Settler-colonial citizenship: conceptualizing the relationship between Israel and its Palestinian citizens

Nadim N. Rouhana, Areej Sabbagh-Khoury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper seeks to re-examine the relationship between Israel and its Palestinian citizens. It offers an alternative reading, that while acknowledging the procedural connection of citizenship, introduces the settler-colonial structure as a central analytical framework for understanding the origins of this complex relationship and its evolution. We trace, with a broad brush, the various phases of the Palestinian citizens' collective political experience from 1948, when they were transformed from being an integral part of the fabric of a nation fighting and losing a double struggle against a settler-colonial project–the Zionist project that sought to establish a ‘Jewish national home’ in their homeland–and a struggle of independence against British colonial rule, to a fully dominated minority in a foreign state established on their homeland and bringing about the expulsion of the majority of their people. We also anchor their experience as an integral part of the people of Palestine in the pre-1948 period when their homeland was an intrinsic part of a larger Arab World, and in their post-1948 experience when they became hermetically isolated from the rest of their people and the whole Arab World.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)205-225
Number of pages21
JournalSettler Colonial Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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