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Displaced at Home

Ethnicity and Gender among Palestinians in Israel

Rhoda Ann Kanaaneh, Isis Nusair

Publication Year: 2010

Groundbreaking essays by Palestinian women scholars on the lives of Palestinians within the state of Israel. Most media coverage and research on the experience of Palestinians focuses on those living in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, while the sizable minority of Palestinians living within Israel rarely garners significant academic or media attention. Offering a rich and multidimensional portrait of the lived realities of Palestinians within the state of Israel, Palestinians in Israel Revisited gathers a group of Palestinian women scholars who present unflinching critiques of the complexities and challenges inherent in the lives of this understudied but important minority within Israel. The essays here engage topics ranging from internal refugees and historical memory to women’s sexuality and the resistant possibilities of hip hop culture among young Palestinians. Unique in the collection is sustained attention to gender concerns, which have tended to be subordinated to questions of nationalism, statehood, and citizenship. The first collection of its kind in English, Palestinians in Israel Revisited presents on-the-ground examples of the changing political, social and economic conditions of Palestinians in Israel, and examines how global, national, and local concerns intersect and shape their daily lives.

Published by: State University of New York Press

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xiii

In 1948 when Palestinians found that, as Honaida Ghanim puts it so well, a border had brutally crossed them, they could never have imagined how profoundly their lives would diverge. The new border known as the Green Line separated the minority who managed to remain in villages and cities within the new State of Israel from the rest of the territory that had been ...

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pp. xv-xvi

The idea for this collection began at an informal gathering of five friends, all doctoral students or recent graduates and all Palestinians from “inside.” We had gathered for lunch during the 2005 Middle East Studies Association meeting to catch up on each other’s news and research. Our conversation was so interesting it seemed obvious that we should organize a panel ...

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pp. 1-18

Johayna Hussein worked hard for twenty-nine years in the Israeli Ministry of Health. She was recognized for her excellent job performance with a prize awarded by the director general of the ministry for best employee. Despite her qualifications, years of service, and dedication to her work, she hit the glass ceiling at the mid-level position of Regional Inspector of Family ...


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1. Political Mobilization of Palestinians in Israel: The al-’Ard Movement

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pp. 21-38

In this chapter, I explore the history of al-’Ard (The Land, hereafter referred to as al-’Ard or the movement), a political movement established in 1959 by a group of young nationalist/pan-Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel. Al-’Ard remained active from 1959 until 1965, when it was banned by the Israeli government and many of its activists were imprisoned or exiled. I explore ...

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2. A Good Arab in a Bad House? Unrecognized Villagers in the Israeli Military

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pp. 39-52

Ishmael served in the Israeli border patrol, in the police force, as a political analyst for the military and as a foreign service trainee at the Israeli Embassy in the United States. He regularly tours university campuses in the United States. to lecture about his love of Israel. When I heard him speak at American University in Washington, D.C., he boasted of his frontline ...

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3. Louder Than the Blue ID: Palestinian Hip-Hop in Israel

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pp. 53-71

Palestinian hip-hop in Israel is on the rise and is talking back to the state. Its critique is powerfully articulated around the question of Palestinian citizenship in a Jewish national state. Since the emergence of Palestinian hip-hop less than a decade ago, it has alluded to the problematics of defining the current status of the Palestinian subject in Israel in terms of citizenship ...


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4. Gendering the Narratives of Three Generations of Palestinian Women in Israel

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pp. 75-92

January 1, 2004 was supposed to be my third day of research at the Israel State Archives in Jerusalem. I arrived at the archives early in the morning and left my identity card at the front desk. On my way to the reading room, I was stopped by the guard who asked for my passport. I told him that I left it at a friend’s house where I was staying and suggested I could go get ...

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5. Counter-Memory: Palestinian Women Naming Historical Events

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pp. 93-108

This chapter attempts to create a public space for the voices of urban Palestinian women in Israel. These women are engaged in daily struggles against the erasure of their memories and histories both as Palestinians and as women. Palestinian women from so-called mixed cities such as Lydd and Ramleh are some of the most marginalized, as they have been entirely left ...

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6. Being a Border

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pp. 109-115

Abu Ahmad was twenty-seven when the 1949 Rhodes ceasefire agreement was signed between Israel and Jordan, leaving him on one side of the new border and his parents, brothers, and sisters on the other. For him the agreement was a private disaster that decontextualized his social map. Abu Ahmad found an extraordinary way to reconnect with people now on the ...


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7. The Roles of Palestinian Peasant Women: The Case of al-Birweh Village, 1930–1960

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pp. 119-132

The mid-twentieth century was a period of the accumulation of multiple and drastic changes in Palestinian political, social, and economic life. This period saw British colonization (1917–1948), Zionist colonial occupation accompanied by the expulsion of more than 750,000 Palestinians (1947–1949), and military rule (1948–1966) imposed on those Palestinians who survived ...

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8. Politics of Loyalty: Women’s Voting Patterns in Municipal Elections

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pp. 133-152

In the discourse on local Palestinian politics, it is widely accepted that there is a uniform, categorically ascribed voting pattern by which voters support their family’s political list, and that women vote in accordance with the men with whom they are identified—fathers, in the case of single women, and husbands, in the case of married ones. This view is widespread within ...

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9. The Sexual Politics of Palestinian Women in Israel

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pp. 153-168

Over the last three decades, Palestinian society in Israel has undergone intense changes on a number of fronts, including attitudes to sexuality. These changes are welcomed by many members of society, and are critiqued and rejected by others. The subject of sexuality is considered sensitive and threatening and is thus frequently silenced. It is also muted in academia ...


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10. Palestinian Predicaments: Jewish Immigration and Refugee Repatriation

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pp. 171-187

In the early 1990s a massive number of immigrants were brought to Israel from the former USSR in what was the largest wave of immigration in the history of the State of Israel since 1951. More than 350,000 immigrants arrived at the end of 1991, equaling 6.5 percent of the total population at the time (Yonah, 2004: 195–196). This chapter examines the content and ...

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11. Women’s Masked Migration: Palestinian Women Explain Their Move upon Marriage

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pp. 189-205

Palestinians in Israel follow the rule of patrilocal marital residence according to which newlyweds join the husband’s natal house. Upon marriage, a Palestinian woman is displaced from her natal family and her residence is changed to her husband’s. Despite the massive numbers of women moving, their migration remains invisible. The transformation of women’s residence ...

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12. Emigration Patterns among Palestinian Women in Israel

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pp. 207-222

The growing phenomenon of women’s emigration from developing countries to developed countries has received wide attention in most recent studies of emigration movements (e.g., Martin, 2004; Staab, 2004; Zlotnik, 2003; ILO, 1998). Arab women’s emigration is the least-covered phenomenon in such studies despite the fact that 37 percent of the world’s skilled and expert ...

Works Cited

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pp. 223-252

About the Contributors

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pp. 253-255


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pp. 257-264

E-ISBN-13: 9781438432717
E-ISBN-10: 1438432712
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438432694
Print-ISBN-10: 1438432690

Page Count: 282
Illustrations: 4 b/w photographs, 1 map, 3 tables
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Palestinian Arabs -- Israel -- Ethnic identity.
  • Women, Palestinian Arab -- Israel -- Social conditions.
  • Palestinian Arabs -- Israel.
  • Israel -- Ethnic relations.
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