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The most satisfied group between the river and the sea

A new poll shows that among Israeli settlers, a striking 74 percent say that conditions in Israel these days are good or very good. The same cannot be said for their Palestinian neighbors.

Jewish men pray early in the morning on the hill overlooking Ofra in the Jewish settlement of Amona, West Bank, December 18, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Jewish men pray early in the morning on the hill overlooking Ofra in the Jewish settlement of Amona, West Bank, December 18, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Late Thursday night, the Israeli security cabinet voted unanimously to approve the establishment of a new West Bank settlement to be populated mainly by former residents of Amona, an illegal Israeli outpost ordered dismantled by the High Court of Justice. The cabinet’s decision effectively means that Amona was not truly dismantled, but rather put on hiatus before being reestablished about 20 kilometers away.

In the same meeting, the security cabinet also approved partial and “murky” restrictions to settlement growth. Those constraints are understood to be a gesture to U.S. President Donald Trump’s nod toward a future peace process. In February, Trump told Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom that he did not believe further construction is good for peace, after the White House had released an earlier statement that Israel should refrain from announcing new settlements.

Which of these decisions reflects the future of the settlement enterprise in Israel – expansion or constraint? The new Trump era is still unfolding, but settlers have their own opinion. For them, the future looks bright.

A large-scale survey from December, the “Palestinian-Israeli Pulse” (a joint poll conducted by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research (TSC), Tel Aviv University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah, with funding from the EU), for which I lead the Israeli research, found that among Israel’s Jewish West Bank residents (settlers), a striking 74 percent majority said that conditions in Israel these days are good or very good.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., February 15, 2017. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., February 15, 2017. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

This simple question tells a major story. The settlers emerge as the most satisfied people between the river and the sea. Israeli Jews who live inside the Green Line find life much harder: just 41 percent of them say conditions are good in total. Twice as many West Bank settlers said conditions are very good, the most positive answer, relative to Jews inside the Green line (31 percent to 13 percent, respectively).

The experience of daily life is starkly divided along ethnic lines: among Arab citizens of Israel, just one quarter of respondents think conditions are good or very good – one third say they are bad in total. The remainder gave a non-committal “so-so” response.

Responses among Palestinians show an entirely different reality. Half of Palestinians in the West Bank think conditions are bad or very bad, as do 62 percent — nearly two-thirds — among Gaza residents. In total, over half of Palestinians say conditions are bad or very bad, and just 23 percent in total say conditions are good. In Gaza this number stands at just 17 percent.

Survey1

The contrast in responses to this standard question shows clearly who benefits from the 50-year military regime controlling Palestinians, by the admission of those beneficiaries, and who actually suffers. The findings also contain the reality of how general daily life conditions favor settlers above all other Israelis.

But in December – before Trump’s contradictions began to show through – the settler satisfaction probably also reflected their perceptions of the political direction of the future.

At that time, it appeared that the new administration might simply cease any pressure on the sides to reach a two-state solution. This was bound to put most settlers at ease.

It is common to speculate that many West Bank residents are pragmatic, “economic” settlers who moved to the occupied territories for the government benefits and cheap real estate, but who are not truly opposed to a two-state solution. But the December survey, which had an oversample of 300 settlers for greater statistical significance, showed that a wide majority of 77 percent oppose a two-state solution on principle. Nearly half of the settler sample says they are “strongly” opposed. Just 17 percent support the broad notion (the remaining 6 percent declined to give an opinion). Only a few percentage points “strongly” supported two states.

This opposition isn’t just theoretical. The survey also tested individual items of a “traditional” two-state solution. The item regarding settlements read:

“The Palestinian state will be established in the entirety of West Bank and the Gaza Strip, except for several blocs of settlements, which will be annexed to Israel in a territorial exchange. Israel will evacuate all other settlements.”

Fully 80 percent of the settlers opposed this, and 17 percent supported it, similar to the 17 percent who supported the two-state solution overall. In other words, a very large majority of the settlers oppose an item that is basically the keystone condition for a two-state solution.

