Between Sumud and Submission : Palestinian Popular Practices on the Land in the Edge Areas of Jerusalem

Abstract: This thesis delves into two ‘edge areas’ located in and around East Jerusalem. It attempts to unfold and analyze the dynamics in these edge areas, while investigating the agency of the people present there through their own perceptions and practices towards the land, the urbanization processes, the power circulation and the structural impositions. Squeezed by a settler-colonial domination that continuously encroaches further on their lives, the Palestinians, in return, seek to carve out a space for their own enduring presence on the land. That pursuit combines elements of sumud (steadfastness) and adaptation, tenacity and accommodation, actions that sometimes subvert the occupation and some other times submit to its logic. The thesis traces the contradiction between a proliferating ethos of individual enrichment and the remaining collective culture of political struggle. It also scrutinizes the ways that Palestinians move between those poles as always conditioned by the pressure from the overarching structure of settler-colonial domination. Furthermore, the thesis examines how certain structural patterns are unconsciously reproduced by the agents of these specific areas, even when their intention and desire could be to resist them. The thesis argues that East Jerusalem should be approached from the theory of settler-colonial hegemony. Thus, these areas are the by-products of the settler-colonial domination present in East Jerusalem, intentionally assembled by the Israeli authorities as“containers” that collect undesired Palestinian Jerusalemites, while leaving them trapped in a state of permanent temporariness. This situation has developed gradually through the construction of the separation wall, so as to further enhance the systematic displacement of the Palestinian Jerusalemites and achieve the Judaization of Jerusalem. The thesis claims that acts of resistance and accommodation of certain colonial practices have the inclination to collide and interact with each other, and hence obfuscate the demarcation between them. This dynamic has been unpacked through coining the concept ‘enclosures from below’. The thesis aims to contribute to scholarship on Palestine and provide a detailed analysis that could feed into awider analysis of the dynamics of settler-colonialism, as well as inform Palestinian strategies in the ongoing struggle for liberation.