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Not Just a Soccer Game

Colonialism and Conflict among Palestinians in Israel

Magid Shihade

Publication Year: 2011

On April 11, 1981, two neighboring Palestinian Arab towns competed in a soccer match. Kafr Yassif had a predominantly Christian population, and Julis was a predominantly Druze town. When a fight broke out between fans, the violence quickly escalated, leaving a teenager from each town dead. In the days that followed the game, a group from Julis retaliated with attacks on the residents of Kafr Yassif. Shihade experienced that soccer match and the ensuing violence firsthand, leaving him plagued by questions about why the Israeli authorities did not do more to stop the violence and what led to the conflict between these two neighboring Arab towns. Drawing on interviews, council archives, and media reports, Shihade explores the incident and subsequent attack on Kafr Yassif in the context of prevailing theories of ethnic and communal conflict. He also discusses the policies of the Israeli state toward its Arab citizens. Countering Orientalist emphases on Arab and Islamic cultures as inherently unruly and sectarian, Shihade challenges existing theories of communal violence, highlighting the significance of colonialism’s legacy, modernity, and state structures. In addition, he breaks new ground by documenting and analyzing the use of a traditional Arab conflict resolution method, sulha, which has received little sustained attention from scholars in the West.

Published by: Syracuse University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

I would like to thank my advising committee, Resat Kasaba, Ellis Goldberg, Anthony Gill, and especially my mentor, Daniel Chirot, who despite differences in our political views supported my work. His help and advice have been very important to this project. ...

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Introduction - A Soccer Game Turns Violent

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pp. xi-xxv

On April 11, 1981, a soccer game took place between teams from two neighboring Palestinian Arab towns in Galilee; in northern Israel it was Kafr Yassif, with a predominantly Christian (55 percent) population, and Julis, a predominantly Druze town.1 The match took place in Kafr Yassif, and it would have decided which team between the two would proceed to the upper soccer league in Israel. ...

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1 Violent Encounters under the Eyes of State Authorities

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pp. 1-47

This chapter will provide a summary of the events that took place in Kafr Yassif in April 1981, based on interviews, council archives, and media reports. It covers aspects of information gleaned from my interviews with eyewitnesses and local leaders in the village, as well as leaders from the region who were involved in the sulha, that is, the conflict management process, between the two villages. ...

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2 Explaining Conflict and Violence: A Theoretical Framework

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pp. 48-74

The aims of this chapter are twofold. First, we will discuss dominant theories of ethnic and communal conflict and violence in order to see if they can explain what actually happened in Kafr Yassif in 1981 and the broader phenomenon of communal violence among Arabs in Israel. Second, the chapter aims to make an intervention in the larger literature on communal and ethnic violence and the field of conflict management. ...

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3 Anatomy of Communities: Tradition and History

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pp. 75-111

This chapter explores the history of the two communities involved in the soccer-game conflict in Kafr Yassif, the Christians and Druze, and it provides a larger picture of the place where the community lives and where the conflict took place. Furthermore, the chapter will also discuss the historical context of the Palestinian Arab community in Israel. ...

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4 Anatomy of the State: Modernity and Structure

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pp. 112-138

This chapter will discuss the history and the policies of the Israeli state toward its Arab Palestinian citizens in order to evaluate claims about the 1981 event being embedded in the larger context of state policies made by members of the Palestinian Arab community in Kafr Yassif. The people I interviewed considered the attack on Kafr Yassif as only one example...

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5 Conclusion: Violence, Modernity, and Culture Revisited

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pp. 139-156

In concluding this book, it is important to emphasize again that violence is not specific to any region, and that no society, religion, or political system is immune from violence, despite the pervasiveness of cultural explanations linking violence to specific groups and communities. In the political reality of modernity, it is the state that is the sole body that is...


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pp. 159


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pp. 161-171


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pp. 173-175

E-ISBN-13: 9780815651116
E-ISBN-10: 0815651112
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815632566
Print-ISBN-10: 0815632568

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2011