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Colonial States’ Complicity in Furthering Shrinking Spaces for Solidarity with Palestine
Colonial States’ Complicity in Furthering Shrinking Spaces for Solidarity with Palestine

BADIL releases its latest position paper entitled: “Colonial States’ Complicity in Furthering Shrinking Spaces for Solidarity with Palestine


For over a century, colonial states have been manipulating the people and the land of Palestine, for their own gain – against the Palestinian people’s will, and at the expense of their inalienable rights to self-determination and return. All states that have supported the Israeli colonial-apartheid enterprise, through manipulation and marginalization of the Palestinian people’s rights, are complicit in Israeli crimes, including the denial of a peremptory norm of international law: the right to self-determination. From the Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate, to the United Nations’ Partition Plan, the Oslo Accords, and the Deal of the Century, to the even more recent deals to exploit Palestinian natural resources or the proposed plans for the management of the Gaza Strip, among others, western colonial states have consistently endorsed and advanced Israel’s colonial agenda.


Disabling Palestinian civil society has been employed by Israel as one of its repression tactics. Many western states have also utilized various tools to enable Israel’s strategy of incapacitating Palestinian civil society, and to silence those in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation and self-determination. The repression against the Palestine solidarity movement and advocacy for Palestinian rights did not start with the ongoing Israeli genocide in the Gaza Strip. Rather, it is an acceleration of a trend observed for many decades, impacting Palestinian rights advocates inside and outside Palestine.


To describe this wave of restrictions on political struggle, civil society organizations (CSOs) have used the term “shrinking spaces.” It designates the actions taken by states and their agents against opposing voices, in order to limit the spaces they can use to convey and amplify their message. These policies of shrinking spaces target both physical platforms (the street, educational facilities, cultural venues), and non-physical platforms (for instance censorship of social media accounts, manipulation of funding agreements, delegitimization of dissenting voices through defamation campaigns).


This paper will focus on western colonial states’ involvement in shrinking the space to defend and promote Palestinian rights. Part I analyzes their complicity in upholding Israel’s silencing strategies within Palestine, while Part II highlights some of the policies those same western colonial states implement in their own domestic affairs to shrink the various types of spaces available for Palestinian rights advocates.