Palestinian National Identity

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COWC 1001 National Identity and Globalization
Spring 2013
Ariel Rapps
Palestinian National Identity
The vertical ethnie model of understanding nationalism that was posed by Anthony D. Smith maintains that “the clerisies of a given ethnic group construct a new self-definition for the hitherto politically passive community” (Foster 5). There are five processes that are involved in this evolution. These processes are: engaging in active political assertion; embracing the homeland; moving the people to the center through re-education in national values, memories and myths; endowing the territory with economic unity; and turning the ethnic members into legal citizens. In pre-WWI Palestine, most Arab Palestinians felt a strong family or village identity but there was no such thing as an “Arab Palestinian” national identity. There were many struggles for power between the many tribal families and villages in Palestine yet there was no “banner” to unify all of the different peoples living in Palestine. The only item that came close to unifying all of the different Arabs was religion. Some Arabs were able to rally under a Muslim banner while others rallied under Christianity but still there were no Palestinian nationalists. Even though some sources seem to indicate that there was a concept “of living in a territorial region called Palestine” (4) there was no concept of Palestinian unity just for the sake of being Palestinian. Kimmerling and Migdal propose that the history of the concept of Palestinian people begins with the revolt against the governor of Egypt in 1834. This uprising caused many of the different groups living in Palestine to unite against a common enemy. The many cultural and religious practices that were common to the people of Palestine helped to further unite the people of Palestine. The pilgrimages that many of the peoples made to various holy sites also served to unite the people. The Arabs, both Christian and Muslim, were able to...
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