The Institute of Palestine Studies Releases Four Issues of Jerusalem Quarterly in 2021

The Institute of Palestine Studies Releases Four Issues of Jerusalem Quarterly in 2021
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Cover of the JQ 85, IPS/IJS 2021

The Institute for Palestine Studies (IPS) is the oldest institute in the world researching and publicizing on Palestinian affairs and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Established in 1963 in Beirut as an independent, non-profit Arab institute, it is regarded as the major source of accurate information on Palestinian affairs throughout the Arab world. It provides comprehensive material of current regional affairs with an emphasis on peaceful conflict resolution. 

The Jerusalem Quarterly (JQ) is the only journal that focuses exclusively on the city of Jerusalem; its history, political status, and future. It addresses debates about the city and its predicament as well as future scenarios for solving the problems of Jerusalem. Sponsored by the hbs, four issues of the Jerusalem Quarterly were produced and published in 2021 (Issues JQ 85, JQ 86, JQ 87 and JQ 88.)

JQ 85 addresses four Israeli planning schemes in the Jerusalem area whose cumulative impact, while not biologically fatal, may spell the diminishment or death of Palestinian communities in Jerusalem and its environs. It address the history of urban gentrification plans: “The Catastrophe of Silicon Valley in Wadi al-Jawz”; “Gateway to the World”; and a briefing paper by the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute (MAS) on Israeli zoning plans for East Jerusalem. This issue resumes JQs long tradition of examining biography as a window to the social history of Palestine, and presents three biographies: 1) a life and impact of Elias Nasrallah Haddad, an ethnographer who belonged to Tawfiq Canaan’s circle of folklore studies in the 1920s; 2) new light on Jabra Ibrahim Jabra’s layered identity (Arab-Syriac Palestinian); 3) and a political biography of the “Red Priest of Haifa,” the theologian-activist Rafiq Farah, who passed this year at the age of ninety-eight. Moreover, “The Gateway to the World: The Golden Age of Jerusalem Airport” follows the turbulent history of Qalandiya Airport from its inception as a British military airport in 1921 to its current fate as a “runway” for the Ramallah-Jerusalem bus company, and soon to be a launching pad for an extension to Atarot, the Israeli settlement southwest of Ramallah. In “Iron Caging the Palestinian Home: Child Home Arrest in Occupied East Jerusalem as Lawfare,” the concept of “unchilding” in the endemic practice of house arrest for children in the occupied territory is discussed.

The focus of JQ 86 is “Time Travelers in Palestine”, based on a collection of stereoscopic images taken around the year 1900 that were curated in March 2017 by Issam Nassar and Ariella Azoulay at Brown University. “Jerusalem through Evangelical Eyes: Nineteenth-Century Western Encounters with Palestinian Christianity” explores Western attitudes to Christianity in Palestine as recorded in the accounts of nineteenth-century travelers, especially British Evangelicals of various denominations, to Jerusalem. The article titled “Situating Radio in the Soundscape of Mandate Jerusalem” sets radio broadcasting and listening within the broader “picture” of sound in 1930s–1940s Jerusalem. In a new section titled “Neighborhoods of Jerusalem,” JQ will be touring the city by neighborhoods, offering a fresh look onto the old vista. Saluting the sumud and bravery at Shaykh Jarrah, “Shaykh Jarrah – A Struggle for Survival” takes readers to the front lines in the latest takeover confrontation in East Jerusalem.

JQ 87 brings a new batch of articles, essays, and a larger selection than usual of reviews of books and exhibits. “Christian Arab Pilgrimages to Palestine and Mount Sinai” examines three nineteenth-century accounts written by Orthodox and Catholic pilgrims to St. Catherine’s monastery in Sinai and to Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine. This research shows the popularity of pilgrimages among Christian Arabs and their sense of place in the Ottoman world. Additionally, “Rachel’s Tomb: Narrative Counterspaces in a Military Geography of Oppression” is a study in counter-narratives of oppression. “Jerusalem’s Villages: Grey Development and Annexation Plans,” examines the impact of Israeli planning schemes for greater Jerusalem as envisioned in the Greater Jerusalem 2020 plan, and how they will impact the incorporation of the Palestinian suburban locations such as Abu Dis, Sawahara, al- ‘Ayzariya, Anata, and others. This piece’s main conclusion is that the Israeli plan will help push a substantial body of Palestinian residents into the suburban periphery of Jerusalem – a large part of them outside the boundaries of the Israeli municipal areas and into area C of the West Bank. This will accomplish two major objectives for Israeli strategy: a demographic one (fewer Arabs); and an urban-strategic one: integrating the outlying settlements such as Maale Adumim into the body of the municipality. Moreover, “Suq Tariq Bab al-Silsila” is the second essay in the series on Jerusalem neighborhoods. The historic market adjoining al-Haram area had various functions during Mamluk and Ottoman eras and was transformed several times in the twentieth century, as handicrafts shops started to disappear gradually, to be replaced by produce and grocery shops, restaurants, and cafés.

Various other topics are tackled in JQ 88. In “The Politics of Power around Qalandiya Checkpoint,” Palestinian bodies at checkpoints are “humiliated, subjected, regulated, trained, made obedient in order to serve the colonial plan that turns them into occupied subjects. These are all justified as responses to immediate “security” necessities, and thus temporary. The experience of the indefinite temporary is reflected on in “Mu‘askar and Shu‘fat: Retracing the Histories of Two Palestinian Refugee Camps in Jerusalem.” Palestinian refugee camps, especially those in Lebanon, have been the sites of research for anthropologists, geographers, and architects; “But historians have largely stayed out of the camps … The refugee camp is a blind spot of historians – invisible to or invisibilized by them!” Their supposed temporary nature has perhaps given the impression that they exist in the present, with no important past or future. This piece  traces the 1966 removal of Palestinian refugees from Mu‘askar camp in the Old City of Jerusalem to Shu‘fat refugee camp, which was planned by UNRWA in the 1960s with hopes to avoid some of the problems of crowding and physical deterioration that characterized camps established in the immediate wake of the Nakba. It shows how UNRWA officials abandoned these plans, ultimately building Shu‘fat camp to low standards and predicting, “that it, too, would soon deteriorate into an urban slum.” Two additional pieces in this issue of JQ 88 offer reflections on the relationship between memory, individual experiences, and history in Palestine. One piece reflects on the relationship between memory, trauma, and oral history in “The Palestinian Nakba and Jerusalem.” Given the continuity of Palestinian trauma – the ongoing Nakba, or al-nakba al-mustamirra – the author asks what impact this might have on Palestinian memories and, by extension, Palestinian oral histories. Ultimately, the piece points to a number of successful collaborative oral history projects and rejects insinuations that oral history is more problematic than other historical sources. “