[Ex-Tel Aviv University, now The Fletcher School, Tufts University] Nadim Rouhana
[Tel Aviv University, The M.A. Program in Israeli Politics] Amal Jamal
[Middle Eastern History, University of Haifa] Mahmoud Yazbak
[Political Science, University of Haifa] As'ad Ghanem
Jadal 1 Mada al-Carmel
Issue No.8, October, 2010 www.mada-research.org
The development of identities and political activism among human groups does not stem from an essence or will that exists prior to the historical, political and social conditions in which such groups interact. There is no pre-conditionality or historical inevitability to societal transformations in history. Circumstance and the arbitrary convergence of interests are the principal engines of historical developments, in particular the development of social movements that transform into historic actors and influence their political and social environments. This is not to say that identities and social movements are pure coincidence, but rather a convergence of interests and visions under the weight of the specific circumstances of various social forces and under the leadership of multiple personalities and institutions. When this convergence occurs in adverse circumstances – even if political hegemony is deeply rooted and there is a strong security deterrent – the social situation erupts and the forces of society flow toward a dynamic that departs from the familiar, daily order to collide with forces that represent the dominant interests and visions at the ideological, symbolic and practical levels.
Oppressive domination cannot but generate social energy that is contrary and opposed to it, and the oppressed cannot but amass their forces at an historic moment – which is difficult to determine a priori – in order to challenge oppression and resist injustice. This moment is not purely coincidental, but rather a revolutionary state that reflects a partnership entrenched in the consciousness of a population group which was not aware, or at least did not dare to gain awareness, of such a partnership, the primary factor in legitimizing the oppression and injustice of the hegemonic institution. Departure from the familiar and the confrontation with hegemony hastens the formation of consciousness as soon as the clash with the institution that represses and subjugates forces opposed and hostile to it takes place.
In the historical dynamics of social and political forces, this clash is based on power relations that are the primary determinant of the form taken by the clash and its consequences for the clashing forces. And since relations of power shift and vary according to circumstance, the effects and repercussions of the clash can only be identified with the passage of time.
The mass Arab-Palestinian uprising in October 2000 and the harsh institutional reaction to it was a clash of complex dimensions and consequences, the various elements of which are difficult to grasp in their entirety. Nevertheless, it is possible to state in general that this uprising – in spite of its tragic personal and public consequences – has had important repercussions for the development of Arab consciousness in the Israeli context on at least two levels. The first level relates to the downfall of the project of Israeli citizenship in its official institutional form. It further concerns the development of an essential and profound alternative that demands the dismantling of hegemony and its replacement with the principle of equitable pluralism as a constitutional framework that gathers the various groups together beneath a “ceiling of empathy.” This ceiling is to be determined with the full participation of the forces within society, while taking account of their various cultural, social and political components. The second level involves the evolution of a consciousness that links the current situation to the historical era that prefigured the Nakba, and institutionalizes an organic interrelation between the two eras at the level of rights and at the level of relations with the other parts of the catastrophe-stricken Palestinian people.
These developments, resulting from the October 2000 uprising, have repercussions, implications and obligations that cannot be disregarded and the future contours of which are indeterminable. They concern the leadership, the elites and social forces in general, their dynamism, and the extent of the connection between the pain, agony and injustice, and the willingness of the dominant institution to respond favorably to the will for change and the fulfillment of rights. Although this complex arrangement is unpredictable, it is nonetheless subject to the logic of history and does not lie outside it. It is therefore necessary both to stand and wait on the one hand, and on the other to push forward in the desired direction. Perhaps we will help turn the wheel of history toward the hoped-for goal, the features of which were delineated in the Haifa Declaration, the greatest sign and herald of a collective Arab purpose, and a reflection of the ability of some leaders to transcend the present in order to invest in the future.
This edition of Jadal presents a number of articles and essays relating to the events of October 2000 ten years after they occurred. The articles and essays draw attention to various aspects of the events and the effects they have had on the lives of Palestinian citizens in Israel.
The opening article, by Amal Jamal, offers a theoretical analysis of the reasons and circumstances by which Palestinians in Israel began to demonstrate after the eruption of the second Palestinian intifada, at the end of September 2000. Jamal also outlines the possible ramifications of these events, primarily as a result of the killing of thirteen of the Palestinian demonstrators by Israel Police gunfire, and the failure to prosecute any of the police officers involved in the killings.
The essay by Elia Zureik deals with the lack of respect shown by the Israeli establishment and its officials toward Palestinian existential existence in the state. To argue his claim, Zureik draws upon the killings of citizen and non-citizen Palestinians, racial statements of Israeli leaders about Palestinians, and Israeli attempts to force a solution to the conflict that do not incorporate basic Palestinian interests.
Sonia Boulos's essay discusses developments in international humanitarian law and the creative legal approaches of the Inter-American Human Rights Court, which enables victims and victims' families to obtain civil reparation for police violence.
In his essay, Mahmoud Yazbak accuses the Israel Police of pre-meditated killing in some cases, and berates the negligence of all Israeli law-enforcement authorities in gathering evidence at the scene of the events. Yazbek argues that this inaction demonstrates a lack of respect for the lives of Palestinian citizens.
As'ad Ghanem's closing essay also discusses Israel's policy of disregard for Palestinian lives. The writer holds that the future vision documents are an important step in providing a proper response to that policy.
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