The Institute of Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasus Studies (MECACS) presents Dr Una McGahern – Exercising the right to move in Israel-Palestine: The power of everyday cross-border movements among Palestinian citizens of Israel
A rich body of work exists today which examines cross-border mobilities in Israel-Palestine and the ways in which these mobilities are intertwined not only with the structure of the occupation but with geographies of inclusion and exclusion, enclosure and enclavisation and processes of creeping apartheid across the Green Line. Much of this scholarship, however, focuses on the privileged and high-speed flow of Israeli Jewish settler-citizens compared with the slow and tightly constricted movements of Palestinian day-labourers from the occupied Palestinian territories as they navigate a complex system of gated settlements, checkpoints, permits, walls, fences and by-pass roads within the occupied Palestinian territories. Comparatively little attention has focused on the cross-border movements of Palestinian citizens of Israel who make up over 20 per cent of Israeli population, and who travel in-between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in search of more affordable goods and services; work and social opportunities, a sense of community and place, as well as access to spaces for leisure, recreation and social interaction.
In this lecture, I will cast light on the neglected cross-border movements of Palestinian citizens of Israel focusing, in particular, on two forms of cross-border movements which illustrate subtle strategies of social and political innovation and contestation in practice: first, social or group running practices in the city of Jerusalem, and, second, the movements of thousands of young Palestinian citizens who study medicine and paramedical degree programmes at universities in the northern West Bank. In so doing, I will not only argue, as others have, that there is radical power in movement (to disrupt, challenge and potentially transform uneven geographies of power), but that the act of movement itself reveals the centrality of informal, flexible and mobile social networks in the exercise of the basic right to move.
Una McGahern is Senior Lecturer in Politics. Her research is interdisciplinary and ethnographic in nature and focuses on issues relating to security, mobility, protest and space in Israel-Palestine, with a particular focus on the everyday experiences of Palestinian citizens of Israel.
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