1996 God has ninety-nine names,
Simon & Schuster, New York ISBN 0-684-80973-7
Judith Miller, a correspondent for the New York Times since 1977, was Cairo Bureau Chief from 1983 to 1986 and later the Times special correspondent on the Gulf War. Miller is the author of One, by One, by One and coauthor of the best-selling Saddam Hussein and the crisis of the Gulf. She lives in New York City.
NOTE: This extract is included as an essential reading for transforming the world. You are requested to purchase the book yourself as it is, without question, essential reading material.
An extract from: Israel
THE THIRTY-SIX-ARTICLE charter, or covenant, of Hamas clearly identifies the violent group as "a wing of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine" and cites the "blessed memory" of Hassan al-Banna, the Muslim Brotherhood's founder.11 The Egyptian-based Brotherhood had a long history in the West Bank and Gaza. Banna had sent his own brother to Palestine in 1934 tO contact Muslims who were fighting Zionism. Beginning in 1945, the Brotherhood had opened many branches throughout Palestine that railed against Jewish immigration. Many of the Hamas leaders who had emerged during the Intifada had been active in the Brotherhood, particularly in a Brotherhood Islamic group, Al-Mujamma al-Islami, or the Islamic Center, founded in Gaza in 1973. The association, which was licensed by Israel in 1979 as an antidote to the surge in radical Palestinian nationalism in Gaza, a huge mistake, Israeli officials later conceded was ostensibly devoted to the foundation of mosques, schools including the Saudi-supported Islamic University of Gaza, with some five thousand students' - libraries, and charitable associations. But under the stewardship of Sheikh Yasin, a veteran Brother activist,14 the Mujamma, in classic Muslim Brotherhood fashion, had used its infrastructure not only to spread its Islamic revival, according to a Palestinian scholar, but also for semi-clandestine activity -preaching inflammatory sermons in mosques and distributing incendiary religious and political pamphlets.11 Until May 1989, when he was rearrested and sentenced to life, Yasin, who had been paralyzed since age sixteen,16 was the chief spiritual guide of the Brotherhood's militant forces in Gaza. The Intifada was a turning point for the Islamic movement. Sheikh Yasin had initially argued in typical Muslim Brotherhood tradition that violent Jihad against Israel would be counterproductive until Islamic regimes had been established throughout the Muslim realm. But the outbreak of the Intifada changed his mind: Islamic reconquest would have to start rather than end with jihad in Palestine. So stated the Hamas covenant. In many respects, the covenant reflected Yasin's thinking. Other sections resembled the PLO's charter that had been drafted two decades earlier. But unlike the PLO's controversial covenant, which had been deliberated and debated almost to death and approved by the PLO's "parliament" in exile, that of its Islamic counterpart was presented to Palestinians not for approval but as Hamas's first and final word. While the PLO charter purportedly criticized Zionism rather than Judaism, the Hamas covenant attacked the Jewish religion itself and accused Jews of slanders lifted from the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," the nineteenth-century Russian anti-Semitic forgery, and other spurious anti-Jewish tracts.11 While the PLO charter resonated with the vintage slogans of secular Arab nationalism, Hamas's vocabulary was vibrantly pan-Islamic: Citing passages from the Koran, the charter was purportedly based entirely on Islamic principles. While the PLO charter provided minority rights for what it presumed would be a small Jewish population in the new Palestinian state, Hamas explicitly stated that non-Muslim "Peoples of the Book" Jewish and Christian Arabs would be treated according to Islamic law, given "protected" status as second-class citizens in the future Islamic state. Jihad against the Jews was not a choice but a religious duty for all Muslims, even women, according to the covenant. A Muslim woman's main role, Hamas said, was as "maker of men." Women had to educate the new generation and prepare their sons "for the moral duty of Jihad awaiting them." Righteous mothers also had to manage their homes frugally in the "difficult circumstances surrounding us," the covenant declared. Money saved was "the equivalent of blood." Intellectuals and artists had to distinguish between art that was "Islamic" and that which was jahiliyya, a reference to the pre-Islamic era of barbarity and ignorance before the coming of Muhammad. Islamic works encouraged "ideological mobilization" as well as the "relaxing of the soul." The covenant, of course, did not identify who would distinguish between Islamic art and jahili smut or decide whether a work of art relaxed the soul and mobilized Muslims. But the document ordered the artist to err on the side of caution. Holy warriors, the covenant warned, "do not jest." In its charter the PLO had outlined a distinct governmental structure and institutions for a new Palestine.
But Hamas viewed such preoccupations as a waste of time, since the structure of the Islamic system was self-evident: "Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Koran its Constitution, Jihad its path, and death for the sake of Allah its most sublime belief," Article Eight declared. The new Islamic Palestine would probably resemble an even stricter Iran or Saudi Arabia -without oil. To Hamas, the jlhad's enemies were the neo-Crusader Jews, the "Nazi-like enemy," those "merchants of war" who plundered the people's riches, deprived them of "honor," and were forever "scheming." No war erupted anywhere 11 without their fingerprints on it," Hamas asserted, a charge that even Nazis might have found overstated. Hamas viewed every inch of Palestine as sacred a waqf property endowed to Islam for the benefit of Muslims that could never be relinquished. All of Jerusalem was the "First Qibla," the holy center to which Muhammad at first had asked Muslims to pray. Hence, sacred Palestine could never be compromised away through peace conferences such as those which had produced the "treacherous" Egyptian-Israeli Camp David Accords. "There is no solution to the Palestinian question except through Jihad," the covenant insisted. While Hamas paid rhetorical tribute to the PLO as a "father, a brother, a relative, a friend," Islamic militants could not hide their disdain for Yasir Arafat, the PLO chief and his secular, Tunis-based cronies "pork eaters and wine drinkers," the austere Sheikh Yasin had once called them. The PLO could only be redeemed by embracing Islam. In fact, the Hamas and PLO leaderships loathed each other. When the Intifada erupted in late 1987 spontaneously, it seems, and much to the surprise of the Israelis, PLO, and Jordanians alike, the PLO had attempted to gain control of the popular uprising by forming a "Unified National Command." Arafat invited the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic jihad, the smaller but older Brotherhood splinter group, to join. But Islamic Jihad refused, and so did Sheikh Yasin, who was certain that the PLO would try to co-opt the Brotherhood or imply that the Brethren had accepted PLO supremacy. Instead, Yasin founded Hamas to claim the leadership of religious Palestinians in the Intifada.19 Israeli and Palestinian analysts agreed that Yasin had also created Hamas's military branch to protect the Brotherhood's elaborate social-welfare infrastructure from Israeli retaliation. If the Intifada failed, "Hamas would take the blame," an astute Palestinian analyst observed; if it persisted, "the Brotherhood could claim Hamas" as its own, as it later did in the 1988 covenant.11 Not only did the creation of Hamas enable the Brotherhood to challenge the PLO's claim of exclusive leadership over the uprising; it gave the local Brethren a military presence with which to challenge Islamic Jihad, the rival militant Islamist splinter group that, though small in numbers, was well entrenched in Gaza.11 Although Islamic jihad had almost no social or political program other than holy war, its dramatic terrorist attacks, staged long before the Intifada, had impressed a generation of embittered, powerless Palestinians raised under Israeli occupation. The first Islamic jihad cells had appeared in Gaza in 1979 the year of Ayatollah Ruholia Khomeini's Islamic takeover in Iran, which had deeply affected the Islamic Jihad's founders.11 Khomeini's "neo-Shiism," as one scholar called it, his emphasis on action and rejection of the sect's traditional forbearance, proved far more attractive to young Palestinians than the cautious, incrementalist strategy that the Brotherhood had preached ever since it was suppressed in Egypt in the mid-1950s." The Islamic jihad had also managed to secure Iranian funding, which further endeared Iran to desperate young Palestinians. Islamic Jihad members shared the Iranian Shiite revolution's reverence not only for jihad but for shahada (martyrdom) a Shiite passion that would soon change the face of terrorism in Israel and its occupied territories. Echoing the Shiite Ayatollah Khomeini, the Islamic jihad's Sunni Muslim guides said that the Iranian revolution had proved that an elite group of Islamically inspired shock troops eager for martyrdom could impose an Islamic order through holy war against a militarily superior power. The Iranian revolution, noted a founder, Sheikh As'ad Tamimi, whom I had interviewed in Amman, had shown that in modern times "Islam was the solution and jihad was the proper means." 14 And the heart of Islam's struggle against the West was Palestine. Had the Iranian revolution not inscribed the word "Jerusalem" on its own flag? Palestine, another Palestino-centric founder agreed, was "the soul of Islam."" In 1987, Israeli security officials estimated that Islamic Jihad had between two thousand and four thousand members, supporters, and sympathizers, many at Gaza's Islamic University, which, despite the financial support it got from the PLO, was the Palestinian Muslim Brethren stronghold. 16 But by mid 1988, Islamic Jihad was in decline. Not only had Israel targeted its cells and deported several of its leaders; the formation of Hamas in December 1987 had ended Islamic Jihad's monopoly on violence among militant Muslim groups. Islamic Jihad's secret and isolated cellular structure, moreover, proved no match for the vast Muslim Brotherhood network of mosques, schools, clinics, and charities that underwrote the Brotherhood's military wing, Hamas. By 1988, Hamas's only serious rival was the PLO. 17
IN THE FALL of 1990, Fatah, the main PLO group, and Hamas clashed openly in the streets. Eager to avoid charges of dividing the Palestinian resistance, their leaders signed the first of several so-called Pacts of Honor. But fighting continued, especially after Arafat decided that the PLO would attend the American promoted Madrid peace conference in 1991. Meanwhile, support for Hamas kept growing at the PLO's expense because of local factors and partly because of the Islamic revival under way throughout the region. One factor, though far less influential than others, was the rise within Israel of such radical religious groups as Gush Emunim and other messianic factions that based their claims to the occupied land on religion and spoke openly of "transferring" Arabs from "Judea and Samaria," biblical names for the West Bank that the Israeli government itself had adopted. Such belligerent rhetoric led some terrified Muslims to articulate their own religious defense against Jewish zealotry.11 Even before the 1991 Gulf war, the PLO was in trouble. Its expulsion from Jordan in 1970-71 and from Lebanon in 1982 had left the Palestinian secularist standard-bearer without a base near Israel from which to influence the occupied territories. The Gulf war further shifted the balance of power in favor of militant Islam, at least in the territories. Unlike most militant Islamic groups and the PLO -whose chairman had vowed that he and Saddam Hussein would soon "pray together" in Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque Hamas had avoided openly embracing Iraq's leader and thus avoided the dramatic decline in financial support from the Gulf states that the PLO suffered after the Gulf war. So Saudi Arabia had quietly shifted some grants and aid earmarked for the PLO to Hamas-affiliated groups and charities in the territories.19 In addition, Hamas received large contributions from Muslim sympathizers in Arab countries, Europe, and, of course, the United States. Experts on militant Islam asserted that as much as 70-80 percent of $10-$12 million a year that Hamas spent on military activities in the territories originated or came through American channels.411 The ailing PLO fought back. Financially squeezed not only by the loss of Gulf aid but also by the expulsion of as many as 400,000 of the 8oo,ooo Palestinians living in the Gulf and from whom the PLO had collected tax,41 the PLO emphasized its historic legitimacy as the Palestinians' "sole" representative. It denounced the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas's mother organization, as a "gutless wonder," as one PLO official put it in 1992, a movement that had virtually no tradition of fighting for Palestine.41 While Hamas boasted of the exploits of Sheikh Izz al-Din al-Qassam, a Syrian-born Islamic militant from Haifa who was killed fighting Zionists and the British in 1935 -and had even honored his memory by naming their military squads after him-and while they praised Muslim Brotherhood volunteers from Egypt who had fought so tenaciously against the Jews in the 1948 war, the PLO argued that such examples were exceptions. The Brotherhood's position after the 1967 war was that jihad had to be deferred until Muslims were stronger and ruled by truly Islamic governments. Only the PLO had consistently fought for Palestinian dignity and honor, the PLO asserted. At the same time, Arafat, like most Arab rulers, was still trying to co-opt the Islamic militants by luring Hamas into membership in the PLO's parliament in exile. But Hamas insisted on more political weight than the PLO chief was willing to relinquish.
In late 1992, Arafat, for the first time, openly criticized Hamas and warned that militant Islamic violence against PLO supporters would lead to unspecified retaliation. There were "limits to our patience," the PLO chief told a reporter.41 Iranian-funded Hamas squads were killing pro-PLO Palestinians, Arafat told me in a subsequent interview. This was unacceptable. So was aid to his rival from Teheran, which, he charged, had already given Hamas some $30 million -the same figure cited by Israeli prime minister Rabin.44 Israel's deportation of Palestinians to Lebanon in 1992 dramatically increased sympathy for Hamas among Palestinians both in the territories and within Israel, much to Arafat's chagrin. Meeting in January 1993 in Khartoum at the invitation of Hassan al-Turabil the de facto leader of militant Islamic Sudan, Arafat tried again to persuade Hamas to join forces with the PLO. Minutes of the sessions published in a Lebanese newspaper, and later confirmed by participants, revealed how venomous the rivalry had become. Arafat proposed that Hamas become the second-largest group within the PLO, second only to his own group, Fatah.41 Hamas, represented by its political chief, none other than Mousa Abu Marzook -the former Virginian and frequent visitor to Teheran who would later be arrested in New York -mocked the offer. Hamas, Abu Marzook told Arafat, would not join the PLO until Arafat had suspended his talks with, and renounced his recognition of, Israel. Abu Marzook also accused Arafat of "insulting" Hamas. "I'll continue to attack you as long as you don't reach an agreement with me," Arafat shouted. "I have prepared a whole dictionary [of names] to call you. "We didn't come to Khartoum to hear curses," Abu Marzook yelled back. The communique issued by the Sudanese after the meeting could not disguise the failure of Turabi's Islamic mediation. Meanwhile, the PLO had suspended its negotiations with Israel in Washington to protest Israel's deportations. When the negotiations resumed in April 1993 after a four-month hiatus, they made little progress despite hours of talks at the State Department and the soaring hotel bills of the delegates. I remembered the frustration of my Palestinian friends during trips to Israel and the territories in early 1993 On a shop door in East Jerusalem, I saw graffiti in Arabic that captured the Palestinian mood throughout the territories: "Yes to guns, no to hotels." The stalled talks also helped Hamas. The PLO, Islamic militants gleefully jeered, was a "spent force," a "defeatist organization." Hamas was sure, Dr. Mahmud al-Zahhar, its spokesman, told me in Gaza in the spring Of 1993, that 11 nothing" would come of the peace talks.
NEWS OF the September 1993 PLO-Israeli peace accord that was laboriously produced in secret meetings in Norway over endless meals of smoked fish and vodka stunned Hamas as much as it did the rest of the world. The Oslo "Declaration of Principles," the agreement between Israel and its long-standing enemy, had, in fact, resulted from Arafat's weakness. What the PLO ultimately accepted at Oslo had repeatedly been rejected by its negotiators in Washington and fell short of what Arafat himself had often described as his minimum demands .41 But if Israel was able to make such a favorable deal because it was strong, Prime Minister Rabin, too, had been prompted to do the unthinkable partly by fear of future weakness. The rise of Islamic militancy throughout the region meant that the Palestinian nationalism that Israel had battled as its ultimate demon for more than forty years was no longer the greatest potential threat to the Jewish state. "I came to the conclusion," the prime minister told me on the first anniversary of the accord, "that unless I took the PLO now, there would eventually be no partner among the Palestinians, that extreme Muslims would take over, and there would be no agreement. " 41 Thus, a rising Hamas had inadvertently contributed to the peace by making a deal politically acceptable with the group that Israel had for so long despised. Israel, Rabin concluded, now faced an even greater challenge .41, What almost no one predicted at the time was that the peril to Rabin and to the peace process itself -would come not from Islamic militancy but from its Jewish counterpart.
