Here’s what made Palestinian protests in East Jerusalem last month so successful.


When two soldiers were killed in occupied East Jerusalem a few weeks ago, it set off a chain reaction of Israeli punitive measures, Palestinian protestsand violence. The Israeli government ramped up its presence in the Old City, installing metal detectors and security cameras in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Palestinians reacted with mass protest tactics such as boycotting Israeli security measures and collective prayer in the streets of East Jerusalem. And although the Israeli police responded with mass arrests and live fire, the protests grew. After weeks of sustained demonstrations, Israeli authorities reversed the measures, and Palestinians celebrated as trucks filled with security technology drove out of the Old City.

This was a rare unifying moment for Palestinians, who have been unable to sustain mass, coordinated protests since the second uprising in the early 2000s. What made this moment in Jerusalem a unique rallying point? My research illuminates the effects of repression on collective organizing and mobilization in the Palestinian territories.

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