Stay Updated
Close
27 April

| 2011 | 00:00

Seminar: Current Trends in Palestinian Society in Jerusalem

  • Free
  • Public
  • Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, Radak 20, Jerusalem
  • Free
  • Public
  • Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, Radak 20, Jerusalem
Seminar: Current Trends in Palestinian Society in Jerusalem

 

A seminar was held on Thursday, April 28 at the Jerusalem Institute. The event dealt with current trends in Palestinian society in Jerusalem, marking the English launch of a book by Dr. Hillel Cohen: The Rise and Fall of Arab Jerusalem.

Dr David Pollock from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy presented a poll that was held in November 2011 amongst Palestinian citizens in East Jerusalem. The results showed that 35% of the participants announced that in the case of a peace agreement they would rather become Israeli citizens, another 35% prefers to adopt Palestinian citizenship and 30% were undecided or preferred not to answer the question. The reasons expressed for preferring Israeli citizenship over Palestinian were mainly practical ones, including freedom of movement, health care and employment opportunities. The reasons quoted for preferring Palestinian citizenship were related to reasons of nationality and identity.

According to the survey, the main issues that are bothersome to the citizens of East Jerusalem are related to roadblocks, the separation fence and crime. Additionally, the survey presents a possibility of a new intifada in East Jerusalem if negotiations fail. 27% attested to the high likelihood of this occurrence, 37% agreed to a possibility of this occurrence and 20% claimed it is unlikely.

Mahmud Safadi, form Al-Quds University discussed the Palestinian youth in East Jerusalem, claiming that they differ from the youth during the first intifada in that there is less political awareness and national identity nowadays, and that the youth is more preoccupied with trivial daily activities like facebook and entertainment.  Safadi claimed the survey is problematic because it was held at a time when there is no Palestinian state and the participants do not know what will be the significance of Palestinian nationality. Safadi also mentioned the grim conditions for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, mentioning in particular educational and cultural bodies, destruction of homes and the revocation of residency of hundreds of Palestinian in East Jerusalem in the past few years.

Dr. Hillel Cohen from the Hebrew University and affiliated researcher at the Jerusalem Institute responded to the statements and discussed the tension between the national ethos and reports on Islamic extremism in East Jerusalem, on the one hand between the situation in the daily life of young Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the adaptation to the existing situation. Dr. Cohen went on to claim that throughout different points in history we notice a neglect of personal interest for the benefit of national interest. Cohen claims that a unique political Palestinian approach with many characteristics has been formed in Jerusalem and mentioned the development of a joint Jewish-Arab protest movement with an active center in Jerusalem.

Access the seminar’s presentation here: “The Palestinians of East Jerusalem: What Do They Really Want?