Stel, Nora. “‘The Children of the State’? How Palestinians from the Seven Villages Negotiate Sect, Party and State in Lebanon.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 42.4 (2015): 538-57.
In Lebanon, the fear of tawṭīn makes nationalization of Palestinian refugees an anathema. Yet several groups of Palestinians have received Lebanese citizenship since 1948, most (in)famously those from the ‘seven villages’, a chain of Shi‘i villages on Lebanon’s southern border that was incorporated into Palestine in 1923. The trajectory of their nationalization is usually presented as a straightforward consequence of top-down Lebanese electoral politics. This article augments this dominant perspective through a case study of the community from the village of Salha, now in Israel, that currently lives in Shabriha, a small town near the city of Tyre in South Lebanon. Adopting the ‘negotiated statehood’ framework, the article offers an agency-oriented, bottom-up perspective on the community’s gaining of citizenship and shows how the people from Salha have acquired citizenship not merely to gain access to, but also to ensure a degree of independence from, the Lebanese state and political parties.