The Decline and Fall of the Israeli Military Government, 1948-1966: A Case of Settler-Colonial Consolidation?

Derecho Mercantil

31 pages
2 views

Please download to get full document.

View again

of 31
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Share
Description
The Decline and Fall of the Israeli Military Government, 1948-1966: A Case of Settler-Colonial Consolidation?
Transcript
  "This is an Accepted Manuscript, with minor proofing corrections, of an article published in Settler Colonial    Studies  on May 14 2014, available online:    http://www.tandfonline.com/ 10.1080/2201473X.2014.905236 ."   Article Manuscript The Decline and Fall of the Israeli Military Government, 1948-1966: A Case of Settler-Colonial Consolidation? Arnon Yehuda Degani ab   Abstract   The term settler-colonialism has recently gained traction amongst scholars of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict who use it to address all forms of Zionist ideology and practices. This article   however benefits from a conceptual distinction between colonial  and settler-colonial Zionist policies when assessing the first two decades of Israel’s existence. During this period, Palestinian-Arabs who remained within the state borders were granted nominal citizenship. At the same time, the state also subjected the majority of this population to the Military Government, a form of martial law which suspended many of the rights and legal protections that citizenship afforded. The article considers Israel’s various forms of right-granting, social-democratic tendencies, and liberal policies as the post-Nakba continuation of Zionist settler-colonial consolidation. Conversely, Israel’s Military Government and other forms of discrimination the Palestinian-Arab citizens endured could be considered colonial institutions that existed in tension with the logic of settler-colonial consolidation. My claim is that when Israel, during its first two decades, slowly dismantled the Military Government, it effectively abandoned a colonial form of interaction with the Palestinian-Arabs and thereby inched towards consolidating the Zionist settler-colonial project. I begin my article with a short discussion on colonialism and settler-colonialism as linked yet distinct historical phenomena. Then I present the colonial features of the Military Government and explain why they inhibited settler-colonial consolidation. After setting the stage, I analyze the Jewish-Israeli discourse formulated against the Military Government and show that in fact Zionists clearly saw a Zionist interest in adopting a more liberal attitude towards the Palestinian-Arab citizens. Finally, I show how this Zionist perception took over Israel’s highest decision-making circles leading to the abolishment of the Military Government. Keywords: Israel; Palestine; Zionism; citizenship.    "This is an Accepted Manuscript, with minor proofing corrections, of an article published in Settler Colonial    Studies  on May 14 2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/  10.1080/2201473X.2014.905236   ."  1 Introduction   Experts on the Israeli/Zionist-Palestinian/Arab conflict and the large intellectual community interested in this topic recently saw the addition of Shira Robinson’s ground-breaking Citizen Strangers: Palestinians and the Birth of the Israel’s Liberal Settler State  (Stanford: 2013) .  The  book focuses on Israel’s first decade of existence – generally considered a time when the Palestinian dimension of the conflict wavered and Israel’s primary concern became the Arab states. 1  In refreshing contrast, Robinson shows how the end of the 1948   War did not signal an end to Zionist entrenchment in Palestine at the expense of an indigenous Palestinian 2  population. Robinson also provides an important reminder that Israel, even before the occupation of 1967, subjected Palestinian-Arabs to a form of military rule. 3  Robinson skillfully details the relationship between early Israel and its Palestinian-Arab citizens. This relationship, according to Robinson, revolved mainly around the ‘contradictions’ or ‘paradoxes’ of Israel as ‘a liberal settler state:’ a liberal state committed to international norms and the rule of law while at the same time a settler-colonial state dedicated to preserving the racial  privilege of Jews. 4  The fundamentally contradictory policies of this liberal settler state endowed those Palestinians who evaded the 1948 ethnic cleansing with formal Israeli citizenship, while at the same time subjecting the majority of this constituency to a ‘colonial’ military regime in the form of the Military Government (ha-mimshal ha-tzva’i). For Robinson, the terms colonialism and settler-colonialism occasionally interchange 5  and, as mentioned, the terms ‘liberal’ and ‘settler-colonial’ are understood here as being at a high level of tension, if not incongruity. According to Robinson, a driving force for Israel’s policies is Zionism’s deeply seeded racism and ‘pursuit of privilege.’ 6  Since the author considers Zionism a racist and therefore illiberal ideology, she thus finds the causes for the Military Government’s subsequent demise  "This is an Accepted Manuscript, with minor proofing corrections, of an article published in Settler Colonial    Studies  on May 14 2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/  10.1080/2201473X.2014.905236   ."  2 during the 1960s in factors that are largely external to Zionism: (1) A courageous Palestinian-Arab grassroots struggle, (2) mounting pressure from the international community, and (3) an Israeli sense that it has already fulfilled its role in sequestering Arab lands. 