Land, Memory, and Identity: The Palestinian Internal Refugees in Israel

Hillel Cohen


This article describes and analyzes the processes the Internal Refugees have experienced since the establishment of the state till this day from the perspective of the struggle over the “refugee identity.” While the state has tried to undermine this identity as part of its policy against the Right of Return, activists from the refugees’ communities have done their best to preserve it. In the late 1980s it looked as if the state’s goal of uprooting the refugee identity was achieved, but the last decade witnessed an awakening of this identity. This has a lot to do with the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, but also, it is suggested here, with the very nature of “refugee identity,” which has two components, of which one is positive (“my roots are there”) and one is negative (“I am not from here”).

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