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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Michael Totten on the Palestinians of 1967:

Around 20 percent of Israeli citizens are Arabs. Unlike their brethren in the region’s refugee camps, they remained in Israel after the Jewish state’s declaration of independence from the post-Ottoman British Mandate, and so they were naturalized. Some people refer to them as the Palestinians of 1948, and they’re politically and culturally distinct from the Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza, most of whom will eventually become citizens of Palestine rather than Israel.

Israeli Arabs get precious little attention in the media, and as a consequence are largely ignored and even forgotten outside Israel. There’s a third group, only a few hundred thousand in number, that gets even less attention than the Palestinians of 1948, and they are who I think of as the Palestinians of 1967.

I’m referring here to the Arab residents of Jerusalem. Like Israel’s Arabs, they were offered citizenship, only this time in the wake of the 1967 war rather than the 1948 war. In June of that year Israel defensively took the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, but it never annexed the territories. Both remain beyond the borders of Israel not only according to the “international community,” but also according to the Israeli government.

Israel did, however, annex the formerly Jordanian-occupied parts of Jerusalem. Everyone who lived in those neighborhoods at that time were Arabs because Jordan ethnically-cleansed the Jewish residents when it completed its conquest of the eastern half of the city in 1949. Victorious Israel didn’t ethnically cleanse anyone, though, so annexing east Jerusalem meant annexing its people, and the Palestinians there were offered Israeli citizenship.

It is long, but read the whole thing. There are several interesting perspectives on the situation from both Palestinians and Israelis.

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