The shrinking space of citizenship: Ethnocratic politics in Israel

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The destruction of the Negev crops was one of many recent attacks on Arab rights in Israel. The state's hardening ethnic policies and practices, coupled with increasingly confrontational Palestinian resistance, have pried open the conflict between the state's Jewish majority and the Palestinian Arabs who form 18 percent of the citizenry. The result has been to shrink the space for Palestinian citizenship. In Israel, as in other ethnocratic states like pre-Dayton Serbia, Sri Lanka or Latvia, a constant tension exists between citizenship and ethnicity. Times of ethnic conflict typically present a "golden opportunity" to advance nationalist agendas of "ethnicizing" control over land and resources. But the shrinking space of citizenship is ominous: it represents a longterm threat to political stability, with the likely specter of ethnic politics dragging communities into cycles of protracted conflict, spawning a growing delegitimation of the state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-45
Number of pages8
JournalMiddle East Report
Issue number223
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002


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