Drafting a Constitution for a “Country of words”1

In: Middle East Law and Governance
Sylvie DelacroixUniversity College London, Faculty of Laws

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Can words – rather than a State (or army) – constitute a country? It may be made of land, rivers, forests or deserts – yet, without its inhabitants’ words, there would be no map to draw, no tale to sing, no country to speak of. Palestinian tales abound. They speak of departed lands, vanished homes, forfeited livelihoods. They lament internal wrangling, squeal occupational anger, seek to whisper away those quotidian checkpoint humiliations. Yet, they also speak of hope. If there ever were such a thing as “authoritative hope”, the ongoing Palestinian constitution drafting process may be it. But hope cannot be formalized, let alone authorized. And there is some danger in pretending otherwise.

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