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Opinion
Hussein Ibish

Israel Can’t Keep Marginalizing Its Own Palestinian Citizens

If the country doesn’t address their alienation and anger, they could form a powerful part of a unified Palestinian movement.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin speaking with Israeli Arab politician Mansour Abbas in April.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin speaking with Israeli Arab politician Mansour Abbas in April.

Photographer: Abir Sultan/AFP

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict often seems like a nightmarish Groundhog Day of endless repetition. And indeed Hamas and Israel are yet again battering each other. In the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority is impotent and paralyzed while Israel advances the aggressive building of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Yet one usually overlooked group may be taking on a bigger role this time: the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Also known as “Arab Israelis,” at almost 2 million they comprise about 20% of Israel’s citizenry but face significant discrimination. Almost 6 million Palestinians in the occupied territories, also ruled by Israel, have no citizenship.