Jewish settlers wearing costumes dance with Israeli soldiers during the annual parade marking the Jewish holiday of Purim in the divided West Bank town of Hebron. March 12, 2017. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Jewish settlers wearing costumes dance with Israeli soldiers during the annual parade marking the Jewish holiday of Purim in the divided West Bank town of Hebron, March 12, 2017. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90)

It is an ominous result for those who argue that a two-state solution is still viable, either because most settlers will not have to move, or that only a small portion are ideologically opposed to dismantling settlements.

By some estimates, about 80 percent of settlers live in the blocs, which means that most of the settlers interviewed here come from blocs. This implies that serious opposition to evacuation comes within the settlement blocs as well; it isn’t just about the self-interest of the minority who would have to move.

Further, after hearing all the terms of the two-state solution, respondents were more resistant. When asked if they would support the full package, 82 percent now opposed the deal compared to 77 percent who opposed it in principle prior to hearing the details. Most of those moved from the “don’t know” response.

In this survey those who were opposed to the full agreement were offered a series of incentives designed to shift their attitudes. One incentive specifically addressed settlers: “Settlers are allowed to choose to stay in their homes after the Israeli withdrawal, to keep their Israeli citizenship and at the same time have their safety guaranteed by the Palestinian state.” But fully 91 percent of the settler respondents said they would continue to oppose an agreement that included this item.

With such a categorical “no” to compromises and the two-state concept, one must ask: what do the settlers in this survey envision? Just over one-quarter support one equal state for Palestinians and Israelis, a figure notably higher than among Jews inside the Green Line (18 percent) and lower than support among Palestinians (36 percent).

In the months leading up to this survey, another option that has been increasingly prominent is annexation of the West Bank to Israel through potential legislation and by the legalization of settlements by law. The survey tested an option reflecting the scenario of annexation without granting equal rights to Palestinians. Among Israeli Jews inside the Green Line, nearly 30 percent supported this (not a small portion in itself). Among settlers, nearly half (46 percent) favored it. This is statistically tied with settlers who opposed it — just 0.3 percent fewer.

The perception that annexation may be a step closer to reality appears to have propelled one of the biggest changes seen in December, relative to the previous survey in this project, from June 2016. When asked which is the most important value for Israel from a list of four – Jewish majority, Greater Israel, peace, or democracy – a plurality of Israeli Jews chose the Jewish majority both times (just over one third).

In June, even more settlers (44 percent) chose “Jewish majority,” while the second most popular option was “Greater Israel,” at 22 percent. But six months later, this trend was reversed: by December, 32 percent of settlers cited “Jewish majority,” (the condition for ensuring a state that is both Jewish and democratic, by virtue of its majority). This time, most settlers (33 percent) chose “Greater Israel” – an 11-point rise, within the margin of error.

Survey2

It seems that the small steps taken to legitimize the concept of “Greater Israel” in December made it look that much more real.

Note: The full public release of the survey is available here. The sample sizes were 1,270 Palestinians, and 1,207 Israelis – of which 300 were Jewish residents of the West Bank, and 180 were Arab citizens, weighted to their actual size in the population. Each poll has a margin of error of +/-3 percent.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Firentis

      Very interesting polls. Thanks for the link. There doesn’t seem to be a set of parameters that both sides would accept for a peace deal. Also, it looks like an Olmert-style deal would not have majority support among either Israelis or Palestinians.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        News flash! Polls show that Cowboys and Indians do not agree on parameters for peace! A majority of Cowboys prefer annexation, Indians disagree. Peace impossible until the two sides come to an agreement!

        Reply to Comment
        • i_like_ike52

          It is the Israeli public that is going to make the decisions in the end if there are to be withdrawal and a Palestinian state. At the beginning of the Oslo agreements, there might have been a slight majority for knocking down most if not all the settlements and creating a Palestinians state, but the Palestinians were clearly not for such an agreement and by launching a bloody war against Israel with many civilian casualities, added to the “anti-normalization” movement among Palestinians which pushes Palestinian rejectionism in the face of most Israelis, they did a good job in poisoning any Israel support for them.
          If the Palestinians don’t like this situation, they can only blame themselves. NO ONE on the outside is going to force Israel to do what the Palestinians want.

          Reply to Comment
        • i_like_ike52

          Didn’t the cowboys win that one?

