Common Assembly: Deterritorializing the Palestinian Parliament

Common Assembly: Deterritorializing the Palestinian Parliament is a long-term project to think through and conceive spaces for political participation, decision and action for all Palestinians. In the next months, the United Nations and several other international organizations will vote on whether to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state and a member of their assemblies. These events are framed by other liberation struggles and civil turmoil throughout south-eastern mediterranean countries. Whatever the vote’s outcome, Palestinians must deal with a significant spatial and political problem: how can political participation and representation be organized for a partially exiled—and therefore, geographically dispersed—constituency?

DAAR has been granted access to the Palestinian Parliament building in Abu Dis. It was constructed with international donations during the Oslo Years, but the project was abandoned before completion. Now the Wall cuts the building off from Jerusalem. Thus, the building stands like a monument to the collapsed peace process. This condition of local impossibility, however, allows for a political imaginary to arise. Thus, the building becomes a starting point to imagine new types of political assembly.

We will use the building both as a site of intervention as well as a site of architectural speculation. Our aim is to work through an understanding of the relationships between territory, population, and political representation. In Palestine, the population cannot be represented by a single parliament building, as it would serve only a people within imposed borders that fragment all those who see themselves as Palestinians. It must therefore operate through disassociations in which the constituency, the building and the territory are categories that constantly move in relation to each other.  Therefore, the project seeks to operate simultaneously in different sites: re-creating and activating what we call “common assemblies” in several locations inside and outside Palestine.