The crisis of minorities in ethnic states: the case of Palestinian citizens in Israel

Nadim Rouhana, As'ad Ghanem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines a tri-dimensional predicament of an ethno-national minority in an ethnic state. Taking the case of the Palestinian citizens in Israel, we analyze how the political superstructure and exclusive collection identity of an ethnic state inevitably place an ethno-national minority in a predicament, and on a course toward crisis, in its political, cultural, and existential relationships with the state, with their nation, and within their own ethnic community. We maintain that Israel's present ethnic structure cannot provide its Palestinian citizens with equality, identity, and security - basic human needs that have to be fulfilled in order to normalize the Palestinians' relationship with the state. We argue that in their relationship with their own national group (the Palestinian people), their option of being part of the Palestinian National Movement will be blocked by the establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel. We also show that on the internal level, distorted forms of development have been emerging as full membership either in the state or in the nation is not possible. The paper further examines the ways in which this predicament is likely to develop into a crisis and how the peace process can unleash social and political forces that can hasten its emergence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-346
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Middle East Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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