PLSC's Latest Publication
Palestine in the Cloud: The Construction of a Digital Floating Homeland
by Hanine Shehadeh
A widespread revolt during the months of April and May 2021 in the Palestinian city of Jerusalem, also known as Habbet Ayyar, responded to Israeli actions aiming to ethnically cleanse and force out residents from the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, where approximately 3000 people reside, and to limit the movement and entry of Palestinians to Al-Aqsa Mosque. These measures were met with an unprecedented wave of youth-led protests against the Israeli army, police, security agencies, and settlers. Habbet Ayyar stands out not only for its innovative and effective use of new media to amplify the protests beyond Israel’s sphere of influence and control, but also for the unity displayed by fragmented Palestinians as they confronted Israel. By exploring the larger historical and geographical context of the movement that led to Habbet Ayyar, this article aims to understand how Palestinians have utilized, for the past 20 years, new media as a battleground—despite enforced digital colonialism—and how these media served to articulate and create what I call a digital “floating homeland”. The concept of a “floating homeland” is useful for exploring how the Palestinian virtual social movement has redefined and reconnected with Palestine beyond Israel’s control and fragmentation. This digital homeland is constructed through new technologies that have reshaped Palestinian self-identification and allowed for a virtual and digital reconceptualization of a borderless Palestine.
Keywords: settler colonialism; Palestine; media; Zionism; history; identity
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