Beyond Occupation? Examining The New Reality in Israel and Palestine

Presented by Sara Roy
13 October, 2008

Why you should listen

Sara Roy

Two months prior to the December 2008 Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, Sara Roy, a leading expert on the social and economic conditions of Gaza gives a gripping account of the devastating conditions in the region. Dr Roy, a senior research scholar at Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the author of 2007’s Failing Peace, discusses the “critical shifts” in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that have seen Palestinians suffer “losses not seen since the beginning of Israeli occupation in 1967 and arguably since the losses of 1948.” She explores the impact of foreign policy on the Palestinian economy and the use of foreign aid as a “punitive weapon” that has seen the private sector in Gaza reduced to almost nothing. “In June of 2005, there were 3900 factories employing 35,000 people,” she told the Sydney Ideas audience. “By September of 2008, the number of operating factories had declined to 23.” Dr Roy, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, is a political economist and since 1985 has conducted research primarily on the economic, social and political development of the Gaza Strip and US foreign aid to the region. She is the author of more than 100 publications dealing with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict including Failing Peace, which drew on more than 2000 interviews and extensive first-hand experience to chronicle the impact of Israeli occupation over a generation. She is currently working on her new book Between Extremism and Civism: Political Islam in Palestine. Dr Roy was in Australia to also deliver the University of Adelaide’s Edward Said Memorial Lecture.

“The special thing about Sara Roy’s writing is its combination of very high quality research - in this no-one matches her - with an equally high level of personal integrity and commitment”the late Edward Said

“It is easy to be cynical about the power of ideas, but there are few that seem to have the potential to matter more for good than the responsibility to protect” - Gareth Evans