Is it fair to compare French Algeria with the West Bank?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
17,807
SoCal
#1
Is it fair to compare French Algeria with the West Bank?

Here are the similarities: Both of these territories are heavily Muslim-majority but with a significant non-Muslim minority (the Jews in the West Bank make up something like 20% of the total population there if one includes East Jerusalem and the pieds-noirs in French Algeria made up between 10% and 15% of French Algeria's total population) Both of these territories were also ruled by non-Muslims and had a system which privileged the non-Muslim minority over the Muslim-majority.

Both of these territories also present a significant demographic problem for the host country. When France withdrew from Algeria in 1962, its Arab population was rapidly growing--to the point that, had France kept Algeria, its population would probably be something like 40% Muslim right now. Similarly, were Israeli to annex the entire West Bank, its Muslim population would increase from 18% to around 35-40%. Both France and Israel were unwilling to give full voting rights and full representation to the Muslims in French Algeria/the West Bank (what I am thinking of is giving Muslims the power to elect 35-40% of the French/Israeli parliament)--thus creating tension between their democratic identities and the reality on the ground. (Of course, it is worth noting that French Algeria was officially a part of France while the West Bank--other than East Jerusalem--is not officially a part of Israel. However, it is possible--though probably unlikely--that this will change at some future point in time.)

Anyway, does my analogy here seem valid? Also, if not, what exactly are your objections to this analogy of mine?

In addition to this, as a side note, as of right now, it might be logistically easier for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank than for France to withdraw from French Algeria since Israel can annex the large settlement blocs in the West Bank and thus put most Israeli settlers in the West Bank under Israeli sovereignty. In contrast, European France was separated for hundreds of miles from French Algeria and thus it would have been more logistically difficult to sustain a permanent French enclave in Algeria (perhaps around Oran due to its large pied-noir population and long history of being under European rule).

Of course, it's interesting whether Israeli settlement will penetrate the interior of the West Bank more in the future as a result of Israel's growing overpopulation problem.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
17,807
SoCal
#2
As a side note, I should probably point out another point of similarity between the Muslim Algerians and the Palestinians--both of them wanted the settlers (the Europeans and Jews in the case of Algeria and the Jews in the case of Palestine) evicted from their territory after they acquired independence. (The Palestinians are willing to agree to a land swap but the settlers that will remain in an independent Palestine are going to be expelled if Palestine becomes independent and the Palestinians get their wish.)

For what it's worth, I think that this attitude is rather regrettable. Indeed, I think that it is better to adopt an attitude similar to that of the Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, or Balts. Specifically, I am thinking of letting the settlers stay and giving them an opportunity to become citizens of the newly independent country--though the Kazakhs and Kyrgyz appear to have made this easier to do than the Balts did.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,801
#3
As a side note, I should probably point out another point of similarity between the Muslim Algerians and the Palestinians--both of them wanted the settlers (the Europeans and Jews in the case of Algeria and the Jews in the case of Palestine) evicted from their territory after they acquired independence. (The Palestinians are willing to agree to a land swap but the settlers that will remain in an independent Palestine are going to be expelled if Palestine becomes independent and the Palestinians get their wish.)

For what it's worth, I think that this attitude is rather regrettable. Indeed, I think that it is better to adopt an attitude similar to that of the Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, or Balts. Specifically, I am thinking of letting the settlers stay and giving them an opportunity to become citizens of the newly independent country--though the Kazakhs and Kyrgyz appear to have made this easier to do than the Balts did.
Yeah but when people have immigrated to your country with declared intent to have their own state and expelled and ethnic cleansed you from most of it, and the settlements in the west bank are openly declaring they are settling there to mnake any Palestinian state impossible , it's really hard for the Palestinians to see settlers as anything other than a fifth column intent of destroying any Palestinian state.

remember Zionism had decided at the very foundation of the movement before they decided on Palestine as their target that any native population of a future Zionist state should be removed/transferred as a matter of principle.

The Palestinian attitude might be regrettable is some philosophic sense but given the historical context, the attitudes of settlers is surely not surprising.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
17,807
SoCal
#4
Yeah but when people have immigrated to your country with declared intent to have their own state and expelled and ethnic cleansed you from most of it, and the settlements in the west bank are openly declaring they are settling there to mnake any Palestinian state impossible , it's really hard for the Palestinians to see settlers as anything other than a fifth column intent of destroying any Palestinian state.

remember Zionism had decided at the very foundation of the movement before they decided on Palestine as their target that any native population of a future Zionist state should be removed/transferred as a matter of principle.

