Can statelessness embolden political resistance? Exploring the political geography of resistance amongst stateless farmers in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights, this paper positions itself within the context of a more refined understanding of the politics of statelessness and citizenship, whilst recognizing the continued role and power of the state. We argue that despite Israel’s material power over the control of resources and bodies in the Golan Heights, it has been far less successful in exercising ideological control. This stems from the occupied Syrians’ combined condition as territorially and culturally rooted to the land alongside their stateless condition, which affords them an important vantage from which they negotiate their inclusion and exclusion from the states of both Syria and Israel. The empirical material draws from extended participant observation among Golani Syrians (in Syria and the Golan) and interviews with Golani farmers. We explain how and why the Druze, specifically, remained with their land after the occupation. We demonstrate their significant resistance efforts, and their conflicts with Israel, over and through their claims to a legitimate presence in the material and ideational landscape. In doing so, we challenge common assumptions that stateless, Druze and rural communities are particularly susceptible to state agendas.
- Jacob sheep