Completing the Circle: Peacebuilding as Colonial Practice in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

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After nearly 20 years of negotiations and peacebuilding, Palestinians are no nearer to self-determination. This article explains this failure through an analysis of the context and peacebuilding framework created as a product of the Oslo Accords and the assumptions of Western donors about how peace would be achieved. It argues that the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) is subject to an assemblage of colonial practices – some of which are the product of Western peacebuilding. While the practices of the occupying power, Israel, has constituted one part of the colonial equation (extracting and controlling resources and settling its own people), Western peacebuilding has played another through its pursuit of a modern version of the ‘mission civilisatrice’. The ideological discursive framework that binds these two parts of the colonial equation together and gives them common purpose is the ‘partners for peace’ discourse that has been used to justify a multitude of practices, including the arrest and detention of Palestinian politicians, military action, the withdrawal of aid and regime change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-507
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Peacekeeping
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Israel-Palestine conflict
  • regijme change wars
  • international intervention

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute


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