whereas before the peace process I was researching aspects of the social history of Palestinian women and issues related to modernity and religiosity generally, in the new environment I wrote about women in the contemporary labor

market, Palestinian fertility trends, the problem of NGOs and civil society, and moved from teaching Anthropology into building a cross-disciplinary M.A. in gender development and law. My whole intellectual frame shifted to contend with the new need to be ‘policy relevant’. This was a universal experience among my colleagues and was definitely something that we critically reflected on once the peace process so dramatically collapsed a few years later. But the other thing this experience suggests is how academics in our context have to be extremely flexible and multi-disciplinary, which I suppose is really a strength, although it often feels as if we’re unable to steadily develop a more consistent domain of enquiry. The other dimension of being an academic in Palestine is that, like the rest of the society, we have to contend with the routine nastiness of the occupation and how it increasingly engulfs almost all aspects of our existence. Checkpoints; the wall; the inability to move freely; a growing policy of deportation that has affected faculty members without residency permits – it goes on and on. At the same time, like teachers anywhere we are responsible for the well-being of our students - be it through trying to cope with their everyday traumas, trying to intervene when soldiers are harassing them or just trying to get them this week’s reading material when they’re stuck under curfew and can’t reach the university. Birzeit has a human rights unit whose


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function is to provide arrested students with a lawyer, and under circumstances when the occupation permits, delivering course material to students to continue their study while in prison. We tend to forget that none of this should be part of normal academic life, but here it’s been ‘the norm’ for now almost forty years. How was the MA in Gender and Development set up, and how does this resonate in the Palestinian context? The Institute of Women’s Studies was founded in 1994 by a cross-disciplinary group of women faculty from different departments across Birzeit. When the peace process ‘tsunami’ I mentioned earlier happened ‘gender mainstreaming’ also suddenly appeared on the agendas of the newly developed Palestinian Authority ministries and in donor and NGO projects. All of us had been women’s movement activists, but now we were confronted with the new state-building reality. This meant a shift from a more grassroots women’s organizing to a government and policy level environment. As academics we saw both a responsibility and an opportunity to try and shape the way that governmental and nongovernmental policy and activity dealt with the issue of gender rights in all its local complexity. And the best way to do that in the long term was to design an academic program for activists working in NGOs and government. Luckily the international Gender and Development

Rema Hammami

literature was very developed by then – so we were able to build a lot from existing knowledge and practical

My wh o l e i n t e l l e c t u a l frame s h i f t e d t o c o n t e n d with t h e n e w n e e d t o b e ‘polic y re l e v a n t ’ experience, and conceptually translate them into a relevant context for our needs and issues. What was interesting

was how much of the global Gender and Development literature really resonated with the Palestinian context. A lot of the issues raised by South Asian, Latin American and African Gender and Development experiences were extremely relevant, and really spoke to the students. However, our peculiar circumstance of state building under occupation – the bizarre situation of national liberation, colonization and attempted development all happening at once and in interaction with each other was something that none of the existing development literature had addressed – most likely because it was


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Birzeit University students study on campus

what was so confusing and singular about the Oslo peace process. In light of the Hamas elections, how do you view the relationship between Palestine and the international community? The international community has been criminally negligent in its approach to the conflict for years. Instead of using their leverage to deal with the core cause of the conflict, namely Israel’s colonization of the occupied territories, they routinely use their leverage on the occupied population to ensure malleability and little resistance. Thus this most recent decision to impose sanctions is just a continuation down that path, in which the victims are punished for not acting as they should while the occupier is given free reign. The Israeli Knesset (Israeli legislature) is full of parties whose platform is against a Palestinian state – i.e. against a two-state solution. While Netenyahu was in power, the Likud (a centre-right political party), openly said they were

out to destroy the peace process, which was also the case later among people in Sharon’s government. In those

The Wor l d B a n k consiste n t l y a rg u e d i n t h e past tha t t h e i n v e s t m e n t s by the i n t e r n a t i o n a l commun i t y i n t h e Palestin i a n e c o n o m y barely c o v e re d t h e l o s s e s created b y I s r a e l i c l o s u re measure s cases it was never in the international community’s imaginary to conceive of undertaking sanctions against Israel. But Palestinians are treated by another, extremely unfair set of rules.

