Islamization of social identity in East Jerusalem : a response to identity threat
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The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has always been one of the most debated political cases. However, usually the focus is on the physical, political and economic views of the conflict. This research focuses on the psychosocial analysis of the Palestinian social identity in Jerusalem. It explores the reasons behind the Islamization of social identity among Palestinian Jerusalemites. It does so through the eyes of Palestinian females who live in East Jerusalem. The study seeks to understand how the Palestinian participants from East Jerusalem define their social identity. The definition was categorized into three groups: Islamic, Arabic and Palestinian. In addition to that, the study investigated the perceived threats posed on the participant’s social identity. These threats are categorized into: threats from the Israeli occupation, the Palestinian society itself, and the corruption of the Palestinian authority. Moreover, this research compares the role of religion in the lives of Palestinian Jerusalemites now and twenty years ago. Therefore, it shows how and when the Islamization of social identity started. The results of this research are based on primary and secondary resources. I have conducted 25 individual interviews and a process of participant observation. The argument of this paper is that the Islamization of social identity in Jerusalem is a process with two main reasons behind it. First, the fall of Palestinian nationalism after the Oslo Accords and the Palestinian civil war. This led into identity crisis and created an identity vacuity which needed to be filled. Second the direct threat posed on the Palestinian Islamic identity during the Second Intifada and until now. This made the Islamic identity the salient one. The Islamic identity needed to be defended, therefore, it was prioritized and used to demonstrate the urgency of staying in Jerusalem.