1st Edition

Israel's Colonial Project in Palestine
Brutal Pursuit

ISBN 9780415836104
Published December 1, 2015 by Routledge
298 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

USD $56.95

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Book Description

Colonialism has three foundational concerns - violence, territory, and population control - all of which rest on racialist discourse and practice. Placing the Zionist project in Israel/Palestine within the context of settler colonialism reveals strategies and goals behind the region’s rules of governance that have included violence, repressive state laws and racialized forms of surveillance.

In Israel’s Colonial Project in Palestine: Brutal Pursuit, Elia Zureik revisits and reworks fundamental ideas that informed his first work on colonialism and Palestine three decades ago. Focusing on the means of control that are at the centre of Israel’s actions toward Palestine, this book applies Michel Foucault’s work on biopolitics to colonialism and to the situation in Israel/Palestine in particular. It reveals how racism plays a central role in colonialism and biopolitics, and how surveillance, in all its forms, becomes the indispensable tool of governance. It goes on to analyse territoriality in light of biopolitics, with the dispossession of indigenous people and population transfer advancing the state’s agenda and justified as in the interests of national security. The book incorporates sociological, historical and postcolonial studies into an informed and original examination of the Zionist project in Palestine, from the establishment of Israel through to the actions and decisions of the present-day Israeli government.

Providing new perspectives on settler colonialism informed by Foucault’s theory, and with particular focus on the role played by state surveillance in controlling the Palestinian population, this book is a valuable resource for students and scholars interested in the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Colonialism.

Table of Contents

Preface  Introduction 1.Researching Palestine and the Palestinians: A Road Map 2.Zionism and Colonialism 3.Colonialism as Surveillance 4. Biopolitics, Eugenics, and Population Discourse 5.From Calibrated Suffering to Necropolitics 6.The Internet and Acts of Everyday Resistance Conclusion

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Elia Zureik is head of the department of sociology and anthropology at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies in Qatar, and is professor emeritus of sociology at Queen’s University in Ontario, where he is the holder of the Research Excellence Award.


Zureik (Queen's Univ., Canada) examines the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a struggle between a settler population (i.e., Jews from Europe and elsewhere) and the country's indigenous people. Zureik focuses on methods of control, including "surveillance and information gathering," "biopolitics" (including "demography and population management," and eugenics), and violence. He also deals with the internet as an instrument of "surveillance and resistance." The author draws extensively on theoretical literature (notably, works by Michel Foucault). Unlike his earlier study focusing on Palestinians ("Israeli Arabs") within Israel's pre-1967 frontiers, this book brings in those in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as refugees living outside historic Palestine. Although Zureik begins by pointing to the influence of his personal experience as a Palestinian in Israel on his perspective - the "social context - he has provided a solid, documented analysis of a reality that, in the past, generally was not understood in the West. This book will prove useful to serious students of Middle Eastern politics and, more broadly, of methods whereby subordinate populations are controlled. G.E. Perry, Indiana State University (emeritus), in CHOICE