Bulletin: Military Occupation and Conflict, the West Bank, and Gaza

Books

Articles

Reviews

Theses

Reports

Events

Advertisements

New Book: Natanel, Sustaining Conflict

Natanel, Katherine. Sustaining Conflict. Apathy and Domination in Israel-Palestine. Oakland: University of California Press, 2016.

 

9780520285262

 

Sustaining Conflict develops a groundbreaking theory of political apathy, using a combination of ethnographic material, narrative, and political, cultural, and feminist theory. It examines how the status quo is maintained in Israel-Palestine, even by the activities of Jewish Israelis who are working against the occupation of Palestinian territories. The book shows how hierarchies and fault lines in Israeli politics lead to fragmentation, and how even oppositional power becomes routine over time. Most importantly, the book exposes how the occupation is sustained through a carefully crafted system that allows sympathetic Israelis to “knowingly not know,” further disconnecting them from the plight of Palestinians. While focusing on Israel, this is a book that has lessons for how any authoritarian regime is sustained through apathy.

 

Table of Contents

    • Preface
    • Introduction
    • 1 The Everyday of Occupation
    • 2 Bordered Communities
    • 3 Normalcy, Ruptured and Repaired
    • 4 Embedded (In)action
    • 5 Protesting Politics
    • Conclusion
    • Notes
    • Bibliography
    • Index

 

KATHERINE NATANEL is a Lecturer in Gender Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.

New Article: Hackl, Privilege, Diversity, and Identification Among Cross-Border Activists in a Palestinian Village

Hackl, Andreas. “An Orchestra of Civil Resistance: Privilege, Diversity, and Identification Among Cross-Border Activists in a Palestinian Village.” Peace & Change 41.2 (2016): 167-93.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pech.12186

 

Abstract

Fluctuating forms of diversity have evolved as a result of cross-border interventions by civil resistance activists. Such diversity is nurtured by the inflows and outflows of individuals form very different backgrounds on a local stage of action. Discussing civil resistance as an arena in which such fluctuating diversity produces multilayered patterns of identification, this paper looks at Israeli and international activists who interject themselves temporarily into the local sphere of civil resistance in a Palestinian village. Here, solidarity activists form a highly diverse and shifting assemblage of actors who divide among themselves according to power-related ascriptions and privileges. As in a musical orchestra, individual activists and groups of activists each follow their own “score,” but align their distinct functions with one another to wage a struggle collectively. Within this orchestra of civil resistance, diversity is not the obstacle to collective action but its very basis.

 

 

 

ToC: American Quarterly 67.4 (2015): special issue on Palestine and American Studies

Forum

Introduction: Shifting Geographies of Knowledge and Power: Palestine and American Studies

pp. 993-1006

Rabab Abdulhadi, Dana M. Olwan

Solidarity with Palestine from Diné Bikéyah

pp. 1007-1015

Melanie K. Yazzie

Black–Palestinian Solidarity in the Ferguson–Gaza Era

pp. 1017-1026

Kristian Davis Bailey

Taking Risks, or The Question of Palestine Solidarity and Asian American Studies

pp. 1027-1037

Junaid Rana, Diane C. Fujino

Borders Are Obsolete: Relations beyond the “Borderlands” of Palestine and US–Mexico

pp. 1039-1046

Leslie Quintanilla, Jennifer Mogannam

Labor for Palestine: Challenging US Labor Zionism

pp. 1047-1055

Michael Letwin, Suzanne Adely, Jaime Veve

The Islamophobia Industry and the Demonization of Palestine: Implications for American Studies

pp. 1057-1066

Hatem Bazian

Zionism and Anti-Zionism: A Necessary Detour, Not a Final Destination

pp. 1067-1073

Keith P. Feldman

Throwing Stones in Glass Houses: The ASA and the Road to Academic Boycott

pp. 1075-1083

Bill V. Mullen

New Book: Ben Shitrit, Women’s Activism on the Israeli and Palestinian Religious Right

Ben Shitrit, Lihi. Righteous Transgressions: Women’s Activism on the Israeli and Palestinian Religious Right. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015.

