The National Committee for the Heads of the Arab Local Authorities in Israel and
the Mossawa centre, otherwise known as the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in
Israel, issued a report describing "The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs
in Israel" in December 2006. Excerpts were published by the Electronic
We are the Palestinian Arabs in
Israel, the indigenous peoples, the residents of the States of Israel, and an
integral part of the Palestinian People and the Arab and Muslim and human
The war of 1948 resulted in the establishment of the Israeli
state on a 78 percent of historical Palestine. We found ourselves, those who
have remained in their homeland (approximately 160,000) within the borders of
the Jewish state. Such reality has isolated us from the rest of the Palestinian
People and the Arab world and we were forced to become citizens of Israel. This
has transformed us into a minority living in our historic homeland.
the Al-Nakba of 1948 (the Palestinian tragedy), we have been suffering from
extreme structural discrimination policies, national oppression, military rule
that lasted till 1966, land confiscation policy, unequal budget and resources
allocation, rights discrimination and threats of transfer. The State has also
abused and killed its own Arab citizens, as in the Kufr Qassem massacre, the
land day in 1976 and Al-Aqsa Intifada back in 2000.
Since Al-Nakba and
despite all, we maintained our identity, culture, and national affiliation; we
struggled and are still struggling to obtain just, comprehensive and permanent
peace in the Middle East region, through achieving fair and lasting resolution
concerning the Palestinian refugees’ resolutions status according to UN and for
reaching peace through the declaration of an independent Palestinian
Defining the Israeli State as a Jewish State and exploiting
democracy in the service of its Jewishness excludes us, and creates tension
between us and the nature and essence of the State. Therefore, we call for a
Consensual Democratic system that enables us to be fully active in the
decision-making process and guarantee our individual and collective civil,
historic, and national rights.
In light of this modern complex history,
we are moving towards a new era of self-recognition, where it is necessary to
create our future path, crystallize our collective identity and draw up our
social and political agenda. The establishment of the High Follow up Committee
for the Arabs in Israel was a pivotal point in the history of our community
where such committee became the highest representative body for all other public
and political organizations.
Based on this reality of collective internal
changes, the project presented by this document is a continuation of our
struggle towards crystallizing clear strategic future vision for the Arab
Palestinians in Israel. The project aims at answering the question, "who are we
and what do we want for our society?"
In order to obtain this goal, the
future vision will be followed by tangible practical steps and a concrete action
plan with specific goals. We recommend such document to be a public reference.
This document includes all streams of the Arab society, as this vision is an
independent Palestinian rhetoric. We hope this future vision would yield unity
between different and sometimes contradicting viewpoints and beliefs on the
basis of our national collective principles and interests.
Committee of the Local Arab Authorities in Israel is responsible for
implementing this project, a project which was presented to the High Follow up
Committee of the Arabs in Israel.
This project was implemented in two
1. A Steering committee was created. It contributed to the
objectives and strategies of the project to include its actual implementation
and check the scope of conformity of the goals with the mechanisms of the
2. A future vision was crystallized by meetings of Arab intellects
and activists throughout the year. This stage is concluded by holding a general
conference and a presentation of a conference book that will include the final
and complete version of the future vision.
We hope that our vision would
contribute to change our reality and to impact the Israeli agenda, in an
effective and positive way. This is a continuous process of the public action
that the High Follow up Committee had been implementing since its establishment.
We also hope to enrich the public discussion amongst us, Palestinians in the
Diaspora, the Jewish society in Israel and the international public
The group had discussed eight aspects:
Arabs in Israel and their relation to the State of Israel
Arabs in Israel are in need of changing their status. While they are preserving
their Arab Palestinian identity, they need to obtain their full citizenship in
the State and its institutions. They also aspire to attain institutional
self-rule in the field of education, culture and religion that is in fact part
of fulfilling their rights as citizens and as part of the Israeli state. They
also seek to obtain full equality with the Jewish majority.
self-rule within the State poses a system based on Consensual Democracy. A
system embodies the presence of two groups, the Jews and the Palestinians. Such
system would guarantee real resource, leadership and decision making
The legal status of the Palestinian Arabs in
Our legal vision concerning equality of the Palestinian Arabs
depends on the transformational group perspective of equality. Through this
principle we seek to obtain practical equality and partnership on the
national-collective level, and, opposing economic dependency from which the
Palestinian Arabs suffer. This is to achieve a comprehensive structural societal
change that fulfils living conditions for the minority not less in its social
and economic level than those of the majority. We seek to obtain total freedom
of national dependency, exploitation and oppression.
On the basis of this
broaden democratic vision we seek to crystallize our collective future vision of
the legal status of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel, so it is based on equality,
partnership and mutuality.
Land, Planning, and Housing Policy of the
Palestinian Arabs in Israel
In order to change the existing reality we
recommend the following: Adoption laws of distributional justice between the
Arab citizens and the Jewish citizens within the consensual democracy. To cancel
all laws of confiscation and the regulations and measures that discriminate
against the Arab minority; Changing the Israeli policies within the fields of
land and planning starting with recognizing the historic oppression that
inflicted the Palestinian Arab minority. The boundaries of the Israeli land must
conform to the boundaries of citizenship and not to the boundaries of the Jewish
people; Administrative reconstruction of the Israeli institutions that work in
the fields of land planning and housing; Expanding the area of jurisdiction
boundaries for the Arab villages and towns so that public land (state land)
becomes part of this sovereignty; Adoption of a new public rhetoric concerning
land and planning. So that it includes a demand to stop the implementation of
the current law of planning and housing that discriminated against the Arab
Economic strategy for the Palestinian Arabs in
The Arab citizens in Israel should merge with a new economic
system through a development plan based on activation of the economic resources.
