Who Protests in Palestine? Mobilization Across Class Under the Palestinian Authority

  • Dana El Kurd
Part of the Middle East Today book series (MIET)


To those observing recent events in Palestine, it becomes clear that waves of protests are common in the Palestinian territories. They are not, however, uniform. While the protests often erupt in contentious areas and refugee camps, many cities remain dormant. Thus, the question remains: who protests? I argue that there is a clear class differentiation in these protest movements, but not in the direction that the literature would have us expect. While a number of theories would predict middle-class mobilization, in the case of the West Bank, the opposite seems to be true. The middle class rarely participates in these movements. Surprisingly, those with the expected lowest level of resources (i.e. working classes in rural areas and refugee camps) are those who participate in sustained mobilizations that are both pre-organized and longer-lasting. I argue that the middle class does not mobilize precisely because its interest are tied to the status quo; mainly, the retrenchment of the Palestinian Authority and, unwittingly, the occupation. Mobilization is not determined solely by the availability of resources, both physical and human. Rather, the relation of individuals in society to the status quo regimes determines mobilization. Moreover, the working class does have particular types of resources that previous scholarship has not fully considered. It is for that reason specifically that we find mobilization concentrated in areas we would not expect: more rural, less organizational capacity, and with members that do not necessarily have more education or information.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dana El Kurd
    • 1
  1. 1.Arab Center for Research and Policy StudiesDoha Institute for Graduate StudiesDohaQatar

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