In the Norwegian discourse regarding Palestine and Israel the main focus is often on the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the search for a solution. Speaking of a two state-solution and a lasting peace, the Palestinian minority living inside Israel is often left out of the equation. Land is an important issue when it comes to the occupied Palestine, and although less communicated, it is a major challenge for the Palestinians living inside Israel. This paper deals with the Palestinian minority living inside Israel, their experienced loss of land and governmental control on land that remains in Palestinian custody. In this perspective I look at the position of the Palestinians inside Israel with regard to the their democratic rights as a non-Jewish minority in a Jewish state.
I look at the historical background for the current situation to see which implications the unsettled question of land has on the relationship between the Palestinian minority and the state. How the Palestinians have been able to influence their situation and decisions regarding land expropriations and limitations on land-use, both through democratic institutions like the parliament and civic-society organizations. I look at the different laws and state policy regarding land to provide a broader understanding of the legislation towards the Palestinian minority in general and their position in Israel. This also leads to the discussion as to which extent the Israeli declaration from1948, saying Israel is a state for all its inhabitants irrespective of religion or ethnicity at the same time as it is Jewish, is compatible. There has largely been a continuity regarding the land policy of the state, while the Palestinian political organisation has gone through significant changes. Resisting state policies through political participation has revealed how universal democratic values and the peculiarity of the state being Jewish constitute a contradiction that challenges the democratic vision of Israel.