Settler Colonialism and Indigenous People’s Rights


The Israeli-Palestine conflict remains one of the most inflexible upheavals in the world today. Many Palestinians have been forced to leave their ancestral lands due to the ongoing settler colonialism project promoted by the government of Israel. Using the concepts outlined by Edward Said, this paper explains why Orientalism informs the relationships between Western nations and the Arab world. The Bedouin people have been unable to achieve their dreams and aims due to the government’s tendency to oppress and deny them basic needs. This paper presents a balanced view of these issues and goes further to offer evidence-based solutions that can minimize the existing tensions. Such initiatives will make it possible for the region to have two independent states that can promote and protect the rights of the people and make it easier for them to lead high-quality lives.

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Within the past century, Israel has been constructing and pursuing a complex settler-colonial agenda in the name of the Zionist dream. After its establishment in the year 1948, Israel launched a new effort that was intended to eliminate the native people of Palestine, expand this state, and empower the people with additional resources. Despite these settler ambitions led by the Israeli government, the presence of the Palestinians in the region remains a reality. Most of the people adhere to their natural rights and continue to prevent Israel from realizing its dreams. The purpose of this paper is to give a detailed literature review of the issue of settler colonialism in this troubled region and the position of the indigenous people and their respective rights. It goes further to offer conclusive discussions and deliberations that can guide different stakeholders to have a better view of this problem and become part of the solution.

Literature Review

The issue of settler-colonialism in Israel has attracted attention of many stakeholders and historians for many decades. The natives of the regions in the Southern Levant are believed to be the Jews. The present-day Palestinians are descendants of Arab immigrants and Muslim invaders.1 This means that they engaged in settler colonialism somewhere around the 19th and 20th centuries, thereby being in a position to occupy their present land. This reality explains why some scholars continue to view the argument that Israel is wrong to engage in settler colonialism is something misleading or erroneous.

The concept of Orientalism has become a powerful theory for examining the issues many Israelis and Palestinians continue to face. According to Said, this ideology emerged in the early 19th century when different Europeans and Americans started to view Muslims and the people of the Middle East as inferior and incapable of achieving their goals.2 Consequently, they were convinced that the time the right time had come for them to help or rescue the Arabs by colonizing them. Different World Fairs were organized during this period to promote this concept and inform more people about the peculiar behaviors and predicaments associated with these people of the East.3 Over the years, this notion remained the starting point for many Western countries that intend to analyze the cultural, economic, and social issues of the Arab World. This kind of assumption encouraged different Western countries to support the establishment of Israel and get rid of the natives who were identified or treated as “inferior” human beings.

The presence of a vibrant and strong Palestinian population in this troubled region explains why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to exist. These natives have been keen to resist any form of colonial order by the government of Israel. They have decided to remain united, adhere to their rights, and ensure that the Zionist dream is never realized. Despite such barriers, Israel has remained steadfast and relentless in an attempt to dominate and continue to support its settler colonialism project. These developments explain why such a conflict might not end any time soon. Many Zionists have been targeting Palestine’s land by the notion of divine will. They have been examining and following the Biblical narrations about the Jews and how the contested region remains their promised land as God’s chosen people.4 The move has been pursued in an attempt to promote self-determination and eventually support the establishment of a monopolistic state that has no foreigners from the Arab world.

At the same time, the Palestinians have remained deviant since they believe that the current region will be useful towards the establishment of a future sovereign state. This is a clear indication that their self-determination and focus on independence remain strong. These people also believe that they are the natives of this region. They argue that the state of Israel and the entire world should take their rights more seriously than ever before. Many Palestinians have indicated that the world should allow them to keep their national identities and rights to self-rule.5 Nonetheless, they have continued to encounter fierce opposition and struggle from the ongoing Zionist movement.

The nature of the Israeli-Palestine conflict is embedded on Western imperialism. The establishment of this state of Israel was backed or supported by different Western powers, including the United States and Britain.6 The support received from different nations made it easier for Israel to pursue its objectives in the name of this colonization project. This has also been seen as an extension of the foreign interests of these nations. With the presence of a stable state in the Middle East, chances remain high for these nations to continue chasing their geopolitical interests and hegemonies.