WHILE THE PLO's decision to attend the 1991 Madrid peace conference had shattered the solidarity of the Islamic movement-causing yet another major split, for instance, within the Islamic Jihad movement49 -the Oslo peace agreement itself was unanimously condemned by militant Islamists. On the day the accord was signed, in September 1993, Hamas declared in Jerusalem's AlQuds newspaper its "complete rejection" of the peace plan, which called for a staged Israeli withdrawal from unspecified parts of the territories and condemned the PLO's "dangerous concessions" and "outright transgression" of its own principles. In the same newspaper a few days later, Hamas's spiritual guide, Sheikh Yasin, also denounced from his prison cell the "deceptive and ludicrous" accord that would "accomplish nothing for the Palestinian people." Interestingly, however, the sheikh also criticized the agreement on tactical grounds: No accord negotiated "at this time," he said, would be in the Palestinians' interest; 11 opportunities are not equal when your enemy is in a position of strength and you are not."
Islamic groups that had previously endorsed the Madrid peace conference and, in effect, Arafat's negotiations with Israel now rushed to denounce the Oslo accord. Nadir al-Tamimi, mufti of the Palestinian Liberation Army and a leader of the Islamic jihad's Jerusalem branch, immediately issued a fatwa declaring that "any surrender of even a square foot of Palestinian land may be considered disbelief, kufr, and perfidy." Tamimi -the son of Sheikh Tamimi in Amman also resigned from the PLO's Central Committee, as did most militant Islamists who, two years earlier, had cautiously endorsed Madrid to avoid splitting the Palestinian resistance. Thus, wrote a Palestinian scholar, the PLO lost the "last remnant of Islamic cover."'
To Hamas, the accord posed a dual challenge. Not only did it threaten the militant Islamic camp's insistence that no part of sacred Palestine be surrendered to Israel; it also potentially undermined Hamas's support in the newly autonomous Palestinian zones. Hamas had to find a way to continue opposing any agreement with Israel while participating in the institutions created by the peace process in order to preserve its role in Palestinian politics. Initially, support for the accord among Palestinians in the territories was intense and widespread.11 So Hamas did what it had previously done when on the defensive: It waited. Eventually, Hamas leaders argued, objective conditions would change, and the popular mood would shift. What that meant, practically, was that Hamas would keep its options open by condemning the peace accord while refusing to rule out working within the new Palestinian Authority, Arafat's government in Gaza and Jericho. In order to drive a wedge between the PLO leadership and its constituency, Hamas also portrayed the accord as the exclusive work of Arafat and his clique. And while it propagandized against the accord, Hamas prepared to intensify armed resistance-knowing that terrorism in Israel would surely trigger an Israeli security crackdown in the territories that would erode Palestinian confidence in the accord and the PLO. Hamas sought the moral high ground: It would never condone Arafat's deal with the Jews a "major sin," its leaders said but it would not be the cause of fitna, civil strife among Palestinians and a sin in Islamic dogma. Thus, Hamas struck yet another Pact of Honor with the PLO, again condemning violence against fellow Palestinians. But that understanding, too, was shattered in late 1994 when fighting between Hamas and the PLO erupted yet again in Gaza.
WHEN ISRAEL BEGAN withdrawing from Gaza and Jericho in the West Bank in May 1994, Muhammad Salah, the Hamas leader from America, was starting to serve his prison sentence. Salah's fellow American courier, Muhammad Jarad, who had a history of heart trouble and had been hospitalized in prison for chest pains, had been released in 1993 after six months in jail. Israeli officials said that jarad had been a low-level agent but that Salah had ultimately confessed to having recruited and trained young men as Hamas terrorists and also to having suggested that Hamas assassinate Sari Nuseibeh, an influential Palestinian intellectual from Jerusalem who supported peace with Israel.11 Salah himself had also built more than a dozen timers for bombs.11 Meanwhile, American law enforcement officials had increased surveillance of individuals and groups suspected of ties to Hamas and other militant religious groups. The Clinton administration had also stiffened anti-terrorism measures, issuing an executive order in January 1995 and introducing legislation that would increase government scrutiny of such individuals and make payments to such groups as Hamas illegal.14 In April 1995 the CIA director testified that Islamic terrorism posed the "single greatest threat" to U.S. interests. Eager to protect its infrastructure and fund-raising apparatus in the United States, Hamas shifted key military men and missions elsewhere-to England, Jordan, Syria, and Iran. For its part, Israel had tracked down most of the young men Salah's network had trained and closed some groups that had funnelled money to Hamas military operations. Israel had also temporarily closed several Hamas-controlled mosques where the group had stored weapons and propaganda. Preachers, some of whom were installed at Muhammad Salah's orders, were arrested. I had visited a display of captured material in the West Bank headquarters of the Israeli Civil Administration in mid-1993 In these places of worship Israeli soldiers had found guns, knives, chains, Islamic banners and pamphlets, stolen Israeli IDs and uniforms to help Hamas kidnap Israeli soldiers and move about more freely. There were also photographs of Islamic guerrillas as well as of the burned and scarred bodies of Palestinian "collaborators" whom Hamas had "punished" for their alleged crimes. The Hamas torturers, proud of their handiwork, had posted color photos of their mutilated victims on mosque bulletin boards as a warning to others. By October 1994, Israel had withdrawn from Gaza and Jericho, and neighboring Jordan was about to make its own peace with Israel. On the eve of the Jordanian treaty-signing ceremony, I visited Dr. Zahhar, the Hamas spokesman in Gaza, at his medical office in a dilapidated downtown building that smelled of disinfectant. Gaza had always been among the most miserable of places I covered. It reminded me of Egypt's poorest slums, but without Egypt's good-humored population. Its oppressive poverty and palpable anguish were even more depressing because of the setting Gaza had sandy beaches and a serene coastline like that of prosperous northern Israel. I could imagine a string of modern hotels lining its shores. Were it not for the Arab-Israeli conflict and Israel's refusal to permit independent economic development here," Gaza might well have thrived. But within this strip of sand twenty-eight miles long and six miles wide on average, 830,000 people two-thirds of them children of embittered refugees of the 1948 war and half less than fourteen years old were crammed into eight squalid refugee camps, four towns, and a few villages. Gaza's rate of annual population growth was 4 percent-among the world's highest. Average per capita GNP was about a thousand dollars a year. There was no economic base.16 Yet Gaza had now been spiritually, if not yet economically, transformed by Israel's withdrawal. In the fall of 1994, Palestinian friends who once trembled in their homes under Israeli curfew now strolled, sipped soda, and ate grilled chicken on Gaza's sandy beaches. The PLO, Hamas, and other political groups held public rallies and protests. The once-banned Palestinian flag flew everywhere, and buildings were plastered with photos of Arafat and liberation slogans. Though Israel's repeated closures of Gaza after terrorist attacks in 1993 had inflicted terrible hardship on the 90,000 Gazans among the 130,000 Palestinians who worked in Israel and though living standards, according to one UN official, had "fallen like lead" since the Oslo PLO-Israeli accord, 17 Palestinians in Gaza still seemed jubilant over the end of Israel's twenty-seven-year occupation and grateful to the PLO. Dr. Zahhar's office that fall evening was crowded with poor Gazans whom he and his interns helped for a pittance, a telling example of Da'wa, the social welfare that had won Hamas so many converts in Gaza. A veteran Islamic militant who had helped Sheikh Yasin found his Islamic Center in the 1970s, Zahhar had been among the 418 Palestinians deported to Lebanon in 1992. Though he denied the charge, Israeli and Palestinian journalists had told me that Zahhar was responsible, among other things, for policy regarding the identification and punishment of alleged Palestinian collaborators with Israel, some of whose hideous photos I had seen. Dr. Zahhar dismissed the many obstacles to his movement's potential growth. He was not concerned, he told me, about the palpable yearning in post-Israeli-occupied Gaza not for Islam but for political freedom; nor did he believe that Hamas's success would be impeded by the Palestinians' strong 11 secular" tradition, the presence of so many Christian activists and PLO groups in key Palestinian enclaves in East Jerusalem and the territories, or the lack of influential Islamic leaders to compete with Yasir Arafat, "Mr. Palestine," as he was known. Hamas would continue growing even if Sheikh Yasin, Hamas's spiritual leader, remained in prison, he told me. But I knew that Yasin's charisma and pragmatism had not prevented the Islamic movement from fragmenting over issues of ideology, personality, and money. Hamas had its own extremists who resisted its cooperation with the PLO and their own leadership's agreement with Arafat to limit their jihad against Jews to areas still under Israeli occupation. Moreover, the Saudis, at the request of Israel and the United States, severed overt aid to Islamic groups opposed to the peace process in 1994. Although Hamas had cemented its ties to Iran, which provided alternative funding-some say as much as tens of millions of dollars in aid a year, the group was running short of cash. Yes, there were challenges, Dr. Zahhar said, eyeing me coldly as he stroked his trimmed graying beard. But the Islamic movement was still gaining ground throughout the Arab world. Given the growing Islamization of the Arab Middle East, he said, Jordan's peace treaty and the PLO-Israeli accord were "temporary" setbacks in a positive trend."' Sudan was already Islamic; the oppressive secular regimes in Egypt and Algeria would soon fall. The corrupt PLO would never survive in an Islamic sea. Was there desperation in Zahhar's bravado? Having the Islamic movement's success depend on an Islamic victory throughout the Middle East or the failure of Arafat's Palestinian Authority to meet local expectations could hardly have been an encouraging prospect for him. But I also knew that if Zahhar had doubts, he would hardly have shared them with me. "Hamas is not in a hurry," he told me calmly as we said good-bye. "Time is on our side."
HAMAS, IN FACT, became increasingly divided and frustrated. Realizing that they could not stop or delay the peace process by defeating Yasir Arafat, the most extreme Hamas militants adopted a new tactic: They would stop the deal with the Jews by destroying Israeli public confidence in the peace and in the Labor government that had made it. Hamas knew that Arafat, as early as May Of 1993, had secretly promised Israeli officials at Oslo that he could, and would, stop Hamas terrorism against Israelis. Thus, in the fall of 1994, the radicals launched a series of unprecedentedly deadly suicide bombing attacks against Israelis within Israel and the territories. By September 1995, eighty-nine Israeli civilians and fifty-one soldiers had been killed and hundreds more wounded in raids staged since the signing of the Oslo accord.60 Defending Israel's new peace became embattled Prime Minister Rabin's foremost political preoccupation. Arafat, eager to avoid a messy confrontation with Hamas for which the PLO would be blamed, initially hesitated to clamp down on Islamic terrorism launched from his Palestinian Authority. But the suicide attacks slowly persuaded him that he was as much a target of the assaults as Israel. Unless he repressed Hamas and the other militant groups, his aides told me, the peace process and his own political survival would be in jeopardy. Palestinians and Israelis alike agreed that the turning point for Arafat was the October 1994 kidnapping and subsequent murder during a rescue mission of Israeli corporal Nashon Wachsman. Although Wachsman was held in a West Bank town not far from Jerusalem, Hamas had hinted that the Israeli soldier was being held in Gaza, territory under Arafat's ostensible control. The West Bank apartment in which Wachsman had videotaped an emotional appeal for his release had been decorated to look like a typical Gaza dwelling. Hamas wanted the Israelis to believe that Arafat either knew about the abduction or was incapable of finding Wachsman and his captors-which in either case would have destroyed what was left of Israel's confidence in Arafat's stewardship of the territories. After Wachsman's murder, Arafat quickly increased the Palestinian Authority's security forces from ten thousand to twenty thousand men and his own personal security detachment from twenty-five to seventy. He also began relying on Fatah "Hawks," the militant PLO youth squads that knew the terrain and that of their Hamas rivals far better than the aging policemen whom Arafat had brought with him from Tunis and other Arab capitals. With Israeli cooperation, Palestinian Authority security police hunted down militants and broke up terrorist cells in Gaza and West Bank towns from which Israel would soon withdraw. By early 1995, Arafat felt sufficiently confident to arrest more than a hundred Islamic militants, including boys as young as ten years old whom the police suspected of having been trained as future suicide bombers. In June, Arafat's police detained five Hamas leaders among them, Dr. Zahhar and humiliated them by shaving their heads and beards. Palestinian police increasingly monitored mosques to ensure that parishioners were not incited against the Authority and intensified censorship of the press, closing newspapers and even destroying opposition papers .61 Palestinian Authority security officers made night-time raids on suspects' homes, paid Palestinians for information about Islamists, and tortured Palestinians in jail -all of which was denounced not only by the Islamic opposition but by secular Palestinians in the territories and abroad as evidence of Arafat's growing dictatorial tendencies. Arafat was not a ruler but a garbage collector for the Israelis, critics said. The new Palestinian entity resembled Swiss cheese, a Palestinian friend complained, "with Palestinians getting only the holes." Arafat was establishing a "mukhabarat state," a police state similar to that of most modern Arab regimes. By accepting Israeli dictates, wrote a prominent Palestinian-American scholar who had initially supported the peace process, Arafat was helping Israel suppress the Palestinian people and "dominate the Arab world." What Israel sought was not reconciliation with Palestinians as a people, he wrote, but "apartheid."61 For its part, Israel attempted to assuage the growing Israeli dissatisfaction with the Oslo agreements by cracking down ferociously on suspected Palestinian militants in territories it still controlled, by repeatedly barring Palestinian workers from the West Bank and Gaza from entering Israel to work, and by sealing the family homes of "suicidists" and other Palestinians who staged attacks against Israelis, a practice that had lapsed as the Intifada declined. An ugly debate erupted over Rabin's decision to permit "tougher" interrogations of Palestinian suspects. Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross had previously accused Israel of torturing Palestinian prisoners, which Israel had denied. But after the murder of Corporal Wachsman in October 1994, Rabin gruffly dismissed protests in the Knesset over the rough treatment of a Palestinian who was apprehended after having visited the West Bank house in which Wachsman had been held. Israeli commandos had been preparing to raid the house, Rabin told the protesting parliamentarians. The security forces had less than an hour to learn in which room Wachsman was being held and how many men were guarding him. "So we offered him cookies; we asked him if he wanted some coffee , Rabin mocked his challengers. To protect Israeli security, Rabin made clear, the Shin Bet would be free to intensify the abuse of prisoners for which Israel had long been criticized -holding Palestinians in closet-sized cells at low or very high temperatures and in painful, contorted positions, slamming their heads into walls during interrogation, violently shaking, punching, kicking, and choking them, hitting them in the genitalS.61 What had happened to Israel's commitment to be "a light unto the nations"?
