In 2013, four Palestinians incorporated Amoro Agriculture, Palestine’s only mushroom farm. In the absence of an alternative to Israeli mushrooms on the Palestinian market, Amoro’s products were welcomed as an engaged example of the boycott of Israeli goods and were hailed as an iteration of a Palestinian resistance economy based in the agricultural sector. Using the testimony of the farmers and their experience of what proved to be a short-lived agritech venture, this article explores questions of agricultural development in the occupied Palestinian territories generally, and the development of a “resistance economy” based in agriculture specifically. It argues for recentralizing the question of the development of agricultural labor in the occupied West Bank and for abandoning the depoliticizing romanticism that surrounds the land and the farmer in the discourses of Palestinian struggle. It further contends that growth in the agricultural sector needs to be addressed in a holistic fashion, which includes a recalibration of the relationship of capital and the quasi-state bureaucracy of the Palestinian Authority to labor.
Developing a Palestinian Resistance Economy through Agricultural Labor
Rayya El Zein was a visiting scholar at the Giorgi Tsereteli Institute for Oriental Studies at Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia in 2016–17. The interviews with Mahmoud Kuhail and Sameer Khraishi were conducted under the auspices of dissertation fieldwork grants from the Palestinian American Research Center (PARC) and the Wenner-Gren Foundation in 2014.
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Rayya El Zein; Developing a Palestinian Resistance Economy through Agricultural Labor. Journal of Palestine Studies 1 May 2017; 46 (3): 7–26. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jps.2017.46.3.7
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