Grassiani, Erella. “Moral Othering at the Checkpoint: The Case of Israeli Soldiers and Palestinian Civilians.” Critique of Anthropology 35.4 (2015): 373-88.
In many ways the Palestinian civilian is the ultimate or significant ‘other’ for the Israeli soldier serving in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). (S)he is the one who will be stopped, checked, controlled and at times arrested. (S)he is the one who negotiates, pleads, begs and sometimes curses the soldier. This other represents, amongst other things, disorder for the soldiers. (S)he becomes the ‘face’ of the hardship, the frustration, anger, doubt and boredom the soldiers associate with their work within a military occupation. To regain a sense of order, control and normalcy soldiers construct the military checkpoint as a ‘moral geography’ where the Palestinian is actively ‘othered’. In this paper I will explore how moral boundaries are drawn along these physical borders in a landscape of conflict, while not losing sight of the symbolic meaning of this border. I will do this by exploring the way Palestinians are made into a moral other by Israeli soldiers, in an effort to create a certain sense of order, at the checkpoint. I will first discuss the checkpoint as a site of ‘moral geography’ that enhances and legitimizes these processes of othering that I will explore next. Finally, I will discuss the way Palestinians are made into a moral other, while tracing this back to a moral discourse that is geared to establish a ‘normalized’ self.