IN EARLY 1995, Hamas and the PLO seemed on the verge of civil war. Sheikh Yasin, Hamas's still-imprisoned founding father, denounced Arafat's Palestine Authority as "an arm of Israeli intelligence and the Israeli army." Hamas would fight the PLO as it had the Jews if such "collaboration" continued, he warned. Arafat's peace had legitimized the "usurpation of Palestine." Peace with Israel was "prohibited" by Islamic law; sharia permitted only a ten-year truce "to give the Muslims time to build up enough strength to overcome the Israelis." The jihad against the Jews would never end. He had rejected Israeli offers of release in exchange for a signed pledge of nonviolence, he boasted to his Arab interviewer I would rather stay in prison one hundred years than get out in exchange for something," Yasin declared in February.64 But something had to be done to protect Hamas's vital institutions-its Muslim Brotherhood-financed Islamic schools and colleges, social service centers, and religious organizations. So Hamas temporarily retreated from terrorist attacks on Israelis in mid-1995 Then, much to the Islamists' fury, a second Israeli-PLO agreement was signed in September 1995 that mandated Israeli withdrawal from most major West Bank towns and villages. Arafat's popularity soared as Israeli soldiers withdrew from janeen and other West Bank villages and towns amid jubilant celebrations. Hamas, once again, was on the defensive. The PLO's new triumph and Arafat's repression of Hamas prompted Hamas to end its assaults on the now hugely popular Arafat, Palestine's "liberator." The Islamists would have to shift political tactics. In October consultations in Sudan, Hamas pragmatists from the territories urged more hard-line colleagues abroad to let them stand for Palestinian elections and, if necessary, to subordinate themselves to the secular PLO in the new Palestinian state. Dr. Zahhar, whom Arafat had finally released from prison, explained the new political facts of life to Hamas's more extremist cadres: If real peace took hold and the Israeli and Palestinian economies were to prosper, the Islamists would receive no credit for the new prosperity if they shunned the peace and Palestinian government. Time, after all, might not be on Hamas's side. In November 1995 the still-imprisoned Sheikh Yasin publicly called for an end to terrorist attacks on Israelis. But militants rejected their spiritual guide's counsel. After months of negotiation, Hamas announced in December that while it would field candidates in municipal, trade union, and university elections, it would not seek seats in the new self-governing authority in January 1996. Nor would it abandon military attacks against Israelis, the group declared in Cairo. The pragmatists had lost out to the more militant activists. Rather than split Hamas, they had bowed to the hard-liners. Hamas would survive to fight another day.
ISRAELI CONCERN about the supporters of terrorism was not limited to the West Bank and Gaza. Though the Shin Bet remained what in retrospect was astonishingly oblivious to the implications of growing Jewish militancy, the intelligence service became slowly more alarmed about rising support for Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Islamic radicals among Israel's own Arab citizens our " Arabs, an intelligence officer called them. "Ask your compatriot Muhammad Salah," he told me. While the Israeli media had written extensively about the meetings Salah and his travelling companion Muhammad Jarad had held with Hamas contacts in the territories, the American envoys had also met with several prominent Arab citizens of Israel. According to Israeli officials, Salah and Jarad had met at least twice with Dr. Suleiman Ajbariya, a deputy mayor of Umm al-Fahm, the largest Muslim town in Israel, and once with Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib, the imam of Kafr Kanna, an Arab village near Nazareth in the Galilee, the biblical Cana where Jesus was sal 'd to have performed his first miracle, turning water into wine at a wedding feast. Israeli officials told me that these two Israeli Arabs, as well as others being watched, had ties to Hamas. Both were directors of the Arab-Israeli Aid Committee for the Inhabitants of the Territories, a charity registered in Israel that provided money to needy Palestinians under occupation. Each month, Israel's Islamic movement sent to the West Bank and Gaza more than $150,000, which was distributed by Islamic groups in the territories.61 Salah had told the Israelis that the committee had received $l00,000 from what he identified as one of several Hamas front groups in America -the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, in Texas. The money was supposed to be distributed to families of Hamas men whom Israel had deported in December 1992, but Israeli officials suspected that part of it had financed Islamic military actions in the territories. The committee needed even more money, the Israeli Islamists told their American visitors. The campaign to embarrass Israel by protesting its deportations was costly; the committee's tent outside the prime minister's office had to be manned full-time, and Israeli Arab lawyers for deportee families had to be paid. Salah and jarad had told their Israeli Arab interlocutors that Hamas in America would provide money to improve Sawt al-Haq wal-Hurriya (the Voice of Right and Freedom), the Israeli Islamic movement's weekly newspaper that was established in 1989. On several occasions, journalists for the paper had been questioned by Israeli security police, and in 1993 the paper's Jerusalem correspondent was convicted of killing Nissim Toledano, the border policeman who had been so brutally tortured. On a second visit, Salah and jarad had followed Dr. Ajbariya, of Umm al-Fahm, to a meeting of Hamas activists in Gaza. Sheikh Khatib and Dr. Ajbariya both insisted that their meetings with Salah and jarad were innocent. Khatib said that he had known Salah since 1990, when they met at an Islamic conference in Kansas City the same conference where young Nasser Hidmi had been trained in bombs and explosives. "I have nothing to hide," Khatib was quoted as saying after Muhammad Salah's arrest.66 But Israeli security officials remained skeptical. Hamas activity in the occupied territories was one thing; Hamas-financed and -coordinated activity among Israel's Palestinian citizens was something else. For Hamas's ties to the "good" Arabs, Israel's 900,000 non-Jewish Arab citizens-almost 18 percent of the population -had touched a less frequently articulated Jewish anxiety about people long seen as the potential "enemy within" the Green Line that in time of war or national crisis might side with their fellow Arabs against the Jewish state. Israel had worried about this threat since the 1948 war-Al-Nakba, the Arabs called it, the 11 catastrophe," the war in which 156,000 Palestinians had refused to leave or were driven out of their historical homeland and who became theoretically equal but minority citizens in their own land, the new Jewish state. Few visitors to Israel knew that one of the fastest-growing Islamic movements in the Arab Middle East was within Israel. Democracy was a boon to the vibrant young Islamists of Israel, the only Islamic movement in the Middle East
to operate within a democratic milieu. While the majority of Israeli Arabs had once supported Rakah, the Communist Party, or leftist Zionist parties, the loosely structured "Islamic Movement of Israel" was increasingly winning the hearts and votes of young Arab citizens. By the early iggos it commanded the loyalty of more than a quarter of them. The movement was relatively rich. Israeli security officials estimated that it received about $3 million a year from Muslim communities abroad. When Islamic candidates first ran for local office in 1984, they won seats on five local village councils and captured the council chairmanship in two of them. In 1989 the Islamic movement won 28 percent of the seats in twelve purely Arab settlements in the fourteen localities in which they competed as well as complete control of five of the fifty-six Israeli Arab villages and townships. Islamists were particularly proud of their showing in Umm al-Fahm, Israel's second-largest Arab town, where Sheikh Raid Salah Mahajneh, running under the slogan "Islam Is the Truth, Islam Is the Solution, Islam Is the Alternative," won the mayoralty by defeating a veteran nationalist politician long associated with the Communist Party.67
Unlike Hamas, Israel's Islamic Movement endorsed peaceful change. Though Arab Israelis were deeply sympathetic to the plight of their fellow Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, most had traditionally observed Israel's 11 red line" limiting political action: "sympathy yes, violence no," as Sheikh Abdullah Nimr Darwish, a leader of the Islamic Movement, never tired of telling reporters like me and the Jewish audiences he often addressed. As a result, Israel's Islamic Movement was what an Israeli Jewish friend called "vege tarian"-more like Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood than the violent Gama'a Is lamiya of Egypt or the Islamic Jihad in the territories.61 But would it remain peaceful? How much had Hamas's racism and reli gious intolerance and that of Israel's Jewish religious zealots as well affected Israel's Arabs? And how would Israel's peace with the Palestinians and neigh boring Jordan affect Israeli Arabs and Israel's own Islamic Movement? Would it improve the status, alter the identity, or boost the confidence of Israel's non Jewish citizens?
Many of my Israeli Arab friends argued that peace would dramatically
improve their lives. The Jewish majority would no longer have cause to doubt their loyalty or feel threatened by their identification with the PLO and the Palestinians; their "people" would no longer be at war with their "country."
Jews would no longer be able to justify discriminating against them. The issue of what it meant to be a non-Jewish citizen in a Jewish state would have to be reviewed in light of the peace treaties. Israel's Arab minority could be a "bridge" to the Arab world. The most optimistic predicted that peace would create a new, unique "Israeli" identity -neither Western nor Eastern but truly Middle Eastern in which "Jew" or "Arab" would no longer be stamped on souls or on passports as "nationality." There would be ups and downs, said Mariam Abu Hmeid Mar'i, an Israeli Arab writer and activist from Acre whom I deeply admired. But Mariam was an "opsimist," she said, referring to the word coined by a leading Israeli Arab writer to reflect the skepticism or pessimism inherent in what passed for optimism in Israel .69 Other Israeli Arabs were not as confident. Majid Al-Haj, a sociologist from Haifa, argued that Israel's Arabs might be "doubly marginalized" by the peace -increasingly peripheral in Israeli society and equally so within Palestinian and Arab circles. Granting autonomy and eventual statehood to Palestinians in the territories might produce among Israeli Arabs a dangerous alienation, a growing frustration, and aggressive, perhaps even violent, demands for cultural and political separation from an Israel that could no longer ignore the inherent contradiction between its commitment to a Jewish state on the one hand and to a democratic one in which all citizens of all religions were theoretically equal
on the other. "National autonomy" for Palestinians in Israel was now being intensely debated by Israeli Arab intellectuals and being promoted not only by secular Palestinians but by Israel's Islamic movement as well. Other questions being raised by Israeli Arabs were also at the core of Israel's identity. What did it mean, in practice, for non-Jewish citizens-and for its Jews as well-to live in a "Jewish state"? "Israel is at a crossroads," a friend, Elle Rekhess, a Jewish expert on Israel's Arabs, told me. His country had never been forced to confront these controversial issues: The endless Arab-Israeli wars had permitted Israeli Jews to evade questions that might prompt Jewish fitna (civil strife) between religious and secular Jews, who had radically different views about the nature and goals of their state and how best to assure Israeli security. Peace meant that such contentious issues could no longer be deferred. Neither Mariam's "opsimism" nor Majid's fears could be understood without knowing what Israeli Arabs had experienced since 1948. Nor could the prospects of Israel's dynamic Islamic movement be evaluated without appreciating the anger and alienation of so many of Israel's Palestinian citizens. Only gradually did I come to understand such issues during my own travels through the "other" Israel the Arab villages and towns that most tourists, and even Israeli Jews, seldom, if ever, saw, for example, Dabburiya.
THERE WAS NOTHING unusual about the grave site of Jamal Masalha. Only his name on a small marker distinguished his plot from that of numerous members of his clan who were buried in a cemetery in this village of six thousand Muslims at the base of biblical Mount Tabor. But where and how jamal Masalha died distinguished his death from the others. On March 27, 1993, the twenty-year-old Masalha was shot and killed in Tulkarem, in the occupied West Bank, when a Palestinian in the crowded casbah opened fire on his border police unit during a routine patrol. Prime Minister Rabin had included him among the fifteen Israeli "patriots" who had been killed that year in the "escalation of Palestinian terror" against Israelis. Hebrew newspapers had lauded the "hero" Masalha, the first Muslim volunteer to die serving his nation. Several reported that he had a Koran in his pocket when he was gunned down. But Masalha was no martyr in his hometown. Because he was the only Arab citizen in this entirely Muslim village ever to have enlisted in the Israeli armed forces, let alone to have been killed policing the occupied territories, Masalha's death evoked intense and divergent emotions. "I didn't even know that Jamal was in the military," said Asad Azaizeh, Dabburiya's mayor since 1978. "He never wore his uniform when he came home on weekends, so people's first reaction here was astonishment. "But many were outraged. They wondered what a Muslim from Israel was doing in the territories, oppressing fellow Palestinians, when even many Jews had refused to serve there. Moreover, he was in the border police, known for its ruthlessness in quelling Palestinian protests." I had traveled to Dabburiya some six weeks after Jamal's death to try to understand the anger in this prosperous Muslim town. I knew that the Islamic movement had lite appeal here; the Islamic bloc had won less than lo percent of the vote in the last municipal elections. So Islamic fervor was probably not the cause. Nor was poverty or even the relative poverty of the Israeli Arab economy. Mayor Azaizeh, now in his third five-year term, was a shrewd politician. Before entering politics, he had been a district officer in Israel's Interior Ministry, which was responsible for internal security; he was experienced, therefore, in operating in a Jewish milieu. As a result, Azaizeh had attracted Jewish investment and secured a greater slice of Israel's budget for his town than had other Israeli Arab mayors. The mayor tried to explain his constituents' reaction. "You must understand the ambivalence each person in this village feels, all the time, every day, about his identity and status in a Jewish state," the mayor said as we sipped thick Arabic coffee from tiny porcelain cups under an official portrait of Israel's president, Ezer Weizman. "You will hear this so often that it will become a clich6," he cautioned, "but it remains the core of our problem: We Arab Israelis, Palestinian citizens of Israel, are part of the Arab people, a nation that until recently was at war with our country for more than forty years. For us, it has remained a haunting fact of life. This internal division has torn at us. It has affected everything we say and do. And it obviously affected the way people felt about Jamal's death."
But how could Israeli Arabs expect equal resources and rights with Jews if they did not serve in Israel's military, a key component of Israeli national identity as well as political and economic mobility? That was just an excuse for not granting Arabs equal rights and resources, the mayor said. "The Druze served in the military," he added, referring to the Muslim sect that broke with Islam in the eleventh century and whose members living in Lebanon I knew so well. "But Druze are not equal, either. In fact, they are the poorest part of the Israeli Arab community. And the Orthodox Jews don't serve at all! No Israeli would think of denying them equality. "Maybe after there is real peace between the Arabs and Jews, young men in this village will volunteer for military service, if they are permitted to do so," the mayor told me. "But for the moment, many see such service, well, as tantamount to serving in a foreign military." Azaizeh urged me to talk to Jamal Masalha, the dead Jamal's cousin and namesake who had been close to the young soldier. I found cousin jamal at Dabburiya's sports and cultural center on top of a hill overlooking the village. The thirty-four-year-old director greeted me in flawless English, which he spoke in addition to French, Hebrew, and his native Arabic. jamal, I soon saw, was as exceptional as Dabburiya's mayor. With a master's degree in political science from Haifa University, he had also chosen to be educated in a Jewish high school, a rare choice among Arabs. He believed in the need to promote political dialogue as well as pluralism and democracy. "There is no other way," he insisted, "not for Israel nor any other state in the region. Jamal had staged many noisy political debates in this five-year-old center, whose floors were damp from the morning scrubbing and smelled of disinfectant. Jews who accepted the stereotype of Israeli Arab villages as filthy and badly run had obviously never visited this place, or Dabburiya itself, which greeted visitors with a brightly painted banner welcoming them in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. But Jamal's exuberant face deflated when I asked him about his cousin. "I urged him not to join the military, and certainly not to serve in the territories," Jamal told me uneasily. The Masalhas were among the most important families in the village. But jamal's branch of the family was neither wealthy nor influential. Because of a heart ailment, Jamal's father could not work; several of his brothers were also unemployed. "And Jamal, well, he was an average student, not exactly a genius," his cousin said with regret. "He never got to the tenth grade." Unable to find a job, Jamal had decided to work for the police. But to qualify, he needed military service. So he enlisted. The family had a terrible fight after hearing that jamal had been killed in Tulkarem "in the line of duty," his cousin told me. jamal's brothers ordered their mother and sisters not to mourn. The family had refused the government's offer of a funeral with full military honors, insisting that jamal be buried in a simple white shroud, in traditional Islamic fashion, rather than in the blue-andwhite Israeli flag that customarily adorned military coffins. jamal's service in the Israeli Defense Forces was particularly galling to some villagers given the Masalhas' devotion to the Palestinian cause. Mohammed Masalha, a cousin, had helped lead the infamous 1972 massacre of eleven Israeli athletes by Palestinian gunmen at the Munich Olympic Games. Another cousin, Omar, a physician, had long represented the PLO at the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Paris. A month before his death, "Jamal came home iii his military uniform, his Uzi draped over his shoulder," cousin jamal said, his face clouding as he recalled the village's astonished reaction to this apparition, which Mayor Azaizeh seemed to have forgotten. "I begged him again to find some other work. I told him: 'You are an Israeli. But you are not a Jew. But in the police, you represent them. What are you?' " His cousin, he said, did not respond. His silence spoke eloquently of the identity crisis that had obsessed the Jewish state's Arab citizens since Israel's creation. It revealed, as did the furor over jamal's death, the Israeli Arabs' intense identification with Palestine and with the Arab cause despite their Israeli identity cards and citizenship. And it epitomized the quandary Israel had wrestled with since its inception, a dilemma that preoccupied me, too, as I left Dabburiya: Given such alienation and bitterness, could Israel, a self-proclaimed haven for Jews from throughout the world, ever offer its non-Jews, even in peace, truly equal standing?
