I wrote a paper my class. So I used Fanon and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I thought some members would be interested. Let me know what you think. Any criticism is welcome too.
Frantz Fanon and the Israel-Palestine Conflict
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most protracted and continuous struggles in the international sphere. The 50-year struggle for Israeli internal and external sovereignty, and the Palestinian struggle for possession of an Arab state is the most evident example of the conflict perspective in the field of International Relations. It is also one of the most prominent examples of neo-colonialism in the world. Frantz Fanon wrote extensively on neo-colonialism during the Algerian revolution and developed a significant body of theoretical work on the subject of colonization. His theories on violence and the psychology of the colonized can be extensively applied to the present Israeli-Palestinian crisis. Israeli colonization in the region has begot violence and turmoil by the surrounding Arab populations, and the ongoing war between the two peoples, according to Fanon, is the inevitable result of the political and social oppression of the Palestinians by the European Jewish populations.
Fanon uses the dialectical method of Marx to present the inevitable contradiction that occurs between two classes of colonial society: the colonist and the colonized. Efforts at decolonization, Fanon argues, “[set] out to change the order of the world,” (Fanon, 1965) and therefore “[are] clearly an agenda of disorder” (ibid). Israeli attempts to control the regions of its West Bank and the Gaza Strip have failed because of the disorder created by the Palestinian resistance and attempts at decolonization. Additionally, the failure of peace agreements between the two peoples is due to the fact that this contradiction is not resolvable within the current Israeli state. Though the Oslo accords sought recognition of both groups and their states, the reality of the situation is that neither party recognizes the other: “the Palestinians have not in fact recognized the legitimacy of the of the national rights” of the Jewish state (Kuperwasser & Lipner, 2011). Fanon believes that the colonized cannot overcome their oppression without the determination “to smash every obstacle encountered” (Fanon, 1965). Thus, groups such as Fatah that approve the two-state solution have failed because they do not seek to dialectically solve the colonial struggle through violence and the dissolution of Israel.
Failure to create an internationally recognized Palestinian state has led to the loss of power by some “moderate” Palestinian political parties, and the resurgence more radical parties such as the PFLP, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Additionally, the continued political, social, and economic oppression by the Israeli minority against the Palestinian majority has only intensified the violence of the situation. Underrepresentation in the Jewish Knesset denies the Palestinian constituency adequate voice in Israeli politics. One example of Palestinian discontent with Fatah’s moderate approach is the emergence of Hamas as the prominent governmental body in the Gaza Strip after the 2005 parliamentary elections. Fanon recognized similar radicalization during the Algerian revolution, in which he saw that the more parliamentary groups of Algerian nationals were defeated by the popularity of more radical groups such as the National Liberation Front.
Fanon believes that the incremental approach to the colonial situation alienates the masses, which suffer from psychological notions of inferiority that can only be resolved through violence. Fanon differed from Marxist theory in his belief that violence is not only a “midwife of history” (Kebede, 2001) meant to usher in the next social order, but that it also served as a catharsis for the masses: “arguing that colonialism is qualitatively different from previous forms of conquest and subjugation, Fanon recommended violence for reasons surpassing the necessity of self-defense or the removal of a rotten social system. He sees violence as a necessary therapy for a cultural disease brought about by colonial subjugation” (bid). For Fanon, Palestinian violence against Israel is not only inevitable, but also therapeutic and beneficial.
One of the reasons that Fanon views decolonization as inevitably and preferably violent is his belief that colonialism develops a distinct ideology that he views as the product of institutionalized racism. Only by coming to see the colonized as lesser through a racist ideology does the settler population strip the oppressed of their humanity. Israel has developed its own ideology of superiority over the Arab populations and the Israeli “occupation has bred an aggressive ethnic nationalism that privileges the interests of Israel’s Jewish citizens over those of its Arab citizens (Krebs, 2011). It is through this ideology that the oppressed become truly “wretched” (Fanon, 1965). This is the reason that Fanon believes in the catharsis of violence. It is the only way for the colonized to rid themselves of their oppressors and view themselves as human once more. This allows the colonized to begin the “restoration of their dignity by a reevaluation of their history and cultural legacy which have been exposed to a systematic misinterpretation and debasement” (Kebede, 2001). In this instance, the Palestinians have produced an ideology of violence and seek to restore its humanity through the eradication of the colonized force and destruction of Israeli statehood and institutions.
This therapeutic approach to violence also manifests in the culture of the colonized. Fanon wrote about the creation of a new identity for the colonized. The oppressed must deny the culture of the oppressor in order to completely reject colonial society: “[culture], like truth, is concrete. And for the masses the most elevated form of culture, that is to say, of progress, is to resist imperialist domination and penetration, although this might come wrapped up in valid forms of ‘culture’ or ‘civilization’ “ (Fanon, 1967). This phenomenon has occurred in the Palestinian territories. Until the formation of the Jewish state, Palestinian identity was subservient in role to local tribal identity or Arab identity. It wasn’t until the arrival of Jewish settlers and the creation of Israel that Palestinian identity was fully realized. Additionally, other Middle Eastern states like Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt have formed a close bond to the Palestinian cause, unifying the Arab identity around the idea of Palestinian self-determination. Arab nationalist parties like the PFLP-GC, PFLP, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization have arisen on the emerging idea of Palestinian nationalism. Fanon would argue that this nationalism is a reaction and dialectical antithesis to the cultural oppression of the Jewish settler population.