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Yeah and they didn’t have them self-hating anti-cowboyitic progressive Injun-lovers around to boycott them neither. Too bad fer you, you live in the 21st century while pining fer the good ol’ goddamn 19th century! “Goddamn it whah can’t we have our own nice little anachronism too! T’aint fair!”
            I’m trying to picture a blogsite in 1850 devoted to human rights for all and to sharing the land and “pro-cowboy” manifest destiny fanatics writing in to tell them off. Not enough people on the outside are going to let Israel do to the Palestinians what it wants.

            Reply to Comment
          • Firentis

            Is that the lesson you are learning? You are not paying attention.

            Reply to Comment
          • i_like_ike52

            Didnt progressive superstar obama say putin was acting so 19th centurish when he gobbled up the Ukraine, but O let him get away with it? So it seems 19th centurism is the wave of the future. Same with the progressive empathy with the radical Islamic forces.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            More alternative facts by Ike. Obama didn’t let him get away with gobbling up Crimea and Obama did stop him from taking all of Ukraine. Punishing economic sanctions against Russia are in place. But oh dear, economic sanctions against Russia are not anti-Slavic and not meant to “destroy Russia” but economic sanctions against belligerent Israel are “anti-Semitic” and “meant to destroy Israel.” We see how this propaganda works. American Jews increasingly think for themselves and aren’t buying this bill of goods. Your sales are plummeting.

            Reply to Comment
          • JeffB

            @Ben

            I live in the country that imposed and organized those economic sanctions. I’m also married to a Russian. There has been 0 harassment of Russians in the USA, no campus demonstrations against Russia, no demonization of Russia but rather a fact based understanding of Russian objectives (and mind you they have been directly conducting intelligence operations against the USA since those sanctions). People like myself who consider Putin to be right about Crimea are greeted with an indifferent shrug not accused or having racist intent….

            That analogy cuts both ways.

            Reply to Comment
          • Firentis

            “Obama didn’t let him get away with gobbling up Crimea”

            Impressive claim. Obama is gone. The Russian flag flies over Crimea.

            “Obama did stop him from taking all of Ukraine”

            Another interesting claim. Got anything to back it up?

            If you can find me a movement that calls for sanctions because it openly declares its intention to destroy Russia, I’ll find your analogy appropriate.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Look, don’t try do dumb this down with cryptic, unsupported statements. You know full well that Putin has not gotten off scott-free with Crimea. There have been many sanctions that have hurt him and he may have troops and un-uniformed proxies messing around in eastern Ukraine but it is still a separate sovereign country:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_sanctions_during_the_Ukrainian_crisis

            Or do you “got anything to back it up”? And you can’t paint any broader efforts to boycott Israel as determined to “destroy” it. IfNotNow and JVP and other liberal American Jews that support boycott directed at stopping the occupation know full well how to avoid destroying Israel.

            And JeffB, you have Putin belligerently occupying Ukraine for 50 years and doing there what the Israelis do to Palestinians, and getting massive US funding to do it, guided by a comparable “ARPAC” and you tell me there would not be campus demonstrations against Russia in the United States. You peddle specious comparisons. “Demonize”? “Delegitimize”? These are propaganda terms They do not illuminate.

            Reply to Comment
          • JeffB

            @Ben

            — And JeffB, you have Putin belligerently occupying Ukraine for 50 years and doing there what the Israelis do to Palestinians, and getting massive US funding to do it, guided by a comparable “ARPAC” and you tell me there would not be campus demonstrations against Russia in the United States.

            The Israelis don’t get massive US funding, they get moderate support. The South Koreans and the Germans get massive funding. And no there aren’t huge demonstrations and this sort of grassroots harassment regarding foreign policy issues. There mostly aren’t demonstrations against stuff that foreign governments do to foreign peoples here at all. For example most Americans (myself included) are disgusted by the treatment of the Roma by Europeans, I can’t think of a single demonstration regarding that topic (not including the small demonstrations on embassy row that we have multiple per day and little connection to the USA). Americans are mostly pro-Kurd I can’t think of any anti-Turkish pro-Kurd demonstrations.