JUDGING FROM THEIR WRITINGS, many of the founders of modern Zionism barely noticed that Arabs were already living in Palestine when organized Zionist emigration from Europe got under way in the i88os. Zionism, after all, was nationalism, a European dream promoted by European Jews to rescue not the Jews of the Middle East but the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe from European anti-Semitism. So foreign was the concept of Zionism to Middle Eastern Jews that almost no Sephardic Jews, that is, Jews living in Arab lands, figured prominently in early Zionist history. Theodor Herzi, the Austrian-born journalist and father of modern Zionism, referred to Palestine in an early speech as "that desolate corner of the Orient." Though much of Palestine was, in fact, desolate and unoccupied, some 500,000 Arabs were living there.10 Herzl's landmark book The Jewish State, which rejected assimilation in Europe and endorsed instead the restoration of a Jewish homeland as the solution to the plight of the Jewish people, said nothing about Palestine's local inhabitants. Herzi, after all, had not yet visited Palestine when he wrote what became Zionism's manifesto. At first, Herzi and others hoped that Jews would be able to settle in Palestine peacefully because the local Arab population would welcome the inevitable improvement in their living standards. But as Arab hostility to the Jewish settlers -and vice versa-grew steadily along with their numbers,71 the Zionists concluded that the dream of founding a Jewish state did not go unchallenged.
Yet Arab reaction to Zionism was never monolithic. Even within the Palestinian nationalist movement, opinion about the Zionist project was divided. The powerful Husseini family, whose patriarch led the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem, was intensely, inalterably opposed to Jewish immigration and a Jewish state. But the Nashashibis, another preeminent clan, some of whom received money from the Jewish settlement, favored as late as the early 193os a compromise on Jewish immigration and even the partition of Palestine between Jew and Arab.11 The violence, assassinations, and blood feuds within the Palestinian community over the response to Zionism would endure to this day. The growing ferocity of Jewish-Arab violence in the 193os forced most Zionists to conclude that they would have to fight to establish their state. Fighting erupted in 1947 as soon as Britain announced its intention to withdraw from Palestine. When Ben-Gurion declared the creation of Israel on May 15, 1948, the Arab states sent their armies to help their Palestinian brothers. Hundreds of thousands of native Palestinians, many of whose families had been on the land for centuries, fled in terror. Others were deliberately driven out-and increasingly, the historical record shows, prevented from returnin y Jews who wanted to build an all-Jewish state. When the war ended, some 758,ooo Jews, but only 156,ooo Arab Palestinians, remained within Israel's borders. Between 6oo,ooo and 76o,ooo Palestinian Arabs had become refugees.71 While historians still debate many aspects of the flight, or expulsion, of the Arabs, one point is not in dispute: Those who fled did not know they were leaving their land forever. During the Arab Revolt of 1936, after all, some forty thousand Arabs had fled, only to return when fighting had ended. Most who fled in 1948 also believed that their exile, too, would be temporary.
FOR MY FRIEND Mariam Abu Hmeid Marl, the Israeli Arab writer and activist whose family had lived in the northern Israeli city of Acre for hundreds of years, "temporary" meant an exile of more than five years. For some members of her family, exile continues. Although she was only eighteen months old in 1948, Mariam knew the story of her family's flight by heart. "My mother was much younger than my father and very frightened," she told me one evening in 1994 over coffee in her villa, whose olive trees and bougainvillea were now encircled by Jewish factories. "We stayed in A'kka [Acre] until the shelling became unbearable," Mariam said, her intense black eyes darting from side to side as she recounted her family's tragic separation. Mariam's mother's family had been politically active in what she called the "Palestinian Haganah," the Arab resistance, hunted by both the British and the Jews. So her mother's family had fled several weeks earlier to Lebanon. Remaining in A'kka, her father sent his wife and some of their younger children to friends in a nearby village, where they waited for Arab armies to "liberate" them. "But no one came to our rescue, of course," she said with a sigh. "So our relatives in Lebanon sent a broken-down truck to collect us. I've heard about that trip a thousand times," she said. "How we were loaded onto the back of the open truck with only our mattresses and traveling clothes, how we plodded along in the black of night up those narrow mountain roads, nearly spi 'lling over into a ravine; how we arrived in Lebanon and found the rest of our family in Beirut." F,ven then, her father refused to leave his house and land. "He owned houses and shops in A'kka. He had built the city's first mechanized flour mill. He kept telling my mother: 'This is my home and my country. The Turks came and went, and I am still here. The British came and now have left, and I'm still here. And the Jews are coming and will leave. And I shall still be here,' " she said, imitating her father's basso voice. "It was iii this house, at this very table," she said, running her graceful hand along its polished wood, "that what remained of our leadership signed the surrender to the Jews." Mariam stayed in Beirut until she was seven. She had no love for Lebanon. "We weren't really living. We were passing time, waiting for permission to go home, talking constantly about return. Nobody even tried to get a job. We were living from day to day, being humiliated each day, feeling more helpless each day." Permission to reunite part of the family was finally granted in 1953 Mariam knows she was lucky. Of the 6oo,ooo tO 76o,ooo Palestinians who became refugees in 1948, only 25,000 were admitted back legally into pre-i967 Israel as a result of family-reunification petitions. An estimated 50,000 more crossed over illegally, but neither these Arabs nor their property claims were recognized by the new state, embittering many Israeli Arabs to this day. Even being among the Arab "chosen" had its drawbacks. Returning to Israel meant that much of Mariam's family would be separated forever. Permission was granted to her mother and her four unmarried daughters, including Mariam, but not for three of her married sisters. Nor did it include her mother's sons over sixteen. So only one of her brothers could return; three could not. Her father's immediate family had to stay behind. So did all of her uncles and her grandmother. On her mother's side, no one could return. "My mother was heartbroken," Mariam said, her eyes glistening with tears. "My father told her not to worry, that the rest of the family would eventually be reunited. So my mother came back, hoping he was right. But she missed her mother, her sister, and her own sons terribly. "Every morning at dawn prayers, at 4:00 A.M., I would wake up and hear her praying quietly for her family. She cried every morning; she would pray for their health and our eventual reunion. It was her own special prayer." Mariam's mother died in 1994 still murmuring her prayer. "My two older died without our ever seeing them again," she said softly. "So did two of my sisters. Today I have one brother and a sister who live in Lebanon with their children; I have never seen them." Part of the family was reunited once in 1966 for ten minutes. "The Jews talk about the Walling Wall. Well I remember our Wailing Border. The Red Cross had arranged for us all to meet at what was then the Israeli-Jordanian border dividing East [Arab] from West [Israeli] Jerusalem. "We were so excited. But my father was reluctant to go. We thought he was heartless. How could he not want to see his children! But he turned out to be right. The reunion was like judgment Day -everyone moving around one another in circles, frantically, alinlessly. "My family from Lebanon had spent a month in Jordan waiting for the meeting. Then all we had was five minutes. Five minutes! My mother could not stop crying. She kept saying: 'I have only five minutes with my children!' An Israeli officer took pity on us and gave us five more minutes. But there was such hysteria -so much screaming and crying and hugging. Then it was over. In an instant. just like that. "We cried all the way home. Nobody said a word all the way back to A'kka. lt was worse than not having seen one another. I have no memory of their faces -just the tears." The 1967 war, which reunited the West Bank and Gaza with the rest of Palestine under Israeli sovereignty, gave the Mar'is another opportunity to meet. "After '67, some family members could visit, with special permission. I had a niece in janeen [the West Bank] whom I saw for the first time. And my brother came to the West Bank and then was permitted to live with us in A'kka." The Mar'i family's story, so terribly typical of Arab families torn apart by Israel's creation, still has no ending. "There's more realism now. But it pains me to know that the PLO-Israeli accord does not affect more than 350,000 Palestinians in Lebanon or any Palestinians in the diaspora. My family in Lebanon are unwanted 'guests,' without rights or citizenship. Why should a Jew from Latvia have more right to live in A'kka than my brothers and sisters who were born here? Is that just? I want my own 'ingathering' here, a Palestinian right of return. Do you realize that they are only ninety minutes away? From Beirut to A'kka is a ninety-minute drive. Yet our family may never be reunited. What will become of them? If not here, where does the rest of my family belong?"
THE MARTS got their home back almost immediately after the war, but they were not permitted to live in it again until 1966, when military rule over Israeli Arabs finally ended, eighteen years after Israel's war for independence and one year before the next Arab-Israeli war. Israeli Arabs do not like to discuss the military rule. But Sabri Jiryis, an Israeli Arab lawyer who was born in 1938 and left his family and Christian village in Galilee in 1970 tO join the PLO abroad, remembers almost nothing but that. He meticulously recorded those memories in a book, one of the first serious studies of Israel's Arabs written by an Israeli Arab. Originally published in Hebrew in 1966 (with sections banned by Israeli censors), it was translated and republished in full a decade later.14 The defense regulations were unintentionally revealing, Sabri told me when we met for the first time during the civil war in Beirut. Sitting amid his file cabinets and boxes overflowing with documents in what was then the PLO's research center on Sadat Street, Sabri appeared more scholar than terrorist, as Israel insisted on labeling all PLO officials. I couldn't imagine him stabbing an Israeli athlete or opening fire on Jewish schoolchildren with a Kalashnikov. "But I am a terrorist." He laughed dryly. "I rewrite Israel's mythical history. I'm more dangerous than the PLO's guerrillas, our fedayeen!" He was proud of his scholarship; he detested the "propaganda" that was churned out by both sides in this conflict, he told me. "The truth is awful enough. Why not just tell it without exaggeration or embroidery?" After Arafat's PLO was expelled from Lebanon, Jiryis reopened his center in Nicosia in July 1983 tO continue his research on Israel's "colonial" rule. "Palestinians were the natives in the new colony, like the 'Redskins' in America," he said. "The regulations gave total authority -literally life-and-death power -to the military governors of the three principal regions in which Arabs in Israel lived: Galilee in the north, where 6o percent of the Arabs reside, the Triangle [connecting three important Arab towns in central Israel, home to some 30 percent], and the Negev in the south," he explained. Article i42 obliterated freedom of expression. Article iog (1) (d) banned the printing in Israel of any "notice, illustration, placard, advertisement, proclamation, pamphlet or other like document containing matter of political significance" without written authorization. Article ill gave authorities power to detain Arabs viewed as security risks indefinitely, without trial or charges. Article 124 was used to impose curfews in Arab villages of the Triangle for most of the night for nearly fourteen years. Under military rule, vast tracts of land -almost half of the land owned by the remaining Arabs of Israel -were expropriated by special order or legislation passed by the Knesset, Israel's Parliament. A generation of Israeli Arabs had grown up under such restrictions. Always a maverick, even within the PLO, Jiryis was an early and influential proponent of the "two-state solution" to the Arab-Israeli dispute-the creation of a Palestinian state that implicitly recognized Israel's right to exist as a separate state a position the PLO leadership finally adopted only in 1988.11 The collective memory of military rule partly explained why Israel's Arabs so bitterly resented the application of similar laws to fellow Palestinians in the occupied territories. It was also why Israeli Arabs had reacted so emotionally to the 1992 mass deportations of alleged Islamists from the territories. If Israel could flout international law by exiling 418 Palestinians suspected of Islamist sympathies, would Israel's Arab citizens be next? In 1995, Sabri Jiryis and his files came home. The files went to Arafat's new Palestinian Authority in Gaza, but Sabri himself, a supporter of the PLO-Israel peace accord, returned to his village in Galilee. Israel quietly restored the citizenship it had taken from him. He now appeared as a commentator on Israel television, appealing for a confederation of Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. But making peace with neighboring Arab states would not end the dilemma of Israel's Palestinian citizens, he warned. "The only real solution to our problem is for the Zionist component of Israel's identity to become less important," he told me, still saying things that most Jews did not want to hear. "Otherwise, Israel's Arabs will remain second-class citizens, non-Jews in a country that defines its essence as a Jewish state."