The recent decision by the international community [to enforce sanctions] is perhaps more catastrophic than in the past – because it has been undertaken when Palestinian society is already on the edge of social, political and economic collapse. For the past six years Palestinians have been living in a war-torn economy, under the most extreme form of sanctions imposed by the Israeli military. During that period, Israel’s longstanding control over the ability to move goods and people across the international borders was extended to controlling human movement between Palestinian areas – with devastating consequences. The World Bank consistently argued in the past that the investments by the international community in the Palestinian economy barely covered the losses created by Israeli closure measures. However, in the past, rather than challenging how Israel’s control precluded the possibility for a normal Palestinian economy and society to function, the international community deployed aid in an attempt to mitigate


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its effects. The only way that basic services and some level of livelihoods could continue was due to the injections of aid by the international community. But now they neither challenge Israel’s destructive control of the Palestinian economy, while at the same time cutting off the remaining the life-line of aid. Joblessness was already very high and coping strategies were already stretched to the limit, but the way that aid injected money into the economy cushioned the effects of Israeli closure. Now you have more than a million family members who depend on the wages of the 180,000 public sector workers whose survival strategies have collapsed due to the international sanctions. That’s a third of the population – and this was one of the only sectors fairing relatively well [prior to the sanctions]. This has knock-on effects throughout society; many families could only get by because their local food vendor would give them credit, knowing a relative was on the government pay roll. Now everywhere you go, shops display “no credit” signs. The impact on health has been devastating, in a sector that could only offer limited health coverage, now families can’t even afford this. For education it’s the same; the start of the school year is always difficult, but now families will struggle to even afford the basic school kit necessary for their children to attend. It is ironic that for all the social and developmental problems that international agencies and NGOs have been working to eradicate, they have now taken a step that actively propagates them; malnutrition, school drop-outs, poor sanitation, deep poverty, the list goes on and on. What is often forgotten is how the international community has already fallen so short of their responsibilities towards the Palestinians of the occupied territories as enshrined in international law; they have failed to implement their own resolutions that call for the end of Israel’s illegal occupation. They have failed to undertake their responsibility to protect the occupied population and ensure its social and economic well-being. And they have failed to ensure that Israel does not change the demographic character or exploit for its own uses the natural resources of the land it illegally occupies. This is the context through which the population sees this latest failure of international

responsibility. In short, sanctions are not going to lead to an overthrow of Hamas by a disgruntled population; instead it is much more likely that it will lead to civil society paralysis and social and political chaos. What do you see for the future of Palestine in the long run? Many of us are talking about the end of Palestine these days. Not as a society; any Palestinian will tell you that as a society we will always be here. The end is about the Palestinian national project as we, and three generations of Palestinians, knew it. The idea of an independent Palestinian state that animated Palestinian politics, culture and identity for fifty years, has

It is iro n i c t h a t f o r all the s o c i a l a n d devel o p m e n t a l p ro b l e m s that i n t e r n a t i o n a l agenc i e s a n d N G O s have b e e n w o r k i n g t o eradic a t e , t h e y h a v e n o w taken a s t e p t h a t a c t i v e l y propa g a t e s t h e m been eclipsed by a reality that was in gestation since the 1970s but that has now been dramatically concretized by Israel over the past six years. The physical dismemberment of the West Bank and total imprisonment and social destruction of Gaza are no longer felt as momentary effects but have edged us towards a sense of finality, the closing of a door on what we had always thought would be our future. This is Ariel Sharon’s legacy; five years of actions that make the basis of the only just and practical solution – a two state solution - impossible. Any foreign diplomat, journalist or aid worker based in the occupied territories will tell you this off-the-record. It’s just so very obvious on the ground. What it means for the long run no one knows. But in the here and now, it has produced an immense sense of despair -- not only among

