How Israel Tormented Arabs in Its First Decades – and Tried to Cover It Up

A person who violates a curfew shouldn't be killed, but they can be slapped and hit with a rifle: Newly declassified documents reveal the ways military rule embittered the lives of Israeli Arabs

Military policemen inspect a suspicious sack of onions found in possession of Arab citizens, in 1952.
Military policemen inspect a suspicious sack of onions found in possession of Arab citizens, in 1952. Credit: Beno Rothenberg/National Library
Adam Raz
Adam Raz
Adam Raz
Adam Raz

The origins of the brutality documented in all its ugliness last week – an Israeli soldier shooting an unarmed Palestinian who was trying to protect the electric generator he needs to function, amid the abject poverty of the South Hebron Hills – date back quite a few decades, to the period of military rule in Israel proper. Testimony from recently declassified documents, together with historical records in archives, shed light on the acute violence that prevailed in the “state within a state” that Israel foisted upon extensive areas of the country where Arab citizens lived, from 1948 until 1966.