2014 年 2014 巻 178 号 p. 178_28-178_43
What does the Arab Revolution, or the uprisings in Arab countries in the early part of 2011, mean for Palestinians? We provide an empirical answer to this research question by examining the fluctuating international system as a mental construction. This study aims to develop a new method with which to grasp the mental construction of the theoretical foundation of constructivism. A visualization of a dynamic international system requires comprehensive data on Palestinian collective identity and how Palestinians imagined the structure of the Middle Eastern regional system before and after the winter of 2010/11.
Our research team developed a method to illustrate ordinary people’s perceptions of international relations in the Middle East. It is called the Political Mental Map, and it relies on survey data on subjects’ perceptions of the contributions that their own government, other Arab countries, and the major powers have made toward political stability in the Middle East. With the cooperation of the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre, our team conducted the survey in two waves in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and occupied Jerusalem in May 2009 and June 2012.
The survey reports a negative image of the Arab Revolution among Palestinians because the evaluations of the Arab states demonstrates that Syria, Lebanon, and Iran are given lower scores as a result of the escalating “civil war” in Syria. The Political Mental Map shows the existence of hot spots and the intervention of the U.S. and Israel in the Middle East. Additionally, we explore correlations between the partisanship of politicians and assessments of the Arab states. Ordinary citizens have a tendency to make the connection between political affiliations and international blocs: Fatah supporters value Saudi Arabia’s and Egypt’s contributions to regional stability, while the partisans of Hamas give higher scores to Syria, Lebanon, and Iran because of their involvement in the regional order.
This study attempts to address the deterioration in how Palestinians regard the Middle Eastern regional system based on their responses to our questions. The analysis indicates that, for Palestinians, the Arab Revolution does not provide an opportunity to redress the imbalance between national identity and national territory. The Arab uprisings meant regional disorder and brought chaos to the Arab world from the viewpoint of Palestinians. The Political Mental Map of Palestinians suggests a sense of depression among them, in spite of the promise of reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.