Land of Israel: Arab Population
Under the British Mandate, 1917–48
In 1917, at the time of the British conquest of Palestine during World War i, the country's Arabic-speaking population numbered less than 600,000 persons; in 1947 it was estimated at 1,200,000. This enormous increase, by more than double in 30 years, was accompanied by steady progress in health, education, and standard of living. These achievements were partly due to the more efficient administration introduced by the Mandatory government, which improved security, consolidated land tenure and lessened the power of local autocrats, paid more attention to the needs of the villagers, expanded health and educational services, fostered agriculture, and abolished conscription. In the main, however, Arab progress – far superior to that registered in the neighboring countries, where Britain and France had introduced similar administrations – was connected with the growth of the Jewish community and its efforts to develop the country. This is shown by the comparative vital statistics, percentage of school attendance, and number of doctors, nurses, teachers, and so forth. Tax revenue received from the Jews by the Mandatory government enabled it to improve its health and education services for the Arabs. The Jews introduced better transportation and more modern banking and production methods; they provided an expanding market for Arab agricultural produce, as well as a convenient labor outlet. Their public services, which were partially at the disposal of the Arabs, stimulated them and the government to create similar facilities for the Arab population. Thousands of Arab immigrants, mostly illegal, entered the country throughout the period.
in the countryside
About 67% of Palestinian Arabs worked on the land, the majority living in about 900 villages. Their agricultural methods were primitive: much of the plowing was done with the wooden "nail," unchanged since ancient times: there was little systematic fertilization (natural manure was used for fuel, and chemical fertilizer was rare); no attempt was made to tap water for irrigation; modern methods of marketing, cooperative purchasing, and credit did not take root, while loan sharks held sway over thousands of families. Large stretches of land – according to various estimates 25–30% – were under collective village ownership (mush ʿ a), and since they were periodically redistributed the farmers were not interested in improvements, land amelioration, etc. The ownership of land by the waqf (religious trusts) was also regarded as a hindrance to its rational utilization. Nevertheless, the Arab fellahin or peasants were progressing from a natural economy, working only for its own needs without technological and social development, to a more modern economy. Not only landowners, but thousands of fellahin undertook intensive fruit and vegetable growing, using fairly modern methods, as well as poultry and livestock raising. Not only were substantial sums of money pumped into the Arab village – at least part of which was invested in the improvement of economic, housing, and other conditions – but thousands of youths were attracted to the cities and the Jewish settlements, some of them returning to their villages equipped with new ideas and ways.
Although these developments led to the growing disintegration of the rural social structure, the old patriarchal framework still wielded great power. The patriarchal family or group of interrelated families (ḥamūla) was still the dominant social unit. It was not the individual who determined his relationship to society, to his neighbors and the government, to organizations and political parties, but the family or ḥamūla, the head of which still held absolute sway not only in business, marriage, and family affairs, but even over the lives of its members. Nomadic customs, such as blood feuds and collective family responsibility, survived. The killing of girls or married women by their brothers, husbands, or other relatives for deviation from accepted village morality was a common occurrence.
For the most part, the village ḥamūla was bound by a kind of alliance – sometimes through consanguinity or common origin – with others in neighboring villages. Thus, networks of clans arose, connected, in semi-feudal fashion, with urban families or with regional or urban notables. In exchange for protecting the interests of the villagers against rival families, the authorities, the police, and the courts and "arranging" their economic, financial, employment, and public affairs, the village notables and the leading urban families enjoyed the villagers' political loyalty. This was the basis of political life among the Palestinian Arabs. Although the political attitudes and party affiliations of the urban leaders frequently changed, their relationship with the village families remained almost fixed. Hence the "parties" formed in the cities, with the recurrent formation and disintegration of factions, were the concern of limited groups of urban intellectuals and politicians, and their influence on the village masses was negligible.
in the cities
Of the 30–35% of Palestinian Arabs who lived in the cities, 30–35% were engaged in manual labor, industry, and construction; 15–17% in haulage and transportation: 20–23% in business; 5–8% in the free professions; 5–7% in public services; 6–9% in domestic services and the like; and the rest in miscellaneous occupations. The traditional manufactures of the urban Arabs, including home industry (such as the production of soap, oils, flour, and textiles), were increasingly displaced by new local industries and cheap foreign products. However, side by side with the traditional manufactures, and in great measure deriving from them, a modern Arab industry was developing, especially in textiles and cigarette manufacture. At the end of the period, the number of urban Arabs in steady employment in industry, crafts, public works, construction, and international and Jewish projects was estimated at 25,000–30,000, in addition to a few thousand in home industries. Many were semi-rural transients who later returned to their villages.
A similar development took place in commerce, where, side by side with the traditional small concern, modern Arab wholesale commerce evolved, especially in food marketing. Arabs also played an important role in the import and export trade, as well as in banking. In addition to the international and British banks – which employed many Arab managers and senior officials – and the Jewish banks, there were two Arab ones: the Arab Bank (established 1930) and the Arab People's Bank (established 1940). Although the characteristic features of the urban economy in Arab countries – preference for commerce over industry and the investment of surplus capital in real estate – existed in Palestine, they gradually became less clear and prominent there, doubtless because of the Jewish example. The middle class, including an intellectual stratum, was also more developed among the Palestinians than in other Arab societies. There were three or four dailies (one founded in 1911) during the period, as well as several weeklies and other periodicals, and textbooks and essays were published in Arabic; there was no significant literary work, however. The bulk of their cultural nourishment came from Egypt and, second hand, via Lebanon. Likewise, the Palestinian Arabs scarcely evinced any artistic capacity in theater, music, etc.; here, too, Egypt was the main source of supply.
demography and vital statistics
The first official census in 1922 counted some 752,000 inhabitants, of whom 83,790 were Jews. Of the 668,258 non-Jews, 78% – 589,177 – were Muslims; there were 71,464 Christian and 7,617 Druze and others. In March 1947 the non-Jewish population was given as 1,319,434: 1,157,423 Muslims, 146,162 Christians, and 15,849 others. (The figures for Arabs in 1947 were, apparently, inflated because of the institution of rationing in 1942 and the consequent reluctance to report deaths.) Most of the Christians were also Arabs, but their total included a substantial number of English, other Europeans, and Armenians as well (see Table: Muslim Population in Palestine).
Most of the Arab growth was a result of the extraordinary natural increase, due to the fall in the death rate and the rise in
|Year||Muslims||Christians||Druze & Other||Jews||Total|
fertility, while the birthrate remained stable. Natural increase rose from 23.3 per thousand in 1922–25 to 30.7 in 1941–44 (see Table: Muslim Births, Deaths and Natural Increase, Palestine). Fertility, as measured by the average number of children born to a Muslim mother, rose from 6.1 in 1927–29 to 8.1 in 1942–43. In Egypt, on the other hand, the death rate was 33.7 per thousand in 1924–26 and 30.3 in 1939–41, while the fertility rate in 1940 was 6.4. As the British Mandatory government's Survey of Palestine (1946) put it: "The Arabs of Palestine have, during the last two decades, been in an almost unique demographic position. This improvement is particularly noticeable in those sub-districts of the coastal plain which have been the main Jewish immigration areas" (p. 714).
Improvements in health conditions by the drainage of swamps, better sanitation, and modern medical methods were largely responsible for almost halving the infant mortality rate among Muslim children and raising the average life-span by more than ten years (see Table: Muslim Infant Mortality and Life Expectancy). In 1921 there were 304 government hospital beds in the country, 402 Jewish, and 782 Christian. By 1944 there were 1,377 beds in government and 1,410 in Jewish hospitals. The percentage of malaria patients dropped from 7.17 in 1922 to 0.7 in 1944. In Egypt, by comparison, there was no decline in infant mortality during the period; life expectancy for males rose from 31 to 34.2 between 1917–27 and 1927–37, while for females it actually fell from 36 to 31.5.
Part of the increase in Arab population, however, was due to migration. In the 20 years between 1922 and 1942, 20,015 Muslims, 15,645 Christians, and 336 others (excluding Jews) were officially registered as immigrants to Palestine. Since
|Years||Child Mortality1||Life Expectancy|
|(per 1,000 births)||Male||Female|
|1Deaths per 1,000 in the first five years of life.|
there was considerable unrecorded movement of laborers across the borders, especially from Syria, the actual number of immigrants was undoubtedly much larger; it has been estimated as high as 100,000.
There was also a significant improvement in education. In July 1920 the 171 government schools in the country had 408 teachers and 10,662 pupils, almost half of whom were Arab. In July 1944, as a result of the British drive to improve the system, there were 64,790 Arab pupils in government schools (59,045 Muslims and 5,745 Christians), as well as 39,828 in private schools (17,815 Muslims and 22,013 Christians). To a large extent the increase was due to the construction of new schools in the villages. Education did not reach all the Arabs, however. According to the 1931 census, 85.6% of the Muslims, 76.7% of the Druze, and 42.3% of the Christians over seven years old were illiterate. In 1944 only 34% of the total school-age population was in school. The most deprived were the village girls. While 85% of the Muslim boys and 52% of the girls in the urban areas received some schooling, in the villages the percentages were only 65% for boys and 5% for girls.
The demarcation lines laid down in the armistice agreements with Egypt and Jordan split the Arabs of Western Palestine between three territorial units: the State of Israel; the central hill region of Judea and Samaria, annexed to Transjordan as the "West Bank" of the Jordan kingdom; and the Gaza Strip, under Egyptian occupation.
In the State of Israel, 1948–67
With the flight of thousands of Arabs immediately before and during the War of Independence (see Arab Refugees in *Israel, State of: Historical Survey), some 156,000 were left in Israel in November 1948, out of an estimated 750,000 who lived in the area at the end of 1947. The succeeding 18 years saw a sharp increase in their number: it doubled by the end of 1966, when there were some 312,500, and from 1951 to 1966 they accounted for about 11% of the population. Table: Non-Jewish Population, Israel, 1949–69 shows the Arab and Druze population at the end of each year, in thousands.
The major reason for this growth was the unusually high rate of natural increase, one of the highest in the world, which rose in Israel from 33.7 per thousand in 1950 to 42.8 in 1960 and 43.4 in 1966, falling to 40.8 in 1969. There was a drop in the death rate from 9.48 per thousand in 1950 to 7.5 in 1960 and 5.9 in 1969, and a high birthrate: 56 per 1,000 in 1950, 50.3 in
|Years||Muslims||Christians||Druzes Other||Total||% of Population|
|1Including 55,000 Muslims and 12,000 Christians added as a result of the reunification of Jerusalem.|
1960, and 46.7 in 1969. The average number of children born to an Arab woman in 1967 was 7.4, while the average Arab family in 1968 consisted of 6.8 persons.
As a result of this unusual rate of natural increase, the Arab population was very young. The median age, which was 17 years in 1955, dropped to 16.3 in 1961 and to 14.8 in 1967. In 1955, 45% of the Arab population was under 15 years old. By 1967 that age group accounted for more than half of the population (50.4%), and almost three-quarters of all the Arabs (74.3%) were younger than 30. Just over half the Israel Arabs are males: according to the 1955 census, 51.5% of the Muslims, 50% of the Christians, and 51.4% of the Druze were males, and this proportion continues to hold.
Other factors also helped to augment the number of Arabs in Israel. While emigration was negligible (less than 6,000 Arabs left Israel between 1949 and 1969), there was a substantial immigration, some 40,000 returning under the "reunion of families" scheme. Border adjustments under the 1949 Armistice Agreements also added some 30,000 Arabs in the "Little Triangle" area, a narrow strip from the Jezreel Valley to Kafr Qassem.
in the villages
The majority of Israel Arabs live in villages, as they have throughout the centuries, but the percentage of rural inhabitants steadily decreased: from about 78% of the Arab population at the end of 1949 to 57% – some 241,000 souls – in 1969. Most of the Arab villages are in the northern section of Israel (Northern and Haifa districts), where almost 80% of the rural Arab population lived in 1969, making up some 67% of its rural population. Of the 98 Arab villages, 40 held 2,000 or more inhabitants each, and 58 less than 2,000. More than a third (36%) of the Arabs lived in the large villages and 11% in the small ones; almost 9% were Bedouin.
While agriculture was still the main occupation, there was been a noticeable drop in the percentage of Arabs working on the land. In 1954 58% of Israel Arabs were engaged in agriculture; by 1964 this figure has decreased to 39% and in 1969 it was only 31.5%. On the other hand, the area cultivated by Arabs in Israel increased from 340,000 dunams (85,000 acres) in 1948/49 to 870,000 dunams (217,000 acres) in 1968/69. The land under irrigation went up from 8,000 dunams (2,000 acres) in 1948/49 to more than 40,000 dunams (10,000 acres) in 1968/69. Of the cultivated area, a little less than half (400,000 dunams) was cultivated by the Bedouin. Almost 90% of the area (apart from that cultivated by the Bedouin) is privately owned.
The government did much to aid the development of the Arab villages. An il 85,000,000 five-year plan for the purpose was completed in 1967 and a second, to cost il 115,000,000, was launched. The three main goals have been the intensification of cultivation, diversification of crops, and the extension of land area. The first aim was implemented through a program of increased irrigation, mechanization, fertilization, and disease control; the second through the introduction of industrial crops, such as cotton, ground nuts, and sugar beet; and the third by reclaiming unused land and protecting the soil from erosion and overuse. In addition, access and internal roads were built, loans and technical assistance provided, and electricity and piped water supplied. As a result of these efforts and of the general rise in the country's standard of living, life in the villages improved markedly. At the end of the British Mandate there were only five farm machines in the entire Arab sector; by 1968 there were more than 450 of all types. Before Israel was established hardly a single Arab village had either electricity or running water; by 1968 virtually every village was connected to the national electric grid and every home had running water.
These changes altered many of the traditional aspects of the Arab village. Almost half the members of the Arab labor force now worked outside their regular place of residence, as many of the villagers found employment in the cities, while continuing to live in their villages. Modernization and democratization weakened the hold of traditional institutions, such as the ḥamūla, or extended family, which depended upon its economic power, ownership of the land, and influence with the government to maintain control of the village. Now, with outside employment available, compulsory education, and the election of local councils, a leadership more responsive to the wishes of the villagers was created and strengthened.
in the cities
The major urban centers inhabited by the Israel Arabs include the six "mixed cities" of Acre, Haifa, Jerusalem, Lydda, Ramleh, and Tel Aviv-Jaffa, as well as the two wholly Arab towns of Nazareth and Shepharam. The percentage of Arabs living in cities and towns steadily increased since the end of the Mandate. In 1947 some 25% of all Palestinian Arabs were urban; by 1969 the figure had grown to 43%, totaling 181,700 persons. The population rise in the two wholly Arab towns between 1950 and 1969 is indicative of the general trend. Nazareth's population grew during the period by almost two-thirds: from 20,000 to 32,900, while Shepharam more than doubled its size, from 3,900 to 10,500. Of the total non-Jewish population in Israel in 1969, aged 14 and over, 42.3% belonged to the labor force. Of these 91.4% were employed – the largest percentages, next to agriculture, in construction and industry.
In 1959, the *Histadrut began to accept Israel Arabs individually as full members (prior to that date they were only admitted to its medical insurance fund and to the trade unions). As a result, the number of Arabs paying union dues increased from some 6,000 in 1955 to 50,000 in 1969 and accounted for about half the Arab working population. Membership in the Histadrut, together with labor legislation that prescribes equality between Arab and Jewish workers, improved the conditions of the Arab laborer. Efforts were made to reduce pockets of unorganized and unskilled Arab labor, which did not yet benefit from wage protection and other social benefits.
health, education, and culture
The sharp decrease in the death rate among Israel Arabs is basically a result of improved health services (see Health Services in *Israel, State of: Health). While the general death rate fell from some 9.48 per thousand in 1948 to 5.9 in 1969, the infant death rate dropped from 48.8 per thousand in 1951 to 40.3.
The Compulsory Education Act of 1949, providing for free and compulsory education between the ages of 5 and 14, and the construction of a school in almost every Arab village completely changed the picture of education for Israel Arabs (see *Israel, State of: Education). In 1958, 57 Arabs were enrolled at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; the figure had grown to 160 by 1964 and more than 200 in 1969/70. In the latter year, 32 Arab students were enrolled at Tel Aviv University, 45 at Bar-Ilan University, 42 at the Technion, and some 300 at Haifa University.
Regular publications in Arabic included two dailies, two weeklies, and about ten monthlies and quarterlies. Some of these periodicals were affiliated with political parties and some with religious groups, while others were independent. Books in Arabic were widely available, many of them published in Israel by public or private concerns. Some were written by Israel Arabs or translated from other languages, including Hebrew. Works by Arabs in other countries were also available. There was a large central library in Jaffa, with almost 100,000 volumes. Arabic theater performances were held, mainly by amateur companies. Arabic movies and musical performances attracted large audiences. Regular Arabic radio programs put out by the Israel Broadcasting Authority for 14 hours a day included readings from the Koran and church services, as well as news, literary features, music, and items of human interest. Nightly television programs were broadcast in Arabic.
The Ministry of the Interior strongly encouraged the formation of local councils in order to raise the level of Arab local government to that of the Jews, to serve as a link between the villages and the government, and to act as a vehicle for economic progress, as part of the program for rural development. In 1948 only three Arab localities under Israel rule were governed by local councils. The municipal council of Nazareth was established in 1935 and that of Shepharam in 1934, while the village council of Kafr Yasīf dates back to 1925. By 1969 there were two Arab municipalities, 45 villages with local councils, and another 23 within larger regional councils. These covered some 80% of Israel's Arabs. Participation in local elections, which was greater than that of either Jews or Arabs in national elections, bore witness to the close relationship between the council and the villagers. Generally the national parties only vied for council seats in the larger localities, such as Nazareth; in the smaller villages the candidates generally represented rival families, clans, or religious communities. The major part of the councils' budgets was raised by local taxes, calculated according to the area of land or number of rooms owned, but the government made substantial contributions, especially for development projects, like the installation of electricity and water lines, or the construction of roads and schools, to which it usually contributed about 50% of the total expenditure.
