Parallel States Project

At Lund University some interesting thinking on the Israel/Palestine situation in a venture called the Parallel States Project. The conference was in 2010 and I’m not sure what has happened since 2011. The site says they are cooperating with faculty from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Al-Mustaqbal Foundation in Ramallah. The idea is in opposition to the two states solution (dividing the territory of Gaza, West Bank and Israel into two somehow), and to the one state solution (undivided territory, unified state of both peoples), through proposing a “scenario with two states, Israel and Palestine, sharing sovereignty over the whole area between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River”. Shades of China Miéville’s The City and the City, perhaps. Difficult to imagine this being taken very seriously, but by removing one of the key elements of the conflict – land and/or territory – from the situation, it does lead to thinking through some of the complexities that are not always discussed. It’s based, it seems, on a fairly crude understanding of the notion of territory, and a belief that the globalised world means that sovereign control of territory is not as important as it used to be. But there are historical resonances of this – the territoriality of law did used to be challenged by personality of law: who you were led to the legal code that applied, not where you were. Utopian perhaps, but maybe a productive way of beginning thinking through some of the associated issues in this complicated situation. Thanks to Jorge Goldfarb for pointing me to this.

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3 Responses to Parallel States Project

  1. Chathan says:

    Sounds interesting, but I still think a binational state is the best way to realistically reconcile Palestinians and Israelis national identities and perceptions within one political entity.

  2. jorgegoldfarb says:

    Gadamer, in Truth and Method, repeatedly makes the point that we can get important insights about meanings of a term through cases where the term is used metaphorically. It is tempting to extend Gadamer’s idea by saying that we can get insights as important from situations where the term is negated. Such is the case for instance with the notions of ‘non-places’ (Auge) and of ‘placelessness’, notions which “can provide new insights to better capture the essence of place” (Arefi).

    Accordingly, the proposals of the Parallel States Project, may be important in an enquiry about the terms that are negated or, rather, suspended. For instance, the situation envisaged in the Project “would mean a decoupling of the exclusive link between state and territory” (see Outline, Basic Assumptions). By examining the practical consequences of such a decoupling one could form valuable insights about the theoretical connections between the two concepts.

    Elden remarks in Land, Terrain, Territory (2010) that “territory must be
    approached in itself rather than through territoriality, and in relation to land and terrain.” This I think is a sensible approach (I am using a similar one for place-space-landscape) to use in the present case in order to enquire into the implications of doing away with territorial sovereignty for the interrelations: State/ land/ terrain/territory/ territoriality.

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