To Exist is to Resist: Sumud and Resistance in the Shadow of the Wall
Sumud is an Arabic term commonly translated into steadfastness. The concept is closely related with the Palestinian experience of dispossession and expulsion known as al-Nakba, the catastrophe, which was the result of the creation of the Israeli state in 1948. Since 1948, however, Palestinians in the occupied territories have continued to experience dispossession and expulsion on a smaller scale at the hands of the Israeli authorities. The concept of sumud encompasses various forms of resistance – from a political ideology espoused by the PLO in the 1970s to individual everyday practices – the main aim of which is to ensure that Palestinians stay on Palestinian land.
This PhD project explores the status of sumud 20 years after Oslo. More specifically, the project examines the latest installment of dispossession and expulsion – namely the Wall – and its consequences for everyday practices of sumud. The dissertation also gives an in-depth overview of the historical development of the sumud concept and its related practices and discusses sumud practices in relation to anthropological theories of resistance and oppression. The project is based on a twelve month long fieldwork on the West Bank, in particular in the relatively little researched governorate of Tulkarm, where the construction of the Wall was completed almost 10 years ago.