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Coffins on Our Shoulders

The Experience of the Palestinian Citizens of Israel

Dan Rabinowitz

Publication Year: 2005

This highly original historical and political analysis of the Arab-Israeli conflict combines the unique perspectives of two prominent segments of the Middle Eastern puzzle: Israeli Jews and the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Written jointly by an Israeli anthropologist and a Palestinian family therapist born weeks apart to two families from Haifa, Coffins on Our Shoulders merges the personal and the political as it explores the various stages of the conflict, from the 1920s to the present. The authors weave vivid accounts and vignettes of family history into a sophisticated multidisciplinary analysis of the political drama that continues to unfold in the Middle East. Offering an authoritative inquiry into the traumatic events of October 2000, when thirteen Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed by Israeli police during political demonstrations, the book culminates in a radical and thought-provoking blueprint for reform that few in Israel, in the Arab world, and in the West can afford to ignore.

Published by: University of California Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

...The idea to write this book came up before the rift that opened between Israel and the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and inside Israel in September 2000. When we began working on the manuscript, few believed that the arena it describes could deteriorate so quickly and turn into the dangerously bleeding wound that it has become in recent years. Coauthoring a book, a complicated task under any circumstances, required in our case the spanning of interpersonal, cross-gender, crosscultural, and cross-ethnonational perspectives...

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pp. 1-18

...In late June 2000 some fourteen hundred youths, teachers, clerics, proud parents, and other family relations packed the main auditorium for the annual graduation ceremony. As they took their seats, the school choir formed on stage and started singing. The first song was “Mawtini” (My homeland). Written in the 1930s by Ibrahim Tukan, “Mawtini” has major emotional...

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Chapter One

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pp. 19-40

...He was not alone there. Other members of his extended family from Yaabad and other villages in the northern part of the West Bank had settled in Haifa before. His aunt, who had married a man from the neighboring village of Keri, offered him a room in her apartment on Stanton Street in downtown Haifa, near the Shabib Café and the port. Haifa was a natural choice for a young man of Aarif’s...

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Chapter Two

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pp. 41-62

...The Abu-Shamlas reached Acre as part of a continuous stream of displaced Palestinians the day it was captured by the Israeli forces. The men were rounded up and arrested. Aarif and his son Mohammad, who at thirteen looked older than his age, were no exception. For three long months Maryam turned up every morning at the police headquarters to plead for her son until she finally convinced the officers in charge to let him go. Most men, including...

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Chapter Three

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pp. 63-98

...The neighborhood children whom Muhammad Ali Taha addresses in this verse are Palestinians born after al-Nakbah (the catastrophe) of 1948. The painful poem is a reminder of the dreadful reality that befell their nation following that war. Having lost control of their territorial assets and livelihoods, the Palestinians were now in danger of having their heritage and sense of identity eroded too...

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Chapter Four

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pp. 99-139

...The eruption in late September 2000 of Intifadat al-Aqsa was an event of historic proportion. Unlike the outbreak of the first intifada in December 1987, which came on the backdrop of a prolonged stalemate, Intifadat al- Aqsa was a reaction to concrete initiatives and processes. Essentially, it was the Palestinian response to the fundamental flaws of the political developments known as the Oslo process that had shaped their lives since the beginning of the 1990s...

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Chapter Five

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pp. 140-166

...In March 2000 a panel of Supreme Court judges headed by Chief Justice Aharon Barak delivered a precedent-setting ruling. The case in point involved a young Palestinian family named Qadan. The family, a couple and their three young children, applied in 1995 to buy a plot of land and build their home in Katzir, a suburban settlement established by the Jewish Agency a few years earlier in Wadi Aara, near Um al-Fahim...

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Chapter Six

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pp. 167-184

...The debate regarding Palestinian citizens no longer involves political extremes. It takes place in the mainstream, invoking concepts and configurations that often confuse and conflate the Zionist “left” and “right.” Moderate right-wingers in Israel are sometimes more committed to liberal policies than are the Zionist left, the latter’s image as the voice of reason and enlightenment notwithstanding. During his first months in office as prime minister, the Likud leader Ariel Sharon...


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pp. 185-200


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pp. 201-212

About the Authors

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pp. 213-214


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pp. 215-221

Production Notes

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p. 222-222

E-ISBN-13: 9780520938960
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520245570

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2005