Widely regarded as expert in techniques of surveillance and political control, Israel has been successful in controlling a native population for a long time. Despite tremendous challenges, it has maintained a tight grip over a large Palestinian population in the territories it occupied in the 1967 war. Moreover, it has effectively contained the Palestinian minority inside its 1948 borders. This book discusses the foundation of an Israeli discourse about the Palestinian minority, which Israeli leaders called birour or clarification, and the circumstances of its emergence and crystallization. It talks about the policy of constructing the Palestinians both as non-Jews and as an assortment of insular minorities. The fate of this minority was not only an Israeli internal affair but also an issue of concern to the international community. An analysis of the legal and institutional frameworks, and the role of state power in categorizing the Palestinians, follows. The book also analyses the ways state control and surveillance were implemented at the level of the locality. The book highlights the way state educational policy not just fostered the segmentation described earlier but promoted among students and educators. It then takes up the question of political rights and their meaning under the rule of Military Government. It concludes with personal reflections on the thousands of minutes, protocols, reports, plans and personal messages.
MUP FINAL PROOF – <STAGE>, 08/19/2013, SPi
Widely regarded as an expert in techniques of surveillance and political
control, Israel has been successful in controlling a native population for a long
time. Despite tremendous challenges, it has maintained a tight grip over a
large Palestinian population in the territories it occupied in the 1967 War.
Moreover, it has effectively contained the Palestinianminority inside its 1948
borders. Although members of the latter group were granted Israeli citizenship, through various policies, they have been
which remained are inhabited by Druze and two
villages by Circassians (ibid.). These authoritative explanations clarify the circumstance which made the Palestinians’ presence in Israel possible. But they
hardly support the theses of either Morris or Cohen.
Israel’s willingness to tolerate a large Palestinianminority was tested in one
case. An Egyptian initiative which was discussed at the end of the war proposed the transfer of the Gaza strip with its population to Israel, a move rejected
by Israel – ‘... we preferred to give up the Gaza strip and not to increase the
through structural determinants and disciplinary practices.
In 1958, a decade after the state’s establishment, a comprehensive plan of
governance was laid down. Its principles continued, with some elaborations
and insertions, to constitute the basis of Israeli policy towards the Palestinianminority during and after the discussed period. These guidelines were reiterated in 1968 and seem to have acquired a long life, as they might have
persisted until 1991.
8/19/2013 2:32:26 PM
MUP FINAL PROOF – <STAGE>, 08/19/2013, SPi
Department, the police and the General Security Services (Shin Bet). This
synchronization also reflected the Mapai leadership’s view of the overlap
between the state and Mapai goals.
The second decade: the first comprehensive plan1
Almost ten years after the establishment of the state, a committee composed of
central figures in SCA was established to study and analyse the state’s strategy
and goals towards the Palestinianminority and to present a comprehensive
plan for dealing with it. It was headed by Reuven Barkatt (a leading figure of
Mapai in the Histadrut and the
comprehensive plan on 20
May 1960 to solve myriad aspects of the Palestinianminority’s status in Israel,
particularly in education. In the section of education, as well as in the amendments introduced to it and the ensuing discussions which were held with
those in charge on surveillance, he addressed many of the issues which were
discussed previously. His approach, dubbed ‘integration’, was modelled on the
surveillance methods which were employed in mixed settings – such as the
teachers’ union – namely to integrate Palestinians in a joint Jewish–Arab system in which Jews
’s citizens have to be restricted to
very few rights to sustain his case. Measures which discriminate against the
Palestinianminority in Israel range from ones enshrined in laws to those
embedded in the regulations and development programmes of government
agencies. Some operate indirectly, by restricting certain benefits to military
veterans which disqualifies Palestinians because they are not permitted to serve
in the armed forces. Others operate through the state’s allocation of funds for
infrastructure. Palestinian communities ‘are almost always excluded from
population management, this however is not carried out in a flagrant breach of their citizens’
rights. Meanwhile the disciplinary measures and the sovereign power which
are embodied in the emergency regulations and which were practised by the
Military Government are at odds with the notion of citizenship rights.
Unmindful of this contradiction in the political experience of the Palestinianminority, many social scientists have classified Israel, since its foundation, as
democracy (e.g. Dahl, 1971; Powell, 1982; Lijphart, 1984, 1994; Dowty, 1999;
Gavison, 1999) by referring
official positions after 1948, they became the executors of the official policy towards the Palestinians.
Subdividing after 1948
In 1955, three years after the Israeli leaders’ realization that a Palestinianminority
would stay in the country for the foreseeable future, a new assemblage of village
files had already been put together, including files for the tiniest villages such as
Khirbet Al-Byar in the Triangle whose inhabitants numbered seventy-five persons (‘An Evaluation of the Situation: Khirbet Al-Byar’, n.d.). The structure of
these files was modelled on the old
and identity, besides its political ends, has been an essential tool of surveillance and political control. In the following section, I shall discuss how,
through various state practices, the Palestinians were constructed as non-Jews.
It will be followed by their construction as an assortment of minorities.
Palestinians as non-Jews
As early as 1952, Israeli leaders began to realize that they might have to rule a
Palestinianminority – unwelcome citizens – for many years to come and, maybe,
forever (chapter 1). However, their relationship with the Palestinians had a