Palestinian Identity in Jordan and Israel

The book examines the process of national identity formation. It argues that identity, whether of a nation, an ethnic group, or a religious community, requires an Other against whom it becomes meaningful.

Riad M. Nasser, Palestinian Identity in Jordan and Israel, Routledge New York & London, 2005.

The book examines the process of national identity formation. It argues that identity, whether of a small community, a nation, an ethnic group, or a religious community, requires an Other against whom it becomes meaningful. In other words, identity develops via difference from Others against whom our sense of self becomes meaningful.

This thesis emerges out of the synthesis the study develops from the various modern and post-structuralist theories of identity and nationalism.

The study examines these ideas with specific reference to Jordan and Israel and, examines how the Palestinian exclusion played a major role in the making of their national identities.

Historically, those relations between Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinians started to take shape toward the end of World War I. The end of the war marked the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, colonial countries occupied the region, wars of liberation followed, and by 1948 Israel and Jordan became a reality. In the same year the Palestinian people were expelled from their homeland, Palestine.

Since then the Palestinians became refugees in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, etc., a few became Israeli citizens, a majority of them came under Jordanian and Egyptian custody.

Jordan soon extended its sovereignty into the Palestinian towns, villages, and most important, seized their identity and made them "new" citizens of the Hashemite Kingdom. Likewise did Israel with its original Palestinian community, it made them Israeli Arabs. With that transformation, only the refugees were left to be called Palestinians.

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