The Arab community played a full and active role in national politics. Except for the first Knesset election in 1949, the proportion of Arab voters was higher than that among the Jews. Table: Percentage of Electors Voting at National Elections shows the comparison. After the first Knesset, which had only three Arab members, there were at least seven and sometimes eight (Second, Third, and Fifth Knessets). Most of these – two in the First Knesset, five in the Second, Third, and Fourth, four in the Fifth and Sixth, and five in the Seventh – were members of lists associated with, or affiliated to, Mapai (since 1968 the Israel Labor Party) or its alliances with other parties. These lists, which had names like Cooperation and Fraternity or Progress and Development, were generally divided along religious, geographical, and family lines. While the percentage voting for Mapai (Labor) or its affiliated lists dropped from more than 60% in 1949 to 50% in 1965, it nevertheless remained greater than that of any other party and rose to 57% in 1969 for the Labor-Mapam alliance (Ma'arakh).
The Israel Communist Party tried to attract Arab votes by making an Arab nationalist appeal, and provided a legal way of opposing the regime. This was particularly true of Rakaḥ (New Communist List), the larger of the two factions into which the party split in 1965 – the smaller, Maki, being mainly Jewish. Rakaḥ succeeded, together with Mapam, in gaining control of the Nazareth municipal council for a short period, from December 1965 to March 1966 and thereafter remained a strong
opposition. The strength of the Communists in the Knesset elections was irregular; winning 22% of the Arab vote in 1949 they dropped to 10% by 1959 but went up again to 22.6% in 1965, when they secured 38,800 votes (of which 38,000 went to Rakaḥ), as compared with the Labor affiliated lists' total of 48,000. In 1969 Rakaḥ obtained 34,000 votes to 67,000 for the Ma'arakh and its affiliated lists.
Mapam, the third of the national parties to appeal to the Arabs on a sustained basis, always included an Arab candidate in a prominent place on its list. Its strength gradually increased to 12.5% of the Arab vote in 1959 and fell slightly to 9.2% in 1965.
There were a number of attempts to organize wholly independent Arab parties – the first began immediately after the establishment of Israel – but all have proven unsuccessful. An extremist group, known as al-Ard, was declared illegal by the Supreme Court for opposing the existence of the State of Israel.
The two major national issues which agitated the Israeli Arabs in the first 20 years of statehood were military government and absentee property. Military government was established immediately after the 1948 war to control areas bordering on the Arab states and other sections of the country which the government considered strategically important. These areas included those in which most Israel Arabs lived, with the exception of the mixed cities. Movement was restricted within the areas and passes had to be obtained from the military government for travel to other parts of the country, whether on business, for work or study, or for short visits. Military government was gradually curtailed as security improved and opposition to it grew among Jews as well as Arabs. On Dec. 1, 1966 it was completely abolished. The problem of absentee property arose from the flight of the Arab refugees. In 1950 the government appointed a custodian to handle the property abandoned by those who left the country. Some of the land was used for the settlement of Jewish refugees and the establishment of new towns. However, many Arabs protested against inequities in defining an absentee owner and, in 1953, a Land Acquisition Law was passed. By 1965 the government had restored, exchanged, or paid compensation under this law to two-thirds of the claimants requesting redress.
[Julian J. Landau]
There were also other causes for dissatisfaction among Israel Arabs. Middle East tensions inevitably reacted on the situation within Israel and normal development was seriously hampered by the abnormality of the situation. The slowness of progress toward overall integration caused a certain disillusionment, especially among potentially intellectual circles, some of whom left the country in the hope of making their way successfully elsewhere. And while the Arab minority as a whole remained quiescent even at times of greatest strain, there was an inevitable undertone of identification with Arab national aspirations, which found expression in various ways. Attempts to induce Israel Arabs to cooperate in terrorist activities after 1967 proved far less successful than was at one time anticipated. But the cases that did occur (followed by punishment by the Israel authorities) had an adverse effect on the Jewish-Arab relationship.
Under Jordanian Rule, 1948–67
Under the United Nations partition resolution of Nov. 29, 1947, an Arab state was to be established, side by side with the Jewish state, in Western Palestine. Emir *Abdullah of Transjordan, however, joined the other Arab countries in opposition to partition; on Dec. 2, 1947, both houses of the Transjordanian parliament decided unanimously "to support Arab interests in Palestine," and the Arab Legion played a major part in the operations against Israel. Abdullah's army crossed the Jordan River on May 15, 1948, occupied the hill regions of Samaria and Judea, and set up a civil administration in the area. On May 18, the Legion reached Jerusalem and on the 27th occupied the Old City and part of its environs, but it did not go beyond the area allotted by the un plan to the Arabs.
In September, Count *Bernadotte, the un mediator, proposed the unification of the Arab part of western Palestine with Transjordan, but the proposal was rejected by the United Nations. On September 23, an "All-Palestine Government," loyal to Hajj Amīn al-*Husseini, the former mufti of Jerusalem, was set up in Gaza under Egyptian patronage and was soon recognized by all the Arab states, except Transjordan, against whom it was obviously directed. The Transjordanian authorities reacted by calling an assembly at Jericho, which, on October 1, passed a resolution calling for the annexation of "Arab Palestine." This decision was immediately denounced by the *Arab League, which warned Abdullah not to take any action that might lead to the liquidation of the independence of Palestine. On December 13, however, the Transjordanian parliament unanimously approved the Jericho resolution, and a week later the government of Transjordan appointed Sheikh Hassan al-Din Jarallah as mufti of Jerusalem in place of Husseini. In March 1949 a civil administration was set up in the area and in the following month the name of Abdullah's kingdom was changed to the Hashemite Kingdom of *Jordan. From March 1950, Jordanian government publications no longer used the name "Palestine," which was replaced by the term "West Bank" (i.e., the western part of the Jordan kingdom).
On Jan. 1, 1950, the former Transjordanian parliament was dissolved and new elections held on both banks, half the number of deputies – 20 (including three for the Christians) – being allotted to the West Bank. Despite the opposition of the Communists and the ex-mufti's followers, the elections were held on April 11, with a victory for Abdullah's supporters. On the 16th Abdullah appointed a new senate of 20, with eight Palestinian members, and on the 24th parliament confirmed the annexation of the territories west of the Jordan River, which were in the hands of the Legion. The Israel government spokesman described the annexation as "a unilateral step which is not binding on Israel," but Britain recognized the new status of the West Bank on April 27 and announced that the conditions of her alliance with Transjordan would apply to the annexed area. The Political Committee of the Arab League resolved that the annexation was a violation of its decisions, but did not accept an Egyptian proposal to expel the Jordan kingdom from the League. Jordan, which held the part of Jerusalem containing almost all the holy places, opposed the un resolution on its internationalization.
Abdullah's new subjects were a constant source of trouble. The acquisition of some 900,000 Palestinians (half of them permanent inhabitants of the annexed areas and half refugees from those parts of western Palestine which became Israel) trebled the population of the kingdom and radically undermined its stability. The Palestinians had a much higher level of education, on the whole, than the population of Transjordan and looked down on its Bedouin tribesmen. Their professional men and skilled tradesmen could not find employment, nor their politicians satisfaction for their ambitions, in the primitive Jordanian economy and society. The refugees eked out a bare subsistence in the camps maintained by the UN Relief and Works Agency, and much of its inadequate allotments found their way into the pockets of corrupt local officials. The idle and discontented refugees were like tinder, readily inflamed in any emergency. Many of them blamed Abdullah for failing to prosecute the war against Israel with sufficient energy and denounced him as a tool in the hands of the British, anxious only to expand his kingdom. There were frequent demonstrations in the refugee camps, where Abdullah's secret police repeatedly discovered plots against the regime. Finally, the discontent, fed by the incitement of Egyptian agents and the ex-mufti's Higher Arab Committee, bore fruit; on July 20, 1951, Abdullah was assassinated on the steps of the Al-Aqṣā Mosque in Jerusalem by followers of Husseini.
Palestinians continued to play a prominent part in Jordanian politics during the reign of Abdullah's grandson *Hussein. Mūsā al-ʿAlamī, an opponent of the ex-mufti, headed the Jordanian branch of the all-Arab Ba ʿ th party, but he lost most of his support in the wave of Nasserist enthusiasm that followed the Egyptian officers' revolution in 1952, since he was in favor of union with Iraq. When riots broke out in the refugee camps, with Egyptian encouragement, ʿ Alamī's model farm near Jericho was sacked by the demonstrators. The West Bank was also a focus of conflict between Jordan and Israel because of acts of violence committed by Palestinian infiltrators and Israel reprisals, which reached their peak in the attacks on Qibya on Oct. 14, 1953, and Naḥḥālīn on April 29, 1954.
Palestinians also played a prominent part in the three days of continuous demonstrations that followed the arrival in Amman, in December 1955, of General Templer, the chief of the British Imperial General Staff, for the purpose of persuading Jordan to join the Baghdad Pact, and which were followed by the resignation of the government. At the elections in October 1956, it was Suleiman al-Nabulsi, of Nablus (Shechem) who led the pro-Nasser National Socialist Party to victory and, as prime minister of the post-election cabinet, brought Jordan into the Egyptian-Syrian-Saudi Arabian military pact and the joint Egyptian-Syrian command. The Palestinians also played a considerable role in the unrest that threatened to topple King Hussein's throne during the next few years.
With the increasing prosperity that followed the generous American subventions to Jordan, in addition to the aid it received from the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, thousands of Palestinian refugees flocked from the camps into Amman and over 200,000 peasants and refugees from the neglected West Bank crossed the Jordan River. The refugees, as well as the Palestinian intellectuals, began to find places in the Jordanian economy. However, the Palestinians were constantly competing for power with the Transjordanians, who kept the reins firmly in their hands, thanks largely to their predominance in the Arab Legion. The determination of the Arab states to perpetuate the problem helped to keep the Palestinians conscious of their separate character, and the idea of a "Palestine entity" began to be mooted. In 1964 the Palestine Liberation Organization, headed by Ahmad Shukeiri, was set up, and the al-Fath Organization was founded in 1965 to carry on the struggle for "the liberation of Palestine" (see Arab National Movement in *Israel, State of: Historical Survey).
In 1966 the population of the West Bank totaled 860,000, of whom some two-thirds lived in the countryside. About 90% were Muslims, most of them Sunnis. The majority of the 50,000 Christians lived in the Jerusalem district (including Bethlehem) and most of the rest in the Nablus district. According to the unrwa rolls, which were never rigorously investigated, there were some 435,000 refugees, of whom about 140,000 lived in the camps (see *Israel, State of: Historical Survey (Arab Refugees)). They were regarded as citizens with equal rights, and a considerable proportion of them had their own sources of income in addition to the unrwa allocations. It was estimated that about 120,000 refugees emigrated from Jordan – most of them from the West Bank – to Arab and other countries, and many of them sent money home to support their families and relations. One of the results of this emigration was a surplus of women in the area. The natural increase was very high, over 4%; the percentage of children below the age of 15 was, consequently, also high – 43%. Participation in the labor force was among the lowest in the world – some 22%. Of those employed, some 37% worked in agriculture, 14.6% in services, 11.6% in industry, and 10.4% in construction.
In the Gaza Strip, 1948–67
In the *Gaza Strip, which was left in Egyptian occupation under the terms of the 1949 Armistice Agreement with Israel, the resident population of 50–60,000 was swamped by the influx of refugees from other parts of the country, variously estimated at between 120,000 and 150,000, while Arab sources claim even higher figures. With a total of 180–200,000 inhabitants, the population density was over 1,400 per sq. mi., among the highest in the world. The refugees were concentrated in 12 camps and settlements, where they were maintained by unrwa and the Quakers. Unlike Transjordan, Egypt obeyed the Arab League's ban on the annexation of portions of former Mandatory Palestine occupied by Arab states, thus absolving herself of the responsibility for supporting the Strip's inhabitants. The "Palestine Arab Government," established in September 1948 with its "temporary" center in Gaza, soon ceased to operate. The mayor of Gaza's repeated appeals to the Egyptian government to annex the Strip were rejected on the ground that "the independence of Palestine" must be protected.
Until the end of 1953 the Strip was administered as occupied territory. Local authorities continued to operate under Egyptian supervision in the two main towns, Gaza and *Khan Yunis, but the representatives of the rural population had no say in the running of their affairs. The Egyptians did nothing to develop the economy: they protected their own textile industry by withholding raw materials from the Gaza cotton mills, exhausted the Strip's foreign currency reserves, and rigidly enforced customs barriers between the area and Egypt. At the end of 1953 a law was passed to regulate the administration of the Strip. The executive power was in the hands of the governor, who was subordinate to the Egyptian minister of war, and an executive council consisting of heads of departments appointed by the ministry. There was a legislative council, also headed by the governor, consisting of members of the executive council, eight members of local authorities, and six representatives of the professions. The governor could veto any law passed by the legislative council, subject to appeal to the Egyptian minister of war, who also appointed the judges. In 1955 a new constitution was promulgated, providing for the election of the legislative council.
Despite her obligations under the Armistice Agreement, Egypt concentrated armed forces in the Strip, which also served as a major base for infiltrators into Israel and later for the fedayeen (terrorist "suicide squads") under Egyptian command. Israel's retaliatory operations against military targets in the Strip aroused the fury of the populace, particularly the refugees, who rioted against the Egyptian authorities and the UN observers, demanding a free hand to fight Israel. During the Sinai Campaign (1956), the Israel Defense Forces occupied the Strip. The Israel authorities took energetic measures to restore normal life, reconstituting the municipalities and local authorities. Israel withdrew from the Strip in March 1957, however, and the entry of a un Emergency Force was immediately followed by the return of the Egyptians, severe punishment being meted out to local leaders who had collaborated with the Israelis.
The un force was stationed mainly along the armistice demarcation line, and there was a considerable drop in the number of border incidents. Its presence helped to mitigate the economic difficulties of the population, but they were still forbidden to leave the area without the Egyptian military governor's permission. On the establishment of the United Arab Republic (1958), the Egyptians promulgated a new constitution for the Strip, providing for an executive council of ten, headed by the Egyptian governor, and a legislative council of 30, including eight Egyptians. At its first meeting, the council expressed a desire to join the uar, but the Strip continued to be administered as a separate territory. In 1962 a new constitution was promulgated giving the refugees equal rights with the permanent inhabitants. Egypt continued to maintain a "Palestinian" military unit consisting of local inhabitants. As a result of the cease-fire agreement accepted by Egypt after the 1967 war, the Strip was again placed under Israel administration.
Most of the lands owned by the permanent inhabitants of the strip before the War of Independence were on the Israel side of the demarcation line; according to the Clapp Committee, which reported to the un in September 1949, all the cultivable land in the Strip was already under plow. Hence, food and other goods had to be imported, while the purchasing power of the population was low, due to poverty and unemployment. The major export was citrus, but the economy of the Strip was based mostly on welfare income, mainly from the un; contributions from relatives abroad; the budget of the Egyptian administration; and the outlays of the un force – making a total estimated in 1960 at $21,000,000. In 1962 there were 53,000 pupils in primary schools, 14,000 in pre-secondary schools, and 8,800 in secondary and vocational schools. Separate schools for the children of the refugees were maintained by unrwa. Due to the high rate of natural increase, especially among the refugees, the population grew rapidly and, since few could leave, so did the overcrowding in the area. The Egyptian estimate of the population of the Strip – 454,960 in 1966 – was found to be vastly exaggerated when the Israel authorities carried out a census in September 1967, but even the census total of 356,000 gave a population density of some 2,500 per sq. mi.
After the Six-Day War
As a result of the Six-Day War over a million more Arabs came under Israel rule. Jerusalem was reunified by the Ministry of the Interior's order of June 28, 1967 extending the municipal boundaries to include the eastern part of the city, the population of which were regarded as permanent residents of Israel. Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"), the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights were placed under military government.
The reunification of Jerusalem added some 67,000 Arabs – 55,000 Muslims and 12,000 Christians – to the Israel Arab community bringing the total up to 392,700, 14.1% of the population at the end of 1967 and 422,700 (14.6%) in 1969. The number of non-Jews in the Jerusalem district increased from 4,800 in 1966 to 76,600 at the end of 1969, i.e., from 1.5% to 18.1% of the Arab population. Out of 39,000 over the age of 14, 14,000 belonged to the civilian labor force. Of these, 13,000 – about 93% – were employed: some 4,600 in various services; 2,400 in commerce, banking, and insurance; 2,900 in industry; 1,300 in transport, storage, and communications; and 1,400 in construction and public works. The number of pupils in East Jerusalem schools increased from 11,894 in 1968/69 to 13,119 in 1969/70: 1,160 in kindergartens, 9,470 in elementary schools, 2,002 in preparatory schools, and 487 in high schools.
judea and samaria (the "west bank")
The population totaled 595,000 in the census of September 1967 and 608,000 at the end of 1970. The annual birthrate was estimated at 43, the death rate at 19, and the natural increase at 24 per thousand. There was a great deal of population movement into and out of the West Bank after the 1967 war. Out of some 200,000 who left during or immediately after the war, 14,900 returned, on application, with the approval of the Israel government. In addition, up to the end of 1969, 8,130 were allowed in to rejoin their families. During the same period some 225,000 persons crossed into Jordan for employment or study, with permits allowing them to return; 31,000 came for visits from Jordan or other countries for periods of up to three months; and 42,000 (mainly students) came for summer visits. Of 307,200 residents aged 14 or over, 113,200 were part of the labor force in 1969 (including 87,000 out of the 147,000 males). Over 97% of the labor force was employed: 46% in agriculture; 28% in services, including transportation and commerce; 14% in industry and crafts; and 12% in construction. In 1969/70 a total of 177,400 pupils went to school in Judea and Samaria: some 132,000 to the 681 government schools, another 26,700 in unrwa institutions, and 18,200 in 119 private schools.
in the state of israel
The Israel government's budget for the region rose from il 86,000,000 in 1968/69 to il 94,000,000 for 1970/71. More than half the budget (about 51%) was devoted to social services, including health, education, welfare, and employment. Some 27% was used for economic purposes, such as agriculture and water, traffic, and communications, while the remaining 22% was for administrative, judicial, and police services. As a result of the government's policy of encouraging local authorities, 22 of the 23 municipalities functioning before the war continued to operate, as well as 31 rural councils.
