Emirates NBD Essay 2017: From Legal ‘Outsiders’ to Political ‘Outsiders’08 Mar 2018
By Peter Ooi Teik Aun
Since the creation of the state of Israel 70 years ago, the condition of displacement has become a defining feature of being Palestinian. Entire generations of Palestinians have grown up as displaced persons in their various host countries. Some families have been displaced more than once, including the Palestinian families who fled the ongoing Syrian crisis to Europe. The relationship between Palestinians and Palestine is thus exceedingly complex. It cannot even be said that there is a singular Palestinian attitude towards the right of return. Hanafi argues that understanding a prospective Palestinian return to the homeland requires “a sociological understanding of the political, social and cultural attributes of the Palestinian people” that takes into account the socioeconomic and cultural integration of Palestinians in their current places of residence. In this essay, I aim to contribute to such a “sociological understanding” by examining questions of integration and Palestinian identity among a particular community of Palestinians in Jordan, the ex-Gazans.