Palestinian Political Forgiveness

Posted: April 9, 2011 by Rex Brynen in new research

Glen Pettigrove and Nigel Parsons have a piece in the October 2010 issue of Social Theory and Practice that explores “Palestinian Political Forgiveness: Agency, Permissibility, and Prospects.”

The Israel-Palestine conflict stands at the heart of tensions in the Middle East and, more than that, at the heart of tensions between the West and the Islamic world. It is sometimes suggested that the resolution of this conflict will require forgiveness on the part of both Palestine and Israel. However, what such forgiveness would involve has not been adequately explored. Our aim is to remedy this gap in the discussion.

While there has been quite a bit written about the normative and non-tangible elements of the Palestinian refugee issue (and the conflict more generally), this is the first piece I’ve seen that embeds all that in a broader discussion of  the political and ethical dynamics of “forgiveness.”

I’ll admit that I’m personally rather doubtful of the emphasis that the authors place, towards the end of their article, on future infrastructure investment in a Palestinian state as a “transcendental representation” of Palestinian selfhood” that would ease the process of reconciliation. I don’t think it would work at a political and emotional level. I’m especially dubious about the “Arc” concept that RAND has proposed and which  Pettigrove and Parsons point to as one such possibility (the Arc seems to me to be enormously impractical in the real world of development).

Still, the authors do a service by opening up the issue of “forgiveness” as an conceptual and practical issue for discussion.

h/t Mick Dumper

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