When it comes to the state’s attitude toward its Palestinian citizens, the disclosure policy in State archives leaves many historical documents closed to public scrutiny. Therefore, any attempt to present an ongoing description of the positions taken by senior figures in the security establishment over the years is almost impossible. Two files that recently became available to review in the Israel State Archives offer an exceptional look at the bedrock views of the country’s top security officials toward Palestinian citizens of Israel during its early decades and reveal their guiding principles.
The two documents recently declassified in the state archives include meeting minutes of two discussions held by the Israeli defense establishment in 1960 and 1965, regarding the state’s policy towards the Palestinian minority. The first, titled “Summary of a Meeting about the Arab Minority in Israel,” is the transcript of a meeting held in February 1960 at the request of Uri Lubrani, the Arab affairs adviser to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Lubrani convened the heads of the security units that dealt with the “Arab issue,” a term used frequently in discussions during that period.
The second document, “Policy Guidelines for the Arab Minority in Israel,” from July 1965, contains dozens of pages of remarks made during another meeting by senior government officials and the ranking security authorities. Its goal was to sum up the results of 17 years of policy, since 1948, toward Israel’s Palestinian citizens and to recommend both short and long-term policy on that subject.
In both cases, a clear picture arises: the security authorities were a tool in the hands of those in the government who espoused a policy of segregation and of subordinating Palestinian society to Jewish society. In both cases, the security officials argued that in the years since the 1948 war the government had not taken sufficient actions to suppress the development of Palestinian society. Another disturbing issue that immerges is that some suggested that it would be useful to take advantage of a future war in order to expel Palestinian citizens of Israel.
the full article was published in Haaretz on September 17th 2021