7  In contrast, rather than assuming an innate Zionist racism as an inhibiting causal factor, I will explain the dismantling of the Military Government by referring to the political economy of the Zionist settler society. In other words, I will show that the Military Government was dismantled not in spite of but rather because  of Zionist ideology. Without diminishing her achievement, the author’s particular use of the terms ‘settler-colonialism’ and ‘colonialism,’ and how the two relate to Zionism and liberalism invite an important debate and reflection. In recent years, there seems to be a measure of divergence in the way the term ‘settler-colonialism’ is used in the social sciences and the humanities. Some scholars of the conflict utilize the term settler-colonialism to explain the wide array of illiberal and oppressive policies, physical and symbolic, which Zionists have perpetrated against Palestinians from the late nineteenth century till today. 8  This writing, to which Robinson’s study belongs, deems settler-colonialism as a derivative of colonialism or as colonialism with settlers. In contrast, settler-colonial studies as an independent field is premised on the analytical   distinction between the two terms. Furthermore, settler-colonial cases show clearly that in certain historical conjunctures, liberalism and settler-colonialism become most compatible. 9  My article will utilize the analytical framework of settler-colonial studies to put forward an explanation for the demise of the Military Government, one which complements Robinson’s findings but is located within the structure of Zionism as a settler-colonial movement. In this article I will claim that the contradictions in Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian-Arab minority are not derived from the incompatibility of Zionism and liberalism or between settler-colonialism and  "This is an Accepted Manuscript, with minor proofing corrections, of an article published in Settler Colonial    Studies  on May 14 2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/  10.1080/2201473X.2014.905236   ."  3 liberalism but rather by the tension between colonial and settler-colonial tendencies within the Zionist movement. My claim is that when Israel, during its first two decades, slowly dismantled the Military Government, it effectively abandoned one colonial form of interaction with the Palestinian-Arabs and thereby inched towards consolidating the Zionist settler-colonial project. What follows is a short discussion on colonialism and settler-colonialism as linked yet distinct historical phenomena. Then I present the colonial features of the Military Government and explain why they inhibited settler-colonial consolidation. After setting the stage, I analyze the Jewish-Israeli discourse formulated against the Military Government and show that in fact Zionists clearly saw a Zionist interest in adopting a liberal attitude towards the Palestinian-Arab citizens. Finally, I show how this Zionist perception took over Israel’s highest decision-making circles leading to the abolishment of the Military Government. Settler-Colonialism and Colonialism Settler-colonialism and colonialism are modern historical phenomena which are historically linked, have always coalesced, at times harmoniously. Nevertheless, in their ideal type forms, they are distinct: whereas colonialism is primarily the control of an exogenous polity over an indigenous  population, settler-colonialism is the replacement of an indigenous population with an exogenous one. 10  More bluntly, colonialists exploit the colonized; settler-colonialists go after their lands. 11  This distinction is paralleled in the different relationships formed between the exogenous and indigenous entities of the two respective historical formations. As colonial and settler-colonial  projects entered the late nineteenth century it is well known that they have absorbed racial theories to justify their treatment of indigenous peoples. While both colonial empires and settler-states are  "This is an Accepted Manuscript, with minor proofing corrections, of an article published in Settler Colonial    Studies  on May 14 2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/  10.1080/2201473X.2014.905236   ."  4 racist, employing ge neric ‘racism’ as a causal factor for their actions conflates what Patrick Wolfe identified as very different ‘ structures of race. ’ 12  Though not a comforting distinction for the indigenous victims of colonialism or settler-colonialism, there is however a fundamental difference between ‘colonial racism’ and ‘settler  - colonial racism’ –   both morally repugnant. Colonial empires rationalized the exploitation of the populations they controlled with the help of racist institutions and racial discourses premised on the essential difference and hierarchy between the colonizer and the colonized. 13  To insure the continuation of exploitation, empires perpetually sustained these institutions and discourses which in turn reified essential differences or ‘ othered ’  the native population. The essentialized categories formed through the colonial encounter became the nations that forced European empires and their agents back to the metropole. In contrast, settler-colonists identify less with an imperial metropole (which they have left) and are more interested in the native’s land than his labor, and so they historically displayed a diminished tendency to sustain ‘othered’ indigenous populations. Instead of exploiting indigenous  populations, successful settler-colonial projects demonstrated a propensity to have them ‘erased.’ 14  Indeed, consequently, settler-colonial racial attitudes often enabled acts of ethnic cleansing and genocide. Nevertheless, not all natives facing settler-colonization become subject to physical liquidation or deportation – some are subjected to assimilatory policies, at times even through miscegenation. European-indigenous assimilation, not to mention intermarriage, undermines any colonial logic and might seem to counter the logic of erasure but it is in fact a most efficient path to stifle indigenous claims of ownership of their ancestral land. 15   In successful settler-colonial cases (the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand  being good examples) there has been room for some natives to be given equal political status to the settlers in the form of citizenship. The context of this equal status may vary between various
Advertisement
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks