In 1949, Israel signed armistice agreements with its Arab neighbors at the end of the war in which it had been born. The Jewish state found itself with an unwelcome 156,000 Arabs, who faced circumstances entirely different from those they had previously known. Instead of being a majority, as they had been in Mandatory Palestine, they became a minority as a result of the uprooting of some 700,000 who became refugees. To prevent hostile activity and to establish their firm political control over the country's Arab populace, Israeli security forces quickly created networks of informers and collaborators in the Arab community. It was an extremely effective policy that operated on three levels: tactical, political, and in relation to consciousness and identity. Israeli security agencies were also involved in the appointment of mukhtars (village representatives who dealt with the authorities). Even after this change, the security agencies continued to intervene in Arab local politics. The bodies that coordinated the activities of the security forces in Arab settlements included the Regional Committees on Arab Affairs.
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