Among the consequences of the consolidation of the Israeli closure regime have been the contraction of Palestinians’ social worlds and the emergence of new forms of localism. Unlike the more parochial West Bank towns of Nablus, Hebron, and Jenin, Ramallah/al-Bireh has taken on many of the cosmopolitan aspects of larger metropoles—Beirut, Cairo, Tunis—because of a combination of historical influences, present-day migration patterns, and political realities. The result is a paradoxical “enclave city” whose sights are oftentimes more fixed on the global rather than the national level.
LISA TARAKI is associate professor of sociology and dean of graduate studies at Birzeit University in Palestine. She thanks the three anonymous reviewers whose comments improved this article.