Undoubtedly, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is of significant historical importance. Though some believe the issue to be resolvable through peaceful means, conflict theorists hold that international disputes such as this are a struggle between two opposing forces for scarce resources. Frantz Fanon’s theory of neo-colonialism is a development of the conflict theory. Fanon holds that violence displayed by the colonized is not only inevitable, but also necessary for the development of a new identity. Only by destroying the old state and culture and establishing a new social order will the colonized overcome their oppression. Fanon’s theory explains the ongoing violence between the Palestinians and Israelis and prescribes a grim, yet seemingly inevitable outcome to the conflict.
Kebede, M. (2001). The Rehabilitation of Violence and the Violence of Rehabilitation:
Fanon and Colonialism. Journal of Black Studies, 31(5), 539-562.
Krebs, R. R. (2011, November 01). Israel's bunker mentality. Foreign Affairs,
Kuperwasser, Y. & Lipner, S. (2011, November 01). The Problem is Palestinian
Rejectionism. Foreign Affairs,
Fanon, F. (1967). A Dying Colonialism. New York: Grove Pr.
Fanon, F. (1965). The Wretched of the Earth. New
York: Grove Pr.
A good and interesting article.Thanks for posting it.
I'd just like to throw in a small comment.
Isreal is certainly superior to the Arab world ( its Arab neighbours) in every way imaginable.
It started as a miserable,rag-tag country of Jews from all around the world,defeated the numerically superior Arabs many times and even today,a nation of 7 million (about half the population of Cairo), can be fairly sure of its safety against Arab countries with more than 150 million people.
They did prove themselves superior in combat.
They also proved themselves supperior in building a country which is today the most advanced and most modern country in the Middle East ("fake" countries such as UAE that live on oil don't count for much).
They've built a modern state out of a desert shithole,and its Arab neighbours have only recently started with more rapid development,though still lagging far behind Israel.
Dude, this is frickin' awesome. Franz Fanon is such a hero.
Red_Son: Bob Avakian is the Glenn Beck of communism.
"Le prolétariat; c'est moi." - King Indigo XIV
This is an interesting position Loz. We'll see how long you remain a Zionist
You forget the billions of dollars of US and European aide that gave Israel it's tanks, planes, and weaponry. Not to mention the big bad US "big stick" deterrence. Plus, Israel was almost wiped off the map the day after it declared itself a country
If you mean they took US military supply and training, and continue to receive military support entirely from post-WWII America, then yes. This is not
Israel sits on the largest natural gas field in the world. The land is ripe for agriculture, and it has some of the largest supplies of potash for export. It's tourism industry is huge, which would still exist in an Arab country that control the same historically relavent sites. Like Saudi Arabia and Mecca.
Once again, due to foreign support from the US and Israeli interest groups. And Israel is hardly a desert shithole. It has strategic access to the Mediterranean, and awesome agriculture and natural gas. Also, Lebanon is similarly successful because of its resources. And Turkey is more wealthy and successful. Iran is also miraculously successful, despite its lack of US diplomatic relations.
Israeli success is also based on the exploitation of it's Arab neighbors and populations. It's military expenditure is huge, providing incredible employment opportunities. Plus, it is difficult for Israel to maintain its internal sovereignty due to the efforts of its Palestinian militant groups that challenge Israeli authority in its disputed regions.
And what about all those billions of Roubles of miltiary equipment the USSR gave/sold to Arab countries?
They had much more than the Isrealis and yet they managed to a bloody-nose on several occasions.
They didn't have much (or any of it) back in '48. In fact the little they had came mainly from Czechoslovakia and some other Eastern countries.
I'm not saying that it is still,but it used to be some 50 years ago. And Israel is still miles ahead of Turkey or Iran or Lebanon in all respects.
In a part,surely.
But i don't think that explains everything.
I think it's terrible to think of any collective as "superior" because it imposed itself by force. You can get all kind of weird connotations from it.
"It does not suffice to reject the error; we must overcome it, explain it and outgrow it." - Antonio Labriola
Like I said. Israel was almost destroyed in 1947. The aide that it has received from the US has been significantly more than the support of the USSR. The survival of Israel is predicated on US support.
Israel wasn't even a country until 1947. It was almost destroyed in 1947. The US was already offering diplomatic support in 1947 which it used to "influence" the Egyptian government to sign a peace treaty in 1948. Israel is reliant on US support.
Nah dude, Israeli land is some of the best in the Middle East. Why do you think the Arabs, Europeans, and Jews wanted such a small piece of land?
Wrong. Turkey has a GDP that is 3 times bigger than Israel's. Iran's GDP is 100 Billion larger, even with sanctions. Lebanon has more internal sovereignty than Israel has ever had.
Why do you think that Israel is "better" than its neighboring Arab countries?
Just some little questions...
proletarian wrote:Would you say the same thing about the USSR and GPW?
(i.e. that it was all thanks to supplies from the USA?)
Have you heard of this obscure little factor in human and international relations called "Religion"?
(Compared to many of it's oil rich neighbours, Israel is pretty impoverished as far as valuable natural resources go.)
It helped, but the USSR produced it's own military supplies. Israel does not. And the GPW was 4 years. Israel has been under attack for 50 years.
So Britain wanted control for religious purposes too? Sure it's a factor, but my point was that Israel is hardly a "shithole." It's land is prime for agriculture, it has awesome and capitalizable historical relevance, and it has great port access that has been utilized for centuries.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/31/world ... wanted=all
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