Palestinians, but also among Israeli and international peace activists. In this context, finding hope seems as likely as finding snow in a desert. So the only hope there is, is what one always looks to when governments and politicians fail so badly – the hope offered by people of conscience who try and make a difference. There are the brave Israelis who refuse to be part of their government’s policies; the refusniks who would rather go to prison than serve in the occupying army, the women who stand at checkpoints and try and calm the brutality of their soldiers, the peace activists who stand with Palestinian villagers in front of military bulldozers toppling olive trees to build another section of the wall and many others. Internationally as well you find people of all ages and backgrounds organizing and trying to make a difference, small voices and gestures that have a powerful resonance at times like this. And among Palestinians, there is hope in the way that people against all odds continue to make life, make jokes, get married and celebrate birthdays and ultimately hold on to their humanity. What strikes me so often, is how despite the hatred that is being sown by Israel and the US – how when Israelis and Westerners come to visit as people and stand with Palestinians – they are greeted with such open hearts and gratitude. While all of this may not be powerful enough to stop the destruction that is taking place – the role of people of conscience is profoundly important in keeping hope alive in times of such despair. Rema Hammami was appointed the Prince-Claus chair holder of 2006 because of her impressive academic contribution to peace and co-existence in Palestine. Her permanent position is Professor at the Institute for Women’s Studies at Birzeit University, Ramallah, Palestine. Photos used courtesy of Rema Hammami and Birzeit University. http://home.birzet.edu


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The M i d d l e E a s t :

Cradle of Civilization or a Cauldron for Conflict Syed Mansoob Murshed Most wars nowadays are civil wars. The world has witnessed 118 conflicts in 80 locations since the end of the cold war in 1989, but the good news is that the number of countries embroiled in civil war is declining. Development economists are right to focus on the poverty enhancing and growth stunting nature of civil wars in low-income countries. Despite the preponderance of civil wars, inter-state wars (or wars between a state or coalitions thereof) and non-state armed groups in another country are not uncommon, and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the Middle East. Interestingly, the UK tops the league table in the number of inter-state wars (21) it has been involved in since 1946, ahead of France (19) and the USA (16). Not surprisingly, former colonial masters and the world’s only remaining superpower have the greatest

Conflict in the Middle East seems to attract “clash of civilizations” type justifications, as opposed to the rational choice category of argument put forward to explain civil wars in other parts of the world. This “clash of civilizations” reasoning is a disingenuous device to disguise and rationalize the perpetuation of the palpable injustices that underlie conflict in that region. Ever since its inception, Islam has continually striven to achieve acceptance on terms of parity by the Christian West. Rational choice theory, by contrast, advances two possible hypotheses for conflict: collective historical grievances or the desire to control valuable resources (greed), that are far closer to the truth. The prevalence of an invaluable natural resource (petroleum), combined with extremely unfair post-colonial dispensations fuel conflict in the Middle East. Unlike what some (including Bush and Blair) say, the violence by the oppressed in the region is a reaction to injustice, and not born of some primordial

T h e West rushes to c o n d e mn Iran, based on th e o ff-chance that it will a c q u i re nuclear weapons, w h i l e ignoring Israel’s l o n g - s tanding capability i n t h e same area proclivity to go to war against other nations (or groups therein as in Iraq and Afghanistan); this is after all what makes them great powers. Much of the Middle East (except Iran) was part of the Ottoman Empire prior to the conclusion of the First World

desire to supplant “Western civilization”. War, an empire that had sided with the defeated Central powers during that great conflagration. The allied powers, principally Britain and France, entered into a clandestine agreement (the Sykes-Picot pact) to carve up the Ottoman dominions, prior to the defeat of Turks in the Great War of 1914-18. They were dividing up what was, at the time, not quite theirs. The British Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour, declared support for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine in 1917, again before His Majesty’s Government’s writ ran through that piece of real estate. Nor were the inhabitants of that territory consulted in the proposed handover by a distant European power, although the inhabitants of peninsular

Arabia, blissfully unaware of the SykesPicot pact, were encouraged to revolt against their Turkish co-religionists by the indomitable T E Lawrence. In the words of the novelist Arthur Koestler, by the Balfour declaration “one nation solemnly promised to a second nation the country of a third.” What followed, after the First World War, shaped the contemporary map of the region. The British and French directly controlled Palestine and Syria respectively, latterly through League of Nations mandates. The importance of the Holy Lands to western powers is evinced by two statements; when Field Marshall Allenby entered Jerusalem he declared the Crusades finally over, and when a French general visited the tomb in Damascus of