 

BenShitrit

How do women in conservative religious movements expand spaces for political activism in ways that go beyond their movements’ strict ideas about male and female roles? How and why does this activism happen in some movements but not in others? Righteous Transgressions examines these questions by comparatively studying four groups: the Jewish settlers in the West Bank, the ultra-Orthodox Shas, the Islamic Movement in Israel, and the Palestinian Hamas. Lihi Ben Shitrit demonstrates that women’s prioritization of a nationalist agenda over a proselytizing one shapes their activist involvement.

Ben Shitrit shows how women construct “frames of exception” that temporarily suspend, rather than challenge, some of the limiting aspects of their movements’ gender ideology. Viewing women as agents in such movements, she analyzes the ways in which activists use nationalism to astutely reframe gender role transgressions from inappropriate to righteous. The author engages the literature on women’s agency in Muslim and Jewish religious contexts, and sheds light on the centrality of women’s activism to the promotion of the spiritual, social, cultural, and political agendas of both the Israeli and Palestinian religious right.

Looking at the four most influential political movements of the Israeli and Palestinian religious right, Righteous Transgressions reveals how the bounds of gender expectations can be crossed for the political good.

 

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Note on Language xi
  • 1 Introduction: “Be an Other’s, Be an Other”: A Personal Perspective 1
  • 2 Contextualizing the Movements 32
  • 3 Complementarian Activism: Domestic and Social Work, Da‘wa, and Teshuva 80
  • 4 Women’s Protest: Exceptional Times and Exceptional Measures 128
  • 5 Women’s Formal Representation: Overlapping Frames 181
  • 6 Conclusion 225
  • Notes 241
  • References 259
  • Index 275

 

LIHI BEN SHITRIT is an assistant professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia.

 

 

 

New Article: Dana & Walker, The Effects of Israeli Occupation on Palestinian Gender Roles

Dana, Karam, and Hannah Walker. “Invisible Disasters: The Effects of Israeli Occupation on Palestinian Gender Roles.” Contemporary Arab Affairs 8.4 (2015): 488-504.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17550912.2015.1090100

 

Abstract

Women’s participation in the First Intifada allowed for increased gender equality in Palestine. However, the weakness of the Palestinian Authority, established by the Oslo Accords, created space for non-state actors (dominated by the Islamist political organization Hamas) to emerge and gain popularity. Likewise, during the post-Oslo period conservative positions on gender resurged. This paper re-examines the structural factors that facilitated increased gender inequality and argues that the nature of the occupation itself serves as the greatest force for gender inequality in Palestine. To develop and test our theory, we draw on original, large-n survey data and in-depth interviews.

 

 

New Article: Sazzad, Mahmoud Darwish’s Poetry as Sumud

Sazzad, Rehnuma. “Mahmoud Darwish’s Poetry as Sumud. Palestinian Resistance to Israeli Occupation and Subjugation.” Interventions (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1369801X.2015.1079493

 

Abstract

This essay makes explicit the connection between Palestinian resistance to Israeli control and the principle of sumud. Drawing on Raja Shehadeh and Ismail Shammout, I define this concept and show its strategic role in the resistance. Arguably, critics have identified Darwish’s constant pursuit of aesthetics and his deep commitment to the Palestinian cause without linking them to the narrative of sumud. I suggest that his contribution to the narrative is built on the ground that his aggressors lack the intrinsic tie to the land, which his people perennially possess. Whereas the Israelis produce mythical claims on the land, the indigenous Palestinians are like their olive trees – unswervingly there. In particular, the creativity of the people makes present their absented homeland. Darwish’s exile renders the second phenomenon more comprehensible. Even though he was physically removed from his homeland at a young age, his imagination remained implanted there throughout his life, which resulted in a rich oeuvre.