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Sectarian conflict is a major problem defining the nature of this conflict between Palestine and Israel. This has occurred since there are Arabs and Jews living in the same region. These people have diverse views and opinions on a wide range of issues, including culture, religious beliefs, language, and societal values.7 Their goals are also diverse since the Palestinians have been opposed to the ongoing settler colonialism movement launched and promoted by the Israeli government. Consequently, this kind of upheaval has remained the most obdurate or intractable in nature. Waxman indicates that the occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank has been ongoing for the last five decades and might not be ending any time soon.8 Consequently, more people will continue to record numerous challenges in the troubled regions and eventually be unable to realize their potential.

Similarly, the Bedouins of Israel have continued to encounter diverse challenges in this country. This group accounts for around 3.5 percent of this country’s population.9 Despite being the natives of Negev desert and other regions, these people live in pathetic or poor conditions. They lack some of the basic rights, such as education, shelter, and water. They are usually threatened by the settler colonialism project since their homes are demolished frequently. The constant challenge of being evicted any time is a major issue affecting them. This is a clear indication that the relevant authorities in Israel have been steadily targeting and suppressing the rights of these people.

Members of this ethnic group are not recognized in different parts of the country. Their liberties, cultural practices, and religious events are usually controlled. The state has been keen to disrupt their ways of life by making it impossible for them to move with their herds from one location to another. Such government-sponsored initiatives have triggered various predicaments for the Bedouins, such as unemployment, loss of culture and tradition, and increasing levels of poverty.10 Their rights as the indigenous members of the society are no longer recognized by state authorities. Despite having their natural rights as native people accorded by the United Nations (UN), members of this ethnic group continue to encounter numerous challenges.


Said’s opinions and views offer a powerful model for understanding the nature of this conflict between Israel and Palestine. His theory of Orientalism appears convincing since it explains how the West has been treating different groups in the Middle East, including the Arabs.11 Most of the propagandas and social descriptions have continued to view or treat these people as uncivilized and backward. Applying similar notions and pursuing the ideals of Western imperialism, Israel has continued to implement its settler colonialism project without considering or supporting the demands of the Palestinians. Since Israel has become the victor in this contest or struggle, it has continued to reflect its political ambitions in every activity. With the support of different Western countries, Israel approves its actions by presenting a narrative that is intended to manipulate the reality. Consequently, this country has continued to demolish most of the structures and homes in the troubled regions.

After examining the nature of this conflict, it becomes quite clear that Israel might not relent any time soon. This is true since it has been focusing on history to explain why the contested region was the Jews’ original land. Consequently, more people in Palestine currently live in fear since the chances of losing their resources increase every day. The reality is that such a move to colonize and occupy West Bank and the Gaza Strip is inappropriate.12 This is true since it creates a scenario whereby the liberties and rights of these people are ignored. Israel’s Zionist movement or agenda is capable of causing a humanitarian crisis since it has disrupted the lives of many Palestinians within the past five decades. This is a clear indication that an evidence-based solution will be needed in an attempt to empower the people and make it possible for them to realize their potential.

Similarly, the Bedouin people of Israel have been forced to live in pathetic and dehumanizing conditions. The measures this government has implemented have disrupted this ethnic group’s way of life. Majority of them have been unable to access basic needs, such as water and electricity.13 The government has introduced new measures to oppress these people and make it impossible for them to pursue their aims in life. The UN recognizes the rights and freedoms of indigenous people in their respective countries. Despite the nature of this provision, the government of Israel has failed to support these people. Consequently, the levels of poverty ad disruption have been on the rise. Chances are high that members of this ethnic group will eventually suffer from culture loss. Without proper mechanisms and international policies to protect these people, experts believe that the Bedouins will eventually be expelled out of this country.

Most of the talks held in the past to find long-lasting or sustainable solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have failed to deliver positive results. A peace agreement is yet to be recorded between the two regions. Majority of the stakeholders have been overwhelmed by the suffering and pain many Palestinians have to go throughout. The issue of historic rights have dominated most of the discussions and sessions aimed at addressing this conflict.14 The wave of settler colonialism has continued to make it impossible for the affected region to attract tourists or support the promotion of human rights. Many people have been unable to pursue their economic or careers aims.

