The Rise and Fall of Arab Jerusalem: Palestinian Politics and the City Since 1967

Routledge  2011

Jerusalem has long been a center of conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, particularly the future status of the eastern half of the city.  Hillel Cohen, a scholar at Hebrew University  and research fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, has written several important studies on Palestinian Arabs, but here he turns his sights on East Jerusalem.  Cohen’s major interest in this volume is political and militant activity carried out by Arabs in East Jerusalem. “Palestinian residents of the city initiate relatively few armed actions. Even so, the Palestinians of Jerusalem are organized in the same organizations as Palestinians in the territories…live under occupation…and have a deep connection to the Palestinian ethos.”
The book begins by describing how Jerusalem, which has immense religious significance to Muslims and Palestinians, became “a border city of secondary importance” under Jordan.  In the 1980's  it became a center of culture, home to several Palestinian newspapers and various cultural clubs.  Israelis, primarily on the political left and working with peace organizations, established contacts with Palestinian leaders in East Jerusalem such as Faisal Husseini.  Cohen asks, “to what extent does work among Jews influence the readiness of Palestinians to carry out attacks?”  In several cases Palestinians who had close connections to Jews, studying or working with them, were nevertheless involved in terror attacks in the city.  However, Cohen stresses that in general the Arabs of East Jerusalem did not engage in attacks during the Second Intifada.  The author also examines, to a lesser extent, Israeli settlement and policing methods in East Jerusalem.
The Rise and Fall of Arab Jerusalem  is an interesting and original study that is based on formidable research and also a deep knowledge of the people involved.  Few if any other books on East Jerusalem examine the family and educational backgrounds of the Arab population and show such  an understanding of the personal relationships between the individuals and events studied.   Acknowledgements, bibliography, index, notes.

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