Dirasat, with the support of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, embarked in 2009 on an applied research project aimed at supporting the functioning of Arab local authorities in Israel. The initiative has resulted in a newly published book in Hebrew entitled Palestinian Local Government in Israel: Political, Social and Legal Aspects (2013) and edited by Dr. Yousef T. Jabareen and Dr. Mohanad Mustafa. The book is the fruit of several years of labor by a group of leading Arab Palestinian researchers, academics and professionals. As a team, they investigated – in depth – various obstacles to efficient and effective functioning of Arab local authorities in Israel. The researchers represented various research and professional backgrounds; this greatly enriched research outcomes while also ensuring that the book provides a comprehensive perspective on the reality and challenges facing Arab local government. This groundbreaking work is the most comprehensive applied research initiative to date focusing on Arab local authorities and led by an Arab group.
The book is being released at an important time as Arab local governance over the last decade has faced a serious crisis. Many local Arab authorities have found themselves facing large monetary deficits, liquidity problems and poor standards of payment to employees and service providers. This state of affairs is particularly distressing as local government is one of the few areas where, conceivably, Arabs could self-steer their own institutions. Some 90% of Arab-Palestinians in Israel reside in over 70 Arab-only localities. Given that Arab local government has the potential to advance and empower Palestinian society in Israel, this tremendous potential is being wasted and Arab citizens are not getting the services they require or deserve.
The book contributes to turning the situation around. Accordingly, it presents an overview and analysis of common dilemmas facing Arab local authorities and the Arab Palestinian community in general. Following from this, the papers aim to strengthen the functioning of these bodies and their position vis a vis Israel’s central government while also transforming local governance into a central and effective avenue for the realization of social rights for Arab Palestinian citizens. The aim of the research is to provide local government and other stakeholders with practical tools for advancing socio-economic and political transformation within the Arab Palestinian community. The insights and analysis in the book are supported by detailed and realistic recommended courses of action both vis a vis the national government and in relation to interactions with local stakeholders. It is hoped that the findings will increase the professionalism and proper administration of Arab localities in Israel on the local and national levels
Table of Contents
Yousef T. Jabareen and Mohanad Mustafa / Between Governance and Local: On Local Governance in Palestinian Society in Israel
Part One: Issues of a Legal and Structural Nature
Rasem Khamaisy / Arab Local Authorities: Reality and Challenges
Yousef T. Jabareen / Critical Reflections on Legal Struggles of Arab Local Authorities
Kais Y. Nasser / Severe Housing Distress and Destruction of Arab Homes: Obstacles and Recommendations for Change
Salim Brik / Recommendations for Legislative Amendments as a Tool for Aiding the Recovery of Arab Local Councils
Part Two: Issues of Politics and Leadership
Assad Ghanem and Mohanad Mustafa / Palestinian Local Governance in Israel in Distress: “Partial Modernization” as a Possible Explanation
Nidal Hayak / Criteria for Selection of Political Candidates in Arab Local Government: Democracy or Clan- based?
Mohanad Mustafa / Local Leadership and the Governance Crisis: An Analysis from the Perspective of Local Leadership
Part Three: Political and Management Elements
Ahmad M. Hijazi and Assad Ghanem / Community Involvement and Its Influence in Shaping Local Education Agendas: Research Comparing Jewish and Arab Cities in Israel
Rafik Haj / Responsiveness in Paying Local Taxes as a Test Case for Collective Action
Khir Abu al-Hijah / Resistance to Establishing Oversight Committees in Order to Create Organization Change through the Lens of Employee Commitment and Satisfaction