The Israeli Palestinians: An Arab Minority in the Jewish State

The Israeli Palestinians: An Arab Minority in the Jewish State

The Israeli Palestinians: An Arab Minority in the Jewish State

The Israeli Palestinians: An Arab Minority in the Jewish State

Synopsis

"One of the most crucial issues to affect national policy in the state of Israel is that of relations between its Jewish and Arab citizens. The confrontation of October 2000 demonstrated the explosive potential of the unresolved dilemmas posed by these relations. This edited collection offers the academic community and the general public a comprehensive analysis of the most significant factors to have contributed to current conditions. The writers are all leading experts in their respective fields, covering history, sociology and politics and offering a variety of viewpoints and methodologies. This is essential reading for all concerned with Israeli-Arab relations in the Jewish state for years to come."

Excerpt

The Palestinian issue has captured worldwide interest, appearing repeatedly in international media headlines since the signing of the Oslo accords in late 1993. However, most aspirations and analyses have focused on the possibility of reaching an historical reconciliation between Israel and the plo as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. This approach overlooked a key element of the Palestinian question: the Arab citizens of Israel who had begun a process, which by now has peaked, of building their own national identity-Palestinian, yet Israeli citizens; identifying initially with the plight of Palestinians in the West Bank, and eventually in the Palestinian Authority. in spite of their Palestinian identity, however, they do not regard the plo as their own representative.

The idea of dedicating a special volume of articles to the historical, social and political development of Israeli Arabs (or Israeli Palestinians) was first raised after the 1999 Israeli parliamentary elections. At that time, 11 Arab members of the Knesset were elected, signifying a milestone in Israeli Arab presence and participation in Israel's political system. Today, in light of the post-October 2000 chain of events, conflicts within Israeli society, mass Arab abstention from the 2001 prime ministerial elections, and finally, the decline of Arab representation to just eight members after the 2003 parliamentary elections, it is clear that the issue of Jewish-Arab relations in Israel is one of the dilemmas which will shape the political and social future of the country.

The 14 articles in this volume deal with a variety of issues and are divided into five main parts. the volume opens with a current analysis of the political arena. This is followed by a study of the three social issues that are the core of Jewish and Arab approaches to mutual relations. the third section deals with history and nationalism, analysing through three more articles the foundations of current national claims within the context of the 1948 war and its implications on the political narrative. the next part focuses on media documentation, highlighting mutual perceptions that Israeli Arabs are not only part of the State of Israel, but also members of the larger pan-Arab community. and finally, the last section looks at the hopes and expectations of this segment of Israeli society-should a feasible solution to the Palestinian issue be found. the volume ends with an attempt to lay the groundwork for more peaceful conditions in the region.

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