Shortly after the conclusion of the war, trade between the area and Jordan was resumed, and the passage of goods between Israel, the Gaza Strip, and Judea and Samaria was authorized. In 1969, the area had an adverse trade balance of il 123,400,000 with Israel and il 17,800,000 with other countries, and a favorable balance of il 39,900,000 with Jordan.
the gaza strip and northern sinai
The 1967 census counted 389,700 persons living in the Gaza Strip and northern Sinai. The population at the end of 1970 was 372,000. A natural increase in 1968–70 totaled about 29,000 (27.9 per thousand in 1970); some 47,000 persons must have left the Strip – many of them for the West Bank. About 162,000 persons lived in the town of Gaza, 153,000 in Khān Yunis, and 35,000 in El-Arish. The annual birthrate is estimated at 41, and the death rate at 16 per thousand. In 1968 and 1969 about 3,000 Arabs were permitted to return from Egypt to the Strip in exchange for Egyptian nationals who returned to Egypt. In 1968 some 45,000 traveled to Arab countries on business, or for work or study, but only 9,000 were able to do so in 1969, since the Jordan government closed the bridges in August 1969 to those without official Jordanian documents. Thirty-two percent of the 183,000 residents aged 14 or over were part of the labor force at the end of 1969, and 94.4% of these were employed. Fifty-six percent of those employed were wage earners; average daily wages rose from il 3.9 in 1968 to il 5.8 in 1969. About 5,000 went out to work in Israel.
In 1969 the area had an adverse trade balance of il 27,700,000 with Israel and favorable balances of il 4,400,000 with Jordan and il 5,200,000 with other countries.
There were some 105,000 pupils in 191 schools in the area – 83 government institutions and 108 run by unrwa – in the 1969/70 school year. More than half of the pupils – some 58,000 – attended unrwa schools. The government budget for the area was il 53,000,000 in 1969/70 and il 867,500,000 in 1970/71. In the latter year, 39.9% of the budget was devoted to social services, 31.6% to economic purposes, and 28.5% for administrative expenses. Local income totaled il 5,500,000 in Gaza, Khan Yunis, El-Arish, and Rafa. The government initiated numerous public works, such as road construction and maintenance.
golan heights and sinai desert
The Golan Heights in the north and the Sinai Desert in the south were, basically, deserted areas after the war. The Golan Heights were almost totally abandoned by the original population of about 90,000 Syrians. Some 6,500 Druzes remained in five villages, which continued to be run by their traditional leaders under the general supervision of the military governor. There were ten schools with 58 classes in the area. The Israel government budget for the Golan Heights was il 6,000,000 in 1968/69 and il 9,000,000 in 1969/70.
Southern Sinai was and remains a desert with little possibility of settlement. It is estimated that as many as 50,000 Bedouin roam through it, with some 400 local mukhtars and sheikhs to guide their affairs. The government's budget for the area was il 1,000,000 in 1968/69 and double that figure in 1969/70.
[Julian J. Landau]
Developments in the 1970s
The Arab population of Israel continued to grow during the 1970s. Whereas on the eve of the Six-Day War there were approximately 312,000 Arabs and Druze in Israel, consisting of 223,000 Muslims, 58,500 Christians, and 31,000 Druze, towards the end of 1972, as a result of natural increase and the addition of 55,000 Muslims and 12,000 Christians through the reunification of Jerusalem, the number had grown to 470,000 – about 15% of the population. The Jerusalem Arabs are permanent residents of Israel and entitled, as such, to vote in municipal elections. They have not been compelled to accept Israeli citizenship, though they may receive it on application, but only a few score have opted to do so, the great majority having chosen to retain their Jordanian citizenship. In 1980 the number had grown to 639,000 – 498,300 Muslims, 89,900 Christians, and 50,700 Druze. The population is undergoing a process of urbanization, the higher proportion of city-dwellers rising to some 60%. This population is also considerably younger than its Jewish counterpart (average age 20.9 years, compared with 30.4 in the Jewish sector). About 50% of all Arabs in Israel are 14 years old or under, and this is an indication of the vast potential demographic changes that will develop if the Jewish population continues to stagnate at its present growth rate. The continued improvement of health services in Israel, and the mounting standard of living, make their impact on the life expectancy of the Arab population. In 1976 every Arab newborn had a life expectation of 63 (females, 71.5 years), compared to 64 in Lebanon, 56 in Syria and Jordan, 55 in Egypt, and 45 in Saudi Arabia. The impressive growth of the Arab community in Israel, from a poor peasant society whose leaders had deserted her in the early stages of the War of Independence (1948), into a predominantly urban and modern society, must be attributed, first of all, to the Arab educational system in Israel. Ninety-five percent of all school-age Arab children attend school at present, compared with 38% in the pre-1948 period. A total of 185,000 Arab students attend all levels of schooling, from kindergarten to university. The new generation of Israeli Arabs, who were born and raised under the Israeli system, has produced a new elite of several thousand university graduates and professionals. In the year 1976 alone there were 2,000 registered students in all Israeli universities. In 1948 only two Arab municipalities existed in Israel – Nazareth and Shefaram – and one local council. In the 1970s, in addition to those two municipalities, some 50 local councils were established, duly elected by their population. Despite the process of urbanization, however, the cultivated area in the Arab villages grew 2.6 fold since the establishment of Israel; in real estate terms, from 340,000 dunams in 1948 to 895,000 dunams in 1975, part of which was under irrigation and yielding high crops, thanks to the mechanization and modern agricultural techniques developed in Israel. While in 1950 more than half the Arab manpower was employed in agriculture, only 16% depended for their livelihood on farming in 1976, despite the tremendous increase of cultivated area and productivity. The balance of manpower turned to typically urban occupations, such as construction (24%), services (22%), industry (18%), and other branches of the economy (17%). By 1976 only half the manpower of the Arab settlements was employed locally, while the remainder sought and obtained work outside their localities.
The impact on the Arab village was tremendous: an unprecedented boom in construction, modern furnishing, home appliances, roads, electricity, running water, telephones, health and education services, and banks. By 1976 the Arab population achieved a higher rate of per family income than Jewish families originating from Asia and Africa, and only slightly lower than the overall Israeli average.
Its fundamental malaise, however, the insolubility of its problem as a minority with national ambitions of its own, which run counter to the national aspirations of the host Jewish majority, was not relieved, and was intensified by the agitation against the Peace Treaty with Egypt.
A new phase in the identity crisis of Israel Arabs was marked in April 1976 with the outbreak of what came to be known as the "Day of the Land." What was to be a protest by the Arabs in the Galilee against what they termed "expropriation of their land," grew into the Communist instigated political agitation, where the Arabs' legitimate desire to maintain control of their lands was overshadowed by the irredentist slogan "We shall liberate you, O Galilee!" This outburst, which resulted in loss of life and left an indelible residue in the hearts of Israeli Arabs, was accompanied by concurrent wide-scale demonstrations in the cities of Judea and Samaria, in support of their "oppressed brethren" in Israel proper. These combined disturbances were hailed throughout the Arab world as an "uprising of the Palestinian people" on both sides of Israel's pre-1967 borders, against "Israeli occupation."
This open ideological linkage between Israeli Arabs and the Arabs in the Administered Territories of Judea and Samaria was one of the most dramatic developments since 1976.
The "Day of the Land" brought into the explicit realm thenceforth implicit and latent unity of destiny that the two branches of the same people carried in their hearts. The acclaim it received from other Arabs added to it an aura of an all-Arab national struggle which in turn tended to reinforce the Palestinian and Israeli Arabs in the virulence of their anti-Israeli slogans. More and more Arab-Israeli youth, under the impact of the 1973 war and the prominence of the plo, coupled with the awakening of the Palestinians in the Administered Territories, were now more inclined than before to throw in their lot with the population of the Territories, under the unifying umbrella of "Free democratic Palestine" in both its political and symbolic meanings.
These trends became manifest in the elections of 1976 in Judea and Samaria, and in the Israeli elections of 1977. In the former, a new and young local leadership rose, which swept aside the traditional patriarchal leadership, and announced in no uncertain terms its sympathy with, if not its formal affiliation to, the plo. During the 1977 elections, extreme pro-plo elements among the Arabs either gave their vote to the Rakaḥ party, or altogether boycotted the elections, as Rakaḥ seemed too moderate for them, and not nationalist enough to cope with the mood of the times. Thus, while in the previous elections (1973), some 80% of the Arab-Israeli population cast their votes, this time some 72% only went to the polls, the difference being attributed to the boycott by extremist elements. Rakah gained more votes than in the previous elections, nearly enough to win them a fifth seat in the Knesset.
The "liberal policy" which was devised by the government, and implemented through the Office of the Prime Minister's Adviser for Arab Affairs, far from contributing to the integration of the Arabs in Israeli society, by, for example, an inculcation of Israeli values into the Arab-Israeli population, perpetuated the gap and alienation between them. The fact that the Arabs enjoyed civil rights, such as the right to vote and to higher education, but were exempt from national duties such as military service, created two societies in Israel: Jewish "insiders" and Arab "outsiders." If the acquisition of Israeli citizenship and of civil rights could be made contingent upon the fulfillment of one's national duties on the one hand, and if all channels of national promotion in the army and bureaucracy were open to the Arabs, on the other, only then would conditions be created for a genuine integration. One has to realize, however, that because of the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict and the national sensitivities involved, the Arabs in Israel, who now felt more and more akin to the Palestinian Arabs in general, would not be made to embrace Israeli values in one stroke. The Arab students' demonstrations on Israeli campuses, and their flat refusal to nightwatch in university dormitories where they are admitted for lodging, were only a few manifestations of these sentiments.
arabs in the administered territories
The political turnabout, as expressed in the municipal elections of 1976, made the most dramatic imprint on the West Bank, and by extension on almost all the population of the Administered Territories. The elections of 1976, despite their lower turnout, still gave a strong indication of the transformation that came about in the Territories, under the umbrella of Israeli occupation. The new city councilors were younger, more educated, and more openly inclined to support the plo than their predecessors. In the West Bank, the mayors enjoyed a higher prestige than ever before, not only because of the disappearance of the intermediary District Commissioners who used to separate them from the central government under Jordanian rule, but also due to their peculiar position as the sole elected representatives of the Arab population in the Administered Territories. Thus, although they were ostensibly leaders on the local level only, and assumed to refrain from national "high politics," they implicated themselves more and or less openly in political matters having nothing to do with such topics as roads, sewers, taxation, and water supply. They, in fact, played the role of intermediaries between the Israeli military governors and the people; they made no secret of their journeys to Jordan, and they took up public positions on matters of major political significance, although they were prohibited from organizing, initiating, or participating in regular political activity, via political parties.
It is true, however, that despite the more extreme anti-Israel stance adopted by the new municipal leadership, life exigencies made the modus vivendi between them and the Israeli authorities imperative. Thus, political utterances apart, the level of acts of terror decreased compared with 1976 and 1977, and the propensity for the continued normalization of daily life in the Administered Territories did not seem to have been adversely affected. Even the events of the Machpelah Cave in Hebron, on Yom Kippur of 1976, in which an Israeli Torah Scroll was torn by an Arab mob, was played down by the then mayor of Hebron, Kawasmeh, his noted anti-Israel positions not withstanding.
Another manifestation of the pragmatic approach of the new leadership of the West Bank was the fact that despite its avowed support of the Palestinian Revolution as the only representative of the Palestinian people, and the implication of their subservient role to the central institutions of the plo, they continued, nevertheless, to pay homage to King Hussein and to raise funds in the Gulf States, thus exposing the relationship of the Arab population with the anti-revolutionary regimes in the Arab world.
A new element of uncertainty and expectation – if not hope – was injected into this situation upon the visit to Israel of President Sadat, in November 1977. If on the one hand suspicion, skepticism, and sometimes hostility were evinced by the Palestinian public vis-à-vis Sadat, whose dramatic move caused consternation in the Rejection Front in general, and in the Palestinian establishment in particular, on the other hand, new hopes seemed to glitter for other Palestinians who hurried to dispatch successive delegations to Cairo, both to voice their support for his bold initiative and to elicit a pledge that their cause would not be eroded in the process. These delegations represented various strata of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip populations, although the mayors, who are on record as the staunchest proponents of the plo, obviously refrained from joining them.
Again, as in the case of the Arabs in Israel proper, no clear-cut policy was applied whereby rewards and punishments were meted out to the Arab population of the Territories in accordance with their conduct. Certainly, no one expected them to love or welcome their Israeli occupiers or even to accept their rule on an indefinite basis. But no one could expect Israel either to go out of her way in her policy of "liberalization," of technological development, agricultural advancement, expansion of health and other services, let alone universal suffrage.
A military government is obligated to maintain the laws and the level of services that had existed prior to the occupation, but is under no constraint to improve them at a tremendous cost, only to win ingratitude and hatred. Their universal application turns them into a matter of course, and only elicits more demands for more improvements and creates more expectation for more rights, political and otherwise, which when withheld can only provoke frustration and more enmity.
The best negative example of this is seen in the West Bank election of 1976 in which the base of voters was broadened, compared to Jordanian times, and free campaigning was allowed. But when the results of the vote became known, a great embarrassment, to say the least, befell the Israeli public. The choice was very simple: either one is "liberal," allows free elections, and is prepared to bear the consequences, or one bans the elections altogether as long as military rule obtains. If the elections are truly free, then the first implication is that the voting population wants to rid itself of the military government. To bear the consequences means, in this case, to respond to the sentiments and needs expressed in these elections, i.e., to grant to the population self-rule, by its elected representatives, on the basis of their political platform, and this, in principle, was the idea underlying the peace proposals of the Israeli government.
To sum up, the Arab population of Israel and the Arabs in the Administered Territories gradually drew closer to one another under the impact of rising Palestinian nationalism and the mounting Arab and Islamic self-confidence in the wake of the 1973 War. To contain this political-minded population, as a minority devoid of national rights, under Israeli rule, seemed to become a "mission impossible." The autonomy which was proposed at the Camp David negotiations remained unacceptable to the plo and leaders of the West Bank Arabs.
From the 1980s to the mid-1990s
In the early 1990s the Arab population of Israel was close to 730,000 (compared to 150,000 when the state was established, and excluding the East Jerusalem Arabs who are not citizens of Israel, estimated in 1993 to number 170,000).
During the 1980s the social and political consciousness of the Israeli Arabs crystallized, having been deeply influenced by pivotal political events in the region: the Lebanon War (1982–83), the Intifada in the Administered Territories (1987 on), and the Gulf crisis and war (1990–91). Despite the high tension these events created in the relations between Jews and Arabs in general, the Israeli Arabs became more integrated and more involved in the life of the state. They were seriously opposed to the war against the plo in Lebanon, expressed in various ways by solidarity with the Intifada in the Administered Territories, and demonstrated sympathy for Saddam Hussein, but all of this did not lead to deep rifts between them and the Israeli-Jewish establishment. In many ways the opposite is true. Israeli Arabs conducted their political struggle through legitimate channels while emphasizing their being Israeli citizens. Their fight took the form of opposition to government policy and stressing their separate national identity while desirous of striving for principles of equality within the Israeli democratic frameworks.
The nature of the Israeli Arabs' struggles is best exemplified by the Intifada which engulfed the entire area of Judea, Samaria, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Region, but in which Israeli Arabs did not take part. The manifestations of civil disobedience in the Administered Territories did not appear at all among the Israeli Arabs. Although there were occasional instances of rock throwing or the waving of the Palestinian flag in Arab settlements in Israel, it can still be said that the Israeli Arabs did not participate in the Intifada.
The separate identity of Arab citizens of Israel (from that of the Administered Territories' Arabs) was given expression in the establishment of new public bodies and in the founding of political parties and social movements. In 1982, in the wake of the Lebanon War, a "Supreme Watch Committee" was set up which in the 1980s turned into a quasi-representative body for the entire Arab population of Israel. This grew out of the committee of Arab mayors and gradually took on high political and social standing. Its members were the heads of the Arab locales, Arab Knesset members from all parties, the Arab representatives in the Histadrut, and leaders of various political movements. The committee had no recognized legal standing and reached its decisions most often by general agreement, but it had great prestige and influence. It made the decisions to give assistance of a humanitarian nature to Administered Territory residents and to express identification with their struggle, took decisions on the behavior of the Arab populace on memorial days and on the annual Land Day, and also discussed the issues of readying the Arab public for elections to the Knesset, the Histadrut, and the city and village councils.
While in previous years the Israeli authorities did everything possible to prevent the establishment of separate Arab bodies for fear of the consolidation of Arab nationalism hostile to the state, from the early 1980s on the Israeli regime was tolerant on this issue. The members of the Israeli Arabs' Supreme Watch Committee acted in concert (not officially) with factors within the overall Israeli social and political system.
In contrast to the first decades of the state in which the Israeli Arabs were divided generally into supporters of the Communist party or supporters of Zionist parties, in the 1980s a different party-political structure took shape. The Communist party declined, with the decline of the Communist regimes. Its position was claimed by two movements of an Arab-National nature, namely, "The Progressive List for Peace" (initially a Jewish-Arab party) and the "Democratic List" (led by Abd al-Wahab Darousheh who left the Labor party). A more important change came with the rise of a new powerful factor – the Islamic Movement. This movement did not compete in Knesset elections; its strength was seen in the election campaigns for the local authorities. The Islamic Movement won, among others, the mayoralty of Umm al-Fahm as well as the chairmanship of other councils mainly in the central district bordering Samaria. In Galilee, with its high concentration of Christians, the Islamic Movement had only modest success. The movement rose against the background of the flourishing of similar movements throughout the Arab east. The ideological stances of the Islamic Movement in Israel were more moderate than those of its sister movements in the Administered Territories, the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, which called for violent struggle against the state.
The 1980s were a time of significant development in the local rule in Israeli Arab villages. Seventeen new authorities (around one-quarter of all Arab authorities in the country) were established. In some places the locality's status was changed and large settlements were recognized as cities. Although the average socio-economic standing of the Arab public was still lower than that of the Jews, there was accelerated development of various public services.
At the start of the 1980s a gap, which became even wider, opened between the Israeli administration and the Palestinians' leaders and their institutions in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Region. Talks about instituting autonomy in the Administered Territories according to the Camp David Accords ceased when no real progress was made. Israel proposed personal autonomy, for the residents only, with no territorial ramifications, while the Egyptian proposals spoke of Palestinian administration which would in effect lead to total Israeli withdrawal from the territories. When Ariel Sharon was defense minister (in the second Likud government elected in 1981), there were many settlement campaigns.
