Creative Responses to Separation: Israeli and Palestinian Joint Activism in Bil'in
Political Science and International Affairs
This article examines creative ways in which Israeli and Palestinian activists engage with each other and the powers seeking to separate them in their nonviolent struggles for a just and lasting peace. Using the geopolitical theory of territoriality, the article briefly examines a number of administrative, physical, and psychological barriers facing joint activism and the strategies activists use to counteract them. Drawing on nonviolent theory and practice, the article analyzes how activists exert power through the creative use of symbols and practices that undermine the legitimacy of occupation policies. Based on fieldwork conducted in 2004-05 and July 2006, the article explores the implications of this activism on conceptions of identity, and strategies for restarting a moribund peace process. The relative 'success' of sustained joint action in Bil'in can provide scholars and policymakers with innovative approaches for addressing some of the outstanding issues needing to be addressed by official negotiators. Although government bodies are more constrained than activists, the imaginative means of engaging with the system- and the reframing of issues through the redeployment of 'commonplaces'-can perhaps provide inspiration, if not leverage, for thinking outside of the box.
Journal of Peace Research
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