"You must know your stock": Census as surveillance practice in 1948 and 1967

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In 1948, the newly established Jewish state was at war with both the local Arab population of Palestine–the Palestinians–and the neighboring Arab countries. It was a year marked by demographic upheaval: while the Jewish community in Palestine comprised less than a third of the total population toward the end of the British Mandate, beginning in December 1947 many Palestinians either fled or were driven from their homes, leaving the country with a Jewish majority–some 85 percent of the total population. Yet while this numeric balance was considered one of the achievements of the war, the military and political leadership of the new state feared that Palestinians who were driven out or had fled to the surrounding countries might return to Israeli territory, reversing the demographic trend. Despite international pressure to repatriate a large number of Palestinian refugees, Israel was determined to prevent them from returning to their former homes and lands. To this end, the government took several steps under the banner of a “war on infiltration,” including razing some of the Arab villages that had been abandoned since the war, and quickly moving to resettle Jewish immigrants on the sites of others. Based on the Emergency Regulations formulated in 1945 by the British Mandate, a Military Government was established to control the Palestinians who had remained in Israel and restrict their movements within the country.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSurveillance and Control in Israel/Palestine
Subtitle of host publicationPopulation, Territory and Power
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)020384596X, 9780203845967
StatePublished - 8 Dec 2010


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