 

 

New Article: Segalo et al, Engaging Memory and Imagination Within Decolonizing Frameworks

Segalo, Puleng, Einat Manoff, Michelle Fine. “Working With Embroideries and Counter-Maps: Engaging Memory and Imagination Within Decolonizing Frameworks.” Journal of Social and Political Psychology 3.1 (2015).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5964/jspp.v3i1.145

 

Abstract

As people around the world continue to have their voices, desires, and movements restricted, and their pasts and futures told on their behalf, we are interested in the critical project of decolonizing, which involves contesting dominant narratives and hegemonic representations. Ignacio Martín-Baró called these the “collective lies” told about people and politics. This essay reflects within and across two sites of injustice, located in Israel/Palestine and in South Africa, to excavate the circuits of structural violence, internalized colonization and possible reworking of those toward resistance that can be revealed within the stubborn particulars of place, history, and culture. The projects presented here are locally rooted, site-specific inquiries into contexts that bear the brunt of colonialism, dispossession, and occupation. Using visual research methodologies such as embroideries that produce counter-narratives and counter-maps that divulge the complexity of land-struggles, we search for fitting research practices that amplify unheard voices and excavate the social psychological soil that grows critical analysis and resistance. We discuss here the practices and dilemmas of doing decolonial research and highlight the need for research that excavates the specifics of a historical material context and produces evidence of previously silenced narratives.

 

 

New Book: Rodgers, Headlines from the Holy Land

Rodgers, James. Headlines from the Holy Land: Reporting the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

 

Rodgers

 

Tied by history, politics, and faith to all corners of the globe, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fascinates and infuriates people across the world. Based on new archive research and original interviews with leading correspondents and diplomats, Headlines from the Holy Land explains why this fiercely contested region exerts such a pull over reporters: those who bring the story to the world. Despite decades of diplomacy, a just and lasting end to the conflict remains as difficult as ever to achieve. Inspired by the author’s own experience as the BBC’s correspondent in Gaza from 2002-2004, and subsequent research, this book draws on the insight of those who have spent years observing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Starting from a historical perspective, it identifies the challenges the conflict presents for contemporary journalism and diplomacy, and suggests new ways of approaching them.

 

Table of Contents

    • Foreword by Rosemary Hollis
    • Acknowledgements
    • Introduction
    • 1 Reporting from the Ruins: The End of the British Mandate and the Creation of the State of Israel
    • 2 Six Days and Seventy-Three
    • 3 Any Journalist Worth Their Salt
    • 4 The Roadmap, Reporting, and Religion
    • 5 Going Back Two Thousand Years All the Time
    • 6 The Ambassador’s Eyes and Ears
    • 7 Social Media: A Real Battleground
    • 8 Holy Land
    • Notes
    • Bibliography
    • Index

     

     

New Article: Patierno, Palestinian Liberation Theology

Patierno, Nicole. “Palestinian Liberation Theology: Creative Resistance to Occupation.” Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2015.1080896

 

Abstract

The ongoing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories has widely affected the Christian population in the region. This study focuses narrowly on the diminishing minority of Palestinian Christians, and how their position under occupation has led to the development of Palestinian Liberation Theology and practices of creative resistance. It begins by acknowledging the unique position of Palestinian Christians as liminal yet indigenous members of society. It then explores their complex collective identity, demonstrating how specific facets of their historic identity (i.e. denominationalism, Arabism, and political station) have been preserved, and how these inform their theological and practical responses to the changing socio-political landscape. It goes on to probe the degree of consensus around Palestinian Liberation Theology, as well as prominent manifestations of the ideology in response to occupation. Ultimately, this study finds that Palestinian Liberation Theology represents a creative and valuable contribution to the national struggle for liberation, providing a shared ideology and culturally specific blueprint for revolutionary collective action guided by plurality, nonviolence, and collaboration.

