µ WWWMERIPORG who live there Palestinians in Arab states generally do not enjoy

Μ wwwmeriporg who live there palestinians in arab

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µ who live there. Palestinians in Arab states generally do not enjoy the same rights as the citizens of those states. The situation of the refugees in Lebanon is especially dire; many Lebanese blame Palestinians for the civil war that wracked that country from 1975-91, and demand that they be resettled elsewhere in order for the Leba- nese to maintain peace in their country. The Christian population of Lebanon is particularly anxious to rid the country of the mainly Muslim Palestinians because of a fear that they threaten the delicate balance among the country’s religious groups. Although many Palestinians still live in refugee camps and slums, others have become economically successful. Palestinians now have the highest per capita rate of uni- versity graduates in the Arab world. Their diaspora expe- rience has contributed to a high level of politicization of all sectors of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian Arab Citizens of Israel In 1948, only about 150,000 Palestinian Arabs remained in the area that became the state of Israel. They were granted Israeli citizenship and the right to vote. But in many respects they were and remain second-class citizens, since Israel defines itself as the state of the Jewish people and Palestinians are non-Jews. Until 1966 most of them were subject to a military government that restricted their movement and other rights (to speech, association and so on). Arabs were not permitted to become full members of the Israeli trade union federation, the Histadrut, until 1965. About 40 percent of their lands were confiscated by the state and used for development projects that benefited Jews primarily or exclusively. All of Israel’s governments have discriminated against the Arab population by allocat- ing far fewer resources for education, health care, public works, municipal government and economic development to the Arab sector. Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel have had a difficult struggle to maintain their cultural and political identity in a state that officially regards expression of Palestin- ian or Arab national sentiment as subversive. Until 1967, they were entirely isolated from the Arab world and were often regarded by other Arabs as traitors for living in Is- rael. Since 1967, many have become more aware of their identity as Palestinians. One important expression of this identity was the organization of a general strike on March 30, 1976, designated as Land Day, to protest the continu- ing confiscation of Arab lands. The Israeli security forces killed six Arab citizens on that day. All Palestinians now commemorate it as a national day. Many Palestinian Arabs have also come to understand that their political status as Israeli citizens and their pro- tracted contact with Israeli society has differentiated them from other Palestinians. Although most of them support the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, few would pursue the possibility of relocating there if such a state comes into existence.
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