Violence in the Palestinian Context
The Muwatin Institute for Democracy and Human Rights at Birzeit University is working on research about violence in the Palestinian context. It is based on the assumption that there are complex structural sources, most clear of which is colonialism, which was embodied in a military occupation, and which took a settlement-based orientation; and its alliance and intersection with the forces of neo-colonialism, as well as the neoliberal phase of capitalism, which manifests in several kinds of violence such as wars, military coups and the tyranny of the security forces. The research seeks to investigate the interdependence behind these forms of violence, and the causes and justifications of violence against the colonizer and within society. In addition to the above, the disruption of the legitimacy of the Palestinian political system, which is unable to practice national sovereignty or manifest its appearance, which necessitates its reinforcement of violence as a tool to sustain itself. These interactions between the various sources of violence create a highly violent environment, which in turn stimulates the reproduction of violence in the margins, and works to localize it in various forms, including counter-violence and self-violence, which are at times practiced to dominate, and other times to resist. The impact of all these resources is exacerbated by the growth of populist elements which seeks to plant ethnic, national, regional, sexual, age, cultural, and sectarian prejudices, in substitution of other socio-economic and national conflicts. Such process of substitution inherent to the neoliberal era, which creates these tendencies in order to stimulate a rivalry between commodified identities competing in the "post-politics" market. This research is divided into two phases: the first is focused on the literature, statistics and the development of a theoretical background suitable for studying violence in the Palestinian context. The results of the first phase will form a starting point for the second phase, which will investigate the hypotheses produced in the theoretical framework empirically, using an ethnographic approach in an attempt to validate these hypotheses and to more deeply understand the complex dynamics of violence in Palestine. It should be noted that this research is carried out by Muwatin Institute in partnership with the Social and Economic Policies Monitor (Almarsad), The Palestinian Circus School, and the International Institute for Nonviolent Action (Spain).