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Saladin (who had expelled 12th century Crusaders) he triumphantly uttered words to the effect that “we are back Saladin”. The kingdom of Iraq was created by the British, ruled by a Sunni king (whose father had cooperated closely with Lawrence of Arabia) imported from the Arabian Peninsula to rule over a land with a Shia majority and a sizeable non-Arab Kurdish minority. Rebellions by the Kurds were brutally suppressed with the aid of the Royal Air Force, including the innovative use of mustard gas from the air by “Bomber” Harris, who later became chief of the RAF’s Bomber Command, and was responsible for trashing Dresden in February 1945. The brother of the British nominee for the kingship of Iraq was given modern day Jordan, and it is said that the zigzagged nature of the Jordanian-Saudi Arabian border is partially attributable to the after effects of a good lunch that the British Colonial Secretary, Winston Churchill, had before deciding on the fate of the peoples of that region. The French proceeded to partition Syria by separating what we now know as Lebanon from it. The experience of the French was far from happy in Syria, and they withdrew shortly after the Second World War. A tenuous power sharing construction was fashioned for Lebanon, and small wonder that she later descended into civil war. At that time an Arab intellectual renaissance (Ba’ath) took place, leading to the removal of the pro-Western monarchies in Egypt (1952) and Iraq (1958). Another great game, between Britain and Russia, was played over Iran. It had its democratic 1906 constitution suspended, and an unenlightened despot restored in 1953 largely due to the machinations of the USA and the UK. These historical facts indicate that the post Cold War era since the first Gulf War represents a turnaround to the “old” days of European control, as the leadership of most Middle Eastern states are not only undemocratically appointed, but are also incapable of conducting truly independent foreign policy (except Iran and Syria). All of these injustices pale into insignificance when compared to the Palestinian predicament. I do not wish to belabour the unfairness of that situation, as it is all too evident, except to stress

that the excessive acts of collective punishment meted out on civilians and the wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure by Israel in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon are tantamount to state terrorism. Israel is also not above abducting people and making arbitrary arrests. It is worth reminding ourselves of the fact that in the recent

The zigzagged nature of the Jordanian-Saudi Arabian border is partially attributable to the after effects of a good lunch that Winston Churchill had before deciding on the fate of the peoples of that region war in Lebanon, most casualties on the Lebanese side were civilian, while at the Israeli end most fatalities were military. Central to the solution is not only a creation of a viable Palestinian state (not some feeble Bantustan), the rights of refugees (many Palestinian refugees reside in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan), and joint access to Jerusalem. The economic disparities between Israel and Palestine also need addressing. Most importantly, a just settlement in Palestine is central to achieving peace in the region, international security and an end to global “Islamist” terrorism. A great obstacle to peace are Western double standards in the region, mainly centring around the unswerving diplomatic support that the United States affords Israel’s acts of impunity, and its tacit acceptance by many European countries. The West seems unconcerned that the price of peace, over the years, has entailed ever increasing unrequited concessions by the Palestinians in favour of Israel. The West refuses to deal with a democratically elected party (Hamas) in the Palestinian territories. Israel remains the largest recipient of American aid, despite having average incomes comparable to a European country. The West rushes to condemn Iran, based on the off-chance that it

will acquire nuclear weapons, while ignoring Israel’s long-standing capability in the same area. And the invasion and Western occupation of Iraq has helped the country slide into civil war, due to the imperfect credibility of a local leadership who collaborate with occupying forces, and long delays in commencing post-war re-construction. The lessons from elsewhere in the world suggest that the failure of the state to provide minimal personal and economic security, as well as services, leads its citizens to search for these elsewhere, including amongst kinship groups and armed militias. This raises the risk of civil war as the legitimate use of violence becomes privatised. Nor can humanity live without dignity. That is why respect for Hizbollah, bloodied but unbowed as they are in an unequal struggle, may be growing in the Arab and Muslim world. Its reputation and credibility amongst ordinary Lebanese as a provider of services, and as an agent for reconstruction, seems enhanced. Let us also not forget that the origins of Hizbollah are in resistance to the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon (1982-2000). Also, the huge cost of a second reconstruction in a country already deep in debt is worrying. It is time that the United States acted more fairly, and instead of supporting ‘wars of the New Middle East’ started living up to the spirit of Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Gettysburg address and help to establish true ‘government of the people, by the people and for the people’ in the region, in the same way Lincoln was concerned that it ‘shall not perish from the earth’. Mansoob Murshed is Professor in Economics of Conflict and Peace at ISS, Professor of International Economics at the Birmingham Business School and Honorary Professor of Development Economics at the University of Utrecht.