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With these issues in place, it is appropriate for different stakeholders to consider the formation of two sovereign states. The establishment of a new country that belongs to the Palestinians will address this upheaval and make it possible for the people of both regions to focus on their goals. Unfortunately, this approach or decision has been considered and tried in the past without delivering meaningful results. Since each side has been recording casualties, it would be appropriate for all leaders to consider the most appropriate solution that is capable of protecting lives. Israeli’s settler colonialism project should be stopped since it is informed by the concept of Orientalism.15 The government of Israel can also consider the rights of the affected people and introduce new procedures to support and guide them to achieve economic prosperity. When such an approach is considered, more people will begin to treat their counterparts from the Arab world in a respectable manner and empower them to achieve their dreams.

Similarly, the challenges many natives face in this country should never be taken lightly. The UN can be involved in an attempt to compel Israel to appreciate the liberties and rights of these indigenous people and protect them. Different Western countries can be involved by presenting evidence-based guidelines that have the potential to result in superior policies aimed at protecting these minorities.16 With such a strategy in place, chances are high that majority of them will be able to get adequate services and eventually lead high-quality lives. They will be able to access better education, engage in various economic activities, and be empowered to lead their nomadic lifestyles. Consequently, the cultural practices and traditions of these people will be preserved.


The above discussion has identified the ongoing Israeli-Palestine conflict is a major upheaval that has affected the lives and experiences of many people. For the Palestinians, this kind of disagreement has made it impossible for them to achieve their goals. The concept of Orientalism has guided the government of Israel and its allies to promote various malpractices that deny these people their liberties. Similarly, the Bedouins continue to live in poverty and horrendous conditions despite being the natives of this region. Evidence-based solutions will be needed in an attempt to address these issues and support the creation of two independent states.


Dana, Tariq, and Ali Jarbawi. “A Century of Settler Colonialism in Palestine: Zionism’s Entangled Project.” Brown Journal of World Affairs 24, no. 1 (2017): 197-219.

Said, Edward W. Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient. London: Penguin Books Limited, 2016.

Veracini, Lorenzo. “Israel-Palestine Through a Settler-colonial Studies Lens.” International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 21, no. 4 (2019): 568-581.

Waxman, Dov. The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What Everyone Needs to Know®. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Yiftachel, Oren, Batya Roded, and Alexandre (Sandy) Kedar. “Between Rights and Denials: Bedouin Indigeneity in the Negev/Naqab.” Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 48, no. 11 (2016): 2129-2161.

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  1. Tariq Diana and Ali Jarbawi, “A Century of Settler Colonialism in Palestine: Zionism’s Entangled Project,” Brown Journal of World Affairs 24, no. 1 (2017): 198.
  2. Edward W. Said, Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient (London: Penguin Books Limited, 2016), 11.
  3. Said, Orientalism, 16.
  4. Diana and Jarbawi, “A Century of Settler Colonialism,” 198.
  5. Ibid., 198.
  6. Ibid., 201.
  7. Ibid., 208.
  8. Dov Waxman, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What Everyone Needs to Know® (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), 34.
  9. Oren Yiftachel, Batya Roded, and Alexandre (Sandy) Kedar, “Between Rights and Denials: Bedouin Indigeneity in the Negev/Naqab,” Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 48, no. 11 (2016): 2130.
  10. Yiftachel, Roded, and Kedar, “Between Rights and Denials,” 2131.
  11. Said, Orientalism, 12.
  12. Diana and Jarbawi, “A Century of Settler Colonialism,” 199.
  13. Yiftachel, Roded, and Kedar, “Between Rights and Denials,” 2137.
  14. Lorenzo Veracini, “Israel-Palestine Through a Settler-colonial Studies Lens,” International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 21, no. 4 (2019): 569.
  15. Said, Orientalism, 19.
  16. Veracini, “Israel-Palestine,” 572.
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