The question of land and its strategic, socio-political and agricultural relevance within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be understood against the background of the dominant position of Israel as occupational power, heavily affecting the access to, and the control over natural resources. The subjects discussed within this article are intrinsically linked via the usage of the food regime approach as analytical tool, and the article’s specific focus on land. An attempt is made to grasp the neoliberal restructuring of Palestine and its developments in the agricultural sector, paying particular attention to land grabbing. Neoliberalism aided the institutionalising and normalising of accumulation by dispossession in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), these being identified as a key feature of the corporate food regime, and leading to the marginalisation of rural communities and to depeasantisation. The crises of the food regime spurred food sovereignty movements all around the globe. While analysing the political demands and approaches of the concept of food sovereignty centered around natural resources, this article also explores why the concept offers various ideas for an alternative development in Palestine. This paper tries to show how specific dynamics observed by the food regime analytics can be helpful in contextualising developments within the oPt – ranging from neoliberal restructuring to the emergence of food sovereignty.
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In his book Victims of Development, Jeremy Seabrook analyses and criticises the impact of development on local populations, which brought to mind the Palestinian development conditions and prompted this important contextual and methodical study of Palestinian cooperatives as alternative methods of development that arose within the context of living under global colonial conditions. Several controversial questions came out of this study of cooperatives. The most crucial issues in the debate are whether to surrender to that reality and de facto context, or attempt to change it; to become captive to consumerism or redeem production that is based on experience and expertise, and whether to give in to individualism that undermines self-reliance or revert to productive collective action. The study also raises the critical question of whether to accept the loss of local experiences and valuable initiatives instead of moving into the path of empowerment and change. These are the actualities and alternatives for change revealed through the methodological conceptual approach of this study within a critical reading of the experience of cooperatives in a colonial context.
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agricultural cooperatives, roots of change, alternative methods of development, colonialism, culture of change
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settler colonialism, resistance economy, empowerment, alternative development, cooperatives, self-reliance
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