            No the obsession with Israel is pretty unique, and very alien to American political culture. I’d argue culturally almost anti-American. Moreover many Americans (myself included) don’t agree there is an occupation. And even those that do would likely welcome Israel openly declaring itself the governing power.

            — You peddle specious comparisons. “Demonize”? “Delegitimize”? These are propaganda terms They do not illuminate.

            The USA State Department uses those terms quite often. If you are going to talk about American political culture those terms with regard to Israel are part of the mainstream.
            Demonize = to describe Israel in unbalanced, dishonest and uncharitable ways
            Delegitimize = to pretend that Israel should not have the rights accorded other states to govern its territory.

            Most Americans don’t understand the Israeli / Palestine conflict and mostly see the controversy as Jewish self indulgent, narcissistic nonsense being spread all over their media. But the reality is that Israel is highly regarded here. Often scoring #2 after Canada as our closest ally. Americans like Israel. It ain’t the Israelis that hit American troops with IEDs or encourage people to shoot up American nightclubs.

            Israel does itself no favors with Average Americans in not declaring itself to be the governing power of the West Bank.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Hasbara Buster

            Except that Russia, Turkey and Romania don’t claim to be exceptionally moral and don’t have an army of writers and politicians defending their crimes against the Ukrainians, Kurds or Roma. Can you name the Russian or Turkish Alan Dershowitz in America? Can you point to any pro-Russian or pro-Turkish 100-0 vote in the Senate? No, you can’t. You can’t expect to get exceptional support without getting exceptional attention. PD: you dishonestly conflate US military presence in Germany or South Korea, which is meant to defend American interests, with the yearly gifts of money to Israel, which Israel spends as it pleases.

            Reply to Comment
          • JeffB

            @Hasbara

            — with the yearly gifts of money to Israel, which Israel spends as it pleases.

            The “yearly gift to Israel” is tied to US military equipment purchases from USA suppliers. That’s about as tied as you can get. They most certainly cannot spend it as they please.

            — Can you name the Russian or Turkish Alan Dershowitz in America?

            Russia: Alyona Minkovski, Adam Kokesh. Abby Martin… should I keep going? They have Israel beat by miles.
            As for Turkey, Turkey does not have a strong propaganda arm among non-turkish us citizens.

            — Can you point to any pro-Russian or pro-Turkish 100-0 vote in the Senate?

            S.Res.421 2003 passed unanimously.

            Any more examples you want to try?

            Reply to Comment
          • The Hasbara Buster

            Israel must buy American weapons, granted, but it can do whatever it wishes with them. Germany or South Korea can’t buy any weapons (American or otherwise) with US money, they just can expect the US to help them if it suits US interests, and at the price of having US troops stationed on their soil, a toll Israel doesn’t have to pay. Your analogy is invalid.

            As for the Senate resolution you cite, it was a vote to express condolences to the Russian people (NOT the Russian Federation or the government of Russia) after a terror attack; and it was passed 14 years before Russia took over Crimea. Hardly comparable to, say, the US senate resolution in support of Israel’s invasion of Gaza in 2014, or to the recent Texan Senate resolution against BDS. Again, make valid analogies, for God’s sake.

            (Who the heck are Alyona Minkovski, Adam Kokesh, Abby Martin?? I don’t recall any of their books propelled into the NYT’s bestseller list, but maybe you’ll be able to illuminate me.)

            Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      Yes I think if you randomly polled the inhabitants of Disneyland in Florida on any given day the children, for whom an illusion of reality is meticulously created, and paid for by someone else, would poll as the happiest. Probably the workers in the kitchens and underneath the hot, sweaty Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse suits would poll as the least happy. The West Bank is Settler Disneyland and the coddled settlers are playing at an escapist kitsch version of cowboys and indians in the wild wild west.

      Thanks for the interesting polls. Looks like nearly 30 percent of Israeli Jews inside the Green Line support apartheid while nearly half (46 percent) of settlers favor apartheid. Nice. So…an economic boycott of Israel is a horribly unjust and unfair thing, you see, because……why?

