chapter  5
The rise of political Islam
Pages 26

In November 2010, a Pechter Middle East Poll of 19 East Jerusalem neighbourhoods provoked media controversy by claiming that, in the event of a future two-state solution, only 30% of Arab Jerusalemites would choose Palestinian citizenship, with 35% preferring Israeli citizenship and a similar number undecided.1 Somewhat overshadowed by the ensuing ethno-nationalist debate were equally striking survey findings, which highlighted the most pressing East Jerusalemite concern as ‘losing access to the Old City and al-Aqsa Mosque’ and identified the most popular political party as the Arab-Israeli ‘Islamic Movement inside the Green Line’2 (52%), rather than Fatah (49%) or Hamas (46%). Such statistics undeniably reflect the current disorientation of East Jerusalemites, the failure of the peace process and the dissipation of Palestinian Authority credibility and the latent Jerusalemite fear of losing access to their city, holy sites and package of Israeli social benefits. Significantly, they also confirm the growing importance of religious forms of Palestinian resistance3 and the interconnected meteoric rise of the Islamic Movement inside Israel, particularly the Northern branch headed by Shaykh Ra’id Salah,4 one of most proactive and tenacious forces engaged in such activities within contemporary Palestinian Jerusalem.