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Khatib, Feras (2019) Palestinian Citizens of Israel and the Arab Nation in the Satellite Media Era : Identity Formation and Bounded Communication. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Palestinians have experienced exceptional challenges following the 1948 Palestinian Nakba and the simultaneous establishment of the state of Israel. Many families and communities were divided in 1948; most of the Palestinians became refugees, while others stayed in Palestine and subsequently obtained Israeli citizenship. The latter, the Palestinian citizens of Israel (PCI), became citizens of a state established on the ruins of their motherland and subjects of a new system which further detached them from their Arab roots. This research examines opinion leaders’ and journalists’ understanding of the role of the media in PCI’s subsequent experiences; specifically, the turning point represented by the development of Arab transnational satellite media in the mid-1990s, and the changing place of the Palestinian minority in Israel in the Arab media over the years. The research explores questions such as: What role did the nascent Arab satellite channels play in reuniting the PCI with the Arab sphere following their long-term detachment? How did PCI return into the Arab media’s discourse? How did greater exposure influence PCI’s national identity and its sub-components (feelings of belonging to the Arab world and the use of the Arabic language and terminology), how did it influence communication with the Arab world? What is the role of the hegemonic Israeli media in this media and political development? For this qualitative research, I conducted 35 semi-structured open-ended elite interviews with opinion leaders and decision-makers in the fields of media, politics and academia. The research concludes that the development of Arab satellite channels contributed to integrating the PCI into the Arab space; which went far beyond their Israeli citizenship and enhanced their feelings of belonging to the Arab nation. iv However, satellite channels did not help to establish a direct relationship between the Palestinian minority and the rest of the Arab world; despite the evolution of transnational media, the state of Israel remains present as a strong sovereign entity in the PCI’s reality. Theoretically, this research highlights a literature gap regarding the relationship between national/ indigenous minorities and transnational media in a context of political conflict between a state’s minority and majority populations. The research contributes to filling this gap by shedding light on three main axes: (1) the contribution of transnational media to enhancing national identity during a protracted conflict; (2) the media’s role in mediating the communication established between the minority and the nation it belongs to; and (3) the state’s relative power within this context.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Dina Matar
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2020 14:21

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