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Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy

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Palestinians in Israel considers a key issue ignored by the official 'peace process' and most mainstream commentators: that of the growing Palestinian minority within Israel itself. What the Israeli right-wing calls 'the demographic problem' Ben White identifies as 'the democratic problem' which goes to the heart of the conflict. Israel defines itself not as a state of its Palestinians in Israel considers a key issue ignored by the official 'peace process' and most mainstream commentators: that of the growing Palestinian minority within Israel itself. What the Israeli right-wing calls 'the demographic problem' Ben White identifies as 'the democratic problem' which goes to the heart of the conflict. Israel defines itself not as a state of its citizens, but as a Jewish state, despite the substantial and increasing Palestinian population. White demonstrates how the consistent emphasis on privileging one ethno-religious group over another cannot be seen as compatible with democratic values and that, unless addressed, will undermine any attempts to find a lasting peace. Individual case studies are used to complement this deeply informed study into the great, unspoken contradiction of Israeli democracy. It is a pioneering contribution which will spark debate amongst all those concerned with a resolution to the Israel/Palestine conflict.


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Palestinians in Israel considers a key issue ignored by the official 'peace process' and most mainstream commentators: that of the growing Palestinian minority within Israel itself. What the Israeli right-wing calls 'the demographic problem' Ben White identifies as 'the democratic problem' which goes to the heart of the conflict. Israel defines itself not as a state of its Palestinians in Israel considers a key issue ignored by the official 'peace process' and most mainstream commentators: that of the growing Palestinian minority within Israel itself. What the Israeli right-wing calls 'the demographic problem' Ben White identifies as 'the democratic problem' which goes to the heart of the conflict. Israel defines itself not as a state of its citizens, but as a Jewish state, despite the substantial and increasing Palestinian population. White demonstrates how the consistent emphasis on privileging one ethno-religious group over another cannot be seen as compatible with democratic values and that, unless addressed, will undermine any attempts to find a lasting peace. Individual case studies are used to complement this deeply informed study into the great, unspoken contradiction of Israeli democracy. It is a pioneering contribution which will spark debate amongst all those concerned with a resolution to the Israel/Palestine conflict.

30 review for Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Yonatan

    Concise yet wealth of static knowledge about colonial origins of Israeli state and collection of past, present forms of segregation, discrimination and absorption of Palestinian life.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Malcolm

    One of the most unsettling aspects of recent discussions of politics in Palestine is the charge the Israel is an apartheid state; for many people this is a step too far, both because of the circumstances of Israel’s creation and because of the equation of apartheid with South Africa between 1948 and 1992, and most especially what was called ‘petty’ apartheid. In this excellent and succinct analysis of life for Palestinians in Israel, Ben White sets out to explore and demonstrate the accuracy of One of the most unsettling aspects of recent discussions of politics in Palestine is the charge the Israel is an apartheid state; for many people this is a step too far, both because of the circumstances of Israel’s creation and because of the equation of apartheid with South Africa between 1948 and 1992, and most especially what was called ‘petty’ apartheid. In this excellent and succinct analysis of life for Palestinians in Israel, Ben White sets out to explore and demonstrate the accuracy of this charge. The starting point must be the meaning in international law of apartheid: the UN, in 1973, defined it as “inhuman acts for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group and systematically oppressing them”. On this ground alone and noting that Israel is defined in ethno-nationalist terms – as a Jewish state – there seems to be a case to answer here, as explored in White’s earlier book Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide. Alongside the significance of this debate about apartheid, White has also highlighted the need to focus on a group of Palestinians often glossed in discussions of the ‘Israel/Palestine’ question, Palestinian citizens of Israel. He does this by highlighting four fundamental questions. The first is whether it is possible to be democratic while maintaining an exclusive ethno-nationalist character. At the centre of this issue is two factors; that Israeli-ness is a question of citizenship, not nationality – nationality is identified as Jewish or some other ethnic association; there is no such thing as Israeli nationality. The second aspect is that Israel identifies itself as the nation for Jews worldwide but denies citizenship to all those born within its historic borders. This question is then linked to the question of land ownership and control, including questions of the legal régime of Palestinian dispossession, of the systematic and continuing dispossession of Bedouin in the Naqab (Negev) and of the dominance of non-governmental Zionist organisations such as the World Zionist Organisation and Jewish National Fund in Israel’s system of land governance. The third question shaping the conditions of life for Palestinian citizens of Israel is the one often called the ‘demographic threat’; a growing discourse within Israel of the ‘threat’ of Palestinian population growth, despite the fact that the Palestinian population of Israel has remained at 16-17% since 1948. This question is more that there are parts of Israel – Galilee, the Naqab and the area known as ‘the Triangle’ – where the Palestinian population is notably higher, leading to demands to ‘develop’ these areas to increase the Jewish population in these areas. This then leads to systematic discrimination against Palestinians in these areas, and systematic discrimination more widely including in public sector funding and development funds, education and health care. Exploration of these four issues then leads White to consider the problems of effecting change within the Israeli political system and the need rethink the conventional models of solution, in part because the dominant ideas such as the ‘two state solution’ (not, in my view, a way to deal with the heart of the problem) does not address the issue of segregation and discrimination facing Palestinian citizens of Israel. White, as a supporter of the BDS movement, takes us back to that campaign’s three basic demands: 1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall 2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and 3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. and in doing so takes us back to the fundamental contradictions and problems of Middle Eastern politics. This will not be an easy read for many who have bought the line of that Israel is a democracy (or as some claim, the only democracy in the Middle East) but it is an excellent, sharp insight into and introduction of the conditions of life for Palestinians in Israel and as such deserves a wide readership (and what’s more, it is less than 100 pages).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rasha Yousif

    This book was recommended to me by a Palestinian author as I wanted to educate myself on Palestinian affairs. Ben White emphasized on the human side of the Palestine crisis and how the occupation have affected Palestinians over the years. This book highlighted the major problems facing Palestinians in occupied territories like discrimination, segregation, racism and loss of identity in addition to their struggle to find jobs, schooling, mobility within their towns and the fight for their lands. This book was recommended to me by a Palestinian author as I wanted to educate myself on Palestinian affairs. Ben White emphasized on the human side of the Palestine crisis and how the occupation have affected Palestinians over the years. This book highlighted the major problems facing Palestinians in occupied territories like discrimination, segregation, racism and loss of identity in addition to their struggle to find jobs, schooling, mobility within their towns and the fight for their lands. This book is a must read for anyone living in the middle east and for anyone interested to know about Palestinian affairs.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    White demonstrates how the consistent emphasis on privileging one ethno-religious group over another cannot be compatible with democratic values and that, unless addressed, it will undermine any attempts to find a lasting peace.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Arron

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Long

  7. 4 out of 5

    Freddie

  8. 5 out of 5

    Endi Dalimunthe

  9. 4 out of 5

    Saad

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dafne Benbanaste

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bram

  12. 4 out of 5

    Harald

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

  14. 5 out of 5

    Haneen Saleh

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kowther Qashou

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stockfish

  17. 5 out of 5

    Aleksandra

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mrs Sara Linton

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

  20. 5 out of 5

    Simon Wood

  21. 5 out of 5

    Hiam T

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eivind Alexander

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rizwan Niaz Raiyan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Jacobs

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brynn

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marcy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Middlethought

  28. 4 out of 5

    Abdallah Abdelhadi

  29. 4 out of 5

    Luiz Otávio Ortigão

  30. 5 out of 5

    Riccardo Sina

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