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Complex Realities & Self-Serving Illusions in the Middle East Conflict Clare Louis Ducker The constructed Western identity of the Israeli state stems from its very creation, wherein Israel’s founding members (all European) asserted from the outset the European character the Jewish state would take: Theodore Herzl, the founder of political Zionism, wrote that the Jewish state would serve as “the portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilisation as opposed to oriental barbarism”. Conceptions of East versus West, of the modern and civilized world against the backward and barbaric “other”, are a recurrent theme in Zionist literature and directly associated with the colonial Europe Zionism emerged from. These ideas are still very relevant to the way Israel perceives itself today and to the way it is perceived by the wider world. Though situated in the Middle East, Israel has continuously represented itself as a Western entity; Ella Shohat writes that Israel sees itself as ‘in but not of the Middle East’ – with a clear East/West dichotomy between itself, the Palestinians and the wider Arab world. This rejection of the East, and more specifically of the Arab, runs deep into Israeli society with endemic discrimination faced not only by Palestinian citizens of Israel, but also by Jews of African and Asian origin, sometimes known as Mizrahi (Oriental) Jews. If the 1.3 million Palestinian citizens of Israel (19.3% of the population) are added to the proportion of Mizrahi Jews, the total non-European population of Israel adds up to just under 70%; this means the majority of Israeli citizens are actually of Arab descent (and if the Palestinians who live in the Occupied Territories are included this proportion rises to 90%), though few in and outside of the Middle East would be familiar with this fact. As despite their demographic minority, Ella Shohat writes that European-Israelis (Ashkenazim) are visibly dominant in every sector – in politics, education, the economy and culture – the result

of years of biased resource allocation and political, economic and social marginalization toward Israel’s nonEuropean and non-Jewish citizenry. It is for this reason that she terms the state ‘Euro-Israel’. Reuven Abarjel and Smadar Lavie, both Mizrahi academics and activists, have written that the Ashkenazi Israeli leadership has repeatedly evoked the

The total non-European population of Israel adds up to just under 70%; this means the majority of Israeli citizens are actually of Arab descent image that Israel is a European villa, planted in the midst of a regional jungle. It is this image that plays such an important part in Israel’s public relations strategy, and which serves to demonize the rest of the people in its surrounding region. The newly elected

Hamas legislative has been demonized and isolated across the Western world, as the demands that it recognise the state of Israel and denounce the use of violence have become a prerequisite for any financial and diplomatic support from the West. Though these same demands are not pressed upon Israel (namely to recognise the right of Palestine to exist and to denounce the use of violence), it would be a crucial step forward on the roadmap to peace given it’s disproportionately powerful and violent role in the conflict; the continued illegal occupation of Palestinian (and Lebanese and Syrian) land, the continued illegal construction of settlements on land supposedly earmarked for a Palestinian state, and its continued use of violence against the civilian Palestinian population. In addition it continues to be the largest recipient of US aid in the world, as well as maintaining highly profitable open trade relations with the EU. One would think that by any fair and rational standards such declarations should be urgently sought from Israel. But presented with the narrative of the civilized and modern versus the violent, barbaric ‘other’, where only one party’s violence matters, few seem prepared to press the matter. As a result even the mass arrests and execution by air strikes of the democratically-elected Gazan leadership has occurred with little, if any, criticism from the self-appointed champions of democracy in North America and Europe. Defence for Children International (DCI) reports that there are currently around 350 Palestinian children in Israeli prisons; approximately 100 of these are under 16 years of age. DCI states that the majority of children are taken from their homes at night and that almost all children who are arrested suffer some form of torture, including beatings, sleep deprivation, isolation, position abuse and verbal


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abuse. DCI states that this fact is widely acknowledged and thoroughly documented by local and international human rights organizations, though the arrest, detention and torture of Palestinian children is rarely discussed in international political spheres and is little known by the wider public.

of “modernisation” – a euphemism for the erasure of their Arabic identity and their assimilation into Euro-Israeli life. The Orientalist discourse has thus also served to erase links with the largely Arab past of the Mizrahim. This

