Arab Israelis take part in a pro-Palestinian rally in the northern Israeli town of Sakhnin, October 13, 2015. Leaders of Israel's Arab minority called for a commercial strike in their towns, one of which, Sakhnin, hosted a pro-Palestinian rally attended by thousands of people on Tuesday.

Arab Israelis Step Out

Nationalism, Identity, and the Violence in Jerusalem

When it comes to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, the world has mostly focused on violence between the two communities in Jerusalem and in the West Bank. But there is another player in the conflict, one that is becoming increasingly important: Arab citizens of Israel. More and more, Arab Israelis identify with Palestinian nationalism. With their needs and demands increasingly tied to the Palestinian cause, resolving the conflict becomes much more difficult.

Since October 1, a wave of violence has washed over Jerusalem. In tens of incidents, Palestinians have attacked Israeli civilians and soldiers, leaving several Israelis and Palestinians dead. The immediate cause of the sustained violence was the increase in Jewish Israeli activity near the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary beginning with the High Holidays in September and a (false) rumor that Israel was trying to change the status quo in the area by, among other things, building a Jewish temple on top of the mosques there. But tensions had been simmering before September due to a recent spate of settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank. The ongoing occupation, outbreaks of violence between Israel and Hamas—most recently in the summer of 2014—and an increase in anti-Arab rhetoric and attacks in Israel itself have entrenched hostility among Palestinians, while the Palestinian leadership has purposely fanned all of these flames, creating an atmosphere of encouragement for attacks against Jews.

Things heated up still further on October 14, when Arab Israelis held a rally in northern Israel against the government’s policies, and the community’s leaders called for a general strike. The last time the Arab sector protested in such large numbers over religious tensions and Israeli-Palestinian violence was in October 2000. The result of those marches was widespread riots and violence between Arabs and Israeli police and between Arab and Jewish citizens. Over the course of nine days, 13 Arab Israelis were killed.

A masked Palestinian protester uses a sling to throw stones at Israeli troops during clashes near the border between Israel and Central Gaza Strip October 14, 2015.

A masked Palestinian protester uses a sling to throw stones at Israeli troops during clashes near the border between Israel and Central Gaza Strip October 14, 2015.

In its final report, the Or Commission, which was created to investigate the October events, blamed decades of harmful

Loading, please wait...

Browse Related Articles on {{search_model.selectedTerm.name}}

{{indexVM.results.hits.total | number}} Articles Found

  • {{bucket.key_as_string}}

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.

Continue