The most prominent change in the Territories in 1981–84 was the emergence of village leagues. The Israeli administration which nurtured them saw these leagues as representing the silent majority of the inhabitants of the villages in Judea and Samaria who ostensibly opposed the preeminence of the plo-supporting radical city dwellers. The government gave the heads of the leagues and their activists wide authority and budgets, and residents were directed to the leagues in order to obtain permits and recommendations for various petitions to the administration.
The village leagues attracted marginal members of the Palestinian population. Many people saw them as a collection of doubtful individuals collaborating with the Israeli regime. In order to protect the league people, the Israeli administration allowed their leaders to start militias which were given weapons for self-defense by the Israel Defense Forces (idf). In March 1982 Jordan published an official report according to which membership in village leagues would be considered an act of treason punishable by death. This led to the collapse of the leagues, some of whose major activists had previously been considered traditionally loyal to the rule in Amman. After 1984 the Israel administration gradually ceased supporting the leagues. In the mid-1980s the leagues' activities were greatly reduced, and they are remembered as the only episode in which the Israeli administration tried to encourage a political group in the territories.
The Lebanon War that began in June 1982 with the aim of damaging the plo organizational infrastructure succeeded in effecting the removal of its headquarters and offices from Lebanon.
The events in Lebanon led to closer relations between the plo and Jordan as well as to an improvement in the relations between the Administered Territories' residents and the Jordanian government. In Amman the work of the Jordan-plo committee became regularized, and large sums of money were poured into the territories. The Jordanian Parliament convened in Jan. 1984 for the first time in nine years, with representatives from the West Bank.
In the Administered Territories the Lebanon War gave rise to a gradual increase in disturbances and acts of terror against Israel. Elements in the Israel military tendered the explanation that the retreat from Lebanon under terrorist pressure and attrition had reinforced the feeling among young Arabs that it was possible to fight against Israel using those means. Immediately after two Jews were killed, an underground group of Jewish settlers attacked the Muslim college in Hebron, killing three Arab students and wounding several. The police and security services captured members of a "Jewish underground" who confessed to a number of acts against Arabs, including mayors of cities, and to planning to blow up the Dome of the Rock.
In early 1985 an agreement was signed by which the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine–The General Command, led by Aḥmad Jibril, released the few Israeli prisoners of war from the Lebanon War and Israel freed from Israeli prisons 1,150 prisoners convicted of membership in terrorist organizations and of carrying out terrorist acts. Most of the Arabs returned to their homes in the Administered Territories and within Israel and were not deported. The Palestinian public saw this as a great victory.
After the breakdown of an agreement between King Hussein and Arafat in Feb. 1986, the Jordanians increased efforts to acquire influence in the Administered Territories. The Jordan government published a five-year plan for the territories' development while at the same time announcing the closure of the PLO office in Amman.
On Dec. 9, 1987, the popular rebellion, the Intifada ("shaking off"), broke out in the Administered Territories. On that day an Israeli truck ran over four Arab workers from the Gaza Region as they returned from work in Israel. Three days earlier an Israeli merchant had been stabbed to death in Gaza, and a rumor ran among the Arab populace that the traffic accident was really an Israeli act of revenge. During the funerals wild disturbances broke out during which another three Gaza residents were killed.
Besides the broad economic, social, and political circumstances which led to the uprising, there were other contributory developments. During summer and fall 1987 the U.S. government did not succeed in promoting any ideas towards a settlement in the region. In November an Arab summit meeting took place in Amman which disappointed the Palestinians, since it refrained from discussing their issues. At the end of November a young Palestinian coming from Lebanon managed to infiltrate an Israeli army camp near Kiryat Shemonah by use of a glider. He shot and killed six Israeli soldiers before being killed. The Administered Territories populace was thrilled by the success of this suicide mission as well as by the deaths of Israeli soldiers and the escape from prison of a number of security prisoners connected to the Islamic extremists from Gaza.
The first weeks of the Intifada were characterized by spontaneous large-scale outbursts of demonstrations along with commercial and school strikes throughout the territories and in East Jerusalem. No organization or guiding hand was behind this. Handbills were printed daily, slogans were painted on walls, and calls were heard to fight against Israeli rule. Almost daily reports were received of Arabs injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers. World media showed increased interest. Even during the first month Israel security forces arrested hundreds of Arabs suspected of instigating strikes and demonstrations, and on Jan. 3, 1988, expulsion orders against nine Administered Territories activists were issued. The Israeli measures did not lead to any calming down of the situation and the foment in the Administered Territories reached new heights.
During February–March 1988 there were indications of the intent to turn the uprising into organized civil disobedience against Israeli rule. Handbills signed by a body called "The United Intifada Command" began to appear with instructions to the people. Representatives of the different plo factions and activists from the Islamic movements took part in the Command. Announcements were broadcast on a number of plo radio stations, and the youths who heard them printed transcripts, photocopied them, and distributed them in cities, villages, and refugee camps.
The civil disobedience which coalesced at the start of the Intifada was organized by activists sympathetic to the plo with the aim of creating the widest breach possible between the Arab-Palestinian population and the institutions of the Israeli administration. Most of the Administered Territories' educational institutes, including the universities and colleges, were closed by military orders in the middle of the 1988 school year since they were hotbeds for demonstrations, and in effect the educational system was shut down. Heavy pressure was applied on other Arabs employed by the Israeli administration to leave their jobs. Particularly targeted were those who came into contact with the broad public. Workers of the Department of Motor Vehicles, those who check and test drivers and vehicles, were asked to quit. The same was true for workers in taxation departments, in civil courts, and offices in the Israeli administration civil service system. Those who did not quit received threats; stones and Molotov cocktails were thrown at their homes.
One of the areas of civil disobedience intended to lead to a break between the residents and the Israeli regime was the declaration of a boycott on all Israel-made goods. The tradesmen were requested to rid themselves of all products bought or made in Israel for which a local substitute could be found. In addition, the residents were asked to try to avoid turning to the Israeli authorities on any issue whatsoever, to shun the civil courts operating within the framework of the Israel Civil Administration, and to refrain as much as possible from working in Israel and from trading with Israelis.
Unified Intifada Command instructed the residents to institute an austerity regime. It was forbidden to hold weddings with many guests or have other parties. The purchase of luxury items, including new cars, was interdicted. The inhabitants were requested to avoid going out for recreation, to refrain from seeking entertainment, not to eat in restaurants and not to visit the seashore or vacation spots in Israel. In many places Arabs who had private gardens were made to uproot shrubs and flowers and tear out grass in order to make room to plant vegetables for home use to replace the Israel produce.
Storekeepers were ordered to keep their stores closed almost completely and to open them only as directed in the handbills. Gradually an arrangement took shape whereby it was permitted to open businesses for three hours in the morning and only on those days on which there was no general strike. In the afternoons and on the frequent strike days all public institutions, such as municipalities and public transportation, were shut down. Even owners of private cars were told not to drive on the roads.
All of these moves were prompted by "Popular Committees" formed in villages, refugee camps, and urban neighborhoods. Many of the committees were based on youth organization clubs found practically everywhere in the Administered Territories: the (plo) "Shabiba" and other groups identified with the left-wing Palestinians organizations.
Popular education committees were set up to arrange for school-like frameworks in private houses in place of the closed schools. Hundreds of adjudication committees were set up to which the residents were to turn in place of the courts to settle disputes. The local committees tried to create the impression of creating the structure of an independent Palestinian regime. They set up roadblocks at entrances to villages which they declared "liberated territory."
The Intifada's political effects became more noticeable in summer 1988. At the end of May, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Murphy, responsible for dealing with the region's affairs, announced that the U.S. would consider opening a dialogue with the plo on the condition that the organization accept un resolutions 232 and 338 and condemn the use of terror. At the end of July, King Hussein announced that his country had no claims on the West Bank and was in effect breaking relations with the Administered Territories. Residents of Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem, most of whom were still Jordanian citizens, feared that this decision would prove detrimental to them but in actuality it did them relatively little harm. Pension payments to Jordanian civil servants in the territories continued as usual as did export (mainly agricultural produce) from the territories to the eastern side of the Jordan. Administered Territory residents could continue to use their Jordanian passports.
This break was a political victory for the Palestinian national leadership in the Administered Territories and for the plo command in Tunis, for this was an unequivocal declaration that the plo institutions were the only and sole representations for territory residents, with no challenge to this from Jordan.
The Jordanian statement and the continued Intifada paved the way for the dramatic decisions by the Palestinian National Council (pnc), meeting in Algiers. Intifada activists applied great pressure to the PLO leaders to transform the successes of civil disobedience into political achievements. On Nov. 15 the pnc declared the "establishment of an independent state" and its acceptance of un resolution 242. The latter made it possible for Arafat to appear before the un assembly meeting in Geneva in Dec. 1988. At a press meeting held there he declared that the meaning of the pnc decision was recognition of the State of Israel and demurring from acts of terror. Arafat's statement had been coordinated with the U.S. which announced that the U.S. was opening a dialogue with the plo. This development was the zenith of the Intifada's political achievements.
In the Administered Territories the Palestinian declaration of independence was accepted enthusiastically and general support was given to the Palestinian leadership's new political line. On December 9, with the first anniversary of the Intifada, sources in the Administered Territories claimed that over the course of the year more than 300 Arabs had been killed and some 20,000 injured. Israel gave similar figures. The number of Arabs arrested or detained in Israeli prisons was close to 12,000.
During the Intifada's second year (1989) cracks and internal dissension began to show. One of the most salient was the phenomenon of intra-Arab murders of people suspected of collaborating with the Israeli rule. The ongoing Intifada pattern yielded great suffering for the Administered Territory residents. The suspension of the education system, lengthy strikes, and severe Israeli punitive measures all led to a lowering of the standard of living across the board. In some places there were residents who refused to comply with the demands of the United Command leaflets and who tried to oppose the young activists' directives.
While in 1988 some 20 suspected collaborators were murdered, in 1989 the victims numbered over 150. In 1990 and 1991, the number of Palestinians killed by security forces declined, while there was a steep increase in those killed by other Arabs as suspected collaborators. By the start of 1992 the number of Arabs killed during the Intifada was 2,000 – 600 of whom had been murdered as suspected collaborators.
The severe hardships suffered by the people led, as early as the second year of the Intifada, to calls for its cessation in return for the start of political negotiations. In early 1989 exploratory moves were made towards creating an Israeli political program which would bring calm to Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. A number of prominent Palestinians in the Administered Territories were informed of the details of the plan fashioned by Defense Minister Yiẓḥak Rabin. It included a proposal to hold general elections in the territories as an initial step towards designating a representation accepted by the Arab presidents. After a series of contacts and recommendations raised by representatives of the U.S. and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, sharp differences of opinion broke out within the Israeli government (regarding East Jerusalem residents' participation in the elections in the territories) leading eventually to the dissolution of the National Unity Government.
The atmosphere in the Administered Territories changed from the end of 1989 as the result of the upheavals taking place in Eastern Europe. For nearly 40 years the Communist bloc countries had served as strong political support for sizable parts of the Arab world, including the Palestinians, besides providing aid in the form of money, weapons, military training, and grants to students. As those countries began to collapse, a feeling of dismay and confusion arose among the Palestinians as the Eastern European countries established diplomatic relations with the State of Israel and a large wave of emigration of Jews from the Former Soviet Union was set into motion.
In 1990 calls were heard in the Administered Territories for a return to the "armed struggle" against Israel, that is, acts of terror and the use of firearms. On June 1 terrorist cells belonging to the pro-Iraqi organizations linked to the plo tried to attack Israeli bathers on the southern shores of the country. In the wake of this (abortive) attempt, the American administration suspended its dialogue with the plo whose leadership refused to oust from its ranks Abu al-Abbas, the head of the organization taking responsibility for this act.
The Intifada began to lose the public enthusiasm which had characterized its beginning. Mass demonstration ceased. Public opinion and the world media paid attention to happenings in Eastern Europe and largely stopped covering the Middle East. Gradually schooling was resumed on a regular basis, and in the large cities Intifada activists allowed the storekeepers to keep their stores open for longer hours. To a significant degree life returned to what it had been prior to the outbreak of the popular uprising.
On August 2, 1990, a dramatic change occurred with Iraq's conquest of Kuwait. The Palestinian population and its leadership took a stance in favor of Iraq and its ruler Saddam Hussein who, from the outset of the crisis, linked the solution of the problem he had created in the Gulf with a solution to the Palestinian problem. The Kingdom of Jordan with its large Palestinian population also joined the supporters of Iraq.
During the continuing tension in the Gulf, a serious incident occurred in the Old City of Jerusalem. On the broad plaza of the Temple Mount mosques there erupted a demonstration of Muslim worshipers who began to throw rocks on Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall. Israeli soldiers and policemen who broke into the plaza shot 18 Arabs to death and wounded dozens of others. The incident was prompted by rumors concerning the activity of a group of Israelis called the "Temple Mount Faithful" which had demanded over the years removing the control of the mosques to Israeli authorities.
The incident sparked new foment in the Administered Territories. Orthodox Muslim groups, which had organized themselves into the "Islamic Resistance Movement" (whose Arabic initials form "Hamas"), had been prominent. They even published a manifest claiming that all of the country's land was Muslim hekdesh (consecrated property) meaning that the very existence of the State of Israel contradicted Islamic teachings. Stabbing attacks on Israelis by Muslim extremists became evermore frequent. In most cases the Administered Territories attackers acted alone, unprompted by any organization and ready to die as a martyr. Attempting to thwart these strikes, Israeli security authorities limited the right of free passage of Administered Territories Arabs into pre-1967 Israel.
The number of Administered Territories inhabitants working in the Israeli economy dropped from 130,000 to 50,000 in the period following, with the average number in the early 1990s being about 80,000. The Israeli public became more fearful of employing Arabs from the Administered Territories as knifing attacks by young Administered Territories Arabs occurred from time to time.
The Administered Territories' economic situation was severely affected by the Gulf War events. Besides limitations on working in Israel, there was an almost complete halt of the transfer of money to the Administered Territories by relatives working in the Gulf oil-producing countries. After the war, there began mass expulsions of Palestinians who had worked in Kuwait. Some 20,000 who had Israeli Military Administration identity cards rejoined their families in the Administered Territories. The great need in Israel for construction workers to erect housing for new immigrants somewhat alleviated the Administered Territories economic distress.
Following the outcome of the Gulf War, political activity in the region aimed at convening a peace conference stepped up. The Palestinian stances in the new world order, after the Soviet Union's collapse and Iraq's defeat, became more flexible and allowed for a compromise with Israeli demands. With American mediation a Palestinian delegation was composed with members from the Administered Territories and quasi-official East Jerusalem advisers.
At the end of Oct. 1991 the Palestinian delegation from the Administered Territories, without plo representatives, took part in the Madrid peace conference in which delegations and observers from most Arab countries participated. Additional meetings were held throughout 1992 in Washington, Moscow, and other world capitals. The discussions encountered many stumbling blocks. The main demand of the Administered Territories delegates was the cessation of the widespread settlement activity in the Administered Territories sponsored by the Israel government. Opposition to the peace process, rooted in Muslim extremist circles, also developed in the Administered Territories.
Towards the end of 1995 the number of Israel Arabs was approaching one million. The figure is based on data from the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics which reports on the number of "non-Jews" living within the State of Israel. This figure includes the Arabs living in Jerusalem, numbering some 170,000, the great majority of whom are not citizens of Israel; and members of other communities: about 100,000 Druze; some 160,000 Arab Christians; and the small, non-Arab Christian population, such as the Armenians and the various church-affiliated individuals who reside permanently in Israel. According to the forecast of the Central Bureau of Statistics, the non-Jewish population of Israel was to reach 1.14 million by 2005 when it would constitute some 22% of the Israel population as compared to 18% in the mid-1990s.
Changes occurring among the Arab population of Israel in the first half of the 1990s derived from the political and socio-economic processes taking place in Israel during that period, the most important being the peace process with the plo and the Arab states begun at the Madrid conference in the fall of 1991.
During the first half of the 1990s there were three types of elections, affording an insight into political and social trends among Israel Arabs: the elections for the 13th Knesset held in June 1992, the municipal elections of November 1993, and the Histadrut elections in May 1994.
The most important of these was the Knesset elections of 1992 which took place in the midst of peace talks started at the Madrid conference. This time the Israel Arab population which, for the most part, traditionally votes for the parties seen as part of the left-wing bloc, and only to a small extent for right-wing parties, played a key role in the political turnover in Israel. After 15 years of Likud rule, partially in conjunction with the Labor party, Labor, under the leadership of Yiẓḥak Rabin, acceded to power. This turnover was possible, among other reasons, because of the Arab votes which went to the left-wing parties (Labor and Meretz), but even more decisively to the fact that two parties, almost all of whose voters are Arabs, held the balance of power when it came to composing the coalition government. The two parties are the Democratic Front for Equality (Ḥadash), at the heart of which is the veteran Communist party, and the Arab Democratic Party (Mada), headed by the former Labor party member Abd al-Wahab Darousheh, which together gained five seats and formed an "obstructive bloc" in the Knesset barring the way to forming any government with the right-wing or religious parties. The Labor party won 44 seats in the Knesset elections, Meretz (made up of Mapam, Ratz, and Shinui) gained 12, Ḥadash, 3, and Mada, 2. This totaled 61 creating for the first time a situation whereby the votes of the Arabs would be the critical in the formation of a government, headed by either Labor or by Likud.
Through a series of parliamentary arrangements, a precedent was established in 1992 whereby there was partial coalition cooperation between the Labor party and Ḥadash and Mada. These Arab parties which in the past had been considered invalid for coalition membership, since they were considered to have a nationalist Arab orientation, became in the Thirteenth Knesset part of the bloc supporting the government. They were not co-opted to the government, but promised to support it, thus enabling Prime Minister Rabin to receive partial support from religious Knesset members (from the Shas party) and a faction which broke away from Zomet (called Ye'ud). Ḥadash and Mada actually had no choice but to support the Labor government led by Rabin, which achieved a certain equilibrium by cooperating with the "obstructive bloc." Although during the Thirteenth Knesset there were instances in which these factions threatened to bring the government down, as of summer 1995 the unity of this bloc was maintained, so that for the first time in Israel's history the Arab voters achieved a position of significant influence over Israeli policy.
