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Title: Palestinians, education, and the Israeli “industry of fear”
Other Titles: Education and the Arab 'world' : political projects, struggles, and geometries of power
Authors: Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Nadera
Keywords: Education -- Palestine
Education and state -- Palestine
Arab-Israeli conflict
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Routledge
Citation: Shalhoub-Kevorkian, N. (2010). Palestinians, education, and the Israeli “industry of fear” . In A. E. Mazawi & R. G. Sultana (Eds.), Education and the Arab 'world' : political projects, struggles, and geometries of power (pp. 335-349). New York: Routledge.
Abstract: There have been surprisingly few studies on the combined effects of military occupation, racism, the so-called “war on terror” and the industry of fear it raises on access to education and the perpetuation of colonizer/colonized relations. While there may be a dearth of research in this area, these concepts are implicit and integrally associated with education in conflict zones in the Middle East. The theoretical and methodological premise of this chapter is predicated on the belief that it is from the day-to-day life experiences of those who suffer injustice, domination, a perpetual “refugee status” and displacement, that we can begin to conceptualize and understand the difficulties of education in militarized areas (Appadurai, 2006; Bauman, 2003). By focusing on the deprivation of education, as a tool for collective punishment, the present chapter maps and analyzes voices of Palestinians whose right to a safe and secure education continues to be violated, unhindered. Studying the deprivation of education as a tool for collective punishment is deeply affected by my experience and standpoint – as a Palestinian mother and scholar living in the old city of Jerusalem and who feels the profound pain of how we, Palestinians, merely survive living in such a contested area. Asserting the need for a just and liberatory research approach requires us to listen carefully to those who suffer a history of subjugation, domination, diaspora, and displacement. Being a mother of three daughters who need to challenge the effects of military occupation at every single step and decision they take when building their future, made me realize how one could live an exilic life at home. Moreover, my experience as a Palestinian academic, first teaching at a Palestinian university, then at an Israeli one, made me understand what it means to belong to a privileged group, with the power to decide who has the right to have a right. My location as a Palestinian, mother, academic and activist, and the research shared in this paper, all require me to call on scholars to consider their role, not only in terms of listening to the voices of the muted and silenced, or looking for absolute truths, but also in terms of joining forces with those who seek and work for justice. The daily terror facing young Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip when exercising their right to education, challenges claims that education is an apolitical or neutral zone in the midst of conflict. Rather, as I hope to illustrate, disrupting the access of the colonized to education is a primary tool in the hands of the colonizer in perpetuating colonial domination. Consequently, analyzing the systemic unleashing of an industry of fear and organized terror by the Israeli occupation forces, reveals how Palestinian education is literally placed under siege. In that sense, education becomes highly politicized within the larger field of power mediating colonizer–colonized relations. It “racializes” Palestinians by constructing them as people to be “feared”. Hence, this “industry of fear” – that is, the colonial mechanisms of racialization – sustains and reproduces modes of racism that ultimately totally subordinate the right to education to “security considerations”. I start the chapter by examining how education is utilized as a tool for oppression in conflict zones, primarily and precisely because it can be used to affect social and political transformation, emancipation, and liberation. In a second stage, I then move to examine the particular case of Israel’s deprivation of the Palestinians’ right to education by analyzing official statements, policy guidelines, court decisions and the reports of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that delineate various aspects of this policy and reveal its rationale. In a third stage, I invoke the voices of Palestinian children and youth from my own fieldwork to create spaces for them to bring forward their experiential realities of these Israeli policies and the impacts of such realities on their education. I conclude the chapter by making a number of observations about educational research in zones of military upheaval and their implications for the role of the researcher.
ISBN: 9780415800341
Appears in Collections:Education and the Arab 'world' : political projects, struggles, and geometries of power

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