Introducing a Special Issue on Settler-Colonialism and Jerusalem: Shukri Abed, Maha Samman, ‘Introduction to Special Issue on Settler-Colonialism and Indigenous Rights in Al-Quds/Jerusalem’, Journal of Holy Land and Palestine Studies, 15, 1, 2018


Excerpt: From the dawn of history Al-Quds (Jerusalem) has been shaped by withstanding various conquests and regimes, all of whom exerted their influence on the city and society of Jerusalem. Yet, throughout its tumultuous lifespan, Jerusalem has maintained its ability to captivate — and perhaps even hold captive — those who have tried to harness its spiritual appeal under their power. In contrast, the Palestinian deep and, indeed spiritual, connection with Jerusalem has been cultivated through a continuous and rich historical experience. The collective identity of the Palestinians has been shaped through living in and cultivating their land, building their cities and towns, constructing their educational system.

Since the 1967 War until today, Israel has occupied East Jerusalem, whereas West Jerusalem has been occupied since 1948. From that time on, Palestinians have been struggling to break free from this occupation, considered by many scholars as an advanced form of settler colonialism. The Palestinian willingness to defend the city of Jerusalem and to preserve its Palestinian identity was manifested in many forms and on many occasions, the most significant being the first two intifadas (uprisings) in 1987 and 2000, respectively, where thousands of Palestinians sacrificed their lives and many more were wounded, imprisoned, and detained. It should be mentioned in this respect that the second intifada was triggered by the provocative visit of Ariel Sharon — a former general who served as Defense Minister as well as Prime Minister of the Israeli government – to the holy Muslim site of the Haram al-Sharif, sparking clashes and violence between Palestinians and Israeli armed forces.

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