The Arab population has always been occupied with two aspects: the national one closely linked to the Arab-Israel conflict and the struggle of Israeli Arabs for equal rights. Regarding the first, most scholars of the Israeli Arab population feel that the contribution of the Israeli Arabs and their Knesset representatives towards the change of the government's attitude toward the plo is most important. The existence of the "obstructive bloc" made it easier for the government to implement the policy of the Oslo agreement: recognition of the plo, the withdrawal from Gaza, and the continuation of negotiations with the Palestinian movement. At least in one instance – the attempt by the government to expropriate land in East Jerusalem in May 1995 – the Knesset members of Ḥadash and Mada succeeded in bringing about the cancellation of the expropriation after they proposed a no-confidence vote in the government. This victory was proof of their power and was considered by many as a milestone in the history of Israeli parliamentarism.
Examination of the second topic, the struggle for equality, also reveals important achievements for Israel Arabs during this period. Some of the gains derived from the coalition agreements ensured the existence of the "obstructive bloc." Surveys made in early 1995 showed that there had been an increase of 200% in the allotments granted to Arab municipalities in relation to the period during which the previous government was in power. A significant change occurred in the apportioning of resources to the Arab sector for various educational purposes, and progress was made towards the equality of Arab education with that of the Jewish system. More buildings and classrooms were added, equipment was purchased, and more jobs were allocated. Steps were taken towards equalizing the child allotments paid by National Insurance to those given Jewish families. According to previous legislation, from the 1970s, a family with at least one member defined as a "former army server" receives an addition to child allotments until the child reaches 18. Since the vast majority of Israel Arabs do not serve in the army, they were not eligible for this supplemental payment. In line with the Rabin government policy, it was decided that within three years this gap should be eliminated.
The 1995 surveys also indicated a growing momentum in the level of infrastructure development in the Arab sector, particularly in the paving of roads and in water and sewage systems. In addition, there has been significant advance in the integration of Arabs in government jobs and according to a special government decision Arabs will fill posts in various government offices. Another problem which the Rabin government dealt with was the granting of recognition to a series of Arab villages officially unrecognized and therefore ineligible for government services.
There is still a sizable gap between Arabs and Jews concerning the allotment of resources and government handling of issues in all the areas mentioned, but considerable progress was made towards equality during the first half of the 1990s. Not all of the achievements derive from the significance of the "obstructive bloc" in the Knesset. The decision to make the Arab municipality allotments equal to those of the Jews, for instance, was already taken by the Shamir government in 1991, and even during the Rabin administration the heads of Arab municipalities complained that little progress had been made on this issue. They held a lengthy strike (in July–August 1994) opposite the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem. The data also attest to the fact that the rate of economic development and investments in the Arab sector were very low in comparison to the average in Israel. The level of teaching and the pupils' achievements in the Arab schools fell far below the average. Many of the problems with the Bedouin villages in the Negev had not been solved.
The peace process and the security problems which developed after the Oslo agreement led to a series of changes among Israel Arabs. Following terrorist attacks, from 1990 on, the governments of Israel (beginning with that of Shamir and then Rabin's) instituted a policy of implementing a seger ("lockout") on residents of the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria. Gradually the periods of the "lockouts" grew until they were to a large extent permanent. As part of the security "lockout," residents of Gaza and the West Bank were prohibited from entering the area of Israel proper. Also, to a high degree, it was forbidden to transport produce and merchandise from these Administered Territories to Israel as defined by the Green Line (the pre-1967 borders of the State). This policy led, for the first time since 1967, to a certain break between the Israel Arabs and the Palestinians in the Administered Territories. Moreover, the Arabs of Gaza gained Palestinian autonomy with many of the trappings of sovereignty and the ostensible contrast between them and the Israel Arabs grew, at least regarding their political status.
The physical separation between the Israel Arabs and those in the Administered Territories was accompanied by the consciousness of the Israel Arabs in being separate and their consciousness of being a social unit more closely linked to the State of Israel and cut off from the Palestinian national experience. A number of studies published in Israel in 1994–95 indicated greater integration of the Israel Arabs within the state to the detriment of their attitude on the issue of Palestinian nationality. Despite the internal split among the Israel Arabs, there was almost total unity among them on the Declaration of Principles signed between Israel and the plo. This support encompassed all of the Israel Arab organizations and parties and stood in contrast to the dissension and disagreements on the agreement with the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Some commentators deduced from that indications that the Israel Arabs do not consider themselves as directly involved in what takes place on the internal political level of the Palestinian public and its national movement. Representatives of the Israel Arabs often served as advisers and intercessors on problems and disagreements which arose in the Administered Territories, but always as observers from the side and not as those directly involved in the national or party problems in the Administered Territories.
Whereas the 1992 Knesset elections led to a revolution in the parliamentary status of the Israel Arabs, the municipal elections in November 1993 continued conservative trends. The most prominent was that Ḥadash with the veteran communists who had led the Israel Arabs for decades continued to be the leading movement among this population. Ḥadash candidates won in 12 of the municipal elections out of 56 in the Arab sector. The candidates of the Islamic Movement were chosen head of 5 councils. Candidates of the general lists (of the branches of the Jewish-Zionist parties in the Arab sector) won in 15 authorities (12 Labor, 2 Likud, and 1 Meretz). Candidates of the Progressive Movement (led by Muhammad Mi'ari) won in 3 local authorities and Mada candidates won in 6. The others elected elsewhere ran independently, with no link to any party or movement at all.
Within the system of municipal elections, in Israel in general and within the Arab sector in particular, there is great importance to local, family (clan), and personal considerations, and this tendency was reinforced with the institution of the system of direct election of local authority heads. Despite this, a general trend toward changes in the voting patterns could be discerned, and in this case it must be remembered that these elections were the only ones in which the Islamic Movement candidates took part. This movement became very much stronger among the Israel Arab population during the 1980s and achieved striking success in the previous local authority elections in 1989. In the years that followed there was a debate among movement activists as to whether to stand also for Knesset elections, but as the elections for the Thirteenth Knesset approached in 1992 the movement leaders decided not to present candidates. In May 1995 Islamic Movement activists met to discuss possible participation in the Knesset elections, with an eye on the coming 1996 elections. While the movement's leader, Sheikh Abdallah Nimer Darwish, supported the proposal to organize a party slate for the approaching elections, many opposed his proposal and to avoid a split within the movement it was decided not to make up an independent list from the movement. The group's leaders recommended, however, to the political bodies of Israel Arabs to join together in a combined list, and they allowed their supporters freedom of choice over whether to vote and whom to support.
The 1993 municipal elections showed that the dramatic momentum of growing support for the Islamic Movement had been halted. It did more or less maintain its strength, but apparently did not gain new supporters. The party that practically disappeared from the Israel Arab political map was the Progressive Movement for Peace which in previous years had threatened the dominance of Ḥadash (Rakaḥ) over the Arab population. As early as the 1992 Knesset elections, this party failed to pass the minimum percentage for gaining a seat, and in the municipal elections it failed completely. Not one of its candidates became head of a local authority in any Arab settlement and only a few of its people were elected to local councils.
The great success story of the local elections belonged to the candidates of the Arab Democratic Party (Mada), headed by Knesset member Abl al-Wahab Darousheh. In the previous municipal elections in 1989 Mada candidates won in two localities and in 1993, they took six.
The general picture coming into focus from these election results presented the halting of the Islamic Movement and the preservation of the power of the communists (Ḥadash) and the Jewish-Zionist parties. This again demonstrated the retention of the trend towards integration and involvement of Israel Arabs in the general political and social system in Israel. The increase in power of the extremely religious Muslims had threatened the way of life of many of the Israel Arabs who had adapted to a social life that included both men and women, the drinking of liquor at social parties, and other types of behavior forbidden by the extremist believers. Some scholars studying Israel society felt that this threat served as an important factor in the Communist party maintaining its strength (since most of its voters are Arabs), even at a time when most of these parties worldwide declined or disappeared.
The May 1994 elections of the Histadrut, the largest voluntary body in Israel, and their results provided additional proof of the integration of the Israel Arabs into the state, in the era of the peace process. Whereas in the previous Histadrut elections (November 1989) there was a faltering attempt to organize a joint list for all Israel Arabs, in 1994 the candidacy of the Israel-Arab sector was almost totally in conjunction with and involved with the all-Israel system. Some 220,000 Israel Arabs belong to the Histadrut, constituting about 15% of the membership. The percentage of Arabs voting was 55% (somewhat higher than the general average) and the important fact is that 78% of them voted for general (Jewish-Zionist) parties and only 22% for parties considered Arab. As among the Jewish population, so among the Arab, Ḥaim Ramon's list "Ḥayyim Ḥadashim" was strikingly victorious and won 26% of the Arab vote. Mada joined the Labor party in exchange for a promised 3% representation in Histadrut institutions, while Ḥadash, which set up a common list with the remnants of the Progressive List, upon hearing the election results immediately joined the coalition created by Ḥaim Ramon and his colleagues. In 1994, for the first time in Histadrut history, parties like Ḥadash and the Progressive List became part of the coalition guiding this important body. Many among the Arab population took this as a significant achievement for Arab Histadrut members.
1995 to 2005
Population. At the beginning of 2005 the Arab population of Israel numbered 1.337 million people (19% of the total population): 1.107 million Muslims (82% of the Arab population), 117,000 Christians (9%), and 113,000 Druze (9%).
The proportion of Muslims in the Arab population increased over the years from 70% at the end of the 1950s to 82% in 2005, the proportion of Christians decreased from 21% to 9%, and the proportion of Druze remained almost unchanged.
The internal breakdown of the Christian community in Israel is as follows: 37% Greek Catholic, 30% Greek Orthodox, 23% Latin Catholic, 5% Maronite, and 5% others.
According to a Central Bureau of Statistics forecast, in 2025 the Arab population is expected to number 2.32 million (33% of the total population), out of which Muslims will comprise 85%, Christians will comprise 7%, and Druze 8%.
Rate of Growth. In 2004, the annual rate of growth of the Arab population was 3.4%: 3.6% amongst Muslims, 1.9% amongst Christians, and 2.4% amongst Druze. This rate is one of the highest in the world, mainly because of the high rate of growth of the Bedouin population in the Negev (southern Israel) – about 5.5% per year. For comparison, the annual rate of growth of the Arabs in Syria and Jordan is 2.8% and in Egypt 2.1%.
Fertility. The total fertility rate among Druze has been declining since the 1960s. At the beginning of the 1960s the average number of births per Druze woman in Israel was 7.5. In 2003, however, the average number of births per Druze woman was only 2.9. This fertility rate is close to that of the Jewish and Christian populations (2.7 and 2.3, respectively), and lower than that of the Muslim population (an average of 4.5 births per woman).
As a result of high fertility rates, the Arab population is very young. Its median age is 19.7: 18.5 amongst Muslims, 22.7 amongst Druze, 27.9 amongst Christians. For comparison, the median age of the Jewish population is 30.3.
The relative proportion of Christians in the total Arab population of Israel has dropped drastically since the 1940s because of the decreasing fertility rate: from about 20% in 1949 to about 15% in 1972, and to less than 9% at the end of 2004.
In 2003, an Arab family totaled an average of 5.4 persons, almost two persons more than a Jewish family. The average number of persons in a Muslim family is 5.7, in a Druze family – 5.0, and in a Christian family – 3.9.
Life Expectancy. In 2003 life expectancy of Arab males was 74.6 years and that of Arab females 78.0 years, compared to 77.9 years for Jewish males and 81.8 years for Jewish females. Since the early 1980s, the life expectancy of the Arab population has increased by nearly four years.
Life expectancy of the Arab population in Israel is higher than in the neighboring Arab countries: Lebanon – 71.3 years for males and 74.4 years for females, Syria – 69.8 years for males and 72.1 years for females, Jordan – 68.9 years for males and 71.5 years for females, and Egypt – 65.3 years for males and 68.5 years for females.
Infant Mortality. In 2003 the infant mortality rate of the Arab population was 8.2 deaths per 1,000 live births (in 1980 it was 24.2 deaths per 1,000 live births). The decline in infant mortality resulted mainly from the improvements in environmental conditions, in the living standard, and in the level of education of the population. This rate was much lower than in the neighboring Arab countries, including the Palestinian Authority: 102 deaths per 1,000 live births in Iraq, 38 in Egypt, 27 in Lebanon, 26 in the Palestinian Authority, 22 in Jordan, and 18 in Syria. Nonetheless, the infant mortality rate of the Arab population in Israel was still twice as high as that of the Jewish population.
In the past three decades the education level of the Arab population rose significantly. In 1970 half of this population had up to five years of schooling. In 2003, half of the Arab population had almost ten years of schooling.
The median number of years of schooling of the Arab population increased from 9 in 1990 to 11.1 in 2003. Among the Jewish population, the median increased from 11.9 to 12.6 during the same period. However, significant gaps between Jews and Arabs still exist. 26% of Arabs aged 25–34 studied more than 12 years, compared to 60% amongst Jews of the same age group.
In 2003 Arab students comprised 8.1% of all university students, 9.8% of the undergraduate students, 5.1% of the master's students, and 3.3% of the Ph.D. students.
The level of education of the Christian community is higher than that of the Muslim and Druze communities. 27% of the Christians have more than 12 years of schooling, with almost no difference between men and women, whereas among Muslims and Druze this rate is 14% (about 16% of the men and about 11% of the women).
As mentioned above, education statistics show wide disparities between Arab and Jewish students. The Arab school system is under-resourced: in 2004, only 7% of the Ministry of Education's budget was allocated to it, while the Arab population comprised 19% of the total population in Israel. The average number of Arab students per classroom is 32, compared to 27 for Jewish students. Disparities also affect funding for auxiliary education services and are reflected in achievements: the dropout rate among students aged 16–17 years is 40% for Arabs students and only 9% for Jewish students. The matriculation success rate of Arab students is 31.5%, compared to 45% amongst Jewish students.
Implications of the Peace Process. The peace process of the 1990s exerted conflicting influences on the political orientation of the Arabs in Israel. The Palestinization process of the Arabs in Israel was weakened in terms of its external affinity. The recognition by Israel of the plo and of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the establishment of the *Palestinian Authority represented the realization of the national platform of the Arabs in Israel as formulated during the 1970s and 1980s onward.
The Palestinian Authority maintained its link with the Arabs in Israel on various levels, such as the formation of a Liaison Office; hosting delegations of Israeli Arab political figures; visits by Palestinian public figures to Arab communities in Israel; and involvement in elections to the Knesset with the intention of influencing the Arab vote in Israel. However, the leadership of the plo and the Palestinian Authority essentially maintained the traditional approach of excluding the Arab population of Israel from the peace talks and ignoring their cause.
Israeli Arab intellectuals and political elites reached the conclusion that the real solution to the Arab population's national aspirations was not necessarily found in the establishment of a future Palestinian state. This realization marked the start of a new process of directing the national resources of the Arab population inward, i.e., the localization of the national Palestinian struggle.
Israeli reality was not favorable to the Arabs. The ethnonational structure of the state, and the pronounced preference for the Jewish majority, prompted a policy of built-in discrimination and intentional exclusion vis-à-vis the Arab citizens. In the socioeconomic context, the gaps between Jews and Arabs widened. While Israeli governments from the start of the 1990s declared their commitment to deepening Jewish-Arab equality, in most cases this remained lip service only. In the political context, except for the Rabin-Peres tenure (1992–96), the Arab Knesset members and their parties were systematically sidelined not only by the governmental coalition members of the Right but also of the Left.
The Perceived Contradiction between the Idea of a Jewish and Democratic State. During the period under consideration, political discourse in Arab society focused, among other issues, on what was conceived, from an Arab point of view, as a built-in contradiction between the nature of Israel as a Jewish state and as a liberal democracy committed to the equality of all its citizens. Arab academicians and politicians across the entire political spectrum frequently questioned the viability of the model of "a Jewish and democratic state," pointing to its inherent weakness. The dilemma depicted acutely by them was how the Arab citizen could feel equal and identify with a state whose symbols, flag, and anthem were Jewish, and whose contents and identity were founded on an ethnic Jewish outlook and not on a collective Israeli outlook based on civil equality.
The discourse on the desirable nature of the State of Israel engendered various alternative models for a solution that would respond to and reflect the national needs of the Arab minority and to the built-in conflict between Israel's Jewish aspect and democracy.
Alternative Models. a) A state for all its citizens. The demand to annul Israel's Jewish-Zionist nature and replace it with a "state of all its citizens" model attained wide popularity, and was included in the platforms of most of the Arab parties from the 1990s. Nevertheless, this proposal remained a generalized slogan, without generating in-depth academic or political discussion. Conceivably, some of the politicians who supported it did not actually believe in the possibility of implementing it. Rather, it served them as a tactical means to stir the Jewish public and as a way of expressing the rising tide of rage over the gaps and over the disrespect and disregard of the government. Still, the demand to turn Israel into a "state of all its citizens" took hold among the public at large and was often voiced, albeit without any examination of the price involved in adopting it.
b) Autonomy. Notions of autonomy, endorsed by Arab academicians in the early 1990s, proposed granting the Arabs in Israel personal-cultural autonomy in the areas of education, communications, the use of Arabic, participation in drawing up development plans, the return of confiscated lands, and even the formation of a supreme political representative body by means of elections and territorial autonomy, which would include two regions – the Galilee and the "Triangle" area (in central Israel). These ideas failed initially to attract much support. Few continued to support the demand for territorial autonomy.
During the latter 1990s the demand for cultural autonomy gained popularity in political circles and among educators. Its advocates believed that it could relieve the fundamental problems of the Arab education system by bringing about a shift in the responsibility for Arab education, particularly regarding the question of contents and syllabi, traditionally supervised by the Jewish-controlled Ministry of Education, from Jewish to Arab officials.
c) National institutions. The deep rift in Jewish-Arab relations, caused by the bloody events of October 2000, in which 13 Arab citizens were killed in violent confrontations with the police (see below), as well as the ongoing government policy of neglect and especially the continuous sense of alienation, frustration, and bitterness, prompted some Arab politicians and intellectuals to reexamine the option of independent national institutions for the Arabs. However, public discourse on the institution-building process remained unfocused and has not undergone in-depth ideological exploration. Discussion has referred to "supreme and unified national institutions," "national and representative" institutions, and "constitutional" institutions.
