|Palestinian contemporary politics is not fully understandable within the pre-Oslo categories of social and political meaning. Oslo and the inception of the PA brought about a new cognitive grid for social and political action. Pre-Oslo categories of perception generally structured around some shared experiences, practices and objectives among Palestinians have changed, seriously impacting their struggle for emancipation. This can help to explain the almost unopposed expansion of Israeli colonial project, the political crisis of 2006-2007, the increasing concentration of power and authoritarianism, and the state of division dominating the Palestinian national movement.|
In this context we need to ask: Can we continue teaching Palestine in Palestine and in the rest of the world –I am particularly interested in the question of teaching Palestine in Latin America- in the binary form of Palestinians against Israel? What other complexities should we be paying attention to when teaching Palestine? How to incorporate in our teaching the new Palestinian internal dynamics produced by Oslo? What does it mean and how do we explain that, today, the fight against colonialism includes the fight of Palestinians against their own authority and political elite?
I have taught Palestine in Chile, France, USA and Palestine, and I have been doing legal research in Palestine for the last 12 years, trying to turn these political concerns into disciplinary questions. As a Palestinian from Chile, I think that in our teaching of Palestine in Latin America is imperative to establish political and analytical comparisons and parallels between the conditions of Palestinian and Latin American peoples. Palestinian realities are not alien to Latin Americans: Colonialism, authoritarianism, political and constitutional crisis, family and social conflict and fragmentation, foreign intervention, diplomatic and economic boycott, division, coup d’état, censorship, repression, torture, the theory of the ‘internal enemy’, the substitution of liberation by liberalism, the notion of ‘protected democracy’, social and political demobilization, and a divisional and conservative status quo are realities, ideas and words which vividly and freshly resonate in Latin American minds.
This could accomplish three important goals: first, to enlighten our historical understanding of Palestine with the analysis of similar realities elsewhere and the forms of resistance that they produce; second, to help Latin Americans committed with the Palestinian cause to organized well informed action in solidarity with Palestine; and third, to contribute to a constructive dialectics between knowledge production and political action.