The mid-1960s saw the beginnings of the construction of a Palestinian political field after it collapsed in 1948, when, with the British government’s support of the Zionist movement, which succeeded in establishing the state of Israel, the Palestinian national movement was crushed. This article focuses mainly on the Palestinian political field as it developed in the 1960s and 1970s, the beginnings of its fragmentation in the 1990s, and its almost complete collapse in the first decade of this century. It was developed on a structure characterized by the dominance of a center where the political leadership functioned. The center, however, was established outside historic Palestine. This paper examines the components and dynamics of the relationship between the center and the peripheries, and the causes of the decline of this center and its eventual disappearance, leaving the constituents of the Palestinian people under local political leadership following the collapse of the national representation institutions, that is, the political, organizational, military, cultural institutions and sectorial organizations (women, workers, students, etc.) that made up the PLO and its frameworks. The paper suggests that the decline of the political field as a national field does not mean the disintegration of the cultural field. There are, in fact, indications that the cultural field has a new vitality that deserves much more attention than it is currently assigned.

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