The Rise and Fall of Arab Jerusalem
Palestinian Politics and the City since 1967
By Hillel Cohen
Routledge – 2011 – 164 pages
This book examines Palestinian politics in Jerusalem since 1967, and in particular since the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000, focusing on the city’s decline as an Arab city and the identity crisis among the Jerusalemite Palestinians. Principally concerned with Palestinian politics and how they have evolved over time from the grass roots upwards, it covers issues such as the separation wall, military activity and terror, planning regulations, the joint Jewish-Arab struggle against the occupation, and efforts to remove Palestinians from the city.
Drawing upon conversations with hundreds of Palestinians – Islamists, nationalists, collaborationists, and a-political people – as well as upon military courts files and Palestinian writings, Hillel Cohen tells the story of the failure of the Palestinian struggle in Jerusalem in both its political and military dimensions. He points at the lack of leadership and at the identity crisis among Palestinian Jerusalemites which were created by Israeli policies (the separation wall, the closure of Palestinian institutions) and Palestinian faults (the exclusion of Jerusalem from the Palestinian Authority in Oslo Agreements, or the suicide attacks in the second Intifada).
Providing a broad overview of the contemporary situation and political relations both inside the Palestinian community and with the Israeli authorities, the book gives a unique insight into Palestinians' views, political behaviour, and daily life in Israel's capital. As such, it is an important addition to the literature on Palestinian politics, Jewish and Israeli studies, and Middle Eastern politics.
"What distinguishes Cohen's writing style and his book from most of those in the genre is not only his lifelong experience speaking with local Arabs and working in the Israeli archives but his attention to the details, to seeking out the histories of the people involved. This is in contrast to most commentators on Israel and the Palestinians who look only at the bigger picture, generally because they have only a weak understanding of people's intimate family histories and local knowledge…In the final analysis, Rise and Fall is an important contribution to the history of Jerusalem, written by a master storyteller and excellent academic." - Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post
Introduction 1. Jerusalem: Capital of Palestine and Focus of Identity, 1917-1993 2. Capital in Decline: The Political Process 1993-2000 3. Collapse of a Capital: al-Aqsa Intifada and the Armed Struggle 4. Political Action in the Shadow of the al-Aqsa Intifada 5. Palestinian Elections in Jerusalem: The Local and the National. Conclusion: Jerusalem 2010: A Look to the Future
Hillel Cohen is a research fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies and teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has previously published on the topics of Palestinian collaboration with Zionism, Israeli Arabs, and Palestinian refugees in Israel.