The National Guard in Israel: A Reading in the Roots

The National Guard in Israel: A Reading in the Roots
The National Guard in Israel: A Reading in the Roots

The Palestinian Center for Israeli Studies – Madar (Ramallah) recently published a new issue of the “Israeli Papers” series of pamphlets, entitled “The National Guard in Israel: A Reading in the Roots, Intellectual Foundations, and the Relationship with the New Right.” It was prepared by researcher Walid Habbas.
The paper is divided into two parts, the first part going back to the French Revolution, and the beginnings of the establishment of American society, as a settler colonial society that had to deal with, and put down, the revolts of the indigenous peoples and African slaves. This part presents a review of the most important theoretical frameworks that support and reject the establishment of the National Guard, and gives examples of the work of these militias and their violence, which receives harsh criticism from human rights institutions in Western countries. The second part is unique in reading the context that led to the birth of the idea of ​​the National Guard in Israel, and the role that is expected to be assigned to it. This section provides translations from the most important Israeli texts related to the official discussions that followed the events of the May 2021 uprising, and analyzes them, leading to the Israeli government’s decision, on April 2, 2023, to commission the Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, to submit a comprehensive proposal within 60 days. A day to form the National Guard. In the conclusion, the paper goes on to read the relationship of the Israeli National Guard with the new, religious, and settler right inside Israel, and the possible repercussions for the Palestinians of Jerusalem and the interior.
The paper was presented by the writer Antoine Shalhat, who indicated that it is the first of its kind in the Arabic language, and provides the backgrounds for the establishment of what has become known as the National Guard (or the National) in different countries around the world, which Israel likes to follow suit, or to imitate, in order to put its hand on the factors behind the recent decision by the Israeli government to establish such a guard. He stressed that this does not only come from the desire to make a comparison, on the grounds that each period has its determinants, but also from the need to stress that despite the different historical circumstance, it is not possible not to see the similarities and intersections between the National Guard in the United States, for example, and the concept of the National Guard. In Israel today, because it confirms, among other things, that the conflict between the Zionist settler and the indigenous Palestinian imposes itself on the context of the national guard that is taking shape in Israel.
Shalhat added: In addition to the comparison that this paper makes with the processes of forming the National Guard in different parts of the world, it presents an adequate amount of all the controversy raging in this regard in Israel through the use of a literal translation of articles, analyzes and positions that allow the reader to see the aspects of this controversy from Its first sources are direct.
In addition, there is an intentional special focus on two related issues:
The first, presenting a genealogy about the formation of the Israeli National Guard, especially from the last few specific period since the May 2021 gift, and what it meant of an organic relationship between the Palestinians at home and the Palestinian cause in everything related to the issue of their citizenship in Israel and their civil rights.
The second is the issue of the relationship between the endeavor to establish a national guard in Israel, with the rise of the power of the new right, in which the fascist right, represented by the Kahanist “Otzma Yehudit” (“Jewish Power”) party, has become one of its most active actors. In this regard, the paper indicates that in some cases outside Israel, the National Guard was chosen by extreme right-wing political groups as a symbol of national strength, which led to increasing the legitimacy of their political proposals and lending credibility to their positions, and confirms that this is the general context that explains the birth of the idea of ​​the Guard. Nationalism in Israel by parties and Knesset members affiliated with the New Right.