The EU, Hamas and the 2006 Palestinian Elections


A book launch and conversation with Dr Catherine Chiniara Charrett, author of the book The EU, Hamas and the 2006 Palestinian Elections.

1st July 2021

Palestinian communities have used various methods to resist colonial expansion and establish an autonomous space. In the midst of dozens of competing explanations of the effectiveness of these methods, Catherine Chiniara Charrett focuses on the response of a third party actor, the European Union, to a landmark event. The 2006 legislative elections brought an entirely new development to the Palestinian territories: the unexpected victory of Hamas, which won 74 of 132 seats.

And yet instead of seeing this as an opening and a new direction, the EU refused to work with Hamas, in defiance of its own previous efforts at democratic reform. Why? Why did the EU close a door that seemed to have just been opened?  The consequences of the sanctions on Hamas and on Gaza are still ongoing, but how did such as diplomatic failure come about?

Dr Charrett uses interviews and fieldwork with the involved parties to enter into the psychological states and performances that generated the negative response to the 2006 election, and helped set the conflict on its current course.  They use performance art and theory to analyze and also rearticulate the political rituals that controlled the aftermath of the election. Their fieldwork reveals the extent to which EU officials disliked the positions they themselves were taking, and delves into the expectations that Hamas representatives had of their European counterparts What happened when this gap between policy and affect opened into  an explosive political situation? Dr. Charrett’s transdisciplinary methodology uses an original combination of interviews, analysis, and recreative performances to identify missed opportunities and affective capabilities that might enable better political engagements in the future.

Dr Charrett offers an overview of her book, followed by responses from: Majed Abusalama (Tampere University), a PhD candidate in Critical Human Geography and Regional Studies, and international director of We Are Not Numbers; Professor Richard A. Falk (Princeton University, Emeritus), a scholar of international law and formerly the UN special rapporteur to Palestine, and author of Palestine’s Horizon: Toward a Just Peace (Pluto Press, 2017); and Dr Rhys Machold (University of Glasgow), a specialist in issues of violence, security and policing with a strong focus on contemporary urban spaces. Questions and a discussion follow, moderated by Professor Christopher Newfield, ISRF Director of Research.

This is the eighth in the ISRF’s series of Book Launches.