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Stones against the Iron Fist, Terror within the Nation: Alternating Structures of Violence and Cultural Identity in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Abstract : The framework of the Israel-Palestinian Arab conflict has evolved over the last half century through an instrumentalization of violence by the parties concerned. Two alternating "structures of violence" have emerged to define this instrumentality: the one Israeli, the other Palestinian. I call these structures of violence "alternating" rather than merely "reciprocating" because the one not only feeds off the other and actually practices on the other that which is merely fancied and projected as the other's intention but also because they have inverse periodicities: The "Great Revolt" (al-Thawra alKubra) of 1936-1939 introduced the principle of "armed struggle" (al-kifah al-musalah) into the practice and lore of a fractured and often factional antiBritish and anti-Zionist insurgency. It was effectively countered by British might coupled with an essentially defensive Jewish posture of consensus and "restraint" (havgalah). By contrast the current Palestinian "Uprising" (Intifada) has the Arab side preaching restraint if not always nonviolence (al-la `unf), through a pluralistic consensus on the immediate national ends such practice aims to achieve. Against this is an avowed Israeli policy of "the iron fist" (ha-yad hazaqah, barzel Yisrael) that for the first time since independence has broken the general Zionist consensus with regard not only to the utility and morality of violent means but also to national goals.
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Scott Atran. Stones against the Iron Fist, Terror within the Nation: Alternating Structures of Violence and Cultural Identity in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Politics and Society, SAGE Publications (UK and US), 1990, 18. ⟨ijn_00000567⟩

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