"Wesley offeres a finely drawn, original, ethnographic-political sudy of the Israeli power system in practice. He shows how bureaucratic-administrative state forces constrain the participation of Arab villagers in the establishment of a municipal industrial park authority. The strength of the work is...to encapsulate...the ongoing situation of its Arab citizens facing state manipulations and rationalizations." · Henry Rosenfeld, Professor (Emeritus) of Anthropology, University of Haifa Although the Israeli state subscribes to the principles of administrative fairness and equality for Jews and Arabs before the law, the reality looks very different. Focusing on Arab land loss inside Israel proper and the struggle over development resources, this study explores the interaction between Arab local authorities, their Jewish neighbors, and the agencies of the national government in regard to developing local and regional industrial areas. The author avoids reduction to simple models of binary domination, revealing instead a complex, multi-dimensional field of relations and ever-shifting lines of political maneuver and confrontation. He examines the prevailing concept of ethnic traditionalism and argues that the image of Arab traditionalism erects imaginary boundaries around the Arab localities, making government incursion disappear from view, while underpinning and rationalizing the exclusion of the Arab towns from development planning. Moreover, he shows how images of environmental protection mesh with and support such exclusion. The study includes a chronology of events, tables, maps, and photographs.
Born in the United States, David A. Wesley came to Israel as a young adult and received his PhD in Anthropology at Tel Aviv University. For some years, he lived in a kibbutz before moving to a mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhood in Jaffa. He has been closely following events connected with Arab economic development in Israel since the beginning of the 1990s.