Political Coups in Israel and its Implications for the Palestinian Minority

Ever since the creation of the Israeli state in 1948, the world has treated it as the sole ‘oasis of democracy’ in the Middle East. This status, which Israel gained free of charge from numerous countries around the world and the United Nations lacks, from the very first day of its establishment, the constituents of political and legal apparatus on the ground. 

That is because Israel which was created after ethnic cleansing of Palestinians through the War of 1948, forced military rule for 19 years over the remaining Palestinians who were not expelled or did not flee because of the war. During this period, Israel deprived those Palestinians, who became its citizens, of their basic human rights, including their right of movement, right of working, right of development, and expropriated most of their lands and kept them in enclaved cantons and treated them as enemies.1

In spite of this behavior, the Western World continued to treat Israel as the oasis of democracy in the Middle East. The only reason they did this was because they were Jews who had suffered from European Fascism, and because they had allowed the small number of Palestinians who remained in their homes to participate in the elections to the Israeli Knesset, after the majority of their people were turned into refugees.

Until today, the international political, economic, and military support for Israel is based upon these two facts. This has not changed despite all the Israeli racist laws2 against the Palestinian minority, and the massacres and violations of Palestinian human rights in occupied Palestine since 1967 until today.

Israel Political Shifts Towards the Palestinian Minority

Israel has changed and evolved, and its strategies towards the Palestinian minority in Israel have changed3. The substantial changes are divided here into three phases. Each phase reflected a structural change that was integrated into the state institutions that held certain directives or defined attitudes towards the social and political status of the Palestinian minority in Israel and their relationship to the state. These directives intertwined throughout the three phases between how to dissolve their identity, to integrate them, and how to clearly define the master-dominated relationship. 

The First Israel, which lasted from the establishment of the state in 1948 until the first political upheaval with the rise of Begin’s Likud to power in 1977, tried to dissolve the Palestinian minority within the Israeli society and eradicate their Palestinian identity by preventing its manifestation and symbols. This strategy failed and was buried with the uprising of March 1976. The strategy of dissolution was replaced by ‘The Koenig Memorandum,’ which envisaged increasing constraints on the Palestinians in Israel in order to force them to emigrate, as well as accelerating the Judaization of the Galilee and the Negev.4

The second Israeli government, led by Likud, intensified its efforts to achieve the goals of ‘The Koenig Memorandum’5 that was set for the Palestinian minority. But after the beginning of the Madrid Process and later the signing of the Oslo Accords, the Second Israel instigated a strategy of integrating the Palestinian minority into the state with an attempt to join the two separate Arab and Jewish communities into a congruent community, although with this composition, the Jewish community is superior.

The Second Israel was based on a multiplicity of governing coalitions and their different strategies towards the Palestinian minority, amid an undeniable fact that the Palestinian minority in Israel felt left out of the political settlement between Israel and the PLO. Neither their fate inside the Jewish state on the land of their ancestors, nor the fate of more than 350,000 internally displaced refugees inside Israel, were the subject of discussion on the negotiations table of the specialized committees emanating from the Oslo process. As a result, convictions arose among some Palestinian political elites inside Israel that it is time to look for a future amid what is happening in the entire historical land of Palestine, and some got involved in the integration process, and the majority were convinced that this path is the right way. 

The Israeli right-wing, and the fascist right-wing that emerged and started crystalizing in the early eighties did not support the strategy of integration and maintained the standpoint of the early Zionists that it was a mistake to keep a Palestinian minority in Israel. They felt that Israel must work to eliminate and confine them in all fields, and that military rule was not firm and successful in serving the interests of Zionism and its programs. Movements such as the ‘Kahane movement’ and other settler 
fascist movements were the pioneers of this (Nur, pp. 12-32). 

However, the common denominator between all the Israeli political parties and their coalitions in the First and Second Israel is their hostile attitudes towards the Palestinian minority, and their approach of dealing with all aspects of their lives through the lens of security. This can be observed through the period of ‘the Second Israel’ which lasted until the Israeli military withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, and the rise of Netanyahu and his various governments, the crystallization of the new Zionism and the beginning of the Third Israel, and the emergence of the ultra-national Fascism, which became an essential part of the Zionist political elite of today.

A protest against the nation-state Law in Tel Aviv on August 11, 2018. The banners in Arabic read ‘This is our nation, this is our home, Arabic is our language.’ (AFP/ Ahmad GHARABLI)

At present, the Palestinian minority faces the Third Israel and its new political elites along with their new ideology, and a new rigid attitude towards them from the political and security institutions6. These radical political coups in the structure of state institutions will target the Palestinian minority and their social and political status and will generate a radical change in their relationship with the state. 

