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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: June 2012

6 - Greater Israel and Occupied Palestine: The Rise and Fall of High Politics (1967–1987)


Between the 1948 and 1967 wars, politics savagely invaded the lives of everyone living between the River Jordan in the east and the Mediterranean in the west. Elite politics, more militarized and nationalized than ever before, now demanded the full attention, daily participation and unconditional loyalty of Palestinians and Jews alike. There were very few islands of peace where people felt immune from the intrusion. Political elites on both sides had a hold over their societies that they had never had before and would not have again for a long time. Dissenting voices were stifled, and any remaining impulses towards cohabitation disappeared almost entirely. But we also find elite politics beginning to lose its importance in people's lives. This was particularly true after the 1973 war. For many groups not occupying centre stage, politics was only one of the media through which they interacted with the state or the national elites. As most marginalized groups also suffered from economic deprivation, their main concern was daily survival. Tradition and culture continued to act as anchors or defence mechanisms in the face of a harsh reality.

Nowhere was this distance more evident than in the Palestinian society. The best example is the case of the Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, for whom existence also meant surviving the political reality of the occupation. For this community, military rule was a traumatic experience that united poor and rich alike.