Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Achieving Palestinian statehood

[I'm on a roll today: two pieces after months of little action here.  That said, the following consists of some thoughts that have been brewing in my head over the last couple of months, so it was fairly easy to put them down.

UPDATE: An edited version of the article below has gone up at the Ideas blog here.]

In just over a month the question of whether a Palestinian state is recognised by the international community will be put before the UN. Despite the fact that there has been plenty of time to prepare and anticipate for this moment, it still seems uncertain how this is to be achieved in practice. Several factors are in play here – and they are outside the control of the Palestinians themselves.
Where are the current social protests going?

[The following article is now up at the LSE Ideas Centre blog.  Although I can't tell if they've edited for length.]

Tents on Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv
When the history of the present is eventually written, 2011 may well be most closely associated with the ‘Arab spring.’ Attention will undoubtedly centre on the revolutions of Tunisia and Egypt, as well as the currently ongoing protests against leaderships from the Gulf to Yemen and violent reaction from the Libyan and Syrian regimes.

However, the pressure for change in the Arab world has not occurred in isolation. The last month has seen the transformation of what was initially a youth movement in Tel Aviv against the high cost of living to encompass all elements of society in Israel. alongside the tents sprouting up along the wealthy Rothschild Boulevard in central Tel Aviv, the last three weekends have seen the size of the protests escalate, resulting in an estimated 300,000 people marching across Israel under the banner of social justice.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

On Brazil's global rise

(Last month I was a participant at a conference on Brazil and the Americas in the 21st century.  It was jointly hosted by the LSE Ideas Centre and the Fundação Getulio Vargas.  I wrote a summary of my thoughts based on the participants' contributions along with some reading I did in the following weeks for a project I'm aiming to do.  I had hoped that the piece would have been posted on the Ideas Centre blog by now, but since it hasn't I've also decided to post it here.)

UPDATE: This piece has now gone up at the blog.

At a recent presentation to the LSE Ideas Centre, the Brazilian ambassador to the UK, Roberto Jaguaribe, painted a relatively positive picture of Brazil’s regional and global role.  He noted Brazil’s efforts to achieve greater regional integration, from the creation of the Mercosur common market (including Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and, as an associate member, Venezuela) in 1991 to the establishment of the South America-wide UNASUR in 2008.  He reported on Brazil’s increasingly diversified trade relations with the world and its current efforts to open up global governance through its participation in various groups of other state actors, along with the G20.  Brazil’s emergence, along with these other state actors, opens the prospect of change in the nature of international relations more generally.
Donors and Palestinian development

Back in June I was part of a seminar hosted by the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) at Birzeit University to consider alternative forms of development in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT).  This is an issue which has vexed us for much of the time that I’ve been involved with the CDS, including a conference that was put on in September last year.

The seminar came off the back of a report that I was involved in drafting which consisted of a conflict-related development analysis (CDA) of the OPT.  The seminar focused specifically on the aid community and what it might be able to do differently so as to assist development.  Our main recommendation in the report was that donors’ assistance be directed to support resistance against the occupation.  In particular this means adopting a more rights-based approach to development than has been hitherto applied, where people’s ability to choose for themselves is the primary means when determining how funding be allocated, rather than paying agencies and individuals to do things for them.