Israeli settler-colonialism is typified by a visceral and arbitrary violence which attempts to produce just such a state of continually endangered existence outside the recognized social order. Eyal Weizman notes the existence of an Israeli military document called Red Lines, which specifies the precise threshold quantities of vegetables, meat, milk, and other ‘essentials’, below which mass starvation – and charges of genocide – would result. The Israeli state then seeks to restrict aid flows into the Gaza Strip to this threshold level. Weizman quotes Dov Weisglass, an advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: “the idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”
The Palestinian population is thus forced to bear a survival circumscribed by its proximity to death (a situation Achille Mbembe would call “necropolitical”). Power is played out through a combined destruction of social and human life; a checkpoint is closed and a neck is choked, a mosque is burnt down and a skull is caved in. To put a people so close to death is to position murder as a minor escalation. The genocidal tendency that animates the occupation emanates from this proximity.
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