The Nabi Salih Protests: Nationalism and Shows of Force

To go to the protest scene, skip to 12:33. The rest of the documentary is also on youtube.

In Nabi Salih, a small Palestinian town in central West Bank, there is a weekly protest by Palestinians and their supporters against the establishment of a new Jewish settlement in the direct vacinity (Halamish).. This protest is accompanied by confrontation between Palestinian Youth and the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) troops stationed there. The Youth typically hurl stones while the IDF use crowd dispersal methods such as teargas.

This ritualistic display of violence (mostly minor, though there have been real casualties in the past) nationalism is mobilized through the spectacle of force. In modernity, ideas of the Nation and the ‘Other’ are given substance in militant action and war (Kaldor, 2004). The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a manifestation of ‘New Nationalism’ that is born particularly in regions where conflict and anxiety run high. Highly exclusionary and additionally religiously-mobilized, the militancy of New Nationalism is founded on an ideology that responds to the demands of modern society (globalization, global economy, cosmopolitanism, etc.) with a paradoxically distinctly anti-modern flair (primordial, “purity”, binaristic good/bad forces and nostalgia for a ‘golden age’) (Kaldor, 2004).

Kaldor, M. (2004). Nationalism and globalisation. Nations and Nationalism, 10(1/2), 161-177.

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