Following the massive shunning of the polls by the Arab electorate in the February 2001 elections for prime minister demands mounted for alternative, non-Knesset representational channels, including a separate Arab parliament. The dogmatic faction of the Islamic movement, led by Sheikh Ra'id Salah, considered establishing an alternative social infrastructure which would be capable of relying on itself (see below). However, supporters of the notion of a separate parliament stressed that their intention was not detachment from the state, or separatism. From their point of view, the Arabs in Israel must set up national institutions for themselves since this was the only integrative way in which they could live in this state. The separatists' opponents, especially the Israeli Communist Party, rejected this line, saying that it served the radical Jewish Right and provided an excuse for the authorities to perpetuate discrimination and deprivation.
d) Bi-national state. Since the late 1990s, the option of a bi-national state has been mooted as an attainable alternative to the existing minority-majority relationship in the State of Israel. Some supporters of this idea restricted their model of a bi-national state to the borders of the Green Line. Accordingly, turning Israel into a bi-national state would involve a constitutional change granting both nations equal legislative status, canceling Israel's Jewish and Zionist character, and transforming Israel into a bilingual and multicultural state. Others suggested that a bi-national democratic state should include granting the Arabs in Israel the right to conduct their own cultural affairs and other matters distinctive to them independently.
e) National minority with collective rights. One of the major changes that the Arab population underwent in the 1990s expressed itself in the political and ideological parlor of the Arab elites. Thus the term "minorities" typically used by Israeli authorities to relate to the non-Jewish population began to be vigorously rejected as symbolizing Israel's intention of fostering internal disunity along the religious-ethnic division lines of the Muslim, Druze, Christian, Circassian, and Bedouin communities. Instead, a perception of the Arabs as a national collective with distinctive linguistic, cultural, and historic attributes has taken hold. The most widespread definition of this change focuses on the demand to recognize the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel as a national minority with collective rights. The practical evidence of this change is the demand not only for their due civil rights as individuals, but also for the associative or collective rights due them as a national minority.
Reopening the "1948 Files." a) Restoration of the memory of the Nakba. One of the most impressive aspects of the "return to 1948" phenomenon is the restoration of the collective historic memory of the Nakba – the perceived catastrophic loss of Palestine in the 1948 war. This changed reality was molded by three major factors: (1) the emergence of a new generation of Arabs who, unlike their predecessors, chose to highlight their national identity rather than water it down; (2) the implications of the Oslo process and the start of discussions about a permanent settlement, the refugee question, and the right of return; (3) the 50th anniversary celebrations of the State of Israel in 1998, which served as a powerful spur to the process.
Several central motifs recur in the narratives of Israeli Arabs vis-à-vis the significance of the Nakba on the emotional-national level. One is the perception of the Nakba memory not as a historic event that is over and done with, but rather a tragedy whose consequences continue to this day and whose victims are not only refugees in camps but also the Arab citizens in Israel. Another motif is the desire on the part of the Arabs in Israel for legitimization of the fact that 1948 marked not only a war of independence, sovereignty, and liberation for the Jews but also the terrible tragedy for the Arabs.
In practical terms, particularly following the 50th anniversary of the State of Israel, national-political activity focused on Nakba memorial ceremonies held on two dates – 5 Iyyar, the Hebrew date of Israel's Independence Day, and May 15, the date of the establishment of the state in the international calendar and the date assigned as Nakba Day. Ceremonies consisted mainly of pilgrimages to the sites of abandoned or destroyed villages, where their histories were recounted.
b) Revival of the displaced persons issue. Another significant manifestation of the trend toward opening the "1948 files" has been the revival, from the early 1990s, of the displaced persons (al-muhajjarun) issue, or "refugees in their own homeland" – those Palestinians who remained in Israeli territory during the 1948 war, or who returned after the war, but were unable to return to their original homes and villages, which had been abandoned or destroyed during the war.
The demand for the return of the displaced persons to their villages of origin was renewed following the start of the political process between Israel and the plo in the early 1990s. The representatives of the displaced persons came to the conclusion that their salvation would not come from the PLO and that the struggle for the right of return would have a better chance if it were waged in Israel, as a sophisticated use of the Israeli judiciary system.
The "internal refugees" in Israel had begun to organize in the early 1990s with the establishment of a Countrywide Committee for the Protection of the Rights of the Displaced Persons in Israel. Activities included organized visits to the sites of the abandoned villages and the preservation of remaining sites and ruins at the villages, especially mosques, churches, and cemeteries.
c) Struggle for land. The acuteness of the land issue intensified during the 1990s, when government inaction and the inability of the Arab local councils to provide solutions to housing distress exacerbated the frustration and evoked rising protest against continuing expropriation of land and demolition of illegal buildings. The Arab sector opted for new initiatives, in an attempt to undermine and eliminate the 1948 land policies. Initiatives by Arab mks provided one channel consisting of legislative action to annul such institutions as the Jewish National Fund Law.
The judiciary supplied another channel for these attempts with a Supreme Court decision that removed the ban on the purchase of land in Jewish areas by Arab citizens. Such a case was the Katzir-Qa'adan precedent: in March 2000 the Supreme Court ruled that the State must consider favorably the request by 'Adel Qa'adan, a resident of Baqa al-Gharbiyya, to lease a plot of land and build a house in the Jewish settlement of Katzir. The Court stated that the State could not discriminate between Jews and non-Jewish citizens in the allocation of State land.
The Rising Power of the Islamic Movement. a) Activism in the local sphere. The Islamic Movement succeeded in changing the face of Arab village society. Mosque attendance increased steadily; the number of mosques in Israel grew from 60 in 1967, to 80 in 1988, 240 in 1993, and 363 in 2003.
As the socio-economic gaps between Jews and Arabs widened and the secular Arab political bodies failed to improve matters, the Arab community became increasingly eager for some external force to step in and remedy the imbalance. Following the basic ideological tenets of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Movement filled the void. It provided practical solutions for the deteriorating local conditions, being especially successful in mobilizing the Arab inhabitants for active, Islamic-oriented work in their communities. Muslim volunteers built internal roads in Arab villages, opened kindergartens, libraries, and clinics, and established drug-rehabilitation centers. Indeed, the Islamic Movement found solutions for many of the daily hardships that resulted from the authorities' failure to meet the Arab sector's needs.
This approach proved to be a prescription for success. In the 1998 municipal elections the Islamic Movement won representation in 13 localities, compared to 16 in 1993 and 14 in 1989. In the 2003 municipal elections the Islamic Movement won representation in only nine localities, but it still maintained its power, especially in Umm al-Fahm, where the Islamic Movement's candidate for mayor, Sheikh Hashim Abd al-Rahman, won 75% of the ballots, thus preserving the Movement's dominance in the city since 1989, and also in Nazareth, traditionally under the sway of Christian-Communist power, where the movement's candidate for mayor, Ahmad Zu'aby, won 48% of the ballots.
During the 1990s, The Al-Aqsa Association for the Preservation of the Waqf and the Islamic Holy Sites, established by the Islamic Movement in 1991, mounted a campaign to restore the waqf properties to their lawful owners in the Muslim community. In March 2001 the Islamic Movement established a Supreme Muslim Council, intended, inter alia, to serve as the elected Islamic body to which the waqf properties would be reinstated.
The success of the Islamic Movement was not only the result of the religious appeal. For many, it was a vote of confidence in a movement that successfully dedicated itself to the social, economic, and cultural advancement of the Arab sector.
b) The split within the Islamic Movement's ranks. The question of whether or not to participate in the Knesset elections aroused an internal controversy within the Islamic Movement's ranks. One of the most important developments prior to the 1996 elections was the Movement's reversal of its longheld position of staying out of Israeli parliamentary elections. In March 1996 the Movement's General Congress endorsed its participation in the Knesset elections within the framework of a unified Arab party headed by an Islamic Movement candidate.
The initiative to reverse the previous decision taken in 1995 came from the group of Islamic leaders associated with Sheikh Abdullah Nimr Darwish, founder of the Islamic Movement in Israel. The motivation for this effort was the desire to unite the fragmented Arab vote and prevent a situation in which, as a result of increased factionalism, Arab representation in the Knesset would be weakened or even eliminated.
This new decision caused an immediate crisis within the Movement. Two of the more radical leaders, Sheikh Kamal Khatib and Sheikh Ra'id Salah, mayor of Umm al-Fahm at the time, announced that they did not view themselves as bound by the Movement's resolution to participate in the Knesset elections, a move which eventually caused a split within the Movement's ranks into two factions: the first, headed by Sheikh Darwish, adopted a more pragmatic view toward integration into Israeli society, including participation in Knesset elections; the second, headed by Sheikh Ra'id Salah, maintained a more dogmatic view.
Representatives of the latter faction argued that the Islamic Movement cannot integrate into the Israeli system, since it is based on a set of Jewish-Israeli laws which stands in complete contradiction to the very essence of Islamic Law. Hence, this faction endorsed the idea of establishing independent institutions for the Arab population in Israel a step further. As part of its social world view, especially in light of the October 2000 events, the dogmatic faction considered establishing an alternative social infrastructure for a community which was capable of relying on itself (al-Mujtama' al-'Issami) by means of independent industrial, commercial, and financial institutions, and its own health, security, and education services. However, no significant practical steps were taken to implement these ideas.
In May 2003, some leaders of the dogmatic faction, including Sheikh Salah himself, were placed under arrest on charges of money laundering and the transfer of money to Islamic activists in the West Bank. The faction's press was temporarily closed for what was described as publication of inflammatory material. Eventually, some of the detainees were released in January 2005 and the rest, including Sheikh Salah, were released four months later.
Elections to the Knesset – 1996, 1999, 2003. The 1996, 1999, and 2003 election campaigns in the Arab sector were characterized by an electoral shift from the Zionist parties to the Arab parties, mainly because of disappointment with the Zionist parties. The total vote for the major Zionist and Jewish parties declined from 49.3% in 1992 to 32.3% in 1996, 17.3% in 1999, and 18.5% in 2003. The vote for Labor dropped from 20.3% in 1992 to 16.6% in 1996, 7.43% in 1999, and 7.7% in 2003. Meretz declined from 9.70% in 1992 to 10.5% in 1996, 5.02% in 1999, and 4.2% in 2003. The right wing Likud party and the religious Jewish parties dropped from 19.3% in 1992 to 5.2% in 1996, 4.84% in 1999, and 6.6% in 2003. In contrast, the total vote for Arab parties rose from 38.4% in 1992 to 62.4% in 1996, 68.64% in 1999, and 68.8% in 2003.
The strong shift toward the Arab parties reflected the response of the Arab population to the profound change in their platforms, which became more relevant to the Arab electorate than ever before, being less preoccupied with Palestinian issues and the peace process, as in the past, and displaying much more focus on communal issues directly pertaining to the collective rights of the Arab population as a national minority. These platforms became concentrated on the following issues:
1. The need to change Israel's Zionist character so as to transform Israel into a state of all its citizens, with full national rights and cultural autonomy for the Arab minority.
2. A demand to recognize the status of the Arabs in Israel as a national minority.
3. Taking legal measures to ensure equality.
4. Maintaining an aggressive national stance regarding issues of Arab lands.
A typical ritual which repeated itself prior to the election campaigns of 1996, 1999, and 2003 in the Arab sector was the strenuous effort to form a united Arab list which would represent all political forces competing for the Arab vote. Such a list, it was argued, would lead to larger and more effective Arab representation in the Knesset. Some Arab observers argued that the increased political pluralism was devastating in terms of the Arab community's ability to stand behind a clear and unified political message.
In all cases the outcome was the same: the various political parties held talks with each other but to no avail. The efforts to form a large unified list failed to materialize mainly because of personal rivalries, as well as ideological barriers.
Elections for Prime Minister – 2001. Following the announcement of special elections for prime minister in February 2001 a sharp internal debate took place in the Arab sector over the question of whether to participate or boycott the elections. The general atmosphere in the Arab sector was full of frustration and lack of confidence in the Israeli authorities. The boycott idea was broached as a protest against the actions of the Israeli security forces against the Arabs in Israel and those in the Palestinian territories during the October 2000 events (see below), as well as against the ongoing government policy of neglect toward the Arab sector. Another major consideration in favor of the boycott was the realization that the boycott would not affect the representation of Arab parties in the Knesset, since these were not parliamentary elections.
Eventually, the impact of the October 2000 events was decisive: an unprecedented majority of Arab citizens boycotted the prime minister elections, resulting in an 18% turnout of Arab voters – the lowest since the establishment of the state. Most of the voters came from the Druze communities, which traditionally affiliated themselves with the Israeli establishment and the security forces.
The Municipal Elections of 1998 and 2003. The municipal elections in the Arab sector held in November 1998 and October 2003 were characterized by a powerful resurgence of the traditional clan, the hamula, at the expense of the Zionist-affiliated party lists (Labor, Likud, Meretz, and the religious parties), which almost totally disappeared from the municipal scene. The influence of the more ideologically orientated Arab-dominated parties was also considerably diminished. The strengthening of the hamula framework at the expense of nationalist movements reflected a weakening of the affiliation of the Arab citizens of Israel to the Palestinian national cause and a trend toward deeper integration in Israeli society.
The election campaigns clearly illustrated that the basic loyalty of the Arab citizens was to the family or tribal circle, which provided security and stability socially, economically, and politically. Loyalty to the family took precedence over regional, religious, ethnic, and even political loyalties, systematically overshadowing party allegiance. Ultimately, the municipal elections of 1998 and 2003 illustrated the fragmentation of Arab society in Israel along clan, party, ethnic, and religious lines.
The Al-Aqsa Intifada and the October 2000 Events. Early in October 2000, violent demonstrations swept the Arab communities of the Galilee and the Triangle area as a spin-off of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in the territories, resulting in the death of 13 Arabs and one Jew. These events evoked profound shock in the Israeli public, marking a watershed in Jewish-Arab relations in Israel.
The outburst was the most violent act by the Arab population since the establishment of Israel, involving a level of force never before employed, including the destruction of public buildings, the protracted blocking of major highways, the employment of Molotov cocktails, and even the sporadic use of live ammunition against security forces. The harsh response of the police also marked a significant precedent. The police used tear gas and fired rubber bullets and live ammunition at the Arab demonstrators. As a result, in addition to the 13 Arabs and one Jew who were killed, hundreds of protesters and dozens of police officers were injured. Arab leaders accused the police of employing excessive force in dispersing the demonstrators, using live ammunition and shooting indiscriminately at close range.
Perceiving a threat in mk Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount on the eve of the Jewish New Year, September 28, 2000, the Arabs of Israel expressed solidarity with their brethren in the territories. Ostensibly many adopted the Islamic movement's call to protect the al-Aqsa mosque, claiming that Israel was trying to exert its authority over the third holiest site in Islam.
The swift response of the Arabs in Israel reflected their sense of identification with the Palestinian cause. Yet, the major cause for the outburst of violence was largely attributable to domestic factors. Signs of rising tension in the Arab sector were already evident during the first half of 2000. Spokespersons of the Arab population pointed out that most of the Arab local councils contended with paralyzing budgetary deficits, the Arab villages had become foci of unemployment, and the problem of the unrecognized villages, especially in the Negev, had worsened. The October 2000 riots reflected the disappointment of the Arabs in Israel with Prime Minister Barak personally and with his government's policies toward the Arab sector generally. While 95% of the Arab electorate had voted for Barak in the personal 1999 elections, many felt betrayed when he declined to invite Arab parties to join his coalition and did little to address the longstanding socio-economic needs of the Arab sector. The uprising represented the culmination of a process of growing alienation and discontent over unfulfilled expectations to attain equality, especially by the younger generation.
The State Commission of Inquiry for the October 2000 Events. Following sustained harsh criticism on the part of the Arab leadership over the killing of the 13 Arab citizens by the police, Prime Minister Barak announced the establishment of a state commission of inquiry to investigate the October 2000 riots, headed by Supreme Court Justice Theodor Orr, with a mandate to examine the behavior of the security forces, inciters, and organizers of the clashes. The decision was welcomed by the Arab leadership.
On September 1, 2003, the Orr Commission published its findings and recommendation. The commission's report identified the following as the root causes of the events:
a) Government discrimination – The commission noted that "government handling of the Arab sector has been primarily neglectful and discriminatory … Evidence of the distress included poverty, unemployment, a shortage of land, serious problems in the education system and substantially defective infrastructure."
b) Police behavior – The commission criticized the police for using lethal riot control methods and for its overall attitude toward the Arab minority. In the report, the commission's members noted: "The police must learn to realize that the Arab sector in Israel is not the enemy and must not be treated as such."
c) Radicalization of the Arab sector – The commission noted that another cause for the escalation which led to the outbreak of the riots was "the ideological-political radicalization of the Arab sector," which manifested itself in "expressions of identification with and even support of the Palestinian struggle against the state." The commission also blamed the Arab leadership, including some Arab mks and heads of the Islamic Movement, for failing to "understand that the violent riots … and identification with armed activity against the state … constitute a threat against the state's Jewish citizens and substantially damaged the delicate fabric of Jewish-Arab relations in Israel."
[Arik Rudnitzky and
Elie Rekhess (2nd ed.)]
Backward political and economic conditions under Ottoman rule prevented the emergence of literary or artistic talent among the Arabs, particularly among the rural population. However, there was a widespread popular culture of song, dance, and other entertainment among the fellahin.
in the villages
In the cold and rainy season, when they could not go out to till the fields, as well as on festive occasions, such as circumcisions, betrothals, or weddings, the fellahin vied with each other in showing their skill in singing, dancing, and storytelling. Everyone was expected to know the traditional songs and dances. In the maḍāfa, the guest hall in the home of a village notable, the fellahin would assemble to discuss farming, politics, and the latest news, listen to popular legends, or welcome important guests. When a maddāḥ (panegyrist) visited the village, the entire population would assemble at the maḍāfa to listen to his tales and legends of heroes in poetry and prose rhyme, sometimes accompanied on the one-stringed rubāba. The best-known stories of this type were those of ʿ Antara ibn Shaddād, the famous sixth-century poet. Popular legendary heroes were Sayf ibn Dhū Yazan, the heroic sixth-century king of South Arabia; Abu Zayd al-Hilālī, with his miraculous adventures; and the members of the heroic Banū Hilāl tribe. Today, most of this folklore has been publicized widely through the theater, television, and books, but it is still recounted by village storytellers.