The Third Israel, unlike the First and Second Israel, began to enact clear racist laws embodying the principle of ‘master and dominated’ in the relationship of the Jewish majority with the Palestinian minority. In 2012, the number of these laws reached more than twenty, according to the report by the human rights organization “Adalah,”7 and today the number has exceeded sixty laws, the most dangerous of which are the Nation-State Law and the Loyalty Law8

The ruling political elites in the Third Israel statements expressed on various occasions that the traditional Zionism made two major strategic mistakes in tackling the Palestinian minority ‘problem,’ and that the state and its institutions must work to correct these two mistakes.

The first mistake perceived was allowing the Palestinians to run and vote in the Israeli parliament. Traditional Zionism, specifically after the Land Day events in 1976, began to restrict this right by outlawing lists and political movements, and prohibiting some Palestinian candidates from running, under security pretexts and accusations of cooperation with external hostile forces. But it did not partially or completely revoke it. The Zionist right, embodied by the Likud, and the settler movements started demanding, in the early nineties of the last century, to restrict this right because according to their understanding, it has become a threat to the Jewishness of the state and its essence. These votes had an impact when the Rabin government did not find a Jewish majority in the Knesset to ratify the Oslo Accords, and it was only passed with the votes of the Palestinian (Arab-Israeli) members of Knesset (parliament). The Zionist extremists considered that incident on a par to that of the fate of the Jews was in the hands of non-Jews (goyim). Such “slippage” must be stopped and the Jewish collaborators to be punished. This eventually led to the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The participation of the Islamic movement, albeit nominally, in the penultimate government that was led by Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid was a strong impetus for the neo-Zionist fascist forces to cooperate and reap immense success in the recent elections, thus winding down the traditional Zionism. The demonstrations that are taking place in Israel for more than seven months have the unstated goal of preventing the complete termination of the ‘traditional Zionism’ and the privileges and status of the liberal Ashkenazim (Western Jews) who led it for decades.

Anticipated implications from the ‘Nation-State Law and the Loyalty Law’ on the Palestinian Minority in Israel

One of the goals of the Nation-State Law9 and Loyalty Laws10 is to curb the Palestinian right to run for the Knesset and access the state institutions. The Nation-State Law changed the status of the Palestinian minority from incomplete citizenship into permanent residents and effectively revoked the status that the traditional Zionism granted them. In the next elections the third Israel, with its new ideology, will act upon the Nation-State Law and the Loyalty Law, to diminish the right of the Palestinian minority to participate in the parliamentary elections. We might observe the prevention of new Palestinian political movements and old parties from running in the elections. The Third Israel will not only prevent political figures from running, but it will exceed that by revoking the right to vote from hundreds of young people whom it considers enemies of the state. Loyalty to the Jewishness of the state and submission to it will not be based only on taking the oath to be admitted to the Knesset, but the political parties, movements and personalities will be subjugated to express this loyalty in their political programs and statements before and after the elections. The Palestinians in the future will have to prove their loyalty to the Jewish state daily. Otherwise, they will be punished by the fascist regime. 

The second mistake perceived by the new-Zionism ‘Netanyahuizm’ is that after the signing of the Oslo Accords the ‘traditional Zionism’ did not restrict the Palestinian minority from manifesting their national identity and use its symbols such as the Palestinian flag. Therefore, the Third Israel began to constrict this right— which was acted upon without a law allowing it — by enacting new laws such as ‘the law prohibiting the commemoration of the Nakba’ and prohibiting raising the Palestinian flag in public places.

The new Zionism (Netanyahu)11 will not be satisfied with this alone and will pursue all movements and personalities that promote Palestinian national identity. This will be used as an excuse to prevent them from working in the education sector, for example, or any other governmental institution, or taking part in the parliamentary elections, and other penalties will undoubtedly include imprisonment. The national awakening experienced by the Palestinian minority after Oslo became, in the eyes of the third Israel, a national threat to the state. The May 2021 uprising was an important milestone in the strategic thinking of the supporters of Netanyahu on how to deal with the Palestinian minority in the future. One of Ben Gvir’s most important conditions for entering Netanyahu’s current coalition was the establishment of the socalled 
‘National Guard’12. This institution, despite the various opposition to it from within and outside the ruling parties, will eventually be formed, and its only function will be to monitor and prosecute the Palestinian minority inside Israel, who in the eyes of the ‘Third Israel’ are always and forever in the dock of accusation. This Zionist militia will spread terror and suspicion in every political or public action among the Palestinian minority in Israel and will be a cornerstone in confining their livelihood.

