The occupations brought about by the 1967 war accomplished one great thing: They reunited the majority of the Palestinian people within the boundaries of their homeland. For the first time in 19 years it was once again possible for Palestinians to live and experience together, as a group, the expanse between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
Up until the start of the 1990s this was a basic experience that was taken for granted, and it played a part in empowering and reconstructing the Palestinian people after the catastrophe and the disintegration that was brought upon it by the establishment of the State of Israel. Only today, as this expanse is being butchered into dozens of separated and distanced enclaves in a process that is causing Palestinian society to crumble, is it possible to understand the importance of space during about a quarter of a century. In 1967 Israel learned from the “mistake” it made in 1948. It took care not to grant citizenship to the inhabitants of the occupied territories, not even the inhabitants of the 70 square kilometers it annexed to Jerusalem. But it made a new “mistake”: It opened one expanse to both Jews and Palestinians. Of course the Jews had the hegemonic privilege to settle in the entire expanse, to take over Palestinian lands and precious water sources to build expansive settlements for themselves. This right is denied not only to the Palestinians in Hebron or to the Jaffa refugees, now living in the Jabalya refugee camp, but also to the inhabitants of Nazareth and Sakhnin, who are Israeli citizens.