Public poetry reading is a well-developed feature of rural Arab life, especially at public and family celebrations and the return of the pilgrims from Mecca, as well as on the occasion of deaths or disasters. Local village poets are employed to compose long poems for each special occasion. Those that are especially successful are absorbed into the general cultural life of the rural Arabs; others become part of local tradition. The fellahin poets deal with all aspects of private and public life: marriage, death, love, nature, work, pleasure and amusements, religious life, etc. Numerous types of Arab rural poetry, distinguished by tune and melody, are mījana, dalʿūna, ʿatāba, ẓarīf al-ṭūl, al-saḥja, to mention only a few. Popular public poets often perform in pairs. The Asad brothers of Deir al-Asad and the Rināwī brothers of Deir Ḥannā are the best-known contemporary performers.
The fellahin still preserve many customs that have existed in the Middle East for centuries and some of which are reflected in the Scriptures: for example, the pouring of water by the young on the hands of their elders; grinding of corn in hand mills; washing babies in salt water and anointing them with olive oil; and marriages between close relatives. They are fond of games, which may last for hours and generally attract numerous spectators, such as sija, which resembles chess; maqala, which entails the moving of stones on a special board and involves accurate calculations; and al-fanājīn, in which a large number of players try to guess the location of a ring hidden under one of several saucers.
A few years after the establishment of the State of Israel, some attempts were made to put on stage shows in Arabic, but they came to naught. It was only in 1965 that Arab theater and dance companies, initiated by individuals and assisted by the *Histadrut Arab Section and the Beit Gefen Center, Haifa, were more or less permanently established. The Beit Gefen Drama School, established in 1963, is directed by Adīb Jahshān. In 1966 it produced Mahmud ʿAbbāsī's Al-Fidāʾ ("The Ransom") with great success under the direction of Abu Farīd. The only company that remained active for a considerable period was the independent Popular Theater, directed by Antuwān Ṣāliḥ of Nazareth, who studied direction in Paris. It presented Strindberg's The Father and The Servant of Two Masters by Goldini, featuring Yusuf Faraḥ and Adīb Jahshān, who graduated from the Ramat Gan Drama School and gained a considerable reputation. The appearance of actresses in Arab theater shows encountered numerous obstacles, as it was frowned on by Muslim tradition. For a considerable period the Arab theater suffered from lack of feminine participants, and the difficulty was only recently overcome. The best-known Arab actress in Israel was Alīs Abu Samra from Acre, a teacher at the ʿArrāba village who appeared for the Popular Theater and went on tour in the United States. In later years such actors as Muhammad *Bakri, Yusuf Abu Varda, and Makhram Khoury achieved prominence.
music and dance
Ḥikmat Shāhīn, born in Tarshīḥa, directed the Beit Gefen Music and Dance company. Iskandar Shihāb, of Shepharam, organized a local nonprofessional company. Yusuf al-Khill (from a well-known Arab family of singers and composers) was the director of the Nazareth Roman Catholic Music and Dance company, which was one of the oldest. Suhayl Raḍwān was the director of the Histadrut Dance Company in Nazareth and of the Arab Music School in Haifa. A few dance companies were organized by the Histadrut and private groups in Arab, Druze, and Circassian centers, but do not perform regularly. Later, performances by mixed Arab-Jewish folk dance and music ensembles had popular success. A 1994 production of Romeo and Juliet by a troupe of Jewish and Arab actors from Jerusalem, performing in a mixture of Hebrew and Arabic, won national and international acclaim, touring widely abroad.
A few talented Arab painters have gained prominence in Israel recently. The paintings of ʿ Abd Yūnis of ʿ Ar ʿ ara, a graduate of the Bezalel School of Arts, have been well received, and he has also done book illustrations. The young Druze painter Abdallah al-Qarā, born in Dāliyat al-Karmil, studied in Paris and exhibited with great success in Israel and the United States, where he resided.
Throughout the period beginning with the second half of the 19th century and ending with the establishment of the State of Israel (1948) Palestine, a backwater in Arab cultural life, could occupy no significant position in the field of Arab literature, nor play a role comparable to that of Iraq, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon. This situation changed after 1948, both in the State of Israel and in the area taken over by Jordan, when Arab poetry and prose, mostly with political overtones, emerged as a lively expression of cultural life. The initial development of Arab literature in Palestine was extremely slow and usually imitated literary trends dominant in the neighboring Arab states. Indeed, most Palestinian-born writers and poets flourished and gained fame outside Palestine.
under ottoman rule: 1880–1918
Though Palestinian Arab literature, however rudimentary, was always nationalist, community differences were especially discernible in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Muslim writers, mainly influenced by classical Arab literature, tended to emphasize form at the expense of content; the Greek Orthodox were influenced by Russian literature and the Roman Catholics by French. But with the growing prominence of the Palestinian national movement after World War i, these differences gradually disappeared.
During the second half of the 19th century, emphasis was laid on form and linguistic ornamentation. Assonant prose and pseudoclassical poetry were dominant. The sole exception was the work of Muhammad Rūḥī al-Khālidī (1864–1913), Ottoman consul general in Bordeaux and a member of the Ottoman parliament. He was a distinguished literary critic whose field of research and writing was the influence of Arab literature on European literature. The new Ottoman constitution of the Young Turks in 1908, granting cultural freedom to all nationalities within the Ottoman Empire, was a turning point in the development of Arab literature in Palestine. Many newspapers and periodicals appeared, and literary activity was of considerable intensity. Among the foremost writers of the period were Khalīl al-Sakākīnī, Is ʿ āf al-Nashāshībī, Ḥannā al-ʿĪsā, Khalīl Baydas, and Abdallah Mukhliṣ.
under the british mandate: 1918–48
After the British conquest of Palestine, Muslim education, extremely rudimentary until then especially in comparison with Christian missionary education, progressed sufficiently to enable Palestinian writers to establish literary societies, regular literary publications, and publishing houses. Many Palestinian Arabs went abroad to acquire education at Arab or European universities. Growing Palestinian Arab nationalism found its expression in poetry directed against both the British and Zionism. Some 200 books in Arabic were published in Palestine during the Mandatory period. This was a marked advance in quantity, though quality still lagged behind Egypt, Syria, and other centers.
The best-known poet of the period was Iskandar al-Khūrī al-Baytjālī, a judge living in Haifa who published six volumes of poetry, some of which contain outspoken criticism of the modernization of Arab society. Wadī al-Bustānī (1886–1954), a Lebanese lawyer who also resided in Haifa, concentrated on the political and social events of the 1918–30 period in his anthology Filasṭīniyāt ("Palestine Verses," 1946). Other poets of stature were ʿ Abd al-Karīm al-Karmī, Hasan ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn, the poetess Fadwā Ṭūqān, ʿAbd al Munʿim al-Rifāʿī, Burhān al-Dīn al-ʿAbbūshī, Ibrahim ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ, Ibrahim Tūqān, and Isḥāq Mūsā al-Husseini.
Ibrahim Ṭūqān and Isḥāq Mūsā al-Husseini, both members of prominent families, occupied important positions in their community. Ṭūqān (1905–1941), born in Nablus and educated at the American University of Beirut, wrote anti-Zionist and anti-British poems along with his colleague and friend Muhammad Hasan ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn. Unsparing in his attacks on Arab land speculators, Ṭūqān praised the Arab rioters and acclaimed organized warfare against Jews. He was considered by many to be the most outstanding Arab poet in Palestine. By contrast, Isḥāq Mūsā al-Husseini, a humanist, directed his efforts at social and moral reform: he demanded improvement in the status of Arab women and called for equality, brotherhood, justice, and mutual tolerance. His allegorical novel Mudhak Rarāt Dajāja ("Memoirs of a Hen," 1943), in which he implied that the Arabs should come to peaceful terms with the new Jewish community, drew bitter criticism from Arab nationalists. In short-story writing, Maḥmud Sayf al-Dīn al-Irānī and ʿArif al-ʿAzzūnī were prominent. Both were leftist writers who dealt critically with the political life of the Palestinian Arabs as in al-Irānī's short story "Germs," published in his book Awwal al-Shawt ("The Beginning of the Race," 1938).
There were two other significant groups. One, which aimed at disproving and counterattacking Zionist claims, included Yusuf Haykal, ʿĪsā al-Safarī, Wadī ʿal-Bustānī, and Saʿīd Basīsā, as well as ʿĀrif al-ʿĀrif, who wrote on tribes and cities in Palestine. The second group devoted itself to improving Arab educational standards by compiling good textbooks. Ahmad Ṣāliḥ al-Khālidī and Khalīl al-Sakākīnī were its most prominent members.
With the Arab defeat in 1948, most of the Arab intelligentsia fled the country. They continued their anti-Israel activity outside Israel's borders engendering a new current in Palestinian literature, Adab al-ʿAwda ("the Literature of Return"). Fadwā Ṭūqān and Harun Hāshim Rāshīd were considered the most prominent exponents of this school. The Arab population remaining in Israel after the 1948 war was, in the main, rural. Of the few Arab writers who stayed, most were Communists who, stunned by the Arab defeat, interrupted their literary activities. Two political and social factors, however, advanced and revived Arabic literature in Israel: the Communist Party, and the new Jewish immigration from Iraq (1950–51). Since the British Mandate, some Arab writers had had Communist affiliations, and in 1944 they established the official party organ al-Ittiḥād ("The Union") in Haifa.
The tide of Jewish immigration from Iraq included such writers and poets as Shalom Darwīsh, Salīm Shaʿshūʿ, Avraham Ovadya, Mikhael Murād, Shemuel Moreh, Sasson Somekh, David Ẓemaḥ, and S. al-Kātib (Shalom Katav). Eliyahu Agasi and Meir Ḥaddād also belonged to this category, although they had come to Israel much earlier. The best-known novelists of the group were Ibrahim Mūsā Ibrahim and G. Barshan. They published their work mainly in the weekly literary supplements of the daily al-Yawm ("The Day," 1948–68) and in the weekly Ḥaqīqat al-Amr ("The Truth," 1937–59). However, the role of the Iraqi Jewish writers and poets in the revival of Arabic literature in Israel was necessarily of short duration. Having integrated into Israel's Jewish society, they no longer aimed at pursuing Arabic literature, nor could the Arab literary elite in Israel accept Iraqi Jewish leadership, which they considered alien.
In due course, young Arab poets and writers educated in Israel schools assumed literary leadership. At first, during the early years of the state, their prose and poetry dwelt upon life, love, and nature, and their literary output was weak in form and content. Later, however, such political issues as peace between Israel and her neighbors and Jewish-Arab cooperation in Israel predominated, constituting the subject matter of the periodicals al-Wasīṭ ("The Mediator," 1951–53) and al-Mujtama ʿ ("Society," 1954–59), both edited by Mīshīl Haddād and Jamāl Qaʿwār.
In 1956 two topics gained prominence in Israel Arab literature: the political and social condition of the Israel Arabs and criticism of the Israel authorities. This literature was influenced by rapid changes in the cultural make-up of Israel Arabs, as the result of such factors as the institution of free, compulsory primary education, the rise in the Arab standard of living, freedom of speech and publication, and the activity of the *Histadrut and various, mainly Jewish, political parties among the Arab population. At first, most of the works of Arab writers in Israel were published from 1953 in the Communist monthly al-Jadīd ("Anew"). The situation gradually changed, however, as new journals began regular publication in the late 1950s and in the 1960s. These included *Mapam's al-Fajr ("Dawn"), the Histadrut's al-Hadaf ("The Aim"), Anwār ("Lights"), and Mifgash-Liqāʾ ("Encounter"), a bilingual literary magazine in Hebrew and Arabic. Arabic publishing houses inaugurated by Mapam and the Histadrut encouraged greater local activity in all literary genres. Some Arab writers even began writing in Hebrew.
Arab poets in Israel found themselves in the unique position of living in a liberal, democratic state with which, for national reasons, they were often unable to identify. Some of their poetry, which attained high standards, was dubbed by Arab critics as Adab al-Muqāwama ("Resistance Literature"), because it dealt with the plight of the Palestinian refugees and expressed dissatisfaction with the status of the Arab population in Israel, as well as, sometimes, rebellion, vengeance, and hatred of Jews. Some, more moderate, Arab poets, like their Iraqi Jewish colleagues, e.g., Rāshid Hussein and Jamāl Qaʿwār, dwelt on the advantages of Jewish-Arab peace and cooperation. Stylistically, the poetry was simple and easy to comprehend, with intelligent use of colloquial Arabic, proverbs, and folk adages. Prominent works were Mahmud Darwish's Nihāyat al-Layl ("The End of the Night," 1967) and Samīḥ al Qāsim's Dukhān al-Burkān ("The Smoke of the Volcanoes," 1958), which revealed considerable progress in poetic quality. The poets Rāshid Husseini, Abu Ḥannā, Tawfiq Fayyāẓ, and Ḥannā Ibrahim, all of them nationalists or Communists, also developed a good rhythmic structure, giving expression to themes centered mostly on Arab nationalism. Among the few poets living in Judea and Samaria who continued regular writing and publishing after the *Six-Day War (1967), the foremost was the poetess Fadwā Ṭūqān of Nablus.
The Israel Arab short story has failed to equal the attainments in poetry. Mainly influenced by European and Egyptian literary trends, it was realistic in theme and journalistic in style, dealing with the problems of the Arab minority in Israel, the attitudes of the Israel authorities and Jewish population toward the Arabs, the sufferings of the Palestinian refugees, and the Israel military government. Major writers were Najwā Qaʿwār, Faraj Salmān, and Tawfiq Muʿammar. At the same time, under the influence of modern, progressive Jewish society, a number of other writers, such as Qayṣar Karkabī, Ṭaha M. Ali, and Mustafa Murrār, published short stories criticizing outmoded Arab customs.
Attempts to produce an Arab drama of high standard in Israel have so far been unsuccessful, notwithstanding the efforts of Tawfiq Fayyāẓ and Najwā Qaʿwār. The novel, however, has made considerable progress. In 1958 Tawfiq Muʿammar published his first work, Mudhakkarat Lāji ʾ ("Memoirs of a Refugee"), which deals with the Arab population in Israel after the flight from Haifa in 1948. The most successful novel was ʿAtā Allāh Mansur's Wa- ʿ Ādat Samīra ("And Samira Came Back," 1962), a realistic, colorful story of a young couple whose marriage fails. Other noteworthy novels were Mahmud ʿAbbāsī's Ḥubb bilā Ghad ("Love without Morrow," 1962), Fahd Abu Khaḍra's al-Layl wa-al-Ḥudūd ("The Night and the Border," 1964), and M. ʿAbd al-Qādir Kanaʿna's works.
Writers who favor peace, brotherhood, and cooperation with the Jews seem to refrain from giving expression to their ideas as forcefully as the Communists and extreme nationalists, who increasingly cooperate with each other, especially as their numbers have been augmented since 1967 by writers from Judea and Samaria.
1967–1987. Between 1967 and 1987, and particularly after the Six-Day War (1967), the Palestinian-national factor became more pronounced in Israeli Arab literary works. During this period, poets Tawfiq Zayyad (1929–1994), Taha Muhammad Ali (1931– ), Samih al-Qasim (1939– ), and later Salim Jubran (1941– ) and Siham Daud (1952– ), whose writing became prominent, focused on themes such as the question of national identity, the renewed interaction with the Arab world and the Palestinian community, the outcome of the wars of 1967, 1973, and 1982, the first Intifada (see below), and the sense of discrimination among the Arab minority in Israel.
A rising sense of solidarity and literary cooperation developed during the 1970s and 1980s between Palestinian writers in Israel and their counterparts in the larger Palestinian and Arab world. Palestinian writers and critics began to publish in Arabic periodicals and newspapers in Israel, such as al-Jadid, al-Mawakib, and al-Ittihad. Conversely, Israeli-Arab writers, such as Samih al-Qasim, Emile *Habibi (1921–1996), Zaki Darwish (1941– ), and Riyad Baydas (1960– ) published in Palestinian journals such as al-Karmil, Shu'un Filastiniyya, Filastin al-Thawra, and Balsam. Thus, Israeli Arab writers won the legitimization they had long expected to obtain.
One literary issue remained unchanged since 1948: the relationship of Israeli Arabs to the land. The emphasis shifted from the role of land as a source of livelihood to land as a focus of national and emotional attachment, as was reflected in the works of Samih al-Qasim, Muhammad Naffa' (1939– ), and Riyad Baydas. This trend was strongly reflected in the poetry published following the violent events of "Land Day" on March 30, 1976. In contrast to former years, the land issue has now acquired a new character and became an ethos and a symbol – a national, political, social, and even religious one.
The theme of refugees and infiltrators, which had been central for many Israeli-Arab writers in the 1950s and early 1960s, lost its popularity in the late 1960s, although it still served as the subject of a few short stories after the war of 1967. By the 1970s and 1980s only few writers, like Emile Habibi and Riyad Baydas, still addressed this issue but from a different point of view: the presentation was less ideological and more sentimental and nostalgic.
One of the most prominent phenomena which began to develop during the 1970s and 1980s was the writing of many Israeli Arab writers in Hebrew as well as Arabic. Writers such as Anton Shammas (1950– ), Salman Masaliha (1953– ), Na'im Arayidi (1948– ), Muhammad Hamza Ghanayim (1953– ), Siham Daud, Nida Khoury (1953– ), and Farouq Mawasi (1941– ) became very popular among the Hebrew reading audience. They also translated a significant amount of Arabic literature and fiction into Hebrew, thus contributing to bridge the gap between Jews and Arabs in Israel.
1987–2005. The themes which the literary works of Arab poets and writers dealt with after 1987 continued to range from the narrow circle of socio-economic discrimination against the Arab minority in Israel to the wider issue of the collapse of the Eastern bloc. However, the main topic that preoccupied the literary world of the Arabs in Israel was the Intifada (uprising) in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and the political developments that followed suit.
