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“We Are Stateless, but We Still Have Rights”

“We Are Stateless, but We Still Have Rights”

(p.74) 2 “We Are Stateless, but We Still Have Rights”
Unsettled Belonging
Thea Renda Abu El-Haj
University of Chicago Press

Chapter 2 explores young Palestinian Americans’ lived experience of citizenship forged within transnational fields. These youth spoke of their identification with the U.S. in terms of citizenship and its attendant rights. Their understanding of citizenship was developed in transnational fields and anchored by their knowledge of, and experiences with, the denial of rights that they and their families had experienced, most often, at the hands of other states, particularly the state of Israel. This intersection of the lived experience of democratic citizenship rights and encounters with states’ power to deny these rights strengthened both their sense of belonging to the Palestinian national community, and their political commitments to ideals promised by democratic citizenship—ideals they believed should be upheld in the U.S. and elsewhere. For the Palestinian American youth the lived experience of citizenship was dynamic, multi-directional, and transnational. US citizenship rights offered young people a comparative lens for critiquing the abrogation of rights and equality by other countries, and also by the US.

Keywords:   Palestinian American youth, Muslims, citizenship, transnationalism, rights, democratic, citizenship, occupation

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