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Occupied LivesMaintaining Integrity in a Palestinian Refugee Camp in the West Bank$
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Nina Gren

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9789774166952

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774166952.001.0001

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Dheisheh as a Social and Political Space

Dheisheh as a Social and Political Space

(p.31) 1 Dheisheh as a Social and Political Space
Occupied Lives

Nina Gren

American University in Cairo Press

This chapter discusses Dheisheh as a political and social space within the specific context of the Bethlehem area. The reader will here find some basic facts about the camp and its establishment by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) in the early 1950s. In this context of displacement, village origins remain important to some extent. The chapter explains how and why Dheishehans had earlier been deeply involved in political activism, and why they distanced themselves from it during the al-Aqsa Intifada. The argument is that the political mobilization of Palestinian camp refugees had first of all depended on their experiences of loss and flight in 1948, as well as continuous army violations. Their disengagement at the time of fieldwork was due to encounters of extensive violence during the militarized al-Aqsa Intifada, along with deep distrust and disbelief in the Palestinian political elite and their way of advancing the national project.

Keywords:   Dheisheh, Bethlehem area, UNRWA, Village origins, Flight, Activism, al-Aqsa Intifada, Political mobilization, Army violations

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