Date of Graduation

Winter 12-16-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Aaron J Hahn Tapper


The Palestinian people have lived under numerous imperial rulers; first, the Ottoman Empire, then later the British. Today they live under the military occupation of the state of Israel as second class citizen millions more living abroad as refugees. Young Palestinian men have become the leaders and the physical manifestation of the struggle against Israel, a political Goliath that has used tactics to repress the Palestinians such as, detentions, beatings, and land confiscation, which many outside of the Israeli state deem as illegal. Scholar Rashid Khalidi states that “the quintessential Palestinian experience, which illustrates some of the most basic issues raised by Palestinian identity, takes place at the border[...] in short, at any one of those many modern barriers where identities are checked and verified”(Khalidi, 1997:1). It is through this process that the battered and bruised body of young Palestinian men represents the political identity of Palestinians to people all over the world. Yet the meaning of this body has transformed generation to generation. This paper analyzes not only this generational shift but also the history of this symbol. In this effort it also addresses related ideas, such as colonialism, nationalism and identity in the context of modern Palestine. Additional elements include issues such as state sanctioned violence and the impact this violence has on the mental development of identity in those Palestinian men who grow up under Israeli military occupation. Above all else, this paper explores Palestinian male identities, and their responses to the question “Who am I?”, and why and how their answers are not as simple as saying “I am a Palestinian man.”