From the Editors
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BADIL Proudly Announces the Release of its Research Project: One People United: A Deterritorialized Palestinian Identity -- BADIL Survey of Palestinian Youth on Identity and Social Ties-2012
The violent establishment of Israel in 1948 constituted a catastrophe, or Nakba, for Palestinian aspirations for self-determination. More significantly, the Nakba resulted in the mass forced displacement of the majority of the Palestinian people from their homeland, thereby undermining the social cohesion amongst the Palestinian national body.
One of the most visible outcomes of the Nakba is the geographical dispersal of Palestinians, mainly across the Middle East, but also in the rest of the world. Today, nearly six and a half decades after the Nakba, it is possible to identify four main Palestinian groups: Palestinian citizens of Israel, who have become second class citizens; Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip under Israeli military occupation since 1967; Palestinian refugees living in the neighboring Arab countries; and Palestinians in the rest of the world. These four categories denote, crudely, the varied political and social environments in which these groups live.
The implications of the Nakba on Palestinian society have yet to be fully studied and understood.
One question that arises is: if different Palestinian groups have existed for so many decades in different political, socio-economic, and cultural environments, in isolation from each other, what can we say about Palestinian national identity, and the movement for self-determination, today?
In order to address this question, BADIL has conducted a survey focusing on identity and social ties among Palestinian youth residing in Mandate Palestine (West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Israel), Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. This is an initial effort to begin to understand how youth (third or fourth generations of displaced Palestinians) of Palestinian heritage identify with their ancestry. These issues have become increasingly relevant in light of the uncertainty of the Oslo framework’s future, which has characterized the Palestine question for the past two decades.
It is important to note that the findings of this research are not, and cannot be, conclusive. Mapping Palestinian identity across multiple geographically-divided groups is a huge task, one that demands comprehensive quantitative and qualitative research. This paper, then, should not be viewed as definitive, but instead as a piece of preliminary research which can pave the ground for further, deeper and more comprehensive analyses. Accordingly, alongside each set of findings BADIL has hypothesized explanations for trends and variations encountered so as to assist any such future studies. Still, these "explanations" must be investigated fully, and it is BADIL's opinion that this lends itself to rich and critical research.
The full report can be read here [.pdf]
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