The second Intifada occurred 22 years ago on October 1st 2000. Then, the protests that were primarily in the West Bank expanded to include the Arab citizens of Israel. This led to the killing of 13 Israeli Arab citizens during the mass protest that swept the country on October 1st.
The Arab citizens of Israel are also part of the Palestinian people, and have become aprt of Israel as the communities were occupied and became part of the territory of the new Israeli state. Unlike the case of refugees, those residents remind in their lands and despite the challenge of living under an Israeli rule, they remained in their lands.
The mass protests swept the country in response to the rising tensions between Israel and the Palestinian people. The peak of these tensions was the entrance of the Israeli prime minister at that time, Ehud Barak into Al-Aqsa mosque, in complete violations of the status-quo on Al-Aqsa that was signed with the Jordanian kingdom and Jordanian Waqf.
In rage, Arab citizens could not stand ideally by, and protested in masses. The largest of these protests was in Nazareth, the largest Arab city in Israel, and resulted in the death of 3 Arab citizens, who were shot by the police that tried to silence the Arab voice and the solidarity and unity that Arab citizens of Israel, who are part of the Palestinian people with their brethren’s in the West Bank and Gaza strip.
Today, the Arab citizens of Israel still struggle to improve their livelihood despite the challenges of being an Arab and Palestinian minority in Israel. Merely two years ago, we witnessed clashes between Arab and Jewish citizens due to the rise in tensions in Jerusalem and at Al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitter in May 2020.
Despite these challenges, the Arab community was able to reach great achievements. Last year, for the first time in Israel’s history, an Arab party became part of the coalition and had great achievements that beneft the Arab community.
The Arab community in Israel faces a longstanding and ongoing challenge. The fragile political situation in Israel means that the Arab community must always be wary of extremism, racism, and on the whole survive as a Palestinian minority within an Israeli Jewish State.