 

 

New Article: Shehadeh, The 2014 War on Gaza: Engineering Trauma

Shehadeh, Said. “The 2014 War on Gaza: Engineering Trauma and Mass Torture to Break Palestinian Resilience.” International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies 12.3 (2015): 278-94.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aps.1457

 

Abstract

This paper discusses the psychological sequelae of the recent Israeli war on Gaza, codenamed Operation Protective Edge, and its detrimental impact on the mental health of its Palestinian population. The author contends that deliberate measures by the Israeli military to induce feelings of helplessness, uncontrollability, horror, persistent life-threatening fear, and sleep deprivation against an entire besieged population for 50-days, constitutes mass torture. This policy of engineering mass trauma and torture through war to achieve political subjugation is framed as a paradigm shift in the Israeli colonial occupation of Palestine. Ramifications of this policy are discussed with regard to its potentially caustic effects on Palestinian resilience, and the serious mental health risks it poses, including complex traumatic reactions, identity distortions, severe psychopathology, and multigenerational transmission of trauma. Recommendations emphasize the need to fortify Palestinian resilience to protect individuals and communities from political violence and further mass trauma.

 

 

 

New Article: Ben-Moshe, Disability and Anti-Occupation Activism in Israel

Ben-Moshe, Liat. “Movements at War? Disability and Anti-Occupation Activism in Israel.” In Occupying Disability. Critical Approaches to Community, Justice, and Decolonizing Disability (ed. Pamela Block et al.; Dordrecht and New York: Springer, 2016): 47-61.

 

9789401799836

 

Abstract

At the time of the first major disability protest in Israel in 1999 and then in 2000-2001, there were already many anti-occupation and peace organizations at play in Israel/Palestine. While participating in this budding disability movement, I began reflecting on my experiences of simultaneously being an Israeli anti-occupation activist and disabled activist publically fighting for the first time for disability rights. In the summer of 2006 I conducted research in Israel, trying to assess any changes that occurred since 2000 in the connections between the movements and within the disability movement itself. And then the war on Lebanon began. My intention in writing this chapter is to highlight the connections between disability activism and anti-war and anti-occupation activism, which seems to be at war with one another but in fact intersect in important ways. I hope this narrative and analysis will be useful for material resistance as well as a reflection on our current states of exclusion in activism and scholarship.

 

 

New Article: Høigilt, Popular Resistance and Double Repression in the West Bank

Høigilt, Jacob. “Nonviolent Mobilization between a Rock and a Hard Place. Popular Resistance and Double Repression in the West Bank.” Journal of Peace Research 52.5 (2015): 636-48.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0022343315572497

 

Abstract

Recent research on contentious politics in the Middle East emphasizes the importance of repression and its effect on social movements, often manifested in demobilization and so-called ‘nonmovements’. This case study of West Bank Palestinian activism seeks to go beyond such outcomes. The current, youthful nonviolent Palestinian grassroots activism in the West Bank is persistent, despite repeated violent repression. Focusing on the interplay between context, practices, and networks, this article shows how an increasingly vocal and visible popular resistance movement has asserted itself despite facing double repression – from the occupying Israeli state and the Palestinian National Authority. In a highly repressive context characterized by widespread demobilization, especially among young people, the impetus for mobilization is not perceived opportunity, but rather existential threats. The analysis focuses on how long-term repression from the external occupier and the internal elite contributes to forming specific kinds of contentious practices and networks among young Palestinian grassroots activists. By deploying new and creative contentious tactics they partly succeed in challenging the Israeli occupation without risking sanctions from the internal Palestinian elite. They are also able to criticize this elite implicitly, bringing popular pressure to bear on it. However, while the strategic use of nonviolence has provided these activist environments with a degree of resilience in the face of repression, they are unable to mobilize on a wide scale as long as the Palestinian political elite does not support them.

 

 

New Article: Jabareen, Co-Production of ‘Creative Destruction’ in Israel

Jabareen, Yosef. “Territoriality of Negation: Co-Production of ‘Creative Destruction’ in Israel.” Geoforum 66 (2015): 11-25.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.09.003

 

