Do ethnic Arabs or Palestinians have a future within the borders
of the state of Israel? This book sets out to examine social
fragmentation in Palestinian society and its effect on this future.
Its focus is on those Palestinians who live within the boundaries
of Israel but not under direct military occupation. The problems
posed for these Palestinians by the so-called integrative option,
and their responses to these problems, form the core of the study.
How the integrative option is perceived, and either accepted or
rejected, plays a key role in the social structuring of Palestinian
society. Central to the study is one of the first presentations of
the views of Palestinians based on in-depth polling, comparing the
views of different social and regional segments of the Arab
community under Israeli civil control. It deals broadly with
relations between Jew and Arab, and between Arab and Arab, finding
that Palestinian society is highly fragmented along familial,
regional, religious, economic, gender, and generational lines.
Ashkenasi seeks to demonstrate a sense of the reality of conflict
and consensus, pragmatically presenting facts and not desires.
The book begins with an explanation of the sociological
structures of ethnic conflict in general and moves on to an
examination of the political development of the pre-1967 Israeli
Arab community, followed by a look at developments after 1967. The
author then compares the actions and opinions of Israeli Arabs and
Jerusalem Arabs, using data from his direct interview polling. How
the Israeli Municipal Authority controls the Palestinian community
is described, along with an analysis of how Palestinians view
Jerusalem. In conclusion, the author finds that, based on his data,
Arab leadership in the geographic area controlled by Israel has not
achieved real consensus and organizational cohesion. He feels that
the PLO tends to play a negative role in the conflict. In an
epilogue, the underlying feelings of Palestinians toward the Temple
Mount incident of 1990 are analyzed.
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