Boundary Breakers

Hillel Cohen

in Good Arabs

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780520257672
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944886 | DOI:
Boundary Breakers

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Palestinian nationalists maintained that Arab refugees who were uprooted during the 1948 hostilities had the right to return to their homes. Infiltration was one of the most acute challenges faced by the young state of Israel. Some infiltrators were out to kill and avenge as well as to act as spies. Others were motivated by destitution. Some of them lived by robbery and theft in the country that had arisen on the ruins of their villages, and others worked as smugglers. Arabs who crossed the border with the intention of remaining in the country jeopardized Israel's demographic balance, and smugglers undercut the country's sovereignty within its borders. It is hardly surprising, then, that the battle against infiltration, both defensive and offensive, was the focal point of Israel Defense Forces operations; the police force and military government also worked hard against it. There were collaborators with Arab intelligence organizations who conveyed information about Israel over the border, nationalists who sheltered infiltrators, and informers who turned them in.

Keywords: Arabs; refugees; Israel; collaborators; infiltrators; Israel Defense Forces; nationalists; infiltration; spies; smugglers

Chapter.  13151 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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