Abstract

Based on an examination of Israel’s territorial conceptions, strategies, and achievements since the establishment of the state, this article shows how state territoriality subsumes ideology and political agendas and may, under certain circumstances, lead the state to negate its very self-conceptions and harm its own perceived interests. Its analysis pays special attention to the state’s inadvertently produced territories of negation, which run counter to its own conception of territoriality, and considers the kind of social–spatial entities produced by the state. It also considers Israeli territoriality’s more recently asserted goal of shaping Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, in addition to the goals of controlling Jerusalem and Judaizing the Galilee and the Negev. To illustrate the theoretical assertion that discriminatory and marginalizing state territoriality has the distinct potential to bring about its own negation, the article concludes with two prominent expressions of this phenomenon. The first is manifested in green-line Israel, where the state’s territorial policies and the resulting marginalization of the Palestinian minority has resulted in collective resistance against the state and its policies, basic Jewish-Israeli symbols such as the anthem and the flag, and Israel’s very definition as a Jewish State. The second is manifested in Israel’s inadvertent creation of bi-national spaces both within Israel proper and in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, indirectly promoting the solution of a single bi-national state and posing a serious challenge to the very goals that Israeli territoriality has consistently strived to achieve.

 

 

ToC: Theory and Event 18.1 (2015); special issue: The Israeli War on Gaza 2014

Theory and Event, 18.1, supplement, January 2015

Introduction: The Israeli War on Gaza 2014
Jon Simons

The Underground Ghetto City of Gaza
Amir Nizar Zuabi

Deconstructing the Israeli Socio-political Apartheid System
Adel Manna

Gaza 2014: The Collapse of a Control Model
Lev Grinberg

Five Lessons Learned from the Israeli Attack on Gaza
Muhammad Ali Khalidi

“Meeting with a Dietician”: Israel’s Institutionalised Impoverishment of Gaza
Trude Strand

Inhabiting the Split: Dissident Aspirations in Times of War
Louise Bethlehem

Divine Violence, Divine Peace: Gaza 2014
Jon Simons

The War with Gaza Did Not Take Place
Ofer Cassif

Biographies

 

Dissertation: Harass, Reading the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict Through Theater

Harass, Azza. Reading the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict Through Theater: A Postcolonial Analysis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis. University of Kent, 2015.

 