The Palestinian attitude might be regrettable is some philosophic sense but given the historical context, the attitudes of settlers is surely not surprising.
Your points here are certainly very valid. However, can't one make a similar argument justify the Algerians' expulsions of the pied-noirs? After all, didn't the pieds-noirs (like the Algerian FLN) engage in terrorism, helped overthrow the French Fourth Republic, and tried overthrowing de Gaulle's government? If so, and if the pieds-noirs would have stayed in Algeria, wouldn't there have been a risk of the pieds-noirs eventually trying to launch a coup in Algeria in order to regain power?

Anyway, my point here is that your points are certainly valid but appear to apply just as much to Algeria as to Palestine. (Note: this is not to justify the brutal way that the Algerian FLN actually implemented this idea; it would have been better to negotiate a population exchange with France than to threaten pieds-noirs with a choice between "the suitcase and the coffin"!)

As for the Zionist project, I have a very real problem with settler colonialism which involves ethnic cleansing. I mean, I have no problem with settler colonialism if the locals involved are given citizenship and given full rights (which was ultimately the case with the Mexicans who lived in the Mexican Cession--though it might have take a while to get rid of all discrimination against them); rather, what I have a problem with is when ethnic cleansing and/or genocide is conducted as a part of the process of settler colonialism. Thus, the decent thing for the Zionists to do would have been to have a Jewish state with the existing Palestinian Arab population. Heck, even during the Israeli War of Independence, while I understand Israel's refusal to allow Palestinians who fled voluntarily to return, Israel shouldn't have expelled Palestinians who refused to flee--such as in Lydda and Ramleh.

As for the Russians in the other ex-USSR countries, it's interesting that they could have also been perceived as a fifth column and yet were not expelled en masse from countries such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the Baltic countries--though some of them did emigrate voluntarily. Of course, in those specific cases, a massive expulsion of ethnic Russians might have very well triggered a Russian military intervention in these countries--which these countries certainly do not want!
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,801
#5
I have no problem with settler colonialism if the locals involved are given citizenship and given full rights
yeah well that problematic because I think pretty universally if the natives were given full rights, their first insistent demand would be the termination of further colonial settlement.

Colonial settlement is only possible if teh native rights are suppressed, it's requirement for it to happen.

Yes but in none of the other cases, former Russian states, Algeria there was no widespread attempt to expel the native population. the Zionists went a lot further. A lot further. That makes parallels not as close.

If the Zionists had not expelled the Palestinians they would have been minority in the new state.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
17,807
SoCal
#6
yeah well that problematic because I think pretty universally if the natives were given full rights, their first insistent demand would be the termination of further colonial settlement.

Colonial settlement is only possible if teh native rights are suppressed, it's requirement for it to happen.
That's why the sensible strategy is to outright annex a settler colony to a much more populous country. That's what the US did with the Mexican Cession in 1848. This allowed Americans to freely move to the Mexican Cession--something which made it very easy for Americans to outnumber the Mexicans in the Mexican Cession considering that there were so few of the latter. Of course, this also means allowing Mexicans from places such as California to move to other parts of the U.S.

Interestingly enough, as far as I know, this is also what Russia did--annex territories such as what is now Kazakhstan and then flood these territories with Russian settlers.

Maybe Poland should have been allowed to annex Palestine. After all, as far as I know, it had the world's second-largest Jewish community behind the U.S.

Yes but in none of the other cases, former Russian states, Algeria there was no widespread attempt to expel the native population. the Zionists went a lot further. A lot further. That makes parallels not as close.
That's true, though I'd like to point out that--for instance, in the Algerian case--mass expulsions of the indigenous population could have probably been very possible had the French been in a much less tolerant mood.

If the Zionists had not expelled the Palestinians they would have been minority in the new state.
Actually, I think that they would have been a bare majority within the Jewish state as drawn by the United Nations in 1947. Then, it would have been a race between Jewish immigration and the Palestinian Arab womb.
 
Apr 2017
1,169
U.S.A.
#7
The Israelis didn't "expel" Palestinians after the war of independence they left en masse of their own accord. I believe current Israeli settlement policy is to round out the borders with jewish majority areas and avoiding large Palestinian populations. There is also talk of exchanging parts of Israel proper for jewish enclaves in the west bank. Notable is Israeli arabs played important parts in the states history, especially in espionage.
 
Apr 2017
1,169
U.S.A.
#9

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
17,807
SoCal
#10
Your point is acknowledged, there were some expulsions. Although notable was the muslim state's expulsion of jews, so a better comparison would be the Greek-Turk population exchange.
Yes, AFAIK, Jews were expelled from various Muslim countries after 1948--though I suspect that many Jews also voluntarily fled from these countries due to the massive increase in anti-Semitism in these countries.
 
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