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Financial War and Economic Peace in Israel-Palestine

The United States has long used economic coercion in hopes of achieving "economic peace" in Israel/Palestine. Yet its vision of this peace has notably shifted over time. While earlier sanctions punished those who disrupted the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" or undermined neoliberal dreams of global commercial integration, Biden's recent sanctions against West Bank settlers aim primarily to secure a peace deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, relegating Palestinians to observer status.

The Opacity of Economic Coercion

At a time when human rights NGOs rigorously count civilian deaths in armed conflicts, no equivalent accounting is available to victims of a war waged via exchange rates, inflation, and interest rates. The opaque mechanisms through which economic coercion inflicts harm have made it difficult to identify causation, let alone to prosecute its agents under international law, while the rise of neoliberalism and an individualized human rights politics have led to a turn away from the concerns with economic coercion that animated post-colonial legal activism in the 1960s and 1970s.