Research Impact


Palestinian Statelessness: Reshaping Policy, Public Debate and Creating Open-Access Resources

Dr Seth Anziska’s research into the history of Palestinian statelessness reached international audiences, reshaping policy discussions about the political horizons of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Seth Anziska book cover

12 April 2022

In 'Preventing Palestine: A Political History from Camp David to Oslo', Dr Seth Anziska re-evaluates the 1978 Camp David summit and traces its impact on the limited political horizons for Palestinian sovereignty. The summit brought Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat, and U.S. President Jimmy Carter together for 13 intensive days of negotiations, and the result has often been depicted as Carter’s greatest diplomatic success. But the new sources uncovered by Dr Anziska reveal a more troubling story about Palestinian political disenfranchisement that went hand in hand with the crafting of a bilateral peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. The rights of non-Jewish residents in the occupied territories were relegated to separate discussions over autonomy between Egypt, Israel, and the United States. The outcome of these talks stripped Palestinians of national or collective political sovereignty in favour of limited self-rule, separating individuals from territory alongside the physical expansion of Israeli settlements.  

Dr Anziska has presented his findings to government officials and policy experts from Palestine, Jordan, the USA, the UK, Norway, and Sweden, among others. He spoke to audiences of 200+ people alongside leading figures including former Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shlomo Ben Ami, Palestinian scholar Areej Sabbagh-Khoury, and Sari Nusseibeh, the former President of Al-Quds University in Jerusalem. 

As the first scholar to utilise much of the most recently declassified sensitive historical material on the 1978 Camp David Accords and the 1982 Lebanon War, Dr Anziska made these primary sources available as an online archival resource. Sabra and Shatila: New Revelations, published in The 'New York Review of Books' in 2018, contextualised and made accessible 400+ pages of primary source material for those who cannot access archives directly, often for political reasons of limited access to Israel for Arab and Palestinian researchers. Publication of newly uncovered material in an open-source format has followed in the 'Journal of Palestine Studies and Jadaliyya'.  

In Washington, D.C. Dr Anziska presented his findings to the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) and Middle East Institute (21 September 2018) to over 150 attendees. FMEP’s goal was “to expose an audience of subject-matter experts, diplomats, think tank analysts, and activists to Dr Anziska’s research, in order to challenge them to think beyond the existing and past peace paradigms, and to energize and empower them to imagine what a serious, viable way forward will entail”. The President of the FMEP, confirms that it was “a tremendous success in achieving that goal”.

Research synopsis

Palestinian Statelessness: Reshaping Policy, Public Debate, and Creating Open-Access Resources 

Summary: Dr Seth Anziska is the Mohamed S. Farsi-Polonsky Associate Professor of Jewish-Muslim Relations at UCL. His research into the history of Palestinian statelessness has reached diverse public audiences across the Middle East, US and Europe, and his findings have reshaped contemporary policy discussions about the political horizons of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with policymakers, diplomats in the US and Europe, and leading Israeli and Palestinian officials. 



  • Image credit: Seth Anziska