​Tartir, Alaa & Timothy Seidel, eds. (2019) Palestine and Rule of Power: Local Dissent vs. International Governance. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. xxix, 252 pp.

​ISBN: 978-3-03-005948-4

Jørgen Jensehaugen

Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

Read more about this book: www.palgrave.com

​In this volume eight different authors, in a total of ten chapters, explore the Palestinian predicament through critical perspectives. They use approaches that would have been unheard of a mere decade ago, but which now have become part of a more normal discourse to analyze the situation – such as neo-liberalism and settler-colonialism. Using such analytical frameworks, the various authors are able to highlight deeply problematic structures. These pertain not only to the Israeli occupation itself, but also to the non-democratic security proto-state run by the Palestinian Authority and the neo-liberal security-oriented state-building project supported by foreign donors. The individual contributions in this edited volume are all well worth a read. At their best the authors are able to criticize the over-arching structures while highlighting the bottom-up view of Palestinians living under these overlapping systems of oppression. The problem with the volume, as with many edited volumes, is that the various chapters are not naturally tied together. This impression is strengthened by the fact that several of the chapters have similar versions printed elsewhere – this both testifies to the quality of the individual chapters and to the fact that the volume is not a perfect fit. That caveat aside, all readers with a contemporary interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should read this book both because it provides a series of interesting approaches to critically understand the top-tier polices and, perhaps more importantly, due to its ability to ethnographically engage with the people living under these systems. The simple fact that even the oppressed have agency is often forgotten, but as several of the chapters remind us, such amnesia is both morally and analytically perilous.