Democratic Rights Program

The Palestinian citizens in Israel are explicitly excluded from Israel’s definition of itself. What sorts of democratic rights do they or don’t they have? What forms of political participation are available to them and can these forms be effective? How might they expand their democratic rights and attain collective rights and equal citizenship? Mada addresses these questions through research, political monitoring and reporting, and promoting reflection among political actors and throughout society.

Political Monitoring Unit

Since 2002, Mada al-Carmel has published reports monitoring political developments in Israel’s policies vis-à-vis Israel’s Palestinian citizens. These publications have taken the form of annual reviews and bi-monthly reports. Beginning in May 2012, Mada has moved to a quarterly format, now publishing under the title, Mada’s Political Monitoring Quarterly. As with previous formats, this new quarterly offers reporting and analysis based on systematic observation of parliamentary legislative developments (Knesset), policy developments (in governmental institutions, local authorities, universities, and other public bodies), public opinion, and public statements (by influential figures). In addition, each issue of the Quarterly provides an in-depth analysis of an emergent issue.

Click here to access the current and previous Political Monitoring Reports.

Political Participation Project

Mada is currently conducting a research study on: “Forms of Arab Political Participation and the Future of Democracy in Israel: Increasing Political Efficacy and Influencing Democratic Change.” It aims to examine and theorize the historical development of political change and the emergence of various forms of political participation of Palestinian citizens of Israel. In particular, this study analyzes the efficacy of strategies used, and explores constraints and opportunities for strengthening Palestinian citizens’ contribution to transforming Israel from an ethnic state to a democratic state and to promoting equal, just, and peaceful relations between Israelis and Palestinians.

The project has two main objectives: (1) to examine the various means of political participation by Palestinian citizens in Israel and understand reasons why they have historically had limited political impact; and (2) to propose new ways to increase political impact by creating or improving democratic institutions in Israel and reducing the likelihood of a confrontation between Israel and its Arab citizens.

The study investigates five areas of Palestinian citizens’ political participation:
parliamentary participation; extra-parliamentary movements; legal advocacy; non-governmental organizations; and the High Follow-Up Committee – the de facto representative body of the entire Palestinian community in Israel. Each area is investigated by its own working group responsible for: (1) examining the history and evolution of how the community engaged in this form of participation; (2) evaluating its waxing and waning political impact – what it has actually been able to achieve for the community and why; (3) assessing how it is viewed by the community; and (4) proposing ways to improve and broaden democratic participation.

Research methods for this project include public workshops, interviews, archival work, literature review, and survey research.


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