Changing the dynamics of conflict in Palestine and Israel

This event will be in Zoom

This panel focuses on conflict dynamics on multiple scales in the Middle East, Europe and most specifically in Palestine-Israel. It explores how gender, identity, sport and populist politics, resistance and perseverance underpin or influence struggles for justice. The panel will examine the role of international actors including how European policies in the region have been increasingly challenged with the rise of populist identity politics in Europe.

Sponsor: International Studies of the Mediterranean, Middle East & Asia Working Group

Convener: Jessica Northey (Coventry University)

Chair: Rana Aytug (Coventry University)

Discussant: Jessica Northey (Coventry University)

  • Sport and Politics. The case of Israel/Palestine

Author: Francesco Belcastro (University of Derby)

  • Judeo-Christian civilizationism: a new challenge to common European policy in the Israeli-Palestinian arena

Author: Toby Greene (Queen Mary University of London)

  • Resistance, Cogitation, and Perseverance: Women in Palestine and Their Take on Challenging the Occupation

Author: Meredith Howe (University of New Hampshire Manchester)


Sport and Politics. The case of Israel/Palestine, Francesco Belcastro (University of Derby)

This article uses sport as a theoretical tool to analyse Palestinian-Israeli relations in the post-Oslo era. It does so by looking at two major sport events, the start of the Giro d’Italia cycling race and the Israel-Argentina football match. These two events were scheduled to take place in Israel and the Occupied Territories within a month of each other, in May and June of 2018 respectively. Despite frequent claims of its ‘neutral’ and ‘apolitical’ nature, sport is closely intertwined with issues of identity, representation, community and nation. This is particularly true in contexts characterised by conflict and divisions. Sport and major sport events are particularly relevant in light of post-Oslo developments in Israel and the Occupied territories. With any hope of a solution within the Oslo framework now seemingly faded, and the situation on the ground clearly favouring Israel and its allies, the actors are now vying over what this article define as ‘normalization of the status quo’. This study will show of sport events analysed are central to the strategies carried out by the main actors in the conflict, and therefore how sport can provide a unique tool to analyse recent developments in Israel and the Occupied Territories. 

Judeo-Christian civilizationism: a new challenge to common European policy in the Israeli-Palestinian arena,  Toby Greene (Queen Mary University of London)

The EU’s identity is said to shape its role as a ‘normative actor’ promoting universal democratic values, including to its neighbourhood. Yet a competing civilizationist version of European identity – increasingly invoked on the radical right – frames Europe as representing ‘Judeo-Christian’ values in opposition to non-European cultures, especially Islam. This paper argues that these identity variations shape divergent responses to foreign policy challenges, by showing the growing influence of civilizationist discourse on European attitudes towards the Israeli-Palestinian arena. The paper focuses on Austria’s 2017–2019 ÖVPFPÖ coalition to identity links between rising civilizationist politics and significant policy shifts regarding the Israeli-Palestinian arena.

Resistance, Cogitation, and Perseverance: Women in Palestine and Their Take on Challenging the Occupation, Meredith Howe (University of New Hampshire Manchester)

The purpose of this paper is to provide insight on how young Palestinian women, aged 18 to 35, are engaged in resisting the Israeli Occupation, how they define political engagement, and the relation their definitions have with their resistance against the Israeli Occupation. This will be carried out by discussing the role of women in Palestine’s goal for independence throughout history, the gender disparities women experience, current instances of dissent by Palestinian women, as well as interviews and surveys completed by Palestinian women, aged 18to35 living in the West Bank. Also discussed is the gap in definitions of political participation between the West and non-Western societies due to Eurocentric biases that are present in these definitions and how these definitions pertain to life in the West Bank for young Palestinian women. Findings from the surveys and interviews show that while Palestinian women face massive inequality from the Occupation they are not absent from the opposition to Israel, especially in their daily lives. It is in their daily lives that these women do the most acts of resistance, from posting on social media to dancing the Dabke. In this paper I also argue that going along with Edward Said’s “Orientalism,” political scientists are unable to use current definitions created in the West to describe political engagement in Palestine because these definitions do not create space for those living in the Global South, especially for those living under Occupation.

Email jessica.northey@coventry.ac.uk to register your attendance.

Please note that registration will close two hours before the event is due to begin. 

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