SEVERAL EVENTs explain the rise of the Islamic movement within Israel. First, Israel's victory in 1967 over the Arabs erased what had been Israel's Green Line border and ended the separation of Israel's quiescent Arab population and the 1.z mi 'llion Palestinians living in Gaza under Egyptian rule and in the West Bank as part of Jordan. The Israeli victory brought these very different Palestinian communities into direct contact for the first time since 1948 .76 If the "Six-Day War" humiliated the Arabs -the Arab "holocaust," Sheikh Darwish, the leader of Israel's Islamic movement had called it l7 -the defeat proved particularly unsettling to Israel's Palestinians, many of whom, like Arabs elsewhere, began searching for solace and strength in the Islam that they had abandoned in the heyday of the secular pan-Arabism in the 195os and 196os. The effect of free movement across the old boundaries and the exposure of Israeli Muslims to what one scholar called "the vigorous, well-organized religious life of the West Bank and Gaza Strip" was "startling."71, Kamal Rayan, who, in 1984, at age twenty-five, became the first Israeli Arab Islamist to win a mayoral election in Kafr Bara, population fifteen hundred, described the impact of his early trips to the West Bank. "We saw their holy books, their mosques, their schools," he told me one day in his small, spare office. "By reminding us that we, too, were Muslims, our brothers in the occupied territories spoke to our hearts. So although we knew almost nothing about our Islamic traditions, though we had almost no Islamic teachers, few mosques, and hardly any Korans, some of us began studying Islam on our own, in small groups. There was suddenly an insatiable hunger to read, speak, and know everything about Islam."19
After 1967, young Israeli Arabs were able to study at Islamic colleges in the territories where Islamism was beginning to vie with nationalism for political preeminence. (Many of the current leaders of Israel's Islamic movement studied at the Islamic Studies Center in Hebron, for example.) In 1978, some Israeli Arabs were also permitted for the first time to go on pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina, further exposing them to the Islamic revival in other Arab countries.10 Then came Iran's revolution in 1979. Despite theological and political differences between Sunni Palestinians and Shiite Iranians, young Arabs inside Israel were awed by the Iranian Islamic movement's success in toppling a powerful, non-Arab, Middle Eastern state so closely allied with the United States. Could Tel Aviv be the next Teheran? The notion that a return to Islam's straight path" might lead to political liberation encouraged the Islamic revival within Israel, as it had within the territories. Even before the outbreak of the Intifada in 1987, mosque construction inside Israel had nearly tripled: from 6o in 1967 tO '5o a decade later.11 By 1993, Israel had 24o mosques. Within a year of the Iranian revolution, Israeli Islamists had organized an Islamic jihad group known as Usrat al-jihad, the "holy war family," with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria and Jordan. The group conducted sabotage against Jews as well as Muslims -burning down a cinema in the major Muslim town of Umm al-Fahm for showing "pornographic" films and attacking fellow Israeli Muslim "collaborators" with Jews because they defended secularism and other "permissive" trends within Arab society. In ig8i, all seventy members were arrested and sentenced to prison, some for terms of up to fifteen years. Among them was a charismatic young Israeli Arab who had abandoned Marxism to become a "born-again" Muslim sheikh Abdullah Darwish a future leader of Israel's Islamic movement. Born in 1948 and a graduate of the Islamic Institute in Israeli-occupied Nablus, Darwish would never forget the sobering effect of an Israeli prison or the folly of violently challenging a state as powerfi-il as Israel. Inadvertently, Israel had helped fuel its own Islamic movement. With responsibility for Arab affairs split among several ministries, a succession of Israeli governments produced an often incoherent, fragmented policy toward Muslims and their institutions. In some respects, Israel's posture toward Islamists had been remarkably similar to that of neighboring Arab states which also faced radical Islamic challenges. Long fearful that Islam would join forces with Palestinian nationalism, the Israeli government's strict controls since 1948 were aimed at preventing the emergence of an independent-minded nationalist Muslim leadership; Arabs widely viewed as "yes-men" had been appointed to official Muslim posts. Islamic education had been discouraged, so much so that by the mid-196os, Israeli Muslim institutions faced a lack of qualified preachers, qadis (judges), and other Muslim functionaries.111 Weak and discredited, Israel's official Muslim establishment lacked credibility among Israeli Arabs and hence proved no match for the vibrant young Islamists who sought to fill their community's spiritual vacuum after the 1967 war. To supplant the Jewish state's co-opted Islamic establishment, the Islamists began creating their own institutions, such as the Islamic College in Umm al-Fahm to train scholars and imams and a National Islamic Association to conduct research into which holy sites and cemeteries had been owned by the Muslim community before i948. To protect neglected Islamic sites, the Islamists also formed local Islamic associations throughout Israel.11 And much to the government's chagrin, they rallied considerable popular support for their campaign to regain control of the waqf, property endowed to mosques that the Jewish state had controlled since i948. The i987 Intifada intensified Israel's indigenous Islamic trend. Israeli Arabs mobilized as never before to help their brethren under siege. While many Israeli Arabs offered moral support to occupied Palestinians, a few went further: Israeli Arabs in Nazareth, Umm al-Fahm, and small Arab villages in the north secretly printed handbills and leaflets for PLO leaders. And when the Israeli security service blocked international direct-dialing in the territories, making it difficult for Hamas and PLO leaders to receive orders and advice from overseas, Israeli Arabs volunteered the use of their own phones; others even allowed their bank accounts to be used to funnel money to the families of Intifada detainees 84 The creation of Hamas in the occupied territories-a by-product of the Intifada-also stimulated Israel's indigenous Islamic movement. Al-Sirat, the Islamic monthly from Umm al-Fahm (which stopped publishing in the early iggos), and Sawt al-Haq wal-Hurriya, the weekly from the same town that first appeared in 1989, published detailed accounts of the Intidafa and appeals for aid for the families of Palestinian detainees. The papers featured Palestinian poems, essays, and letters that compared Israelis to Nazis, denied the Holocaust, and denounced Israelis as "crusader-like snakes" and "disciples of Satan." Hamas and Islamic Jlhad themes and slogans were also picked up by Israel's Islamic press. Among the most popular rhyming slogans was: "Remember Khaybar, oh ye Jews, the Army of Muhammad will surely return." Khaybar was the Arabian oasis where the Prophet Muhammad had massacred Jews who had fled Medina. After the Islamic Movement of Israel scored its impressive municipal election victories in 1989, editorial demands for jihad against Israel became common in Israel's Islamist papers.111 But Sheikh Darwish, the Israeli Islamist leader, always carefully stressed that his holy war was a iihad al-nafs (jihad of the soul), a struggle between good and evil in the hearts of believers. Nevertheless, as rhetoric intensified, a few Israeli Arabs turned to militant protest. By i988, acts of sabotage within Israel Molotov cocktail assaults, stabbings, grenade attacks, and shootings -attributed to Israeli Arabs had tripled from 69 in i987 tO 2o8.86 In February 1992 four Israeli Islamists from the Umm al-Fahm area, the heartland of the Islamic movement, hacked three soldiers to death as they slept in their tents in an army camp in the Galilee. The gruesome murders-for which the four were sentenced to life in prison-turned out to be an isolated act by a tiny band of religious fanatics within Israel proper. But the Galilee murders shocked Jews and increased government suspicion and surveillance of the Islamic movement. To calm Jewish fears, Islamist leaders denounced the murders, declaring that Islam specifically forbade such violence. Sheikh Darwish even issued a fatwa commanding believers to shun "racism, provocation and violence" and warning that those who failed to learn the lessons of history were "destined to be deaf, dumb, blind." 17 Darwish and others stressed, moreover, that most Israeli Arabs were conducting an intense but legal struggle against the repression of legitimate Palestinian nationalism in the West Bank and Gaza to improve their own economic standing in Israel.
By and large, the growing militancy in the territories reinforced the Palestinian component of Israeli Arab identity, fostering what analysts commonly called the "Palestinization" of Israeli Arabs. But many Israeli Arabs hesitated to identify themselves as Palestinians or to endorse Palestinian nationalism, for until the 1993 Oslo peace accord, Jews equated the PLO with terrorism and saw any expression of identification with, or sympathy for, the organization as subversive. Since 75 percent of the Israeli Arabs were Muslim, however, defining oneself as "Muslim" not only created the psychological distance from mainstream Jewish society that many Israeli Arabs sought in times of crisis; it did so in a seemingly less provocative way. The iggo Gulf crisis further alienated Israel's Jews from its Arab citizens, as support for Saddam Hussein, so widespread within the territories, spread also within the Israeli Arab community.11 Enthusiasm for Saddam crossed Palestinian class, regional, and religious lines. Even Palestinian Christians, such as Jonathan Kuttab, a human-rights activist in Jerusalem, said that although Saddam was ruthless, the Iraqi leader embodied "something [email protected] and wonderful" that was articulated in the Islamic slogan " 'Allahu Akbar,'. . . the faith in a Great God: Greater than ... all the might of the 28 states that attacked Iraq."19 Israeli Jews were heartsick, of course, when their Palestinian friends in the territories turned on them, though in retrospect they should not have been surprised. How could Palestinians have been anything but euphoric about the prospect-however slight-of ending what Israel called its "benign occupation," which had been humiliating for those occupied as well as brutalizing for the occupiers.90 But Israeli Jews were even more stunned when Israeli Arabs embraced Iraq-though with somewhat more restraint than their brethren in the territories.91 Israeli Arab parliamentarians and notables expressed their "disappointment" in Saddam's devastating defeat. Televised pictures of the shoes Iraqi soldiers had discarded in the desert sand "tore at my heart," wrote one Israeli Arab politician, for the images "reinforced the stigma of the Arab as one who runs away. Suddenly I felt as if those shoes belonged to me." Even the normally restrained Sheikh Darwish could not hide his regret. America and its Gulf allies Saudi King Fahd, Presidents Mubarak of Egypt and Assad of Syria, and the other "pygmies who pretend to be Arabs and Muslims" would soon be "humiliated and swept from the earth's surface by the wrath of the people," Darwish said.91 But other Israeli Arabs saw that Iraq was defeated not by infidels or imperialists but largely by the failings of Iraq's regime. After the war, many Israeli Arab commentators called for greater democracy and a more critical approach to the ills of Arab society as an antidote to Arab weakness. The Islamic Movement of Israel, however, called for more Islam. While the i967 war, the Iranian revolution, and the Intifada undoubtedly spurred the Islamic revival in Israel, they probably would not have had such an intense effect were it not for the gross and growing inequality in living standards between Israeli Jews and Arabs. The abrupt modernization that Israel's Arabs experienced since 1948 the "Israelization" of Arab citizens would have been unsettling in any event. But it was particularly so when combined with a sense of injustice. More than any other factor, economic inequality intensified Arab frustration and alienation and thus enhanced Islam's appeal within Israel. Israeli Arab politics, like all politics, was local. Poor and besieged by Arab enemies, the new Israeli state had nonetheless done much, Jews maintained, to accommodate its 156,ooo stunned and reluctant new citizens a vanquished, traumatized, leaderless, mostly illiterate population, 70 percent of whom were farmers (as opposed tO 7 percent today) and most of whose middle class had fled.91 Perhaps the heaviest psychological burden initially for Israel's Arabs was their political isolation. At first, Arabs outside the state viewed those who, like Mariam Mar'i's father, had remained not as practitioners of sumud a "steadfastness" that was eventually respected -but as traitors and collaborators with the Jews. Despised by their neighbors and cut off from their traditional educational, religious, and political centers in Jerusalem, Nablus, and Hebron, the Arabs of Israel were politically and spiritually adrift. Still, Jewish leaders boasted that the living and educational standards of Israel's Arab minority were higher than those of Arabs in neighboring countries and far higher than their fellow Palestinians in the territories. But Israeli Arabs compared their status and living standards not to those of their Arab neighbors but to those of the Jews. The inequalities were and remain breathtaking. Arabs, according to Majid Al-Haj, an expert on Israeli Arab education, lag two decades behind Jews in academic achievement. While in 1992 some 98 percent of Jewish children received some preschool education, only half of Arab children did. In universities, Arabs, who constitute more than 18 percent of the overall population, accounted for only 6 percent of students. Only sixteen of Israel's roughly five thousand full-time university lecturers were Arab. Moreover, college attendance often failed to improve an Arab's job prospects: More than 40 percent of Arabs who graduated from the University of Haifa between 198z and i987 were either unemployed or had taken blue-collar jobs.94 Although 52 percent of Israeli Arabs voted for Zionist parties in 1992, there were no Arab cabinet ministers and only one Arab ambassador. Only one of the more than four thousand directors on the boards of some two hundred government companies was Arab. Even the Department of Muslim Affairs in the Israeli Ministry of Religions was headed by a Jew. For every shekel the government spent on an Arab citizen in 1992, it spent 2.5 on his Jewish counterpart. In 1994 more than half of all Israeli Arabs, as opposed to ii percent of Jews, lived below the poverty line.95 Given such gaps, resentment among Israeli Arabs was bound to grow. And eventually the Arabs' secular leaders were bound to be blamed for failing to deliver. Though Israel's Arabs could not end the discrimination against them, they could change their local leaders -unlike their brethren in Arab countries. And in the municipal elections in ig8g and 1993, that is exactly what many of them did.
A SMALL MONUMENT stands in a tiny park at the end of the Street of the Martyrs in the heart of the Israeli Arab town of Kafr Qassem, population eleven thousand. Surrounded by white and red rosebushes, the marble obelisk is engraved in Arabic: "To the eternal souls of the dead heroes who fell through injustice in the aggressive tragedy for which they were not to blame." Given what had happened in Kafr Qassem, the monument's inscription is restrained. It does not include the word "murdered" to describe the fate of the forty-nine Arabs including nine women and seven children who were gunned down or the dozens who were wounded here in 1956. My friend Smadar Perry, the Israeli journalist, and I had made the twentyminute car trip from Tel Aviv in the fall Of 1993 to cover the election between lbrahim Sarsur, Kafr Qassem's incumbent Islamic mayor, and his rival, Abdul Rahim Issa, who had been mayor for eleven years before Sarsur's election in 1989 and whose father had ruled here for sixteen years. "For a long time we didn't dare talk about the massacre," said Fatin Issa, the former mayor's nephew, as the three of us inspected the neat marker. "Now they teach it in my law school as an example of when not to follow orders. But it took years for the trauma to subside. And it took us twenty years to have the courage to erect this monument." 96 According to Israeli court records, the tragedy began when an Israeli brigadier, Yeshishkar Shadmi, imposed a strict curfew on Kafr Qassem and seven other villages near the Jordanian border on the eve of the 1956 Suez war. To ensure that the area would remain calm, Shadmi was said to have instructed Shmuel Melinki and other officers to shoot any curfew violators .97 There was to be "no sentimentality" toward anyone working in the fields who might not have heard about the order. Soon after the curfew, the killing began. "The first to be shot ... were four quarrymen returning on bicycles ... they were shot from behind at close range," the court records stated. Near the village school, soldiers stopped a truck and demanded that its mostly female passengers disembark. The soldiers "continued firing until 17 of the total of i8 persons were killed. Two girls killed were 12 years old, and two others 14." So it went throughout the night. After an effort to cover up the massacre failed -thanks to a Jewish reporter who published the story-compensation was offered the families of the dead, and eleven officers and soldiers were tried for carrying out "illegal orders." Two years after the massacre, eight were convicted and given light sentences, which were further reduced by government amnesties. By 196o, the last of those convicted was released, less than four years after the killings. One found guilty was hired that same year as the officer for Arab affairs in the city of Ramle. Melinki eventually got a top security post at Dimona, Israel's nuclear reactor. And Shadmi, whose curfew order Melinki had carried out, was tried belatedly, convicted of a "technical error," and sentenced to a reprimand and a fine of one Israeli piaster, or cent. Ever since then, Sabri Jiryis noted, "Shadmi's piaster" had become proverbial among Israel's Arabs for worthlessness.98
Qassem massacre was clearly exceptional, but it had scarred Israel's Arabs and implicitly warned them of what they could expect if they ever contemplated redressing their grievances violently: Jews would not hesitate to shoot down their own Arab citizens should "security" require it. Sheikh Abdullah Darwish, a leading spiritual and political guide of Israel's Islamic movement, came from this town, and so did the movement's national spokesman, lbrahim Sarsur, Kafr Qassem's young Islamic mayor. Darwish, who was eight years old when the massacre occurred, had long argued that it had helped create a receptive climate for the Islamic revival. In a speech commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the massacre in i986, he had denounced terrorism and violence against innocent people but had then equated the Palestinian exile and suffering to that of the Jews. Unlike the Europeans, Darwish contended, Palestinians had accepted Jews fleeing Europe and therefore did not "deserve" the "Pogroms" to which they were submitted. The speech had enraged Israeli Jews, who argued that Palestinians had done everything possible to bar European Jews from Palestine and that Darwish, by calling the massacre in Kafr Qassem a "pogrom," was grossly distorting history.99 Seven years after the speech, when we met for the first time, Sheikh Darwish, a chain smoker with a withered left arm and a deep, mesmerizing voice, had not changed his views. Until Israel made peace with the Palestinians and its Arab neighbors, he told me, Israel's Arabs had "no guarantee that we won't be massacred as we were in 1956 and in 1976," referring to Kafr Qassem and to "Land Day," another incident two decades later in which five Israeli Arabs protesting land expropriations were killed and sixty-two were wounded. Israel's Islamic movement favored peace and equality between Arabs and Jews and condemned violence against civilians, he added, but he could not denounce Hamas for its violent campaign to end Israeli occupation of the territories, since violence had long been the Islamists' only resort. Nevertheless, once peace came, Hamas, which was "young," would "evolve," he predicted. When Palestinians in the territories could vote in free and fair elections, Islamists in the West Bank and Gaza would renounce terrorism, just as the PLO had done in i988. The Islamic Movement of Israel recognized "the legitimacy of the Israeli Knesset," Darwish stressed. The movement wanted to work democratically for "Islamic way of life" inside Israel and in Palestine. There was room enough an I in this troubled land for both peoples, he said firmly. "We are not dreaming of building an Islamic state on the ruins of the Jewish state." Mayor Sarsur, who was born in 1961, was too young to remember the massa adn't learned about it in school, he told me when we met in his busy office shortly before the city elections. But his family had talked about the killings. His grandfather, after all, had been village chief at the time, and two of his relatives were killed that night. I recalled seeing the names of two Sarsur family members on the monument-along with thirteen members of the Issa clan. But for Sarsur and his peers, the incident was 11 ancient history" that had little impact on his own political outlook, he said. "We can forgive, if not forget," he said as he rushed to answer his cellular phone, one of three ringing telephones, and to check the faxes that flooded into his immaculate office in town hall. In his tieless long-sleeved white shirt and black corduroys, the still-slender Sarsur seemed the archetype of the modern Israeli politician-far more worried about the impending election than about his village's tragic past. This contest, like so many in Israeli politics, was bitter. As in most Arab enclaves, Kafr Qassem was divided among clans, and the two most powerful were the Issas and the Sarsurs. "We had always fought each other," lbrahim told us as he drove through town pointing out the new schools, clinics, and parks for which his Islamic administration claimed credit. "In fact, until 1989 our elections were purely tribal. Voting was based not on ideology but on family alliance." The Islamic movement had changed that. "I am a Sarsur, and Sheikh Abdullah comes from the Issa family," he told us, "but under the banner of the Islamic movement, we stood together in the last election. Thanks to the votes of more than three hundred Issa family members, I won."