Strategy of Chaos: Problem-Reaction-Solution

Netanyahu and his Zionist fascist allies recognize the importance of using the ‘strategy of chaos’ within a group to takeover full control of it. This strategy has been used by colonial powers in the past and deployed by the third Israel among the Palestinian minority. For example, various state institutions support nepotism for some members of the Palestinian minority in obtaining jobs or privileges, and this would spread distrust and chaos among other members. But this method alone is not sufficient to reach full control over the Palestinian minority and force measures that the Palestinian minority would not normally accept, so it chose to spread chaos through drugs, weapons and organized criminal organizations that work openly with the Israeli security institutions. These social ills have become a daily threat to the Palestinian minority, who are ready to support any step taken by the state and its institutions to get rid of these evils. The situation that the Palestinian minority in Israel reached as a result of the tampering of organized crime, and the arms and drug trade, has become the most powerful weapon in the hands of the state to control the Palestinian minority and distract it from demanding their legitimate rights as a national minority on their land. This successful strategy of the ‘Third Israel’ functions according to the words of the great American Jewish thinker Noam Chomsky: “Create for the masses problems to control their daily lives and then offer them solutions that they cannot accept in a normal situation,” the ruler control strategy over the masses. This strategy allows the state to introduce its intelligence and security forces into the Palestinian towns and villages in Israel, with the collaboration of members of this ethnic group without shame or doubt. Since these social ills have become widespread in all Palestinian towns, especially in the Negev, according to my prediction the Third Israel will soon impose military rule or similar rule on the Negev, because of its strategic importance to the state, as Ben-Gurion said...“Israel without the Negev does not exist.”13 Placing the vast Negev under military rule or similar under the pretext of combating organized crime and chaos will allow Israel to displace a large amount of its Palestinian inhabitants and dispossess their land and property. In other words, what Israel did not accomplish by building the city of Rahat in 1972 to gather the Bedouins of the Negev and dispossess their land, the Third Israel will accomplish using other methods.

Admission Committees

The political upheavals that we have been witnessing since the Zionist fascism came to power, as elaborated above, began to constrain, and drain the lives of the Palestinians inside Israel and make it unbearable. This is seen as a tactic to force a number of them to move and live abroad, as it is taking its toll. Palestinians inside the country, especially the middle and upper class, are looking for comfort, safety, and stability, and thus started moving the center of their lives from their Palestinian villages and towns to mixed cities and small Jewish villages. This is perceived by the new Zionism with great concern because it deals with the Palestinians from a purely security angle and sees the housing of dominated Palestinians among the homes and neighborhoods of the supremacist Jews as a great security danger and an ideological danger to the “purity of Jewish society.”

In 2010, the Knesset enacted the Law of “Admission Committees”14 or Housing Committees in Jewish-only Communities, and the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal against this law in 2014. Under this law, ‘Admission Committees’ have the right to prevent a Palestinian from renting or buying a house in towns and neighborhoods dispensed only for the Jews15, these nowadays number more than 950 towns, according to studies conducted by Professor Yousef Jabareen from the Technion Institute in Haifa16. A few weeks ago, Netanyahu’s government enacted an amendment to the ‘Admission Committees’ law in order to allow the establishment of these committees in towns and neighborhoods with a larger population than that indicated in the first law. And thus, apartheid inside the Third Israel has become a normal thing. This will be followed by laws and other provisions that would prohibit Palestinians from entering certain public, recreational and livelihood places under the pretext of security or other reasons. The restrictions, which were used as a tactic in the First and Second Israel, have now become a ‘Jewish national’ strategy supported by the judicial establishment, and the door of apartheid has been widely opened in Israel. 

This is what Israel is planning for the Palestinian minority, and the possibility of achieving it in part or in full depends on the reaction of the Palestinian minority and their political and social elites in the future. We are going towards a new relationship between the natives of the land and the colonizers. It is assumed that this relationship and its embodiment will, not remain a peaceful struggle. For example, in May 2021, the Palestinians showed their ability and insistence to claim their rights. However, what remains is to wait and see how this relationship will materialize in the institutions of the Third State of Israel.


1 Noureddine Masalha, More Land and Less Arabs, Institute for Palestine Studies, Beirut, 1997, p. 8. 
2 For more information about these laws and their implications

4 Raif Hussein; Die politische Partizipation der palästinensischen Minderheit in Israel; Grin verlag 2022; S. 37-43 
5 This memorandum, proposing changes in Israeli policy toward the Arabs in Israel was written by Israel Koenig, the Northern District (Galilee) Commissioner of the Ministry of the Interior, and reportedly submitted to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as a secret document. Signed four weeks before “Land Day” (the general strike and demonstrations organized by the Palestinians in Israel on 30 March), the document is complemented by a secondary report including the lessons drawn by Koenig soon after the event. Al Hamishmar, a daily newspaper affiliated with the MAPAM party, published the two parts of the document on 7 September 1976. (Source: The Interactive Encyclopedia of the Palestine Question)


9 Nation-State Law-Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People. Israel’s Supreme Court (Ten out of the eleven judges) rejected claims that the quasi-constitutional law conflicted with democratic principles. See article by Anna Roiser [ /]
10 The Israeli Loyalty Law is an amendment to the Israeli Citizenship Act that requires naturalized Israeli citizens to take an oath of loyalty to the State of Israel “as a Jewish and democratic state.”


13 Ben-Gurion University of the Negev-Dedicated Research Database on the Bedouin of the Negev, Documents: Extracted from Report on the occasion of Negev Day in the Knesset July 11, 2023