Colonial Subjugation, Not Organic Integration: East Jerusalemites and the Delusion of West Jerusalem
Peace Process
civil rights
divided cities

While the Israeli government cements its annexation of East Jerusalem amid the failure of the peace process and Israel’s push for normalization with the Arab world, most recently the Abraham accords, the Palestinians of Jerusalem – categorized as “permanent residents,” not citizens – are challenging their non status. Many are individually maneuvering economic, social and perhaps political, change in a direction that further distances them from their fellow Palestinians in the West Bank. As that relationship shrinks due to its restricted access, a new comradeship is being strengthened between Jerusalem Palestinians and their fellow Palestinians living within Israel. This shift could be significant on the larger political level, potentially upsetting the two-state project. At the same time, Palestinian cultural identity everywhere is stronger than ever and proving to withstand all Israeli attempts of erasure. The emerging reality in Jerusalem combines an individual pragmatic approach at the bureaucratic level with a strong collective identity at the cultural and political level. Left alone, the Palestinians in Jerusalem are defining themselves.

Author biography: 

Mahmoud Muna, a native of Jerusalem, has degrees in media and communication from the University of Sussex and King’s College London. Known to many as the “Bookseller of Jerusalem,” he is the proprietor and host of cultural and literary events at the Educational Bookshop and the bookshop at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, and a writer and commentator on culture, politics, language, and identity