Since then another "revolution" in Israeli Arab politics was the self-reliance preached by the Islamic movement. Arabs in Kafr Qassem had finally stopped 11 whining and begging the government for handouts," he said. They had done
for themselves-through zakat, or Islamic tithing, and contributions of cash and in kind -what the Jews would not do for them. lbrahim considered this new independence a radical shift in traditional practice-the movement's second-greatest accomplishment. Like his mentor Sheikh Abdullah Darwish, Sarsur lit one cigarette after another and used little of the mind-numbing Islamic 'argon I was so accustomed to hearing from Islamists. Sarsur's background, too, was unusual. Unlike many of his colleagues, this clean-shaven politician had not studied religion in the West Bank or at Egypt's ai-Azhar but English literature and linguistics at Bar flan University, the center of Israel's Zionist national religious movement and the school attended by Yigal Amir, the Jewish law student who murdered Prime Minister Rabin in November 1995 Sarsur had been enormously impressed by a Jewish professor, who, having asked his women students to dress modestly despite the summer heat, turned his back on them in his classroom and lectured to the blackboard when they ignored his request.101 Israel's Arabs, too, he told me, had to "turn their backs" on the temptations of Israel's godless, materialistic society. But Sarsur was clearly interested mainly in signs of Islamic devotion that might translate into votes-the fact, for instance, that as we left his office and drove through the village most women on the streets of this town so close to cosmopolitan Tel Aviv wore head scarves and ankle-length galabias in the modest Islamic style. His "Islamic Front" never tired of complaining about the "blazers," as they called Issa's supporters, denigrating the clothing his opponents preferred.101
Several months earlier, Smadar and I had attended the wedding of a young member of the Issa clan. We had listened to endless complaints from Issa's secular supporters, many of them doctors, lawyers, professionals, and intellectuals, about Sheikh Sarsur's Islamic administration -his inability to repair the city's antiquated sewage system or to develop the planned industrial zone, the fact that a main road had to be repaved because the initial contract had been awarded to a company owned by Sarsur's Islamic cronies rather than a competent firm. The municipality was trying to segregate boys and girls of all ages in school. They also blamed Sarsur for failing to rid Kafr Qassem of drugs, the result, they said, of the town's high youth unemployment rate. They hated the religious "thugs" whom they said Sarsur deployed to break up parties where alcohol was served and to intimidate girls who wore short skirts. The Issa family wedding had marked the unofficial inauguration of Abdul Rahim Issa's mayoral campaign. More than four hundred people attended the party, where coffee, Coca-Cola, beer, and sodas flowed endlessly and all the wedding guests and prospective voters were invited to a four-course luncheon and an opportunity to chat with the former and perhaps future mayor, who was nattily dressed in a three-piece brown suit, his thinning hair slicked back for the occasion. The electrified rock music and traditional Arab folk songs broadcast throughout the neighborhood had drowned out the muezzins' calls to prayer that hot afternoon. Smadar's presence had generated enormous excitement-particularly among young Arabs. Village residents were avid fans of Smadar's weekly radio broadcast, which featured news from Arab countries, and her frequent appearances on Israeli television on the Arabic and Hebrew channels made her a celebrity in Kafr Qassem. Smadar, followed by me, was ushered into the bride's family's house to meet the nervous, heavily made up future Mrs. Issa, who wore typically modern Arab dress for the occasion-a floor-length, green-satinbrocade evening gown and a rhinestone tiara that glistened under the fluorescent lights. Blushing with heat and excitement, she welcomed us in Hebrew and Arabic. Young villagers formed a tight circle around Smadar and grilled her about the peace process and her latest trip to Egypt. Would the Saudis support Arafat despite their anger over the PLO's alliance with Iraq in the Gulf war? What would peace mean for Israel's Arabs? In their T-shirts, jeans, and loafers, speaking good Hebrew, chewing gum, and singing modern Israeli rock songs, these young Arabs seemed no different from Israeli Jews, and they clearly wanted to be treated no differently. If ever they were truly accepted in Israeli society, the appeal of Sarsur's Islamic puritanism would surely diminish in this suburb of Tel Aviv, Israel's jazzy Mediterranean capital. Polls supported my hunch. Israeli opinion surveys showed that while Arabs in general were more religious than Jews and while Arabs in towns like Kafr Qassem had experienced a religious revival in the 198os (as had Israeli Jews and Christians), the long-term trend among Jews and non-Jews alike, due to steady improvement in education, was a steady decline in religious observance. 111 Such well-educated Israeli Islamists as Sheikh Darwish and lbrahim Sarsur were exceptions to Israel's secular trend. But true acceptance of Israeli Arabs by Israel's Jewish majority could not be assumed, given the historic hostility and mutual suspicion between the communities-each with its own claim to the land, its own monuments, its own memories, its own fears. Fatin Issa, the mayor's nephew, and his young friends complained about the humiliating discrimination they experienced each day-being stopped and checked at roadblocks simply because their Israeli passports identified their "nationality" as "Arab." At best, Smadar told me, Israeli Jews were indifferent to the well-being of their fellow non-Jewish citizens.101 Vv%en she had proposed a magazine article on the heated election in Kafr Qassem, her editor had shrugged: "Who wants to read about them?" For their part, Sarsur's supporters had shunned the wedding party with its alcohol, dancing, and Western music-all haram to devout Muslims. They mocked Abdul Rahim Issa, their fifty-three-year-old opponent, as the "chronic candidate," reminding voters of the piles of discarded liquor bottles that once littered the city park at the entrance to this hilly town. Islamists also whispered about Abdul Rahim's second wife, Yehudith a blond, blue-eyed Jew who had fallen in love with the mayor and married him twelve years ago. An Islamic Front leaflet contended that Prime Minister Rabin was Yehudith Issa's uncle. Sarsur's Islamic movement had also sought a campaign endorsement from an unlikely source-Arafat's secular PLO, whose new peace treaty with Israel was hugely popular among Israeli Arabs. For his part, "Mr. Palestine" wanted the backing of the Israeli Islamists for his peace bid with Israel. Arafat had offered to support Sheikh Darwish's Islamic Front in the municipal elections if the Islamists would endorse the PLO's peace accord and abandon Hamas, which condemned the agreement. The Islamic Movement of Israel, ever pragmatic, had agreed. Thus, at the annual commemoration of the thirty-seventh anniversary of the Kafr Qassem massacre, only a few days before the election and a month after the 1993 Israeli-PLO peace accord was signed in Washington, Sarsur read aloud a letter he had extracted from the PLO chief. "The blood of the people of Kafr Qassem was not spilled for naught," Sarsur solemnly declared in words that chairman Arafat had supposedly written for the occasion. "The massacre was a sacrifice for peace, part of the great price we paid for the establishment of our national homeland. I pray that Israeli Arabs will help unite the Palestinian people." The letter from Arafat, the PLO's secular icon, was a triumph for the Islamic Movement of Israel. The massacre of Kafr Qassem had become just another campaign prop. Ibrahim Sarsur was reelected narrowly and the Islamic Movement of Israel, thanks to a little help from its godless PLO allies still had a popular mandate to spread Islam's message in this small part of the Jewish state.
ISRAEL'S ISLAMIC MOVEMENT continued to gain political ground, but more slowly, in the 1993 municipal elections. Though the number of Islamic representatives grew from fifty-one to fifty-nine and the number of communities in which the movement won seats increased from fourteen to sixteen, Islamism in Israel, once the fastest-growing political movement within the Green Line, seemed to be reaching a plateau.104 Mayor Sarsur soon had difficulty forming a town council in Kafr Qassem. Though he had won reelection, the "tribal" loyalties he had once dismissed as a relic of the past had reemerged. Only after months of negotiations-and concessions to the secular Issa clan and other opponents-was Sarsur able to secure their participation in his "Islamic Alliance." Meanwhile, in Umm al-Fahm, a city of twenty-eight thousand Muslims nestled on a large, steep hillside overlooking a central valley in Israel, another victor, Sheikh Raid Salah Mahajneh, was facing similar problems. In 1989, at age thirty, Sheikh Raid, another graduate of the Islamic college in occupied Hebron, had been elected mayor with almost 75 percent of the votes, having unseated the incumbent Communist Party candidate -one of the Mahamids, a rival clan. Some hailed this earnest, soft-spoken young preacher as the future leader of the entire Islamic movement in Israel-a natural successor to, if somewhat more radical than, the current chief, the amiable Sheikh Darwish. Sheikh Raid was widely credited with having lent a sense of dignity and self-reliance to his hometown. He had fulfilled his campaign promise to raise money locally for a huge new $2 million mosque whose glistening gold dome now dominated the town's skyline, to clean up and repave the sloping, narrow streets of this hillside town, and to build new kindergartens, drug centers, and health clinics, which the government resisted funding. Among his first acts as mayor was to donate part of his own small salary to the bankrupt local treasury. His town council had banned alcohol -as had Kafr Qassem and most Islamicrun municipalities-built a segregated high school and gender-segregated bus stops, and opened a new Islamic soccer league whose members wore long trousers and opened each game with a prayer. In a very short time, Umm al-Fahm, which meant "mother of coals," had undergone one of the more remarkable transformations in its six-hundred-year history. Sheikh Raid told me that the Islamic revival in Umm al-Fahm was part of a universal trend among all faiths. Why should the West fear Islam more than it did increased synagogue attendance in America or the rebuilding of churches in Eastern Europe? Sheikh Raid had not always been so tolerant of Jewish revivalism. In October 1989 he had complained to a local Islamic paper about the Jewish conspiracy to destroy Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, "the heart which gives us life and unity." He had quoted the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," saying that the Jewish Third Temple had to be rebuilt on the ruins of Al-Aqsa. The Jews, he said, had built "secret tunnels" under the shrine to blow it up. 101 The sheikh had also parroted Hamas's line on the immorality of a negotiated peace that relinquished Palestinian land. "Historic truth emphasized," he said, that all of Palestine was waqf a religious endowment, which could not be "sold, bought, or granted." 106 Sheikh Raid made no secret of having met Hassan Turabi, Sudan's militant Islamic leader and another arch Israeli foe. Like his Sudanese mentor, Sheikh Raid had denigrated the peace talks before the Oslo accord as a "circus." After Oslo, he said little about the peace accord, neither embracing nor denouncing it. But his deputy had met in early 1993 with Muhammad Salah, the American Hamas leader I had seen in prison. Had he known about or approved of the meeting? Sheikh Raid would not say. But along with Sheikh Darwish, he was actively involved in trying to mediate and defuse the incipient civil war between Arafat's Palestinian Authority and Hamas. In the 1989 election Sheikh Raid had emphasized his Islamic identity, calling for an end to voting along clan lines. Though technically he belonged to the Mahainehs, one of the city's four major clans, he had downplayed his family origins, urging all Muslims to unite to improve the city's dismal conditions. But by the 1993 elections Sheikh Raid was facing an increasingly demanding constituency. Now he, too, embraced the clan politics he once shunned, emphasizing his "Mahajneh" connection, and won handily. Thus, while Israel's Islamic movement had instilled in Israeli Muslims new self-reliance and pride, it had not managed to overcome the age-old clan rivalries that were a hallmark of most Arab societies. If the Islamists were going to institutionalize themselves, their movement would have to accommodate itself to, and superimpose itself on, this durable extended-family and clan structure. Israel's democracy had demonstrated, at least for the time being, a striking limitation of the militants' campaign to change politics, and human nature itself, through religious faith.
