The “Right to Have Rights”: Partition and Palestinian Self-Determination

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VOL. 47

2017/18

No. 1
P. 56
Essays
The “Right to Have Rights”: Partition and Palestinian Self-Determination
ABSTRACT

This paper reexamines the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and the extent to which a viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was ever truly possible. Such a reexamination seems all the more pertinent today on the hundredth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. It is also seventy years since the UN partition plan to divide historic Palestine and fifty years since UN Security Council Resolution 242, which has been the basis for every peace agreement between Israel and its neighbors but makes no mention of or reference to the Palestinian people. The paper argues that the history of the past fifty years reinforces the claim that a State is central to any attempt to fight Palestinian erasure and ensure “the right to have rights,” as Hannah Arendt put it, but it argues that such an entity needs to be elevated above the nation, rather than made subservient to it if it is to protect the rights of Palestinians and all those living on the land of Palestine.