Marianna Reis

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Toronto, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9553

Approve Date

October 11, 2017

Project Title

Reis, Marianna B., U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'Dilemmas of Citizenship: Making Claims and Making Meaning Among Palestinian Citizenship of Israel,' supervised by Dr. Francis Cody

Citizenship in Israel is defined by a fundamental contradiction between the guarantee of equality through citizenship and the legal primacy of Jewish nationality over all other formal national categories. For Palestinian citizens of Israel, who are legally recognized as ‘Israeli Arabs’–a term which signals Israeli citizenship and Arab nationality–the precondition of Jewish nationality forecloses the possibility of their inclusion in full citizenship (Shafir and Peled 2002; Handelman 1994). My research aims to understand the complex dynamics of Palestinian citizenship in Israel by investigating how local residents, activists, and city officials in Umm al-Fahm and Nazareth frame their demands for basic services and infrastructural needs through the language of citizenship, nationality, and rights. I explore how these actors variously deploy ‘Palestinian-ness’, ‘Arab-ness’, ‘Israeli-ness’, and other categories in town hall and city planning meetings, protests, and private homes. I ask how these articulations of identity and citizenship are rendered (un)intelligible and (il)legitimate in the context of municipal demands and formal proposals for infrastructural support and development. My research also explores how Palestinian municipal issues in Israel are mediated by prominent advocacy organizations focused on social, political, economic, legal and cultural rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and how those organizations take on local issues as flash points for national struggles. I suggest that the paradoxical relationship between citizenship as guarantor of equality and nationality as determinant of differentiated access to rights is laid bare in the moments and spaces where formal political demands are legitimated and contested using the language of citizenship, nationality, and rights.