Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Palestinians in Israel: "The Younger Generation Will Never Forget What they Witnessed"

The New York Times (reporting from Umm al-Fahm), January 20, 2009 - Israel’s Arab citizens, who make up a fifth of the population, are torn inside. Whenever Israel has been in conflict with its neighbors, the allegiances of its Arab citizens have been tested, and their empathy has often been with the other side. But this war was worse, they say, because it was waged against their own people and they were watching it as it happened.

More prosperous, educated and “Israeli-fied” than their kin in the West Bank and Gaza, the Israeli Arabs are becoming more Palestinian at the same time. The feelings of estrangement could last long after the Gaza war.

The young generation will never forget what they witnessed,” said Aas Atrash, head of the Yafa Research Institute, a marketing company in Nazareth that does polling of Israeli Arabs. “If they were going in the direction of Israelization,” he said that now, in terms of Palestinian national identity and belonging, “we are going back 50 years.”

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