Settler Colonialism in Palestine
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Henry Siegman reviews ‘The Accidental Empire’ by Gershom Gorenberg and ‘Lords of the Land’ by Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar · LRB 10 April 2008The title of Gershom Gorenberg’s book is somewhat misleading in its suggestion that the establishment of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza was ‘accidental’. While Gorenberg, an American-born Israeli journalist, notes that no Israeli government ever made a formal decision about the future of the West Bank, his account of the first decade of Israel’s occupation leaves no doubt that the settlements were deliberately founded, and were intended to create a permanent Israeli presence in as much of the Occupied Territories as possible (indeed, the hope was for them to cover all of the Occupied Territories, if the international community would allow it). No Israeli government has ever supported the establishment of a Palestinian state east of the 1949 armistice line that constituted the pre-1967 border. At the very least, the settlements were designed to make a return to that border impossible.
The anti-colonial movement in Kenya of the 1950s was mythologized by the British as a shadowy ‘Mau-Mau,’ an irrational outbreak of aimless hatred. In fact, the movement was protesting the confinement of Kenyans to ‘reserves,’ their crowding into urban slums, the privileged position of white British settlers, and the latters’ plan to go on ruling over 6 million Africans with an iron fist. Of the 15,000 Kenyans that the British summarily rounded up, many were tortured, castrated, and raped. On the basis of declassified colonial documents proving abuse, four Kenyan survivors sued the British government for reparations. You wonder if the settler-colonial officials who ordered castration of freedom fighters were aware of its symbolic purport for their enterprise.
Omar Jabary Salamanca, Mezna Qato, Kareem Rabie, and Sobhi Samour, editors. Past Is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine . Special Issue of settler colonial studies 2.1 (2012). Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this special issue?
By Brian Durrans – London The seventh annual conference of the very active SOAS Palestine Society attracted some 300 people over the weekend of 5-6 March 2011 (SOAS is the School of Oriental and African Studies in Bloomsbury and the event was hosted by its London Middle East Institute). These conferences have become something of an institution, bringing together every year the current crop of activists, interested members of the public and academics (faculty staff, researchers, students) to explore aspects of Palestine. Those aspects considered in the past have included: the life and work of Edward Said; Palestine and international law; the economy of Palestine and the Occupation; the Nakba and Palestinian resistance; and (last year) the Left in Palestine. This year’s topic was Past is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine. It was the first of these conferences I have attended.
Exploitation of Palestinian Labour in Contemporary Zionist Colonialism | Hever | settler colonial studiesAbstract This essay, based on a paper presented at the ‘Past is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine’ conference at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London on the 5th of March, 2011, contains preliminary ideas for a future research, and does not represent a complete study. It contains ideas that need further development, and some of the facts presented here are based on interviews, personal experience and comments made off the record by officials who preferred not to be quoted by name. A future study will include a more comprehensive referencing for all the facts and arguments presented here. <p style="text-align:right;color:#A8A8A8"></p>
Abstract Discourse on Israel, both propagandistic and analytical, has the peculiar tendency of representing it at one moment as normal – a normal democracy, a normal Western society, a normal state – and at others as exceptional: a democracy uniquely embattled among hostile neighbors, a secular state that historically fulfills the religious destiny of a people, a democracy that defines itself as a state for a single people and religion, the only democracy in the region, and so forth. At times, defenders of Israel lay claim to its normality as the reason to exempt it from the norms of human rights and international law, at others complain that Israel is being ‘singled out’ for criticism.
Settler colonialism is a global and transnational phenomenon, and as much a thing of the present as a thing of the past. In this book, Lorenzo Veracini explores the settler colonial 'situation' and explains how there is no such thing as neo-settler colonialism or post-settler colonialism because settler colonialism is a resilient formation that rarely ends. Not all migrants are settlers: settlers come to stay, and are founders of political orders who carry with them a distinct sovereign capacity. And settler colonialism is not colonialism: settlers want Indigenous people to vanish (but can make use of their labour before they are made to disappear).