Return to a high-tech future: The messianic and the modern in the West Bank settler movement

Susannah O'Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This article inquires after the temporal framings of ‘the return’ in the contemporary Israeli settler movement in the West Bank and their resonance with colonial hegemonic modernisation. Israeli national identity is constituted through familiar spatio-temporal imaginings of a ‘land without a people for a people without a land’ who will ‘let the desert bloom’. It interrogates these two temporal narratives through a critical discourse analysis of media debates in Israel over the proposed annexation of the West Bank. On one hand, this paper traces a mystical return framing in which the land is returned to its stewards to be cultivated for the first time in millennia. In this framing, birds sing for the first time and the land is rejuvenated through sowing. On the other hand, it also inquires after the high-tech future that Israeli settlers are moving towards, a temporal gap widening between the Israeli ‘start-up nation’ and their backward Palestinian neighbours. This colonial hegemonic modernisation narrative depoliticises Palestinian resistance to the settler movement as terrorism against civilisation. In tracing these dominant temporal framings in the Israeli settler movement, it asks the question: What violence is enabled though these temporal imaginings? The article explores how the messianic narrative of the settler movements resonates with colonial formulations of hegemonic modernisation and, through erasure and radical exclusion, enables and produces violence against abject others.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventEWIS: European Workshop in International Studies - Thessaloniki
Duration: 6 Jul 2022 → …


ConferenceEWIS: European Workshop in International Studies
Abbreviated titleEWIS 2022
Period6/07/22 → …
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