By 1995, INTENSE PERSONAL rivalries had emerged within Israel's Muslim umma, the community of believers, particularly over Oslo. While Sheikh Abdullah Darwish had warmly endorsed the 1993 PLO-Israeli agreement, more militant Israeli Muslim leaders, like Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib of Kafr Kanna, had denounced the agreement as the desperate act of a failed leader -meaning not Yitzhak Rabin but Yasir Arafat. He called the agreement's deferral of the fate of Jerusalem "an act of treason." 101 Khatib was the Muslim spiritual leader of a village of twelve thousand Muslims and Christians on the outskirts of Nazareth, Israel's largest Arab-Israeli city, where Arab Christians once played a leading role. I had interviewed him in 1993, and the encounter had not been pleasant. Unlike other Israeli Islamists, the then thirty-year-old sheikh seemed deeply suspicious of non-Muslims. He had immediately asked me whether I was a Muslim. When I told him I was not, he became vague and uncommunicative. He had once told an Israeli interviewer that not only were none of his best friends Jewish; he had never even met an Israeli he liked.111, But Khatib had no use for Christian Arabs, either. Even Christian radicals like George Habash, leader of the PLO "rejectionist" Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which had always rejected the existence of a Jewish state in Palestine, had no place in the fight for Palestine; Jerusalem, he said, would embrace only Muslims. He had also accused UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghall, a Copt and former Egyptian minister of state, of fostering a "new Crusade" in Palestine by supporting Oslo-sentiments that did not endear him to Israeli Christians.109 I was not surprised that Khatib had met with Muhammad Salah, Hamas's American military activist. The sheikh had described the meeting as innocent: No money had exchanged hands, he said; no secret commitments had been made. But the Shin Bet had visited him to inquire about such meetings. In 1995 it also confiscated budget documents from the Umm al-Fahm municipality and an Islamic charity in Nazareth with which Sheikh Kamal was associated. Israeli Islamists were also increasingly divided over whether their movement should participate in national elections. Sheikh Darwish had long urged his movement to elect candidates to the Knesset, either independently or as part of a united Arab bloc. Citing Islamic tradition and the experience of Islamists in Jordan, Darwish argued that the Islamic movement had much to gain from Knesset membersh:lp. Arab municipalities needed Jewish national funding, he argued. While volunteerism and contributions from abroad had enabled the Islamists to improve their towns and villages, the Arabs of Israel now had expectations that only increases in national aid could fulfill. So Sheikh Darwish, and even Sheikh Raid of Umm al-Fahm, met often with Rabin's cabinetparticularly with Arye Deri, the then minister of interior and head of Shas, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish party -to lobby for more funding. For their part, Jewish politicians like "Sheikh Deri," as Jews jokingly called the Israeli minister, wanted Arab votes for their political parties. An Islamic party, after all, did not strike the head of a Jewish religious party as odd or threatening. Shas and the Islamic Movement of Israel, moreover, had their own alternative demons: Shas's main foes were Jewish leftists in the ruling Labor coalition who were trying to eliminate funds for Jewish schools and make Israel more secular; the Islamists considered the atheist Israeli Arab Communists their major enemy. I 10 The Islamic movement's more militant sheikhs, however, had vehemently opposed entering national politics. Serving in the Knesset, after all, meant accepting as legitimate a system based on Jewish-Israeli laws that contradicted sharia, Islamic holy law. How could Islamists pledge allegiance to a flag whose emblem was a Star of David? How could they participate in a secular legislative system when all good Muslims knew that the Koran was the only legitimate constitution and source of divine law? In 1992, Raid Salah of Umm al-Fahm had put it bluntly: "The Knesset represents a form of legislation which stands in contradiction to what Allah had ordered and bequeathed upon us." Ever the politician, Raid had told me in 1993 that he opposed participating for different reasons. The only power of Arab Knesset members was "to shout," he said. Because the Islamists could do nothing in Parliament, their credibility would only be eroded, whereas "in our cities we are rulers. We can do more or less what we want." Kamal Rayan, the Islamist mayor of Kafr Bara, had argued that the movement was not yet strong enough to make an impressive showing in national elections. When the Islamists ran-and he thought they eventually would they would have to be confident of winning a substantial bloc of seats. "Our aim is to serve the people," he said, "not pretend that we're an Arab government." "I But pressure to participate kept building. By mid-1995, even Mayor Salah was having second thoughts about abstaining from national elections. Traveling to Turkey to discuss the issue with prominent Islamists from other countries, he secured a fatwa from Sheikh Youssef Qardawi, the militant Egyptian scholar, stating that Muslims had a duty to participate in a non-Muslim government, provided such a government enabled them to practice their faith freely, as Israel's did. But in May 1995, after a fierce internal debate, Israel's Islamic movement decided yet again to abstain from 1996 national elections, unwilling to alienate the many Islamists who still opposed joining the national political fray. As it was for Hamas, fear of fitna, or internal divisions, was a key factor in the movement's decision.111 The Islamic movement reiterated the compromise formula it had adopted for the 1992 elections: While it would not field its own Knesset candidates, it would urge its followers to support the candidates of their choice.' 14 Although the Islamic movement still feared playing national politics by Israel's rules, its choice was its own. Israel, a powerful state with strong institutions, could afford to offer its Islamists the political participation that few Arab countries dared to extend. For in Israel, as in Jordan, both of which had successfully included Islamists in national politics, ultimate power was not at stake. In Israel's democracy, a Jewish majority ensured that an Islamic state would be politically impossible. In Jordan, no parliament had authority to challenge the constitutional supremacy (not to mention the religious legitimacy) of King Hussein. Thus, in neither state for different reasons were Islamic militants in a position to take over.
THE 1992 KNESSET elections were a turning point for Israel's Arabs in national politics. To win the election, Yitzhak Rabin's Labor Party had lobbied hard for Arab votes, partly by promising that a right-wing Likud defeat would advance the cause of peace. I I I Despite their antipathy toward Rabin the former defense minister reputed to have ordered soldiers to "break bones" to prevent Palestinian teenagers from throwing stones during the Intifada -Labor had won2i percent of the Arab vote, an increase from 17 percent in the i988 elections. 116 Arab Knesset members had also played a key role in the formation of Prime Minister Rabin's government. Without them, Rabin would have been unable to consolidate a majority of 61 members in the 12o-member Knesset. Although he had refused to include the Arab members in his ruling coalition, Rabin knew that his government would fall if the Arabs stood with Likud on a crucial vote of confidence. From 1992 on, no political party could afford to ignore Arab voters. After the 1992 parliamentary elections, Arab politicians demanded, and won, commitments for increased funding to close within five years the gap in budgets between Jewish and Arab municipalities as well as other steps to redress socioeconomic inequalities.111 For the first time, two Arab parliamentarians were also appointed deputy ministers, a symbolic but important gesture. The new Arab Knesset members and other Israeli Arab activists quickly became involved in efforts to heal internal political rifts among Palestinians in the territories and to pave the way for the Oslo agreement; they visited Arafat in Tunis and Egyptian president Mubarak in Cairo, and after Oslo, Syrian president Assad in Damascus. Ahmed Tibi, an energetic Israeli Arab physician from the village of Taibe, became the unofficial representative of Arafat's PLO, sending messages back and forth, organizing private meetings between Arabs and Jews, and urging compromise by all sides. In 1994, Abdul Wahab Darawsha, a flamboyant and enduring Israeli Arab parliamentarian, panicked Labor by introducing a resolution that would have changed Israel's definition of citizenship: Israel would no longer be a "Jewish state" but a "state of the Jewish people and all its citizens." This proposal was supported by most of Israel's non-Jewish citizens but was unacceptable to virtlially all Jews, even to my liberal friends. I had visited Darawsha in the Knesset soon after his resolution was shelved in 1994 and following another nasty confrontation on the Knesset floor, which even in its most harmonious moments made the U.S. Senate seem genteel. Goneen Segev, then a member of Tsomet, a right-wing Jewish party, who was now part of the ruling coalition, had accused Labor of "betraying" the Jews by relying for its parliamentary majority on Arab votes. "So what! So what!" Darawsha had yelled, leaping to his feet. Down came the chairman's gavel. "Mr. Darawsha, you are out of order!" the chairman wailed in Hebrew. "No government that needs you is legitimate," Segev screamed at Darawsha, disregarding the chairman. "You're a racist!" Darawsha shouted, shaking his fist at Segev. "Mr. Darawsha, shut up!" the chairman commanded, banging his gavel on his desk. "And Mr. Segev, you shut up, too." Still yelling, Darawsha was then ejected. Nattily dressed in a khaki-colored suit and a bold floral tie, Darawsha met me moments later in the Knesset cafeteria. "They need us, but they don't want us as real partners," he told me. "As my colleague Hashem Mahameed said, 'We have them by the balls.' They didn't like hearing that, but it's true. My party is not a Zionist party, but that doesn't make us disloyal. There are nonZionist Jewish parties, too, but they are distinguished partners in the government coalition. They are not harassed or discriminated against as we are. It all boils down to racism." As Darawsha and I left the Knesset, he was suddenly surrounded by reporters waving cameras and microphones. He shook his fist at the camera and repeated what he had just told me in what I realized had been a rehearsal for this performance for the media. Then he winked at me and whispered: "The Islamic movement will go crazy tonight! My constituents love this stuff. They may be Islamists, but they vote for me!" Later that year, Arab political power asserted itself even more dramatically. In an unlikely coalition, the Arab parliamentarians l'olned forces with Likud of all parties-to oppose Rabin's plan to confiscate land in East Jerusalem for Jewish housing, an expropriation that all Arab governments had denounced as illegal and inimical to the peace process. Likud had also wanted to build more Jewish housing in Jerusalem, but it wanted to bring Rabin down even more. So it had joined with the Arabs to break Rabin's government. Faced with the prospect of losing a vote of confidence, Rabin had backed down. Darawsha and other Arab parliamentarians rejoiced. "All the Arab states, the Arab League, and the PLO -not one of them succeeded in changing the expropriation decision. Only we did!" said Hashem Mahameed, the leftist Arab parliamentarian. The showdown had demonstrated how crucial the "marginal" Arab vote could be, given Israel's fragmented political structure and increasingly polarized politics -if only the Arabs could unite as they had over Jerusalem. But Darawsha and his fellow secularists had another reason to gloat: The Islamic movement would receive no credit for having blocked the land confiscation-an intensely emotional issue for all Palestinians, including Israel's Arab citizens. "Since Oslo the Islamists have peaked," he told me confidently. It was too soon to say whether Darawsha was right or simply exuberantalong with many Jews. The peace process was having a contradictory effect on Israel's Arabs, reinforcing both their "Palestinization" and their "Israelization." But it did seem that "Islamization" was losing political steam. Darawshal a seasoned pragmatist, reminded me that Israel's Arabs were not a collective. Nor were they all Muslim. Only about 6oo,ooo of them were Muslims -about 75 percent. Within the Muslim community, there were strong cleavages and rivalries -north versus south, urban versus Bedouin (the fastestgrowing segment of Israel's Arab population), to name but two. Almost 9 percent were Druze, non-Muslim Arabs who, unlike other Israeli Arabs, had always insisted on serving in the army and many of whom considered themselves an integral part of Israeli society, though their devotion to the Jewish state was hardly reciprocated. "MY soul and identity are not divided," Naim Araidi, a Druze poet, told me during a recent trip to Israel. "I am not a 'Palestinian in Israel,' " he added, disputing a term popularized by David Grossman in a sensitive book about Israel's Arabs."" "I am an Arab culturally-in language, customs, history, and traditioi-i. But I am also an Israeli and a Druze, a persecuted minority within a minority. I served in the army. So when a policeman stops me, I can argue with him. An Arab who is exempted from military service can't." The army, more than anything else, he added, had given him a sense of belonging to the country. "I'm more Israeli than eighty percent of the Jews of Israel! I am a new Israeli I belong to this new existence, this new identity. I have a doctorate in Hebrew literature, but my poems are in Arabic. For me, there is no contradiction." For Naim, if not for the Islamists of Israel, exposure to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza after the i967 war had reinforced his "Israeliness." The Arabs of Israel were so much more "advanced" than Palestinians in the territories. It wasn't just the difference in living standards, he said: "Israeli democracy taught us to think and question." When Egypt and Israel made peace in 1979, Naim had visited Cairo. "A double shock!" he said. "The traditional heart of Arab history and culture was so intellectually primitive in some respects. Our intellectual life was so much richer than theirs." Having seen other Arab societies, what Naim now wanted was not Arab "rights" in Israel but rather expanded opportunity for all Israelis. Naim, the Druze, had far more in common with my Jewish friend Smadar Perry, and with his Christian Israeli friends, than any of them had with Sheikh Kamal Khatib or Yasir Arafat. Lufti Mashour, the Christian editor of the Nazareth-based Al-Sinara and one of the country's best journalists, reminded me that many Israeli Christians 14 percent of Israeli Arabs were also hostile to Islamic parties yet another limitation on the Islamists' potential strength. But Christians were declining as a percentage of the overall Israeli population not because they were emigrating, converting, or being driven out, as in other Middle Eastern countries, but because they were being outbred. The Israeli Christian fertility rate was now half that of Israeli Muslims and slightly less than that of the jews.119 If the current trend continued, Christians risked all but disappearing from the land where Christ was born. "Islamists and leftists alike get all hung up on the symbols of the Jewish state," Lutfi complained. "I don't particularly care if Hatikva, our national anthem, speaks about the 'soul of a Jew' longing for Zion. I don't care if the flag has a Jewish star on it. Switzerland's flag has a red cross. So what? Call it Israel. Or Shmisreal. What counts is whether we are integrated and truly accepted here. That could not happen before peace between Arabs and Jews. But now it must happen." Perhaps part of the solution for all of Israel's citizens was what Naim had called the enhancement of his "Israeliness," the emergence of a new identity. While I considered Smadar almost a sister, she was an Israeli and very different from my American Jewish friends. A majority of her fellow Israeli Jews had been born, or were descendants of Jews who were born, in Arab lands. Her lifestyle -the late nights, her preference for coffee over alcohol, her hospitality, and her sense of humor -was distinctly Middle Eastern, so much like that of my Egyptian friends. Israel's Jews were becoming more Middle Eastern, more "Arab-ized" for better or worse and their Arab neighbors were likely to become, sooner or later, more "Israelized." "O I once asked Israel's director general of the Foreign Ministry and a negotiator at Oslo what negotiating with the Palestinian "enemy," the PLO, had been like. "Impossible!" Uri Savir had replied. "They were demanding, stubborn, uncompromising, whining, suspicious of our every suggestion, and often paranoid. In other words" he smiled "it was like negotiating with a mirror." The challenge of making more Israeli "non-Jews" feel as patriotic as Naim and Lutfi did was largely up to the Israelis. So was the question of the Islamic movement's ultimate appeal. Israel was a democracy, imperfect to be sure -an ',ethnic democracy," as one Jewish sociologist so aptly put it-yet a democracy nonetheless.111 But Israel was also a Jewish/Zionist state, a self-declared state of the Jews with a "right of return," which meant ensuring not only that Jews ruled but that they enjoyed special status and legal privileges. Emphasizing the state's democratic nature meant offering non-Jews integration and equal rights. Stressing the state's Jewish identity meant that Jews alone would retain real power. Now that the prolonged war between Jews and Arabs was perhaps ending and security concerns might one day no longer overshadow so much else, Israeli Jews would have to recognize the inherent contradiction in their state's twin identity. What mattered more being a democracy or a Jewish state? For Ariel Sharon, the former Likud defense minister, the answer was clear: While it was 11 good" that Israel was a "real democracy," he told the Knesset in May 1993, when he proposed excluding Israel's Arabs from a proposed referendum on the future of the territories, his ancestors had not come to Israel to establish a democracy; they had come "to set up a Jewish state." Ill Likud bluntly stated that while Arab civil rights should be respected, Israel had to do whatever it could to reinforce Jewish domination. Public opinion polls showed, however, that a majority of Jews felt that while Israel had to remain both Jewish and Zionist, the government should try harder to improve opportunities for Arabs. Nevertheless, only a tiny minority wanted to recast Zionism or to de-Zionize Israel to foster equality for the state's non-Jews. Most Arabs, the majority argued, would still prefer to live in a democratic Israel that granted them some political power than in Arab states that gave them virtually none, despite Israel's Jewish character.111 They felt that Israel's Arabs would have to accept their symbolic disinheritance, the fact that Israel's symbols and cherished myths might always exclude them. Mariam Mar'i, the Israeli Arab activist whose family had been separated by Israel's creation, and thousands like her would have to acknowledge as she clearly had that they might always feel a tug of pain when they celebrated MaY 15, 1948, the anniversary of Israel's creation, as well as of the war that had divided their families and deprived them of their land. Thousands of Mariams in Israel had accepted this political reality. Those who could not accept it were free to vote against Zionist parties or leave. In mid-1995, Israeli Jews had reason to be heartened about the prospects for the "Israelization" of their country's Arab citizens: During a conference in Amman, a delegation of Israeli Arabs criticized the Jordanian media for referring to them as "1948 Arabs." They were "Israelis," the delegation leader corrected reporters and "proud" to be so. A month later, Sheikh Abdullah Nimr Darwish told his Islamic counterparts at an Islamic gathering in Amman that he was not the "leader of the Islamic Movement of Occupied Palestine" but of the "legitimate state of Israel." In November 1995 tragedy temporarily united Israel's Jewish and Arab citizens, if only in horror and grief Yitzhak Rabin's assassination by a militant Jew-traumatized both communities. "I'm still in total shock," Marian Mar'i told me two weeks after the murder. "I never would have anticipated such an intense response from so many Palestinians in Israel-so much sorrow and mourning -just like the Jews. When I saw my daughter crying, I realized that she was an Israeli." But there was one critical difference, of course: "When I first learned that Rabin had been shot," Mar'i said, "my heart stopped. Maybe it was an Arab, I thought! Then there was a wave of enormous relief, followed by almost inconsolable sorrow for the man, for our loss of a leader who had detested Arafat but still made peace." But for Israeli Jews, there were only frightening questions: How could a Jew have killed a Jewish leader? And why had the government dismissed Baruch Goldstein's brutal murder of twenty-nine Palestinians as they prayed in a mosque in occupied Hebron in 1994 as an isolated act of a madman? Had no one seen that such brutality was a reflection of a wider fanaticism taking root among some zealous settlers and their radical nationalist supporters within Israel? In their intense introspection, the Israeli Jewish media barely covered Israeli Arab reaction to their national trauma. But even Sheikh Darwish issued an unequivocal condemnation of Rabin's murder on behalf of the Islamic Movement of Israel. This shared grief and Sheikh Darwish's recent declarations suggested that some of Israel's Islamists, too, might eventually face political facts: Israel was likely to remain a Jewish state. Muslims would not rule in Zion in the foreseeable future. To rebel meant being crushed. But they would continue to be free to practice their faith, live Islamic lives, and dream about the umma that might one day replace the Middle East's amazingly durable nation-state system. And if they could overcome their ideological and religious objections to becoming part of the Knesset, they were theoretically capable of changing Israeli policy in important ways -as the rejection of the planned land confiscation in Jerusalem had shown. lt was not the Jews who prevented the emergence of a unified Arab voting bloc of a potential seventeen seats one that might conceivably be led by Islamists -but the internal divisions and rivalries among Arabs that kept them from exercising what in Israel's democracy was the enormous parliamentary power of swing parties.114 Arab strength in Israel, moreover, seemed likely to grow. Given current demographic trends, Israel's population would reach 8 million by the year 2025 6 million Jews and 2 Million Arabs: One out of every four Israeli citizens would be Arab. Today the ratio is one in five.115 In 1992, the most popular name for a baby boy born in Israel was Muhammad. Nevertheless, the disdain of so many Israeli Jews toward Arabs had increased Arabs' alienation from Israel resentment that was reinforced by Israel's 1982 war in Lebanon, the 1987 Palestinian Intifada, and Israeli intransigence in negotiations with the PLO. Such anger might breed, if not overt disloyalty, an inability to feel Israeli or to identify with the nation's institutions and goals. If Israel's Arabs were to lose hope of integration within the Jewish state, what alternative would most have except Islamism with its cultural and institutional separatism and antipathy toward Jews? Vvlhile many secular Israeli Arabs had supported cultural and political autonomy for Arab citizens, they did so as a means to an end -to reduce the economic, social, and educational gaps between Arabs and Jews that prevented Arabs from integrating as equals in mainstream Israeli life. But the Islamists' support for Arab autonomy within Israel had a different aim: to create a permanent separation of the communities, an existential gap that would undermine Israel's social and political cohesion and weaken the Jewish state over time. If Israelis continued to reject Arabs as full partners, Islamism might well become the only "solution" for many frustrated Israeli Arabs. Given Israel's overwhelming strength, few Israelis believed that the Islamists, even if radicalized, would violently confront the state, but even if they did not, suspicion and hostility between Israeli Jews and Arabs would surely grow. When the state of Israel was created, Uri Lubrani, Ben-Gurion's first adviser on Arab affairs and the son of a Jewish notable from Halfa, devised the formula that would from then on regulate coexistence in the new Jewish state. "We knew they would never love us," Lubrani told me one day. "We only demanded a certain degree of loyalty. Into their hearts we would not look." Israel was a tiny, endangered state when Lubrani formulated his policy. Today it is powerful and prosperous. Are Israeli Jews and Arabs forever bound, even in peace, to fear what may be in each other's hearts?
