مفهوم الهوية لدى الشباب المقدسي
محمد جمال محمود أبو خضير
Mohammad Jamal Mahmoud Abu-Khdaeir
This study addresses the concept and components of identity by which Jerusalem's youth identify themselves. Identity is a broad concept; an expression of a person's individuality and relationship with his surroundings, starting from the word “he” according to certain characteristics that are different from one identity to another, and distinguish the individual or his affiliated group from others. Elements and components of identity are not static but dynamic and can dominate other components. After explaining the concept of identity and the challenges it faces in terms with the evolving and volatile and changing circumstances, and the developed political, social, economic, and social contexts, the study relies on an opinion poll that included twentyone male and female youth from Jerusalem, via personal (semi-structured) interviews about implications of the political, economic, social, cultural and educational reality on Jerusalem identity. The youth were selected from different areas of Jerusalem and from different walks of life that are governed by the unique status of Jerusalem that differs from the normal conditions in which scientific researches are conducted in other city with special peculiarity as an occupied city living exceptional circumstances. The study is based on a random sample selected from East Jerusalem - from within the wall, northern and southern neighborhoods, the Old City and the refugee camp - and West Jerusalem. The sample is not representative of all the youth of Jerusalem, however, their answers provide indicators to their trends and perspectives towards the concept and components of identity and its origin in light of a geopolitical conflict. Nevertheless, it is clear from the majority of answers that most respondents asserted that they belong to a Palestinian Jerusalemite identity. The study presents the objective reasons and justifications leading to it‟s conduct on the youth category under such circumstances and accelerating changes experienced by the city, since the youth are the pillars of future and the fuel of progress and prosperity. The study reviews a different set of previous various studies on Palestinian identity in general, and Jerusalem identity in particular, since it is a multiple identity and not different in essence, however, the perceptions and the way of Jerusalemite youth reaction varies from one area to another. Jerusalem youth expressed awareness of Zionist schemes and measures against Jerusalem and its population. They were clear that Israelis are working relentlessly to Juadize the city of Jerusalem and clean it of its Palestinian population. It is evident from the research that the respondents are aware of their subjection to severe security, economic, social and taxation pressures to force them to leave the city. They are aware that the Israelis are working on creating an arduous repelling environment for Jerusalemite Arabs so that they will not tolerate living in the city. They also noticed that the Israelis are considering further measures, whether on the municipal or governmental levels in order to deprive the Palestinians from residing in Jerusalem. Whoever doesn‟t leave will face hard economic and social conditions and might risk residency revocation. Also, the study addresses a small segment of Jerusalem‟s youth who have obtained the Israeli citizenship for their own excused purposes, considerations and reasons. It focuses on the meaning of identity among this category, their perspective towards the conflict and the future of the targeted city, and how they react in light of the ongoing discrimination and continuous targeting of Jerusalem, and where their place in regards to the ongoing variables. The study comes at a time when Jerusalem is exposed to a range of difficult circumstances, including the announcement by US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the transfer the US embassy to the city, where young Jerusalemites believe that the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic reaction is not proportional to the historical, religious and political status of Jerusalem. According to them, the reaction should be tougher and stronger. The study monitored the aspirations and future orientations of Jerusalemite youth in light of the pressures and conditions imposed on them, such as the apartheid wall that separated Jerusalem and its inhabitants from its depth in the West Bank, and the consequent economic pressures of unemployment and poverty. It shows that the answers and attitudes vary according to several considerations, the most important of which, are: the age, scientific and academic background, gender and place of residence in Jerusalem. The study concludes that Jerusalem's youth feel lonely, orphaned, and suffer from the absence of leadership reference and the elements of steadfastness in the city. Therefore, they live in anxiety and obsession and ready to cope with the changes with dualism. Emotionally they are linked to the Palestinian Authority and practically dissatisfied with its policy and role, especially in Jerusalem. They have a sense of national feeling, resilience capability and a high level of awareness. The fact assures that the occupation policies are stumbling with a solid rock and it is not easy to entice those young people, or break their will and divert them from their national convictions and adherence to their Jerusalem identity and Palestinian affiliation. As thus, the youth observe the education system in the city. They believe that Israel has worked and still works on changing and Juadizing the Jordanian and Palestinian educational curriculum in order to overturn the Arab Palestinian conviction and concepts and forge history. The Zionists want to expose the youth of Jerusalem to Israeli narratives in order to change facts, reality and history. Thus, Zionists played their role in stealing خ the Palestinian land, heritage, food and some customs. They even distorted the names and added to them Israeli and Hebrew names. The unique issue about Jerusalem‟s youth is their insistence on resilience and existence in addition to protection of their Arab identity and identity of their city and holy shrines, regardless of the challenges and harshness of Israeli measures. They adhere to their city and see their steadfastness a defeat for the Jewish schemes. They reassure to the rest of their people that Jerusalem has unrelenting guards. The Israeli measures have influenced the formulation of a special concept of identity for Jerusalem‟s youth that distinguish them from the rest "remains" of Palestinian society in accordance to its location and geopolitical position, as we will explain in our study. This study comes out with an epistemological renewal that illustrates impact of the imposed geopolitical status, the long occupation, and the absence of a future political horizon on the formation of the concept of identity and its definition in the reality of East Jerusalem.