Identity, Solidarity, and Socioeconomic Networks across the Separation Lines: A Study of Relations between Palestinians in Israel and in the Occupied Territories
Over the past 60 years, relations between Israeli Palestinians and those in the Occupied Territories (OPT) have undergone phases of varying degrees of proximity around issues of territory, identity, and politics. Despite the progressive public affirmation of a common Palestinian identity, these populations have followed different social and political trajectories. At the end of the first Arab-Israeli War in 1949, practically all ties were cut between those Palestinians who remained under Israeli administration and those living under Jordanian or Egyptian authority. Inter-Palestinian relations only resumed from 1967 onwards when the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories made it easier to move between Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. In the early 1990s, Israel developed a new separation policy aimed at protecting itself from the demographic threat posed by Palestinians in the OPT (Crousaz 2005). The Israeli authorities took initial measures designed to detach itself from these territories and restrict the entries of Palestinians into Israel. The Oslo Accords in 1993 contributed to this transition by breaking up the Palestinian territories and further restricting freedom of movement for Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza.1 Palestinian cities were further isolated when the Palestinian Territories were blockaded after the start of the Second Intifada in 2000, and Gaza was sieged in response to Hamas taking power in 2007. As for the Wall, on which construction commenced in 2002, it was clearly designed to further confine Palestinians in the West Bank. Israeli policies of blockading, controlling movement (checkpoints, work permits, and entry permits to Israel, etc.) and the construction of the Wall has progressively reduced physical contact between Israeli Palestinians and those in the OPT. These separation policies have affected most people, but have also led to a reorganization of clandestine travel and the balance of power among Palestinians (Parizot 2006, 2008), and fed affirmations of inter-Palestinian solidarity (tadammun). As a result, these security measures also fostered “a foliation of space and time” (Parizot 2009c), i.e., different timescales, perceptions, and especially experiences of separation among Israelis, Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, and Palestinians in the
OPT. Even among Israeli Palestinians themselves, there are different “map perceptions” (Hamidi 2010)2 and experiences depending on the geography of family networks, economic activities, or political convictions.