JADMAG Issue 4.1 "Gaza in Context: War and Settler Colonialism"
Gaza in Context: War and Settler Colonialism
In the summer of 2014, Israel launched its most devastating offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip to date. Israel sealed its perimeters, expanded its buffer zones, concentrated the already dense population, and launched six thousand airstrikes and fifty thousand artillery shells in an air and ground offensive that lasted for fifty-one days. The register of death and destruction was, expectedly, harrowing. Despite overwhelming evidence of the disparity of power between Israel and Palestinians and the aggressiveness of Israel's exercise of its power, including excessive and brutal violence and collective punishment in Gaza in the form of occupation, siege, and frequent military assaults against dense and captive civilian populations, mainstream media and educational materials continue to frame Israel as the victim.
This compendium, in combination with the pedagogical project Gaza in Context, uses Operation Protection Edge to demonstrate the temporal and spatial continuity of Israel’s settler-colonial policies across Israel and the Occupied Territories in order to disrupt the language of exceptionalism surrounding Gaza today. The volume scrutinizes Israeli settler-colonialism through a multidisciplinary lens including history, law, development, political economy, and gender.
In addition to the articles within this volume, Gaza in Context: War and Settler Colonialism features several teaching guides and a bibliography that are intended for teaching and research purposes, respectively. Together, the aforementioned components and the short film Gaza in Context seek to provide an assertive framework for understanding Israel’s systematic attacks as part of the larger question of Palestine.
Table of ContentsIntroduction
Gaza in Context, pg. 4
by Noura Erakat and Tareq Radi
Racism is the Foundation of Israel's Operation Protective Edge, pg. 7
by Joel Beinin
Israel Will Invade Gaza Again -- The Only Question is How Soon, pg. 9
by Noura Erakat
In Jerusalem, "Religious War" Claims Cloak Old-Fashioned Colonialism, pg. 12
by Nur Arafeh
Permission to kill in Gaza, pg. 16
by Noura Erakat
The Beginning of the End of Palestinian Security Coordination with Israel?, pg.19
by Tariq Dana
Another Palestinian Uprising?, pg. 22
by Mouin Rabbani
Rebuilding Gaza Needs Freedom and Normality -- Not Just Aid pg. 24
by Sara Roy
Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism: Profiting Israel, Entrenching the Blockade, pg. 26
by Nuriya Oswald
The Limits of Humanitarianism, pg. 28
by Max Ajl
Planning under Occupation: Ecstatic Geographies and 'Area C,' pg. 32
by Lamya Hussain
Sexual Violence, Women's Bodies, and Israeli Settler Colonialism, pg. 37
by Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Sarah Ihmoud, and Suhad Dahir-Nashif
Can Palestinian Men be Victims? Gendering Israel's War on Gaza, pg. 42
by Maya Mikdashi
About the Authors
About the Authors, pg. 44
Teaching Guide, pg. 46
Other Resources, pg. 51
Social Media, pg. 55
In the summer 2014, Israel launched its most devastating offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip to date. It sealed the perimeters, expanded the buffer zones, concentrated the already dense population, and launched six thousand airstrikes and fifty thousand artillery shells in an air and ground offensive that lasted for fifty-one days. The register of death and destruction were harrowing and included the killing of 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children; the complete or severe destruction of eighteen thousand homes; the forcible displacement of one hundred thousand Palestinians, and untold trauma that has left more than three hundred thousand children in need of psycho-social treatment. Palestinian forces killed seven Israelis, all but one of whom were soldiers. As Palestinian doctors struggled to treat the injured in under sourced hospitals vulnerable to attack, Israel’s military industry boomed. Three hundred employees of one company, Israel Military Industries, worked twenty-four hours shifts for four weeks, to ensure that the Israeli Army would have a sufficient arsenal. One company CEO explained, that “After every campaign of the kind that is now taking place in Gaza, we see an increase in the number of customers from abroad…” because they can market their weapons as “battle-tested’.” Indeed, Gaza’s captive population has become a laboratory of means and methods of warfare.
Despite the imbalance of military force, as well as the structural violence of siege, media narratives of victimhood and survival were exclusively reserved for Israel and Israelis. The harshest critique of Israel’s unparalleled use of force was that it was “too much” or “excessive” implicitly suggesting that the colonial relationship between Israel and its captive subjects is normal; the realm of abnormality was reserved for Palestinians who used crude weapons to challenge their condition. The de-historicization of the Gaza Strip and its severance from the rest of the question of Palestine functions as another site of violence, one that perpetuates colonial subjugation and all but ensures a repeat of the kinetic warfare necessary to maintain it. This pedagogical compendium, in combination with the short narrative documentary film Gaza in Context, uses Operation Protection Edge to demonstrate the temporal and spatial continuity of Israel’s settler-colonial policies across Israel and the Occupied Territories in order to disrupt the language of exceptionalism surrounding Gaza today. The volume scrutinizes Israeli settler-colonialism through a multi-disciplinary lens including history, law, development, political economy, and gender across Israel’s singular jurisdiction extending from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.
While the scope of Israeli force deployed during Operation Protective Edge is unprecedented, warfare is not. The summer 2014 offensive was the eighth attack on the coastal enclave since unilateral disengagement in 2005 and the twenty-second attack since the exchange of letters between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President George W. Bush in April 2004. In her contribution, originally published in The Nation, Noura Erakat surveys Israel’s aggressions towards Gaza and concludes that warfare is systemic, systematic and longstanding, and is an extension of Israel’s broader policy towards all Palestinians. This policy is guided by two principles: to obtain the maximum amount of Palestinian land with the minimum number of Palestinian people and to concentrate a maximum number of Palestinians onto a minimum amount of land. Through this analysis, Erakat rehabilitates the question of the Gaza Strip within a framework of settler-colonialism that helps put the rest of the pieces within this pedagogical publication in conversation with one other.
For more information, see the teaching guide.