      Reply to Comment
    3. i_like_ike52

      Who is responsible for the fact that so many Gaza residents think things are bad. Does the decision of their HAMAS rulers to invest heavily in attack tunnels and rockets, instead of in civilian infrastructure and human resources have anything to do with it? Don’t you think it odd when we read countless articles saying that the economic situation in Gaza is very bad to the HAMAS regime thinks that starting another war will improve the economy? Does that make sense?
      I am certain that were the IDF to enter the Gaza Strip and oust the HAMAS regime, most of the population would great the IDF soldiers as liberators for at least a couple of days.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Itshak Gordin Halevy

      I am really so sorry to hear that Arabs are not happy in Eretz Israel. May I kindly remind them that our borders are open and that they can leave whenever they want.. The Swedish, Belgian, French and German governments will welcome them with open arms..

      Reply to Comment
      • The Hasbara Buster

        Just like the borders of the United States of America were open for black people to emigrate under segregation. Instead, they chose to fight for their rights. Don’t expect the Palestinians of Israel to act any different, whatever your wet dreams are.

        Reply to Comment
        • JeffB

          @Hasbara

          Good I hope they do. One of the key choices Blacks made right after the civil war was to be Americans and not a foreign people inside America. They could have gone either. The Palestinians have not yet made that choice. They instead have kept a foreign national identity. To engage in an Israeli civil rights struggle they need to be Israeli. When they become Israeli they won’t have to struggle for civil rights they will be warmly granted them.

          Palestinians are ethnically the same as Mizrahi Jews. The problem is their nationality not some immutable racial characteristic. Once they become Israeli there is nothing to fight about.

          Reply to Comment
    5. JeffB

      @Hasbara

      — “with the yearly gifts of money to Israel, which Israel spends as it pleases.” and then in the next post “Israel must buy American weapons, granted, but it can do whatever it wishes with them.”

      So you are now making an entirely different argument. Not that the money is untied but the money is tied but what’s purchased is not. Now that’s not entirely true either. If Israel could do whatever it wishes with American weapons Gaza would be a lot worse off. The USA pays Israel in exchange for having substantial influence over Israeli foreign policy. That was a direct response to Eisenhower’s failed approach of sanctioning Israel with a weapons cutoff in 1954 and seeing the disastrous result, along with similar problems to a lesser extent during the Ford and Carter administrations.

      — at the price of having US troops stationed on their soil, a toll Israel doesn’t have to pay

      I’m not sure that’s a toll exactly. But clearly Israel doesn’t tolerate foreign troops. Good for them.

      — “Can you point to any pro-Russian or pro-Turkish 100-0 vote in the Senate? “. Then “it was a vote to express condolences to the Russian people (NOT the Russian Federation or the government of Russia) ”

      How is supporting the Russian people not pro-Russian? There probably isn’t a 100-0 type resolution in the Russian government’s favor. We like the Russian government much less than we like the Israeli government.

      — Who the heck are Alyona Minkovski, Adam Kokesh, Abby Martin?? I don’t recall any of their books propelled into the NYT’s bestseller list, but maybe you’ll be able to illuminate me.)

      Alyona Minkovski is a Russian Jew (1st generation) who works for Huffington Post. She’s considered to be the top political interviewer on cable news willing to dig into complex issues in detail while keeping the tone fun, especially USA overall military spending. Often extremely pro-Putin, pro-Russian government line.

      Adam Kokesh. Head of Veterans For Ron Paul. A serious candidate for the Libertarian primary for president for 2020. He’s an antiwar activist both critical of American foreign policy and very supportive of Russia’s actions like the Russian Georgian war.

      Abby Martin journalist with TeleSUR (Latin American world news station), leader of Media Freedom Foundation , movie producer and graphic artists. Heavily associated with the occupy movement, 9/11 truthers… She’s considered by many to be the top non-mainstream journalist in the USA. Strongly pro-Russia excluding Crimea.

      My guess is all 3 of them are better known than Dershowitz.

      Reply to Comment
    6. carmen

      “When they become Israeli they won’t have to struggle for civil rights they will be warmly granted them.

      Palestinians are ethnically the same as Mizrahi Jews. The problem is their nationality not some immutable racial characteristic. Once they become Israeli there is nothing to fight about.”

