The Palestinian Body as an Instrument of Resistance ‎

(2015). The Palestinian Body as an Instrument of Resistance. Arab Future Journal [Al-Mustaqbal Al-Arabi Journal]: Center for Arab Unity Studies, No 441, 65-88

25 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2020

See all articles by Bilal Awad Salameh

Bilal Awad Salameh

Bethlehem University; Bethlehem University; Bethlehem University - Department of Social Sciences

Date Written: June 5, 2015


The Palestinian overcomes the fear of death in a psychological and political dialectic ‎that systematizes and charts the course of the action of the Palestinian fighter in his/her ‎resistance against the colonizer, rendering death a natural matter that transcends the ‎realms of the unconscious to consciousness so as to become a motivational program ‎allowing him/her to both simultaneously challenge death and the occupier. ‎

The 'Palestinian body' represents a rolling and continuously evolving ideology ‎throughout the phases of the Palestinian struggle, which made the physical human body ‎an implement of resistance deriving its designation from the dictates of the objective ‎conditions of history predicated on the sacred triad of ‘the body of the land; the body ‎of society; and the body of the individual’, conceptualized here as ‘bodies.’ In the ‎context of the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized, this challenge ‎becomes a spiritual symbol for his/her new existence, far removed from the existential ‎anxieties that characterized his/her situation during the phase of submissiveness and ‎obedience to the technologies of discipline, coercion and torture utilized and employed ‎methodically by the Israeli Occupation during the last two decades, and treat with ‎Palestinian body as "Homo Sacer" (Ghandour-Demiri 2010,286-287 ) ‎

This article aims at explaining the historical circumstances that have given rise to ‎martyrdom operations as an instrument of resisting as emanating from the context of ‎the struggle of Palestinians to gain their freedom; wherein this struggle is that which ‎transformed the physical body of 'the Palestinian individual' into a deadly weapon at ‎the service of Palestinians collectively.‎

This research is based on a comprehensive study entitled "Survey of Martyrdom ‎operations: facts and statistics (hereinafter referred to as "the survey") involving 451 ‎families of martyrs, and using the content analysis 80 wells of the last testaments/ ‎messages of those who carried out martyrdom operations. and comprised religious, ‎social, and political dimensions.‎ ‎ It revolves around a number of questions. Why would a youth in the prime of life pick ‎up a rifle and attack a military base or Zionist settlement? Why would he/she carry ‎explosives in his/her bag? How is it that the Palestinian transitioned from shooting ‎bullets to becoming a human bomb and a weapon for resistance when such an act ‎would necessarily result in the sacrifice of his/her own body? The article may be ‎counted as a conceptual and theoretical basis for the subject of martyrdom operations; a ‎transference into the epistemological field concerned with the 'human body', as a space ‎intertwined and connected structurally with history, discourse and the Palestinian ‎context over the span of the history of the Palestinian struggle to resist.‎

Keywords: Martyrdom Operations; Palestinian Resistance; Zionism; Palestinian Body

Suggested Citation

Salameh, Bilal Awad and Salameh, Bilal Awad, The Palestinian Body as an Instrument of Resistance ‎ (June 5, 2015). (2015). The Palestinian Body as an Instrument of Resistance. Arab Future Journal [Al-Mustaqbal Al-Arabi Journal]: Center for Arab Unity Studies, No 441, 65-88, Available at SSRN: or

Bilal Awad Salameh (Contact Author)

Bethlehem University ( email )

Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology
Granada, Bethlehem 18071


Bethlehem University ( email )

West Bank, Bethelehem
Bethlehem, Bethlehem 9


Bethlehem University - Department of Social Sciences ( email )

Bethlehem, Palestine

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