While most analysts focused on Chadli's deals with the FIS in 1989 and iggo, the government's first major concession to the Islamists was made in 1984, soon after Chadii came to power. His government proposed a regulation that would have required Algerian women to have their husband's or guardian's permission to leave the country. But Algerian women had fought back, Khalida told me, and the order was rescinded. The first major defeat for women also came in 1984, when Algeria adopted a new "family code" that denied women equal rights. "Women, as usual, were the government's first sacrificial lambs," she said, biting her lip as she smiled. "The FIS did not invent misogyny. It merely blessed Algeria's patriarchal structure and its antifemale bias with religious sanction." Many women complained bitterly about earlier drafts of the family code, which took key provisions directly from Islamic sharia. But the final document was even more disappointing. It sanctioned polygamy, enabled a man to "repudiate" his wife, forbade Muslim women from marrying nonMuslim men, and effectively required women to have their husbands' consent to work. For a country that prided itself on its "progressive" credentials, the code was shocking, she said." Yet it was also another indication of the extent to which the country's self-image conflicted with its reality. The writer Frantz Fanon, the ig6os theorist of the Third World and the rage of young leftists of my generation, had argued that thanks to women's participation in the war for independence, sociosexual relations in Algeria would forever be changed. 14 What Fanon failed to appreciate, or chose to ignore, given his apparent disdain for letting facts inhibit his boosterism of any manifestation of anticolonialism, was not only the depth of Algerian traditionalism and patriarchy but also the inevitable backlash that would occur against French Culture, particularly the quintessentially French concept of 6galit6 for all citizens, even women. It was the French, not Algerians, who had insisted on educating Algerian women, who had propagandized against the veil, and who had given Algerian women the right to vote for the first time in 1958-11 And it was men like Sheikh Ben Badis, those revered patriots, who had led the campaign against such un-Algerian measures. In 1958 the FLN picked up the theme of promoting "authentic" AraboIslamic civilization by opposing the women's vote. While Algerian women "freedom fighters" were touring Arab and Third World capitals as propaganda for the new regime, the head of the FLN was telling a leading feminist and former freedom fighter that, now that the war was over, women like her could return to their "couscous." While most societies told women to return to "hearth and home" once a national crisis had passed, Algerians, as usual, went to extremes. The Islamic Values Association in 1964 demanded from its inception that the government restrict certain jobs to Muslim men; its leader openly argued that women were inferior on grounds that "no women prophets have been known." President Boum6dienne maintained in 1969 that the role of Algerian girls was 11 as mothers and upholders of Islamic Arab morality," while boys were expected
to "assume political responsibility for the state." But because Boumedienne's economic goal of industrializing Algeria required a minimal level of literacy for the society, his government continued emphasizing education, even for girls, at least until the university level. By the time Chadii became president in 1979, a new generation of educated women were demanding change. This was about the time that Khalida, a mathematics professor, became politically active. "Algerian women had been fighting for a decade for equal rights. We had organized protests and petitions to our leaders. Imagine our despair when we learned that Chadii had drafted a code -secretly, behind our backs, without a single woman adviser-that diminished our legal status! Law is like oxygen. You can't change culture and mentality without it. Thanks to Chadli's code, the law was on their side." Only 6 percent of Algerian women worked, she told me, a dismal rate when compared with that of conservative Morocco and neighboring Tunisia, where women represented between 15 and 20 percent of their respective labor forces. However appalling the government's record, however, the FIS would be worse for Algeria and for women, she asserted. "Listen to Ali Benhadj," she said, referring to the jailed FIS coleader. "His words make your blood run cold. He would stone adulterers, burn homosexuals, ban women from working. Why not believe that he means what he says?" I recalled one of the young sheikh's more spirited commentaries on the subject. Woman, he said, was a "producer of men." A woman's function was to 11 consecrate herself to the education of men." Women produced "no material goods, but this essential thing which is the Muslim." 56 For men like Benhadj, even Algeria's retrogressive family code was too permissive. "His words smack of Ayatollah Montazeri of Iran," she said. "I keep won dering, who are these Islamic 'moderates' that Western academics keep talking about? There are none when it comes to women." Islam concentrated on the virtue of women, she said, because women were "the ultimate" mechanism of control. "If you terrorize a man, you don't automatically terrorize his wife. But if you terrorize a woman, you get her, her children, and her husband, because by terrorizing her, you've emasculated him, the patriarch, the head of the household. "What the Islamists have done is simply take St. Augustine a step further," she said. "Augustine, an Algerian, of course, knew that if you controlled sexual impulse, you controlled the man. The FIS understands that if you control sexual impulses by controlling women, you've secured ultimate societal control supersubmission. Under the FIS, the umma, that amorphous 'community,' will decide whether I work, what I wear, how I make love. It's ultimate power the Islamists are seeking." The FIS had intimidated women before they won the National Assembly elections. Students had accosted a professor friend of hers dressed in jeans, warning her that "when we take over, you won't be able to 'dress Texan.' " They had thrown acid at the legs of young unveiled women-"femmes easy," they called them-prostitutes. The children of working women were referred to as 11 abandoned." The vice president of a communal assembly had refused to shake her hand. The teenage son of a businesswoman friend had told his mother that he could no longer kiss her good night. His teacher had told him that kissing women, even his mother or sisters, was haram. What was worse, she told me, was that "the attire the Islamists are pushing isn't even Algerian." Algerian women wore the haiq, a white cotton or silk scarf, with a smaller piece of white cloth that covered the mouth and chin, that some of her male colleagues found coquettish. The hijab worn in Egypt or Iran did not exist in Algeria before the FIS. It was as foreign as the miniskirt. "They not only want to impose Islam on us," she said. "They want to impose a foreign Islam, an Oriental, or eastern, Islam." Khalida vowed she would never submit to them. "I'll pick up arms if I have to. But I won't leave." By the end Of 1994, Khalida was virtually in hiding. She had not resorted to arms, but she had been forced to abandon her apartment and her teaching post and to spend more time in Paris. Friends told me she had stopped counting the death threats.
THERE WAs no shortage of Algerians who, unlike Khalida, had picked up the Kalashnikov after the 1992 coup. Those who had hoped that President Boudiaf, the last of the FLN historic leaders, would reunify the country and end the violence were devastated when he, too, was assassinated in late June 1992. The man charged with the crime-who by early 1995 had still not been tried in court-was a member of the security forces who was accused of working with Islamic militants. But few Algerians believed that and, typically, were soon spinning conspiracy theories to explain the murder of what many viewed as Algeria's last good hope.57 The FIS, for its part, denied any role in the killing.51 Given the deep rifts that plagued the FIS, however, it was probably inevitable that the group would split first into military and political factions and then be taken over by the most violent elements in the Islamic movement a typically Algerian pattern. But the FIS, like most Islamist movements, shunned public discussion of its structure, ideology, and tactics. Experience had taught the Islamists that a clever, ruthless state would use such information to exploit the movement's internal tensions. Because of this mafialike vow of silence, much of the FIS's inner workings remained secret. Unable to interview Benhadj or Abbassi in prison, I began hunting for key FIS founders who had been pushed aside in early power struggles. I tracked down several of them, including Said Gueshi, widely acknowledged as an FIS "father." I found this frail man, who looked older than his forty-seven years, at a quiet hotel on the outskirts of Algiers. Gueshi seemed still very upset over the derailment of his Islamic project. Nationalism, not Islamism, was his original passion, he told me in French. "I was literally born on a banned Algerian flag." Gueshi was first arrested when also in broad daylight on the Admiralty building near the port of Algiers in which seven sailors and two policemen had been killed. "But the killing has begun. Those radicals who disagreed with FIS's conciliatory stance have surfaced." By 1993, the [email protected] would have different names. More than half a dozen tiny bands of armed extremists were attacking the government whenever and wherever they could.61 The most deadly among them would eventually be known as the Armed Islamic Group, the GIA in the French abbreviation. The GIA was headed by a former member of Mustafa Bouyali's gang who had never joined the FIS.66 Its members also included so-called Afghans from among the more than twenty-eight hundred Algerians who had participated in the jihad in Afghanistan6l as well as young members of splinter extremist groups who saw violence as their first and only resort. By 1994 its membership included at least two FIS leaders -for one, Mohammed Said, who, having despaired of coming to power through elections, had finally picked up the gun. The government's repression of the FIS had a predictable effect: At least some of the Islamists who had wanted to achieve power nonviolently by playing on divisions within the ruling elite-to contest the system within the system-had been forced into violence. Early the next morning Omar and I made our way through the Casbah past the Cr6merie du Bonheur (the "Milk Store of Happiness") to the smoky remains of a hotise at the bottom of an alley. We entered the wreckage. Suspecting that Islamic militants who had attacked the policemen had taken refuge here, the army had blown it to bits. The house still smelled of burning metal. At least eighteen people had shared the tiny house. Four men were asleep on cots in the room that received the direct shell hit; three of them were killed instantly. Leading us by flashlight, Khaled, a survivor, guided us up the shattered staircase to what had been the bedroom, warning us to avoid the sharp and twisted metal shards that dangled from the crumbling ceiling. The room was smoldering and smelled of acid. Except for pieces of twisted metal bed frames and a blood-soaked mattress that had been pulled from the burning room, most of its contents had melted. Six children had occupied an even tinier adjoining room. They were alive, Khaled's wife told us, but the police had beaten her and thrown her onto a cot in another room. Khaled and his wife swore that no one had fired at the police from this house, that no militants had taken refuge here. BLit who would ever know? As we were leaving, an anguished young man made his way toward the ruin that had been his friend's home. "What kind of animals can do this?" he cried in Arabic, weeping openly. "We want an end to this violence. We want an Islamic state. God will give us food and housing and money when we are guided by Muslims. God will provide." Omar, no friend of the fundamentalists, was moved. "Such misery," he said as we left the quarter. "If they want Allah or anyone to save them, who can blame them?"
EVEN A YEAR after the coup, Selima Ghezali, a thirty-four-year-old divorc6e and mother of two young girls, was still determined to put out her woman's magazine, Nyssa (Women). I had met so many strong, talented Algerian women, but Selima's quiet resolve had touched me most deeply. She and her children lived not in one of those comfortable bourgeois neighborhoods favored by intellectuals but in the village of Khemis el Khechna, near Boumerd6s, a poor suburb of Algiers. Each day she spent two hours in a public bus commuting to Algiers, where she edited her magazine and described the desperation of women she knew firsthand in her "village" of forty thousand people. "We were only thirty-five miles from Algiers, but it seemed like a foreign country when I first arrived to teach school," Selima told me in French as we drove to her suburb. "Algerians there had become 'urban,' but they were still I rural' at heart. We had all the strains of an uprooted community-a perpetual tug-of-war between archaic and modern reflexes." The mosque preachers were strong in places like Boumerd6s; their word was law. This was the district from which the militant Bouyali had led his holy war in the mid-198os against the "impious state." He had been ambushed and killed there in 1987, his followers arrested and imprisoned. But President Chadli had pardoned them in November ig8g a gesture of national reconciliation. Others who had escaped in 1987 had never stopped dreaming of overthrowing the illegitimate secular government. The struggle between those who favored the creation of Islamic rule on earth and supporters of secular government was always more intense here than in cosmopolitan Algiers. If the FLN and the FIS were now deeply divided, her village had always been so. Selima recounted the commune's protracted fight over whether to license parabola, the satellite dishes omnipresent in Algiers. The "modernists" had won, but imams in the local mosques never stopped attacking the promoters of "degenerate Western culture" and satellite dishes, "diaboliques," in FIS lingo. "All the Islamists ever wanted was space for more mosques, not a garden or even a soccer field for the kids," Selima told me. After three years, she had won a fight to open a sports club for girls. "But after iggo, when the FIS won the municipality elections, the local Islamists shut it down." We were on our way to visit the Bouzeraa family, her next-door neighbors in the Cit6 de 56 Logements, a drab gray-and-white four-story stucco complex that had defaced a hill overlooking the old village. The citg's name came, unimaginatively, from the unit's fifty-six apartments into which more than three hundred people were crammed. The Bouzeraas were Berbers, the country's original inhabitants who remained wedded to their own language and culture. Berbers, who make up at least a fifth of the population, were usually considered hostile to Islamism, but this, like most generalizations, Selima explained, was untrue.