Handled without care: social breakdown in East Jerusalem

By Jacob Hoigilt
Submitted to Session P4348 (Regimes for handling the Palestinians, 2016 Annual Meeting
19th-21st Centuries;
LCD Projector without Audio;
Since Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem the state has sought to Judaize the city. This paper outlines the consequences of the Judaification for ordinary East Jerusalemites. Based on interviews with grassroots activists as well as field reports and news source in Arabic and English, it argues that East Jerusalemites have been caught in a political and social limbo. Nobody represents their interests, and they are cut off from both the West Bank and Israeli society. Alienation, insecurity and rampant crime are the results. As an occupied population, East Jerusalemites are supposed to be managed by the Israeli state, but this state has left the community to fend for itself without providing it with the means to do so. Local organizations and activists seek to fill the void, but without local leadership or strong support from external actors the effect of their efforts remains limited. The situation is East Jerusalem today is characterized by a large degree of social breakdown, a condition I connect to the concept of political anomie. I argue that the current wave of knife attacks in the occupied territories and Israel is properly interpreted only against this backdrop.