Cover image for Growing up Palestinian : Israeli occupation and the Intifada generation
Growing up Palestinian : Israeli occupation and the Intifada generation
Bucaille, Laetitia.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Générations intifada. English
Publication Information:
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xix, 168 pages ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
DS119.75 .B8313 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This remarkable book tells the inside story of three young men caught up in the Palestinian intifada. Through their stories, the tangled and tragic web of the past twenty years of the most enduring conflict in the Middle East unfolds before us. For over a decade, Laetitia Bucaille lived in the Occupied Territories for months at a time, gaining rare access to the three militants she calls Sami, Najy, and Bassam and many other Palestinians they crossed paths with--those who grew up during the first intifada and whose lives became bound up with the second, which erupted in 2000. The result is an intimate yet unsentimental portrait of daily life in the West Bank and Gaza from the mid-1980s to today.

Raised in squalid refugee camps, and veterans of Israeli prisons and forced exile, Sami, Najy, and Bassam are torn between the struggle against Israel and a desire for a stable family life. Shooting a suspected informer at point blank range turns out to be easier than learning job skills for a globalized economy. For many young Palestinians, collective political failure mirrors their shipwrecked lives.

A riveting blend of social and political analysis, Growing Up Palestinian shows us Palestinian society as it unfolds in camps, prisons, homes, and the street. This is a society divided by class, age, politics, and religion, and consumed by corruption--a society that must somehow integrate its underprivileged and brutalized youth into nonviolent and productive activity if it is ever to meet the daunting challenges ahead.

In a new afterword, the author examines the social and political developments in the Occupied Territories since the book's publication in 2004, including the implications of Yasser Arafat's death and the challenges and opportunities presented to his elected successor, Mahmood Abbas.

Author Notes

Laetitia Bucaille is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Bordeaux II and at l'Institut d'etudes politiques in Paris.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

A must for all those concerned with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the great value of this contemporary history is that it brings you close-up to the Palestinian people and their politics, revealing the differences among them, differences across generations but also of class, religion, politics, and place. This entry in the Princeton Studies in Muslim Politics series, translated from French and covering events up to spring 2003, shows how the civil disobedience of the 1980s has given way to today's repression-revenge cycle. Most powerful is the focus on the day-to-day experience of particular young people who have never left the camps. At 18, Mansur would like to study, maybe computers, maybe chemistry ; he'd like to reclaim his family house; and he'd like to travel. He's no supporter of Hammas, but his sense of futility makes him increasingly sympathetic to the suicide-bomber hero-martyr as a model for Palestinian struggle. Neither simplistic nor sentimental, Bucaille shows that the conflict with the Israelis is inseparable from the Palestinians' conflict within their own community. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

French political scientist Bucaille faces a daunting task humanizing the Palestinian fighters who are involved in almost-daily violence against Israel and to her credit, she mostly succeeds, tracing the lives of several of the young men known as the shebab, who are on-the ground fighters in the three-and-a-half-year-old second intifada. In interviews and vivid descriptions, Bucaille brings to light their worldview one in which hopelessness has fueled violence, and the violence fuels hopelessness. The Palestinian fighters she interviews tell her that they do not oppose the state of Israel. But the lives of the fighters are only part of Bucaille's investigation. Along the way, she traces the recent history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the failed Oslo peace process. She sees that process as having been doomed from the beginning. The accords "gave the Palestinians nothing but the bastard status of autonomy over most of Gaza and a small area of the West Bank." It did, however, create a new set of dynamics in Palestinian society, as the return of Yasser Arafat and his coterie created a new wealthy class and, after initial euphoria, led to resentment among those Palestinians who had fought in the first uprising, from 1987 to 1993. The author is frank in depicting these fault lines in Palestinian society, although she generally leans somewhat to a pro-Palestinian stance. While those who are strongly pro-Israel will be put off by this, readers wanting a look at the lives of young Palestinians and their society will be hard-pressed to find a better book. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Forewordp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Glossaryp. xiii
Introductionp. xv
Chapter 1 The Palestinian Intifada: The Revolt against Israeli Occupation, 1987-1994p. 1
Chapter 2 Building Palestinian Autonomy, 1994-2000p. 30
Chapter 3 Fault Lines among the Palestiniansp. 56
Chapter 4 Palestine and Israel: The Impossible Divorcep. 79
Chapter 5 Part-timers of War: The Al-Aqsa Intifada, 2000-2002p. 111
Conclusionp. 151
Notesp. 159
Indexp. 165