Surrounded: Palestinian Soldiers in the Israeli Military

By Rhoda Ann Kanaaneh | Go to book overview

2
Embattled Identities

EARLY ON IN MY STUDY I wrote to a prominent Israeli academic asking for his suggestions regarding my research on Palestinians serving in the Israeli armed forces. He emailed me back:

I don't know what…you're talking [about]. Except [for] about a dozen…
volunteers no Palestinians serv[e] in the Israeli military. Druze and Circassians
are drafted and several hundreds of Bedouins (and perhaps some Arab Chris-
tians) serv[e] as volunteers. However [to the best of my] knowledge none of
them perceived themselves as “Palestinian.” If you're searching for arabs in
the Israeli military, this is another issue.

This brief note reflects the complex and contentious politics of naming when it comes to Palestinians living inside the 1948 borders of Israel. Although “Palestinian” is at one level a subcategory of the larger regional identity “Arab,” there is potentially more meaning to one's choice of terms.

According to an Amazon book reviewer, an earlier book of mine was biased against the Israeli government because I refer “to Israeli-Arabs as 'Palestinians'—a label that is not only inaccurate but also deliberately offensive to Israelis.” According to the reviewer, “in today's context, the term 'Palestinians' refers strictly to residents of the West Bank, Gaza, and displaced refugees outside of Israel…. Labeling Israeli-Arabs as

-9-

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Surrounded: Palestinian Soldiers in the Israeli Military
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Stanford Studies in Middle Eastern and Islamic Societies and Cultures ii
  • Surrounded - Palestinian Soldiers in the Israeli Military iii
  • Contents vii
  • 1: Israel's Arabs 1
  • 2: Embattled Identities 9
  • 3: Conditional Citizenship 27
  • 4: Material Upgrade 35
  • 5: Military Ethnification 51
  • 6: The Limits of Being a Good Arab 61
  • 7: Broken Promises 69
  • 8: Boys or Men? Duped or “made”? 79
  • 9: Blood in the Same Mud 91
  • Afterword - Unsettling Methods 113
  • Reference Matter 127
  • Acknowledgments 129
  • Notes 133
  • Bibliography 183
  • Index 203
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