In September 1964 עAli Taleb, an employee in the Agricultural Directorate in Gaza, petitioned the civil service administration for what he claimed was a long overdue promotion. On the face of it, there is nothing particularly surprising about such a petition—עAli was certainly not the first employee to feel he deserved more recognition for his work. What makes his petition peculiar were the circumstances which generated it. The Gaza Strip, the territory in whose civil service עAli was employed, came into existence in 1948 as a result of the war over the establishment of Israel. Before 1948, Gaza was a district of Palestine, governed like the rest of the country as a mandate granted to the British government by the League of Nations. When the 1948 war ended in defeat for the Arab forces, the Egyptian army occupied the Gaza area, which it administered for the next twenty years. עAli was hired in 1937 by the Mandate government—and under its rules of promotion—but it was the Egyptian Administration (henceforth “Administration”) which he expected to fulfill the obligations of this system. “I was nominated to be promoted to Grade 3 under the previous Mandate government,” עAli explained, noting that, “before my turn arrived the Mandate ended and the Arab Administration came to the Strip.”
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