After the outbreak of the first Intifada (lasting from 1987 to 1993), the declaration of independence by the plo (1988), the signing of the agreements between Israel and the plo (1993–95), and the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan (1994), a sense of euphoria was reflected in the writings of Israeli Arab scholars, who praised the Intifada and enthusiastically supported the Palestinians' aspirations for national independence.
Israeli Arab writers like Riyad Baydas and Samih al-Qasim published their works in a series of Palestinian anthologies called Ibda'at al-Hajar ("The Stone Creations"), which were brought out by the Association of Palestinian Writers in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Similarly, quite a few works written by Israeli Arabs had been published by Filastin al-Thawra, published in Cyprus under the auspices of the plo. The extensive literary activity of Israeli Arabs during the Intifada also found expression in Arab magazines and periodicals in Israel, especially the journal al-Jadid and the literary supplement of the daily al-Ittihad.
However, a more melancholic trend was reflected in the works of Israeli Arab writers after Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination (1995), the rise of the right-wing Binyamin Netanyahu's government in Israel (1996), and especially after the October 2000 events in Galilee (see above). Israeli Arab works were filled with a sense of frustration and despair regarding the chances of realizing the Palestinian community's national aspirations.
The case of Emile Habibi demonstrated the unique and complicated status of the Arabs in Israel during this period. During the late 1960s and early 1970s Habibi became one of the most prominent Israeli Arab writers, who won legitimacy in the Palestinian community and the Arab world and was also praised for his writing skills, which were apparent in his famous novellas The Optimist (1984), Akhtiya (1986), and Saraya, Daughter of the Bad Genie (1991). However, the same Habibi was sharply criticized by many writers in the Arab world, who castigated him for accepting the Israel Prize for literature in 1992. This case demonstrated the ambivalent attitude of the Arab world toward the Arab literary world in Israel.
One trend which became more prominent during the 1990s was the writing of Israeli Arabs in Hebrew only, thus addressing Hebrew readers in general and not only Arabic readers in the Israeli public. One of the best-known Arab writers who represented this trend was Sayid Kashua (1975– ), who published two novellas: Dancing Arabs (2002) and Let it be Morning (2004). These novellas were semi-autobiographical narratives about the struggle of Israeli Arabs in the light of the crisis of assimilation triggered by the October 2000 events.
[Arik Rudnitzky and
Elie Rekhess (2nd ed.)]
The penetration of Bedouin into the Palestine area began in the pre-Islamic period, and continued intermittently until the late 19th century. The Bedouin occupied uninhabited arid regions such as the Negev; marshland such as the Ḥuleh Valley and the Ḥefer Plain; the sand dunes of the Coastal Plain; and the rocky hill country of Allonim-Shepharam. Prior to 1948 there were 80,000 Bedouin in the whole of Palestine, 60,000 of them in the Negev. In early 1970 their number in Israel was 36,800, of whom 26,300 were in the Negev.
Bedouin in the Negev. These Bedouin were only semi-nomadic because of the proximity to settled areas. The region over which they spread extended from the Gulf of Eilat in the south to the Hebron mountains in the east and the settlements of the coastal plain in the west. Their concentrations were large, composed of a number of tribes forming a clan, generally related by blood. They engaged in sheep-rearing and desert agriculture. Frequent years of drought led to long periods of wandering and to raids on permanent settlements.
Under Ottoman rule there was hardly any interference in the internal life of the Bedouin save in times of intertribal warfare. Tribal law courts were established by the Mandatory authorities in the early 1920s. The courts, which met every Tuesday in Beersheba, consisted of three sheikhs who acted as judges and were entitled to impose fines up to lp 200 (£200). Each of the parties in the dispute had the right to propose one judge, and the district commissioner appointed the third. After the establishment of the State of Israel, the tribal courts of law were reestablished in 1954. Nine tribal heads were appointed as judges, with the approval of the minister of the interior. Criminal cases were heard in the regular courts. From the late 1950s, the Bedouin increasingly used the regular courts even in cases involving tribal and family matters, and consequently the tribal courts were abolished in 1962.
Bedouin of Northern Israel. These Bedouin originally came from the Syrian and Transjordanian deserts. They were fragments of tribes which split for financial reasons or because of blood feuds, and they settled in uncultivated areas. Unlike the Bedouin of the Negev, their groupings are small, the area of their wanderings contained by rural settlements. The influence of their surroundings has been considerable: some have become cowherds, others small farmers or hired laborers.
Government Activities. Clinics and schools were opened by the Israel government in areas of Bedouin settlement. New economic opportunities were developed for the Bedouin, even among groups that were previously entirely nomadic. This contact with new settlements and enterprises wrought important changes in the Bedouin way of life. Many abandoned sheepherding and camel driving and took employment as building and agricultural laborers or in various services. As a result, the Bedouin gradually exchanged their tents for a more permanent habitation, often huts of tin or wood. The dependence of the individual upon the tribal sheikh also diminished. To encourage the process of permanent settlement, the government set up a number of villages for Bedouin in the north in the early 1960s, and planned three rural settlements in the Negev. Some of the Negev Bedouin found their main source of livelihood in the Ramleh-Lydda area. Housing quarters built for them in Ramleh were occupied in the mid-1960s.
Bedouin of Judea and Samaria. According to the 1961 Jordanian census there were 14,947 Bedouin in the area west of the Jordan River. The Arab al-Turkumān tribe, which lives in the Dothan Valley, derives most of its income from land cultivation, also raising sheep and cattle. Of the clans living on the edge of the Judean Desert, the largest is the Ta ʿ amra clan. Part of the clan has begun to settle permanently on a wide area of land. They earn their livelihood mainly from sheep rearing, some agriculture, and as hired laborers. The Jordanian government provided a regional school for them.
Bedouin of Sinai. The number of Bedouin in Sinai and the Gaza Strip was estimated at 60,000. The Suez-Wadi Akaba route was traditionally used by pilgrims to Mecca, and many tribes gathered in this area. With the opening of the Suez Canal (1869), however, the tribes moved northward, and El-Arish became the Bedouin center in northern Sinai. Bedouin in the Gaza Strip area herd flocks, practice desert cultivation, and engage in fishing along the coast. The Bedouin in the Sheikh Zuwayd area produce salt from a natural source there. In central Sinai the tribes are still nomadic, raising camels and goats as well as engaging in smuggling, and the law of the desert still prevails. During the 1960s many economic and social changes took place in southern Sinai. The expansion of the manganese mines and oil plants opened up employment opportunities for the Bedouin as hired laborers, and they began to settle in the region. The heads of tribes and others owned cars in which the laborers were taken to work and provisions brought into the desert from the outside. After the Six-Day War (1967), the Israel government employed these Bedouin in relief works.
1970–2005. In 2004 the Bedouin population in Israel numbered approximately 220,000 inhabitants: 145,000 in the Negev in Southern Israel; 65,000 in Galilee in Northern Israel; and a small portion, some 10,000, in central Israel.
Since the establishment of the state of Israel, the Bedouin population has increased tenfold: the population in the Negev increased from 15,000 (1948) to 145,000 (2004), and the population in Galilee increased from 6,500 (1948) to 65,000 (2004). With an unparalleled 5.5% annual growth rate, this population doubles itself every 15 years. It is estimated that by the year 2020 the Bedouin population in the Negev will number approximately 300,000. The Bedouin population is also the youngest in Israeli society: About 55% of the Bedouin are younger than 14.
Land Disputes with the State. For most of Israel's history, the Bedouin in the Negev have been engaged in a dispute with the government over possession of land and housing rights. Between 700,000 to 1,000,000 dunams are under dispute. Land possession and ownership among the Bedouin were traditionally determined by internal custom, which did not involve any written deeds of sales or ownerships. Israel, which sought control over the area, did not accept the unwritten understandings between clans as constituting a legal right.
The government followed the following policy guidelines regarding the land issues:
1) Establishment of seven government-planned Bedouin townships since 1968 (see below).
2) Settlement of disputes by compensation and allocation of alternative land.
3) Demolition of illegal housing in encampments (see below, "Unrecognized Villages").
The Urbanization of the Bedouin in the Negev. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the Israeli government initiated a program to resettle the Bedouin population in the Negev in seven permanent townships: Tel Sheva (founded in 1968), Rahat (1972), Ar'ara ba-Negev (1982), Kseifa (1982), Segev Shalom (1984), Hura (1990), and Laqiya (1990). At the end of 2004, these townships had 93,300 residents: Rahat, which is considered the Bedouin "capital" in the Negev, had 37,400 residents; Tel Sheva – 12,500; Ar'ara ba-Negev – 11,700; Kseifa – 9,400; Hura – 8,800; Laqiya – 7,600; and Segev Shalom – 5,900.
These townships rank at the bottom of the government's socio-economic index of localities, making them the poorest in Israel. Some experts studying Bedouin society point out that the planning of the seven Bedouin localities was a failure due to insufficient land allocations, restrictive planning regulations, insufficient local government budgets, absence of government jobs offered for the inhabitants, inferior education and health level as compared to neighboring Jewish localities, and inadequate social and recreational services.
Moreover, in exchange for a plot in one of these townships, the Bedouin were required to settle their claims to expropriated lands. As a result, many of them were reluctant to abandon their traditional lands and therefore refused relocation to these townships.
Bedouin of Galilee. Most of the Galilee Bedouin live in 20 of their own permanent settlements: four of these settlements – Basmat Tab'un, Wadi Hamam, Bir al-Maksour, and Ibtin – were established by the government in the 1960s, and the rest were gradually recognized by the government during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Some 17,000 Bedouin live in mixed Arab localities (such as the cities of Shefaram and Abu Sinan, which have Muslim, Christian, Druze, and Bedouin communities), and only 3,000 Bedouin live in scattered and rural communities which are unrecognized by the government.
The Unrecognized Villages. The term "unrecognized villages" applies to those Arab communities in the Negev and Galilee that existed before the establishment of the State of Israel, but have never been incorporated into designated planning frameworks and thus remain "unrecognized" for planning and permit purposes.
This means that these villages, which range in size from 500 to 5,000 inhabitants, lack master plans for development, and without such plans, no building permits are granted for any type of construction. These villages lack recognized local governing bodies and receive limited or no government services such as schools, running water, electricity, and sewage and garbage collection. They also lack public services, such as an educational framework for preschool children, elementary and high schools, paved roads, public transportation, telephone connections, and community medical facilities. In the Negev, there are approximately 45 unrecognized villages, none of which are marked on government maps.
There are contradictory estimates regarding the exact Bedouin population of the unrecognized villages in the Negev. While the Ministry of Interior claims that some 55,000 residents live in the unrecognized villages, the Regional Council for the Unrecognized Bedouin Villages in the Negev (rcuv) maintains that these villages have somewhat over 75,000 residents.
The rcuv was established in 1988 as a Bedouin advocacy group, consisting of many local committees representing the Bedouin population in the Negev. Another group which was founded in 1988 is the Association of Forty, which represents the unrecognized villages in Galilee, as well as those in the Negev.
bedouin of central israel
The Bedouin population in central Israel has emerged from two types of migration waves from the Negev. The first was pasture migration, which began in 1957 when the Negev was struck by a six-year drought. This migration led to the establishment of dozens of Bedouin settlements, spreading from Kiryat Gat in the south to Mount Carmel in the north.
The second kind was labor migration, especially by Bedouin families that lacked land and livestock and were looking for work. That migration process, which occurred in the period between 1954 and 1970, created Bedouin centers in the mixed Jewish-Arab cities of Ramleh and Lod and in some Arab localities in the Small Triangle area, such as Taybeh and Kafr Qassem.
[Arik Rudnitzky and
Elie Rekhess (2nd ed.)]
arab population: D. Peretz, Israel and the Palestine Arabs (1958); W. Schwarz, The Arabs in Israel (1959); S. Jiryis, The Arabs in Israel 1948 – 1966 (1968); S. Teveth, The Cursed Blessing (1970); M. Krajzman, La Minorité Arabe en Israel (1968); Y. Ben Porath, The Arab Labor Forces in Israel (1966); A. Cohen, Arab Border Villages in Israel, A Comparative Study of Continuity and Change (1965); Y. Lifshitz, Ha-Hitpatḥut ha-Kalkalit ba-Shetaḥim ha-Muḥzakim 1967–1969 (1970); Misrad Rosh ha-Memshalah, Lishkat ha-Yo'eẓ le-Inyenei Aravim, Ha-Ḥevrah ha-Aravit be-Israel (1968); Z. Vilnay, Ha-Mi'utim be-Israel (1959); O. Standel, Mi'utim (1970). arab population: after 1970: A. Har-Even (ed.), Shivyon ve-Shiluv, Din ve-Heshbon Hitkaddemut Shenati 1993 – 1994; S. Osatzky-Lazar and A. Ghanem, Sekirot al ha-Aravim be-Yisrael, 11–16 (Sept. 1993–Jan. 1995); O. Masalha, Ha-Aravim Ezreḥei Yisrael ve-Idan ha-Shalom (1994); A. Gonen and R. Hamasi, Ha-Aravim be-Yisrael be-Ikvot Kinun ha-Shalom (1993). bedouin: E. Marx, Bedouin of the Negev (1967), incl. bibl.; C.S. Jarvis, Yesterday and Today in Sinai (1933); A. el Aref, Bedouin Lore, Law and Legend (1944); idem, Al-Qaḍa' Bayn al-Badū (1933); M. von Oppenheim, Die Beduinen, 2 (1943), 3–132; Y. Ginat, Ha-Bedu'im (Heb., 1966); E. Epstein, Ha-Bedu'im: Ḥayyeihem u-Minhageihem (1933); T. Ashkenazi, Tribus semi-nomades de la Palestine du Nord (1938); A. Musil, The Manners and Customs of the Rwala Bedouins (1928). arab culture: Moreh, in: Middle Eastern Studies, 3:3 (Apr. 1967); idem, in: Ha-Mizraḥ he-Ḥadash, 9 (1958), 26–39; 14 (1964), 296–309; A.L. Tibawi, in: mej, 17 (1963), 507–26; Y. Shimoni, Arviyei Ereẓ Yisrael (1947), 396–415; Al-Adāb, 16 (1968), no. 4 (a special issue on the literature of resistance); N. al-Din al-Asad, al-Ittijāhāt al-Adabiyya al-Ḥaditha fi Filasṭin wa-al-Urdun (1957); idem, al-Shir al-Hadīth fi Filasṭin wa-al-Urdun (1961). add bibliography: arab population 1995–2005: Central Bureau of Statistics website: www.cbs.gov.il; The Arab Population of Israel 2003, Statistilie no. 50, Israel Central Bureau of Statistics; The Arab Population in Israel, Statistilie no. 27, Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (Nov. 2002); E. Rekhess, "The Arabs of Israel after Oslo: Localization of the National Struggle," in: Israel Studies, 7:4 (Fall 2002), 1–44; idem, "The Arabs in Israel," in: B. Maddy-Weitzman (ed.), Middle East Contemporary Survey, 19 (1995), 375–80; idem, ibid., 20 (1996), 392–400; idem, "The Arabs in Israel," in: B. Maddy-Weitzman (ed.), Middle East Contemporary Survey, 21 (1997), 442–49; idem, "The Arabs in Israel," in: B. Maddy-Weitzman (ed.), Middle East Contemporary Survey, 22 (1998), 349–55; idem, "The Arabs in Israel," in: Bruce Maddy-Weitzman (ed.), Middle East Contemporary Survey, 23 (1999), 322–30; E. Rekhess, "The Arabs in Israel," in: B. Maddy-Weitzman (ed.), Middle East Contemporary Survey, 24 (2000), 293–301; Identity Crisis: Israel and its Arab Citizens, icg Middle East Report, no. 25, Amman/Brussels (March 4, 2004); N. Rouhana, N. Saleh, and N. Sultany, "Voting Without Voice: the Vote of the Palestinian Minority in the 16th Knesset Elections," in: A. Arian and M. Shamir (eds.), The Elections in Israel 2003 (Heb., 2004), 311–48; E. Rekhess, "The Islamic Movement Following the Municipal Elections: Rising Political Power?" in: E. Rekhess and S. Ozacky-Lazar (eds.), The Municipal Elections in the Arab and Druze Sector (2003): Clans, Sectarianism and Political Parties (2005), 33–41. arabic literature: A. Elad, Ami, "The Literature of the Arabs in Israel (1948–1993)," Ha-Mizraḥ he-Ḥadash, 33 (1993), 1–8; A. Elad-Bouskila (ed.), The Other Rooms: Three Palestinian Novellas (2001); A. Elad-Bouskila, Modern Palestinian Literature and Culture (1999); M. Ghanayim, "Arabic Fiction in Israel: New Trends and Developments," in: Ha-Mizrah he-Hadash, 33 (1993), 27–45; Sh. Moreh, "The Development of Arabic Poetry in Israel," in: Ha-Mizraḥ he-Ḥadash, 33 (1993), 11–26; M. Sen, "Voices in Conflict: The Language of Israeli-Arab Identity," in: Yale Israel Journal, 4 (summer 2004), 15–23; S. Somekh, "The Optimistic and the Pessimistic," in: Ereẓ Aḥeret, 16 (May–June 2003), 64–67 (Heb.). bedouin: E. Levinson and H. Yogev (eds.), 2004 Statistical Yearbook of the Negev Bedouin (2004); I. Abu-Saad and H. Lithwick, A Way Ahead: A Development Plan for the Bedouin Towns in the Negev (2000); G. Kaufman, "The Bedouin Population in the Galilee: Processes and Changes, from Nomadic Existence to Permanent Settlement, 1963–2002," in: Bitaḥon Le'ummi (National Security), 4 (April 2005), 77–98 (Heb.); Y. Ben-David, The Bedouin in Israel (July 1999); Ministry of Foreign Affairs website: www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Society_&_Culture/Bedouin.html; Second Class: Discrimination against Palestinian Arab Children in Israel's Schools (Sept. 2001); Human Rights Watch website: www.hrw.org/reports/2001/israel2/israel0901–03.htm; I. Abu-Saad, "Education as a Tool of Expulsion from the Unrecognized Villages," in: Adalah's Newsletter, vol. 8 (Dec. 2004); 'A. Abu-Rabi'a, A Bedouin Century: Education and Development among the Negev Tribes in the 20thCentury (2001).