Jews and Arabs: In view of the vision documents by Israel’s Arabs
By Bambi Sheleg | 11/02/2010
Four documents, different in terms of their authors but very similar in terms of their content, were published by the young Israeli Arab academic elite in 2006 and 2007. Their publication had numerous goals, among which are the status of Israeli Arabs as a separate society within the Jewish majority in the State of Israel, even before the establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza; an effort to coalesce Palestinian society in Israel around a secular leadership, in view of the increasing strength of the Islamic movement in Arab society in Israel; the desire on the part of the authors of the document to position themselves and their organizations as the moral, intellectual leaders of Arab society in Israel, both inwardly and outwardly; an attempt to nip in the bud the idea of a territorial exchange between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority; and finally, the use of the state's existing mechanisms to divest it of its Jewish identity.
This issue of Eretz Acheret will examine what the people who were active in the writing of the documents think about their content and implications; the editorial board of Eretz Acheret also wanted to know what those who oppose the content of the documents in Israeli Arab society think, and also sought out the opinions of Jews who have been involved in Jewish-Arab relations in Israel for many years.
The sweeping rejection of the content of the documents by Jews who belong to the camp that fights for human and civil rights and by those who are among the most loyal in Arab society in Israel should be of concern to their authors. The fact that the profound bond between the Jewish people and the land of Israel over many generations is not even hinted at in the documents, and that Israeli society is repeatedly presented in them as a colonialist society of European extraction that took control by force of a land that does not belong to it; the refusal to take responsibility for the decision of the Palestinian people to reject the partition plan of 1947, which shaped its fate, and the blame of the Jews as being solely responsible for the catastrophe of the Naqba – all these undermine the documents' credibility.
The question that preys on the mind of the reader of the documents is: Who is behind the research centers that published the documents? Do their authors, the secular, intellectual Arab elite, who received their education in the finest schools in Israel and the world, indeed represent the generality of Israeli Arab citizens in Israel?