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Minority Resistance to State Control: Towards a Re-analysis of Palestinian Political Activity in Israel

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The patterns of political behaviours of the Palestinians in Israel have been the subject of growing research. Despite the heterogeneity of the theoretical perspectives through which this research has been conducted, the Palestinians are treated as an object of history. Their history is described as a product of process and acts initiated and conducted by outside agents, primarily by the state and the Jewish majority. Meanwhile, the behaviours and practices of the Palestinians are depicted as either negative and immature because leading to radicalisation, or as ineffective and negligible. I critically review this research and offer an alternative framework of analysis. The main argument advanced in this article emphasises the need to incorporate the Palestinians as an active agent in the shaping of their history. Only in this way does it become possible to understand how, despite the rigorous political and social conditions under which they live, the Palestinians have been able to bolster their position as a national minority. Furthermore, I argue that through cultural resistance the Palestinians have been able to minimise the impact of state policies of creating an alternative history and new nonPalestinian collective identities for them.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1996

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