But the legacy of European Imperialistic/Orientalist discourse in the Israeli context penetrates deeper than the Zionist nationalist project vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Mizrahi Jews have been the victim of this powerful political tool to exclude them from basic social infrastructures of political, economic, academic and cultural life, ensuring control of political institutions, universities and principal economic hubs by the Ashkenazi elites. It is within this hegemonic Orientalist framework that the largely Arabic heritage of Mizrahi Jews was also ridiculed and rejected. While the Jews from Europe were perceived as simply having to be “absorbed” into Israeli society, those from Asia and Africa could only be “absorbed” through the process

were perceived as simply

While the Jews from Europe

having to be ‘absorbed’ into Israeli society, those from Asia and Africa could only be ‘absorbed’ through the process of ‘modernisation’ suppression of identity has meant the rejection of Arabic language, music and customs, and the Arabic communities to which they once belonged. Mizrahi Jews have also borne the brunt

of Palestinian and Hizbollah guerrilla attacks as they were channelled into Israel’s peripheral border towns, now overwhelmingly populated with Israel’s poor and marginalised; the immigrants from Arab countries and their descendants, and more recently the immigrants from Russia and Ethiopia. Abarjel and Lavie write that “most of the Palestinian suicide attacks have occurred in the public spaces of the economically deprived and legally disenfranchised Mizrahi communities: bus rides taken by people who can’t afford to have a private car, markets frequented by those who can’t afford to shop in air conditioned malls and supermarkets, and ‘hoods too poor to afford to purchase the patrol services of private security companies...” It is this rarely acknowledged relationship between ethnicity, poverty and class within Israel’s Jewish population that also demands serious attention, if we are to fully comprehend the complex realities on the ground and therefore take some meaningful steps on the road to peace. During this Summer’s crisis, the occasional interview aired on CNN or BBC news, with inhabitants of Kiryat Shemona – an Israeli town on the border with Lebanon that has been a frequent target of Hezbollah’s katyusha rockets – hinted at a neglected history when identities and borders across the Middle East region were defined very differently: the Iranian-born shopkeeper lamenting his mounting debts and then the Iraqiborn restaurant owner defiantly keeping his empty restaurant open despite the threat of more rocket attacks, reminded the world for a brief moment of the tragic upheavals, displacements and divisions that have occurred out of the colonial experience. Indeed it very often seems that we are still trapped in its divisive language and dangerously simplistic ideas that obscure the complexities of the Middle East region and the wider world around us. Clare Louis Ducker is MA participant ’04-’05 and one of three prize winners of the 2005 MA research papers. The paper can be found through www.iss.nl/library Please visit http://www.iss.nl/devissues for the online version of this article which includes source references.

An Israeli-Arab girl who was lightly wounded in a missile attack on Nazareth, Israel. Ahikam Seri / Panos Pictures


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Development and Change The journal Development and Change is published six times a year by Blackwell Publishers (Oxford, UK) on behalf of the Institute of Social Studies. For more information, see the ISS website or email us at d&c@iss.nl. Available online at http://www.blackwellpublishers.co.uk/online. Special rate available to ISS alumni.

Volume 37 / Number 4 / July 2006 SPECIAL ISSUE Christian Lund Christian Lund David Pratten Lars Buur Simon Turner Sten Hagberg Giorgio Blundo Kristine Juul Lars Buur and Helene Maria Kyed Pierre-Yves Le Meur Carola Lentz Jeremy Gould

Twilight Institutions: Public Authority and Local Politics in Africa Guest Editor: Christian Lund Twilight Institutions: An Introduction Twilight Institutions: Public Authority and Local Politics in Africa The Politics of Vigilance in Southeastern Nigeria Reordering Society: Vigilantism and Expressions of Sovereignty in Port Elizabeth’s Townships Negotiating Authority between UNHCR and ‘The People’ ‘It was Satan that Took the People’: The Making of Public Authority in Burkina Faso Dealing with the Local State: The Informal Privatization of Street-Level Bureaucracies in Senegal Decentralization, Local Taxation and Citizenship in Senegal Contested Sources of Authority: Re-Claiming State Sovereignty by Formalizing Traditional Authority in Mozambique State Making and the Politics of the Frontier in Central Benin Decentralization, the State and Conflicts over Local Boundaries in Northern Ghana Strong Bar, Weak State? Lawyers, Liberalism and State Formation in Zambia

Volume 37 / Number 5 / September 2006 Eric Helleiner Peter Lloyd-Sherlock A. Krishna et al. Annelies Zoomers Valentina Mazzucato et al. Esther Wiegers te al. Linda Norgrove and David Hulme Hong Meen-Chee and Suresh Narayanan

