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One like Marx, uses logical arguments to

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One of the most long-drawn-out and continuous
struggles in the contemporary world is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This
struggle for internal and external authority by Israel and the struggle for control
of an Arab state by Palestine is perhaps the most evident example of the
conflict perspective in the field of International Relations. It is also one of
the most obvious examples of the use of economic, political, cultural or
religious pressures to control or influence other countries in today’s world. Frantz Fanon and Mahatma
Gandhi are two individuals who have developed a significant body of theoretical
work on the subject of colonization. Fanon’s viewpoints on violence and the mindset
of the colonized can be significantly applied to the case of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israeli colonization in the region has caused
and brought large-scale violence and turmoil, and the ongoing war between the
two sides, according to Fanon, is the inevitable result of the political and
social oppression of the Palestinians by the European Jewish populations. Amidst
this violent conflict, however, people believe a Gandhi approach to the
situation might be the solution: a non-violence resistance.

            Fanon,
like Marx, uses logical arguments to present the inescapable contradiction that
the two classes of colonial society, the colonist and the colonized, have.

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Fanon argues that the efforts at decolonization “set out to change the order of the
world,”
(Fanon, 1965) and therefore “are clearly an agenda of disorder” (ibid). The Palestinians have
caused disorder by resisting and attempting decolonization to Israeli’s attempts to control the regions of
its West Bank and the Gaza Strip. To add to it, the two sides were unsuccessful
and failed to agree on the peace agreements for the reason that the conflict
and contradictions are not resolvable within the current Israeli state. Even though
the Oslo accords required recognition of both groups and their states, the truth
of the situation is that neither one recognizes the other: “the Palestinians, have not, in fact
recognized the legitimacy of the national rights” of the Jewish state (Kuperwasser &
Lipner, 2011). Fanon writes that the only way for the colonized to overcome
their oppression is to have the determination “to smash every obstacle encountered” (Fanon, 1965). Therefore, the
reason for failure for groups such as Fatah, who support the two-state solution,
is because they do not seek to solve the conflicts and problems through
violence and the dissolution of Israel.

            There
has been dissatisfaction with political groups such as Fatah for taking
moderate approaches. One example of such moderate approaches would be the rise
of Hamas, after the 2005 parliamentary elections, as the prominent governmental
body in the Gaza Strip. There has been a loss of power for “moderate” Palestinian political parties since
they have not been able to form and create an internationally recognized
Palestinian state. This has led to the resurgence of more radical parties such
as the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Hamas, and Hezbollah. The violence has only
increased and intensified as the Palestinian majority is continuously oppressed
politically, socially, and economically by the Israeli minority. The lack of representation
of the Palestinians in the Jewish Knesset denies the Palestinian constituency to
have a sufficient voice in Israeli politics. Similarly, during the Algerian
revolution, Fanon documented similar radicalization. Fanon observed that parliamentary
groups with more nationals were defeated by the popularity of radical groups
such as the National Liberation Front.

            Fanon
is different from Marx and his Marxist theory because Fanon believes that
violence is not only a “midwife
of history”
(Kebede, 2001). To Fanon, violence is not just a method to steer in the next
social order, but he believes that violence also serves as a catharsis for the suppressed,
or the colonized. Fanon believes that the masses suffer psychologically of
inferiority when a gradual approach is taken for the colonial situation. 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” (ibid). For Fanon, violence against
Israel is not only inevitable, but also therapeutic and beneficial.

            Institutionalized
racism is something which Fanon believes is developed by colonialism. This is
why Fanon believes that decolonization is always certainly violent. The only
way the colonizers oppress and take away the humanity of the colonized
population is by looking at them through a racist lens. The Israelis have their
own idea and belief that they are superior than 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.

               Both
Gandhi and Fanon argue that colonization is established and maintained through
violent means. But, Mahatma Gandhi asserts that “those
that wield the sword shall perish by the sword”
(Gandhi, 89). In other words, Gandhi believes that violence always leads to the
perpetuation of further violence. Instead, Gandhi encourages colonized subjects
to embrace the practice of passive resistance or Swaraj. A lot of people feel that the answer to the
Palestinian problems is having a Gandhi of their own. And there are a lot of
Palestinians who realise this as well and have used non-violence movements, and
continue to do so to fight against the Israeli occupation. But this group of people who take the
non-violence route almost always fail. The reason of their failure is that
these people are either ignored, pinned down and oppressed by the Israeli
security forces, or because they cannot keep up and lose momentum.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the
Palestinians attempted a non-violence protest with everybody coming together. They
challenged the Israelis using protests, strikes, and other mass demonstrations.

They continued to take the non-violence route until after a point of time in
the early 2000s the Palestinians had a second uprising, which challenged the
Israelis using widespread violence, including terrorist attacks against Israeli
civilians.

This whole sequence of events of a
Palestinian non-violence movement can be seen in the documentary Five Broken Cameras. The documentary was filmed by a Palestinian man in a time when
his village was trying to stop the Israelis from building a wall that would have
cut off the villagers from their olive groves. It shows us a non-violent
Palestinian campaign take place and fail right before our eyes.

The problem here is that some
Palestinians are non-violent but the rest of the other Palestinians are violent.

A non-violence movement can and will only succeed and be effective if only all
Palestinians adopted it. “Even if most Palestinians were
convinced of the virtues of non-violent resistance, it’s likely that there will be small groups who are still
committed to violence and will take the opportunity to act on a provocation” says Hussein Ibish (Stein, 2014). Gandhi had managed to bring
a majority of people to follow him and his ideas. They all bought into his
ideas and obeyed him and thus were able to sustain their non-violence movement
for a long time. Unlike violence, Swaraj requires profound self-control
and the desire to understand truth. While violence is motivated by fear, Swaraj
is rooted in fearlessness.

Having
said this, people argue that India also did have independence movements which
used violence so it is not always one or the other. India had Gandhi’s
non-violence movement and a violent movement side-by-side. Additionally, there
is no guarantee whatsoever that if all Palestinians were to drop violence, the
whole conflict and all the problems would be solved. “Observers often point out that Gazan leaders chose
violence, and they got a full Israeli withdrawal in 2005, but West Bank leaders
have chosen peaceful compromise, and their reward has been ever-expanding
settlements and occupation” (Fisher, 2015).

            The
Israeli-Palestinian conflict is undoubtedly a very delicate issue and of
significant importance. The debate still continues on whether to take the
violent road or the non-violent one to resolve the issues. Some argue that the
conflicts and issues can be solved peacefully but incidents such as “the Gaza-based militant group Hamas,
by launching rockets and other attacks at Israelis, has only deepened the isolation
and suffering of Gazans” (Fisher, 2015). The violence has only accumulated
over the years and that has left the Palestinians in even worse conditions. Non-violence
is certainly the path to take but there are not just enough Palestinian Gandhi’s to end the conflicts. Frantz Fanon’s theory that the colonized will
fight back using violence is holding true in this case. Fanon writes that
violence is inevitable and is also very necessary if the colonized want to
develop their own new identity. The only way for the Palestinians to get their
own identity, according to Fanon, is by destroying the old culture and
everything that comes along with it. The only way they can overcome their oppression
is by creating and forming their own new social order. The outcome of the Israeli-Palestinian
issue, through the lens of Frantz Fanon, looks very gloomy yet inevitable.

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