      The Adalah database of 50 discriminatory laws in Israel – Mondoweiss
      mondoweiss.net/2015/06/database-discriminatory-israel

      Discrimination against Israeli Arabs still rampant, 10 years on – Haaretz
      http://www.haaretz.com › Opinion

      Arabs in Israel decry racial discrimination – Al Jazeera English
      http://www.aljazeera.com/…/arabs-israel-decry-racial-discrimination-201492513240535797

      Arab Minority Rights | Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
      http://www.acri.org.il/en/category/arab-citizens-of-israel/arab-minority-rights/
      Arab citizens of Israel face entrenched discrimination in all fields of life.

      Reply to Comment
      • JeffB

        @Carmen

        Yes there is discrimination against Israeli Arabs more on the social sphere than laws. Take a look at the history of discrimination from the 1930s to the early 1980s while Israeli Arabs were assimilating. You will see a sharp drop off. The problem Israeli Arabs had was the settlement movement and the 1st intifada put them in an impossible position and they responded by becoming much more nationalistic. That response stopped the drop off in discrimination.

        Now in practice the last generation of Israeli Arabs is far less Arabic on a subconscious level than their parents / grandparents which is why their nationalism is so conscious today. They are desperately holding on to what little is left of their Palestinian identity. Which means they basically are almost fully assimilated and I would strongly support ending job discrimination and housing discrimination as I think the process can be finished with them easily. IMHO Israel is making a mistake in not doing this because of fear of terrorism, a growing racism and the chief rabbi of Israel being a total putz who is making bad policy across the board with regard to conversion standards (which is also a problem for 1/2 Jewish descendants of Russian Christians).

        Reply to Comment
        • carmen

          Discrimination is more on the ‘social sphere’ than laws? I’ll try this again:

          The Adalah database of 50 discriminatory laws in Israel – Mondoweiss
          mondoweiss.net/2015/06/database-discriminatory-israel
          Here is a review of some of the patently discriminatory laws that are identified in the Adalah Database The most serious discriminations were established early and relate to land control and citizenship. First, the state took over and controlled approximately 93 percent of all lands within the 1949 cease fire lines, and the state has subsequently used this land preferentially for its Jewish majority by making land available to Jews for development, and denying building permits and the ability to develop land to Palestinians. Second, the state established discriminatory preferences about who could immigrate, return to, or stay—in short belong—in the land as a citizen. 1950 law about confiscation of Absentee Landlord Property. This law defines persons who were expelled, fled, or who left the country after November 29, 1947 as “absentee.” Property belonging to “absentees” was placed under the control of the State of Israel with the Custodian for Absentees’ Property. The Absentee Property Law was the main legal instrument used by Israel to take possession of the land belonging to the internal and external Palestinian refugees, and Muslim Waqf properties across the state. This law continues to be used to this day by quasi-governmental agencies in Israel to take over Palestinian properties in East Jerusalem, for example. 1950 Law of Return. This allows every Jewish person to immigrate to Israel and this extends to the children and grandchildren of Jews, as well as their spouses, and the spouses of their children and grandchildren. The flip side of this is that the rights of Palestinians and others to enter the state and become citizens, even if they were born in the area that is now the State of Israel, are extremely restrictive. This discrimination against the non-Jewish minority has been periodically reinforced. For example, the ban on family unification law of 2003 prohibits citizens of Israel from reuniting with Palestinian spouses living in the West Bank or Gaza. In 1952 the state authorized the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency, and other Zionist bodies founded at the turn of the 20th century to function in Israel as quasi-governmental entities in order to further advance the goals of the Zionist movement, to the detriment of minorities. The Land Acquisition Law of 1953 transferred the land of 349 Arab towns and villages—approximately 1.2 million dunams in all (~468 square miles)—to the state to be used preferentially for the Jewish majority. In 1953, the Knesset bestowed governmental authorities on the Jewish National Fund (JNF or Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael) to purchase land for exclusively Jewish use. The state granted financial advantages, including tax relief to facilitate such purchases. In 1960, the state passed a law which stipulates that the ownership of “Israel lands”—namely the 93% of land under the control of the state, the Jewish National Fund, and the Development Authority—cannot be transferred in any manner. Although most Palestinians that remained in 1949 were granted Israeli citizenship, they were subject to martial law until 1966. Travel permits, curfews, administrative detentions, and expulsions were part of life until 1966. Once Palestinians were relieved from martial law, laws were passed to clearly define the primacy of ethnically Jewish Israelis. In 1969, the state passed a law that gave statutory recognition to cultural and educational institutions, and defined their aims, inter alia, as developing and fulfilling Zionist goals to promote Jewish culture and education at the expense of minority goals. There is a law mandating that Knesset session must be opened with a reading of portions of Israel’s declaration of independence that emphasizes the exclusive connection of the state of Israel to the Jewish people. There is a law that bans any political party that denies the existence of Israel as a “Jewish” state. In other words, a party that would advocate equal rights for all citizens of Israel irrespective of ethnicity would not be allowed to enter the Knesset. There are laws that establish separate educational systems which are then unequally administered. More recently, the Knesset has passed laws to defend against efforts to bring the Palestinian minority onto a more equal footing. In 2011 the Knesset passed a law that empowers hundreds of local Jewish communities to exclude applicants based on ethnicity or religion. The Supreme Court upheld this law in September 2014. In 2011 the Knesset passed a law prohibiting anyone from calling for a boycott of Israel, its institutions, or any person because of their affiliation with Israel, including the settlements in the occupied territories. The law creates a private right of action for persons targeted by a boycott to sue for damages. As Noam Sheizaf puts it: “You can boycott anything in Israel except the occupation.” This vague law is blatantly aimed at Palestinians who are supportive of the BDS movement—while it allows people like Avigdor Lieberman to call for boycott of Arab owned businesses with impunity. The law was upheld by Israel’s Supreme Court on April 15, 2015. As demonstrated by its decision upholding the boycott law, the Supreme Court of Israel has failed to stem the ever rightward tilt of the Israeli polity. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/database-discriminatory-israel/#sthash.fdLIff4M.dpuf