This will promote implementation of a social welfare system that includes the
basic services and provides work opportunities for all.
The best choice
for the Arab citizens in Israel is to adopt a two-fold development: First,
merging in the Israeli work market as a legitimate right of equal opportunities
in employment and investment market being citizens of the state, second,
creation of internal momentum within the economic movement that would lead
towards an increase in the chances for the Arab society and relatively free from
dependency and attain social unity and equality.
Strategy for social
development of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel
The process of social
development is a very expansive and comprehensive one and includes all aspects
of life. Social development aims at creating a sound and cordial atmosphere that
guarantees the solidarity and social equality, where the individuals can enjoy a
better life. This means upgrading the status of women through equating them with
men in all aspects of life, especially self-assertion aspect; Participation of
individuals both men and women in the process of social change; Treatment of
social diseases that exhaust social resources and harm social relations;
Creating harmonic pace between growth and structural development and between
growth and individual and local development; Achieving balance between creative-
innovative individuality and collective interest; Guaranteeing a sound social
base to nurture collective identity.
Educational vision and strategic
planning of the Arab educational system in Israel
The Arabic educational
curriculum needs clear educational strategy that takes into accounts the
cultural developments and knowledge wide exposure and technology
The status of the Arab women should be taken into account, in
addition to the economic, political and environmental aspects of
The strategic work plan should depend on the
The right of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel (as indigenous
people in their homeland) to self-administration of the educational system and
to self-determination of its policy; Adoption of the Arab education objectives
as drafted by the Follow-Up Committee for Arab Education in Israel after the
fourth Arab education conference back in 1994, taking into consideration the
possibility of adjusting such objectives according to current developments,
empowering the universal and social values education; The educational systems
tasks are made up of the following: 1. The creation of a generation that enjoys
crystallized values and identity and confident personalities. 2. Teachers should
have the chance to exploit and nurture the abilities and potential of their
students; considering educational system as the basic component for any socio-
economic, cultural and political collective growth project.
Palestinian Arab culture in Israel
"Historic Palestine" is the homeland
and is the unifying element between all even though this homeland is occupied.
The land is wherever Palestinian creative people meet. Sense of belongingness to
this place remains the priority of the national, cultural and civilized
identity. For the Palestinians artists and intellectuals, this place provides
the primary literary language with its special vocabulary of the history,
geography and culture.
We, the Palestinians in Israel, are an integral
part of this place as it creates our consciousness and our literary language and
crystallizes our identity. Israel tried over the past decades to disengage us
from this place not through physical transfer but through intellectual emotional
transfer. Israel tried to create a new identity on the basis of "loyalty to the
state" – as outlined in the goals of the Arab educational curricula. This policy
did not succeed as after the Nakba, an Arab Palestinian cultural movement
surfaced and became a natural extension to the Palestinian cultural movement
that was crystallized back in the early twenties of 20th century.
we suggest developing a high board of cultural affairs creating higher board to
follow up the Palestinian cultural affairs in Israel does not pose a substitute
to any already existing framework. Rather, it will back these frameworks and
activities and collect and intensify work to maintain and develop our
The Institutional and Political Public Work
of national institutions and clarification of their internal roles and their
relations with the State institutions, the elected local authority, individual
initiatives, the private sector and the political institutions are the most
prominent challenges that require discussion and decision making. Development of
the national institutions would promote real change in our collective status in
terms of the ability to face the regional conflict. It would promote our status
in the State and our collective vision that is being crystallized – especially
after the Oslo agreements.
Thus, any strategic vision to be developed has
to propose the following objectives: Continuing internal and collective
organization aiming to obtain individual and collective rights of the
Palestinian Arabs as citizens of the State, being the indigenous people and as
part of the Palestinian People dispersed throughout the world and as part of the
Arab region and contributors to the global dialogue; Deepening the consciousness
over the national Palestinian identity and the democratic humanitarian civil
values of the Arab society as basic points to resist the institutional control
and challenge ethnic divisions and internal social problems; Developing and
empowering the work of Arab institutes aiming to promote social change, and
creating a mechanism of networking and coordination between them; Building
strategies and institutions aiming to end the regional conflict and promote the
peace process by benefiting from the unique status of the Arab society, both
locally and regionally; Developing relations and activities with other countries
and organizations on the international arena including International Jewish
organizations in order to stress the importance of international recognition of
the national, cultural, economic and social needs of the Arab society in Israel.
This aims promote the status of the Arab society and develop a democratic system
equal and just for all groups of people in Israel.
Shawqi Khateeb, Dr. Reyad Aghbariyyeh, Sheikh Hashem Abdelrahman,
Wakeem Wakeem, Aida Touma, Prof Aziz Haidar, Husam Abu Baker, Iyad Rabi, Dr.
Asa’ad Ghanem, Dr. Thabet Abu Ras, Prof Marwan Deerawi, Salman Natour, Ali
Haidar, Dr. Nehaya Dawoud, Awni Touma, Nabeeh Bashir, Saber Rabi, Dr. Khaled Abu
Asabeh, Dr. Adel Mana’a, Dr. Muhammad Amara, Prof Ismail Abu Sa’ad, Prof
Muhammad Haj Yahia, Dr. Mufeed Qasoum, Dr. Hala Espanioli, Dr. Rasem Khamaysi,
Rawya Shanti, Dr. Mary Tautary, Ja’afar Farah, Ayman Odeh, Waleed Malla, Sana
Watad, Dr. Michael Karyeeni, Dr. Yousef Jabareen, Jaber Asaqleh, Dr. Khansa
Diab, Nabeeh Abu Saleh, Baker Awawdeh, Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi.