For Oren Yiftachel, the notion of ethnocracy suggests a political regime that facilitates expansion and control by a dominant ethnicity in contested lands. It is neither democratic nor authoritarian, with rights and capabilities depending primarily on ethnic origin and geographic location. In Ethnocracy: Land and Identity Politics in Israel/Palestine, he presents a new critical theory and comparative framework to account for the political geography of ethnocratic societies.
According to Yiftachel, the primary manifestation of ethnocracy in Israel/Palestine has been a concerted strategy by the state of "Judaization." Yiftachel's book argues that ethnic relations—both between Jews and Palestinians, and among ethno-classes within each nation—have been shaped by the diverse aspects of the Judaization project and by resistance to that dynamic. Special place is devoted to the analysis of ethnically mixed cities and to the impact of Jewish immigration and settlement on collective identities.
Tracing the dynamics of territorial and ethnic conflicts between Jews and Palestinians, Yiftachel examines the consequences of settlement, land, development, and planning policies. He assesses Israel's recent partial liberalization and the emergence of what he deems a "creeping apartheid" whereby increasingly impregnable ethnic, geographic, and economic barriers develop between groups vying for recognition, power, and resources. The book ends with an exploration of future scenarios, including the introduction of new agendas, such as binationalism and multiculturalism.
PART I. SETTINGS
2. The Ethnocratic Regime: The Politics of Seizing Contested Territory
PART II. ETHNOCRACY AND TERRITORY IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE
3. Zionist and Palestinian Nationalism: The Making of Territorial Identities
4. Debating Israeli Democracy
5. The Making of Ethnocracy in Israel/Palestine
6. The Spatial Foundation: the Israeli Land System
PART III. ETHNOCRACY AND ITS PERIPHERIES: PALESTINIAN ARABS AND MIZRAHIM
7. Fractured Regionalism among Palestinian Arabs in Israel
8. Bedouin Arabs and Urban Ethnocracy in the Beer-Sheva Region
9. Mizrahi Identities in the Development Towns: The Making of a Third Space
10. Between Local and National: Mobilization in the Mizrahi Peripheries
PART IV. LOOKING AHEAD
11. A Way Forward? The Planning of a Binational Capital in Jerusalem
12. Epilogue: A Demos for Israel/Palestine? Toward Phased Binationalism
"An important book that adds the often neglected angle of political geography to the growing body of critical research on the Israeli state and society, and on the Jewish-Arab conflict."—Baruch Kimmerling, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
"A thoughtful, humane, and arresting book. . . . It ranges widely, contributing to a number of discussions in political geography, political sociology, and planning."—Planning Theory