Reinterpreting Bretton Woods: International Development and the Neglected Origins of Embedded Liberalism Simple Transfers, Complex Outcomes: The Impacts of Pensions on Poor Households in Brazil Fixing the Hole in the Bucket: Household Poverty Dynamics in the Peruvian Andes Pro-Indigenous Reforms in Bolivia: Is there an Andean Way to Escape Poverty? Transnational Migration and the Economy of Funerals: Changing Practices in Ghana Patterns of Vulnerability to AIDS Impacts in Zambian Households Confronting Conservation at Mount Elgon, Uganda Restoring the Shine to a Pearl: Recycling Behaviour in Penang, Malaysia BOOK REVIEWS


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Development and Change Forum 2006 Volume 37 / Number 6 / November 2006 Guest Editors: Amrita Chhachhi and Howard Nicholas FOCUS Ashwani Saith Michael Bourdillon DEBATE: Des Gasper Jan Nederveen Pieterse Thanh-Dam Truong John Cameron Ananta Kumar Giri Craig N. Murphy Deirdre McCloskey Martha Nussbaum Amrita Chhachhi REFLECTIONS Amrita Chhachhi Rema Hammami Wicky Meynen Rhoda Reddock LEGACIES Louis Emmerij Cristóbal Kay Craig Calhoun ASSESSMENTS Jayati Ghosh Linda Herrera Hilde van Dijkhorst and Dorothea Hilhorst

From Universal Values to Millennium Development Goals: Lost in Translation Children and Work: A Review of Current Literature and Debates Cosmopolitanisms: A Discussion of the Frontiers of Justice Cosmopolitan Presumptions? On Martha Nussbaum and her Commentators Emancipatory Cosmopolitanism: Towards an Agenda One Humanity, Many Consciousnesses: Unresolved Issues on Nussbaum’s New Frontiers of Justice Reflections on Cosmopolitanism and Capabilities Cosmopolitanism and Beyond: Towards a Multiverse of Transformations International Relations and Responsibility in an Increasingly Unequal World Hobbes, Nussbaum, and All Seven of the Virtues Reply: In Defence of Global Political Liberalism Postscript: Tensions and Absences in the Debate on Global Justice and Cosmopolitanism Interview with Kumari Jayawardena Interview with Deniz Kandiyoti Interview with Carmen Diana Deere Interview with Peggy Antrobus Hans Singer: The Gentle Breeze of Development Economics Solon L. Barraclough: Leading Agrarian Reform Researcher and Advocate Pierre Bourdieu and Social Transformation: Lessons from Algeria Making Sense of the World Economy What’s New about Youth? A Review Essay Reviewing the World

ISS Working Papers Since the previous DevISSues the following ISS Working Papers were published. The full text can be downloaded from the website: www.iss.nl under publications. You can also subscribe to the Working Papers Awareness Service: http://subscribe.iss.nl. With every new issue you will receive an email with the abstract and the link to the full text attached. For more information contact: the ISS Working Papers Team: workingpapers@iss.nl 434 433 432 431 430 429 428 427 426 425 424 423

Exchange rate uncertainty and monetary transmission in the Philippines / Veronica B. Bayangos – 2006 ‘Regional varieties of capitalism’: inter-firm relations and access to finance in Satun (Thailand) and Perlis (Malaysia) / Edo Andriesse – 2006 Human security and the governmentality of neo-liberal mobility: a feminist perspective / Thanh-Dam Truong – 2006 Complex emergencies, food security and the quest for appropriate institutional capacity / Martin Doornbos – 2006 Uncounted or illusory blessings? Competing responses to the Easterlin, Easterbrook and Schwartz paradoxes of well-being / Des Gasper – 2006 Domestic violence and dowry: evidence from a south Indian village / Sharada Srinivasan and Arjun S. Bedi – 2006 What is the capability approach?: its core, rationale, partners and dangers / Des Gasper – 2006 Children, childhood and migration / Roy Huijsmans – 2006 IDS, freedom and the moral community of citizens in Southern Africa / Bridget O’Laughlin – 2006 Entry, survival, and growth of manufacturing firms in Ethiopia / Admasu Shiferaw – 2006 Physical public infrastructure and private sector output/productivity in Uganda: a firm level analysis / Albert A. Musisi – 2006 Young single motherhood : contested notions of motherhood and sexuality in policy discourses/program interventions / Elizabeth Mulewa Ngutuku Mulongo – 2006


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DevISSues volume 8, number 2, December 2006  

Politics and Conflict in the Middle East

DevISSues volume 8, number 2, December 2006  

Politics and Conflict in the Middle East

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