Recovered Histories and Contested Identities: Jordan, Israel, and Palestine

TitleRecovered Histories and Contested Identities: Jordan, Israel, and Palestine
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsNasser, Riad M.
Number of Pages233
PublisherLexington Books
CityLanham, MD

Recovered Histories and Contested Identities discusses three case studies: Jordan, Israel, and Palestine. These three cases have intertwined demography, geography, and history. The majority of the population in Jordan has Palestinian roots, and in Israel 20% of the population are Palestinians. More importantly, both Palestinians and Jews claim Palestine to be their ancestral homeland. In the last several decades, nationhood and citizenship in these three case studies have been the driving force for intra-group and inter-group conflict. In this study, the focus is on two interrelated forms of political identity, myth of origins and citizenship. Origins are the building blocks in the retrospective historical process of national identity formation. They help collectives construct their sense of "imagined community" and link current generations of co-nationals to their founding fathers in their mythical ancient homeland. Myth of origins creates an exclusive relationship between people, homeland, and ancestors. It forms the basis upon which claims for self-determination and statehood rely. In the Palestinian and the Israeli case, myth of origins and claiming the past is central to each collective's sense of nationhood and political rights in Palestine. Consequently, myth of origins becomes the source of national conflict between these two entities. In addition, the study discusses citizenship as a modern form of political identity, directly related to the emergence of the nation-state system in modern history. Citizenship assumes the supremacy of universal rights of citizens over primordial national or other particular forms of affiliation (e.g. race, religion, gender, ethnicity, etc.). In the case studies citizenship is often conflated with nationality. This results in intra-ethnic conflicts in both Jordan and Israel. In addition, Palestinians in the Occupied Territories have yet to achieve statehood for citizenship to be meaningful. The study examines whether citizenship and nationality converge and whether one national collective's claims for self-determination overwrite another ethnic/national group's demands for universal citizens' rights in the same polity. The data analyzed in these case studies are school history and civic studies textbooks currently used in public schools in Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority. [WorldCat.]

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