International Journal of Middle East Studies


The Crisis of Minorities in Ethnic States: The Case of Palestinian Citizens in Israel

Naditn Rouhanaa1 and Asad Ghanema2

a1 Associate Professor, Graduate Program in Dispute Resolution, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Boston, Mass. 02125, Associate at the Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. 02138.

a2 Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Haifa, Israel, Research Fellow at the Center for Peace Studies, Givat Haviva, Israel.

The vast majority of states in the international system, democratic and non-democratic, are multi-ethnic (Gurr 1993). A liberal-democratic multi-ethnic state serves the collective needs of all its citizens regardless of their ethnic affiliation, and citizenship—legally recognized membership in the political structure called a state—is the single criterion for belonging to the state and for granting equal opportunity to all members of the system. Whether a multi-ethnic democratic state should provide group rights above and beyond individual legal equality is an ongoing debate (Gurr & Harff 1994).