Is statehood the destined outcome of this people of other peoples, who may have strong senses of national identity, but who have been unable to develop lasting viable structural forms for this identity?
Click play to listen. Recorded on November 11, 2006.
The Head of Middle East Institute and Edward Said Chair of Arab Studies at Columbia University, Rashid Khalidi, discusses themes from his 2006 book, The Iron Cage: The Struggle for Palestinian Statehood. Khalidi emphasizes the importance of understanding the history of the region in conflict from beyond the narrow scope of terrorism. Calling the past century an “era of historical amnesia,” Khalidi urges historians to uncover the history of U.S. activity, Israel, Hezbollah, Hamas and other regional actors in order to understand fully the social and political factors involved in the conflict.
Khalidi then examines the internal factors contributing to failed attempts at the establishment of an autonomous Palestinian state. He emphasizes the importance of ascribing agency to Palestinians and examines the inefficacy of current Arab leaders. He stresses the significance of the long-term devastating effects of short-term colonial strategies enacted by global powers in the Middle East. Finally, Khalidi urges scholars to mine the region of its heretofore unexposed past in order to illuminate the history of the Israel-Palestine Conflict. He promotes elevating these accounts to the level of common knowledge in order to bring the conflict out of the realm of academia and into the sphere of general interest.