          It’s stupid and just plain trolling to continue to post your propaganda which is so easily refuted.

          Reply to Comment
          • carmen

            Another thing Jeff – are you comfortable with discrimination in the ‘social sphere’ meaning job, school, workplace, any place considered ‘social’ if it were you or people you cared about suffering it? But here its not limited to the social sphere as you can see if you can read that there are discriminatory laws in place for some time now here.

            I’d add that you’re cruel in addition to obtuse and woefully ignorant, but that’s just me.

            Reply to Comment
          • JeffB

            @Carmen

            You are confusing a lot of things in your response that are not part of the social sphere. Your also are not addressing the issue which was the drop off in discrimination between 1949 and the early 1980s. You just made a list that there was discrimination. That was something I asserted not something I denied. That also means I agree there has been an increase since then. That increase, your family reunification law has been driven by Israeli Arabs adopting a Palestinian national identity rather than continuing to assimilate.

            Second your land comments are conflating the expelled with those that remain. There is no question Israel was hostile to RoR the question is about the remaining Israeli Arabs.

            So no you aren’t refuting. To refute you would need to show that discrimination towards Israeli Arabs didn’t decrease during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. You didn’t do anything of the sort.

            Reply to Comment
          • JeffB

            @Carmen

            No I’m not comfortable with discrimination which is why I want to discuss proposals that lead to a peaceful Israeli citizenship. I want for Israel what America has in terms of ethnic peace which eliminates the need for discrimination.

            Reply to Comment
    7. i_like_ike52

      I would need to see the questions asked in the poll in more detail to understand this, but maybe we are seeing a “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy in this piece. Since “progressives” spend much of their lives thinking about ‘the occupation”, they assume that if Palestinians are unhappy, it is because of “the occupation”. However, it might be wise to look at other factors in their lives. For instance, they may not like living under the strict Islamic law that is increasingly affecting the lives of Arabs in the Middle East, and not just in HAMAS-ruled Gaza. Or they may feel that corrupt, inefficient Palestinian governments they live under, both the FATAH-PA and the HAMAS/Gaza regimes negatively affect their lives.
      It would also be instructive to compare how the Palestinians feel with Arabs in surrounding countries that are NOT under Israeli “occupation” such as Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Lebanon, etc. Are these people happier than Palestinians or not?

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