URL: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/47909/

 
Abstract
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict dates back to 1917, when British Prime Minister Balfour declared Britain’s support for the establishment of a homeland for Jews in the land of Palestine. The conflict has had many political, social, and artistic implications. On the political level, a struggle that has not been solved until this day has evolved. On a social level, many lives have been crushed: thousands of native citizens of the land became refugees, mainly in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, but also worldwide. Others, like the Arabs who stayed in what was in 1948 declared to be the state of Israel, have been suffering from an identity crisis; many of these Arabs face unlawful detention, demolition of houses, killing and racism. The Gaza strip has almost always been under siege by the Israeli military machine lately. Meanwhile, the Jewish society has never had a day of peace since the establishment of their state. On the artistic level, the conflict has always had implications for Arab/ Palestinian and Israeli writings., I seek to read the depiction of the conflict with its different violent confrontations from both Israeli and Palestinian perspectives starting with the Palestinian Nakba to the violent Israeli oppression of any Palestinian resistance in the Intifada. I also read literary texts about Palestinian resistance, actual material resistance of the first Palestinian Intifada as represented by both sides in postcolonial terms. In fact, I believe that both Palestinian and Israeli literature could be read in the context of postcolonial discourse. On the one hand, for Palestinian and Arab writers, Palestinian writing is and should be read as resistance literature, or ‘Adab al-muqawamah’, a term coined by Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani. Anna Ball’s study Palestinian Literature and Film in Postcolonial Feminist Perspective examines Palestinian literature and film in the light of postcolonial feminism. Ball places the conflict in the context of colonial/ postcolonial discourse and breaks the taboo against using the word colonialism when speaking about Zionism. In fact, the research problem is based on the idea of the inadequacy of ignoring Palestinian and Israeli literature as part of postcolonial studies simply for fear of revealing the colonial status quo of the land. According to Anna Bernard, who seeks to draw attention to what she calls ‘blind spots in postcolonial studies’, mainly Israel/ Palestine: ‘by dismissing a ‘postcolonial’ approach to Israel-Palestine studies outright, [critics like] Massad and Shohat overlook the value of a literary study that seeks to demonstrate the collective and cross-cultural impact of the various modern forms of colonialism and imperialism on artistic production across the globe’. Massad’s argument that there is difficulty in describing space, time and body in Israel/ Palestine as postcolonial is based on his interrogations: ‘Can one determine the coloniality of Palestine/ Israel without noting its ‘‘post-coloniality’’ for Ashkenazi Jews? Can one determine the post-coloniality of Palestine/Israel without noting its coloniality for Palestinians? Can one determine both or either without noting the simultaneous colonizer/colonized status of Mizrahi Jews? (Although one could debate the colonized status of Mizrahi Jews) How can all these people inhabit a colonial/postcolonial space in a world that declares itself living in a post-colonial time?’ Ella Shohat, likewise, is against what she calls the ‘ahistorical and universalizing deployments, and potentially [the] depoliticizing implications’ of the term ‘post-colonial,’ especially that, according to her, it is used instead of important terms like imperialism and neo-colonialism. In spite of the importance of paying attention to the correct description of states of imperialism and neo-colonialism, I still find it possible to read both Palestinian and Israeli texts in postcolonial perspective, agreeing with Bernard ‘that the tools that have been developed for reading these texts comparatively – including colonial discourse analysis, national allegory, minority discourse, and so on – can be usefully applied, tested, and revised in the analysis of Palestinian and Israeli literary and cultural production’. This view resonates with Ashcroft, Tiffin and Griffiths’s in their study The Postcolonial Studies Reader (1995), when they comment on this wide range of relevant fields that the term postcolonial suggests: ‘Postcolonial theory involves discussion about experience of various kinds: migration, slavery, suppression, resistance, representation, difference, race, gender, [and] place’ . In fact, the term ‘postcolonial’ is not necessarily restricted to a real colonial period; it could be used, according to Ashcroft, Tiffin and Griffiths in The Empire Writes Back: ‘to cover all the culture affected by the imperial process from the moment of colonization to the present day. This is because there is continuity of preoccupations throughout the historical process initiated by European imperial aggression’. Between the view of the land of Palestine as a lawful possession of the Jews and that which sees Jewish presence as a settler or colonial one, a debate about reading the conflict and literary production tackling the conflict within theories of colonial and postcolonial studies arises. What makes reading the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and its literature and literary production within the paradigm of postcolonialism problematic is worth some further investigation. First, the preference and focus on the discursive practices of colonialism over the material practices has resulted in excluding the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict from the field of postcolonial studies by a number of critics like Ella Shohat and Joseph Massad, which is more elaborated on later. Second, the debate about the Zionist project as a settler colonial one could also problematize analysing the conflict within postcolonial theories. The first chapter explores the Israeli/ Palestinian and Arab writing of the conflict from a colonizer/colonized perspective. I mainly focus on the representation of violence as an essential element in a colonized society and the decolonization process, drawing on Frantz Fanon’s theory that violence is inevitable in any colonized community as the backbone of the analysis. For this purpose, I have chosen Syrian playwright Saad-Allah Wanous’s play Rape (1990), to compare with Israeli playwright Hanoch Levin’s play Murder (1997), since both plays represent violence as a vicious circle that does not lead anywhere in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, even though it is an everyday act that has become a way of life for both sides. Crucial terms in the field of postcolonial studies such as resistance/terrorism are examined. Some similarities between the ways the two playwrights write the conflict are also highlighted, which supports the idea that literature can always find shared ground between any two conflicting parties. In Chapters Two and Three I write about the history of the conflict as a chain of endless violent confrontations; violence in this case is on the national level when the two nations fight each other. Chapter Two addresses some of the landmark events in the history of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples, mainly the Israeli War of Independence/Nakba as the same historical event seen from the two extremely different colonizer/colonized perspectives. The chapter also addresses what the Holocaust has to do with the two events and how the Holocaust was exploited by the Israeli state to silence any condemnation of the Israeli/Zionist settler colonial project in Palestine and later on to silence any international condemnation of the Israeli 1967 occupation of more Palestinian and Arab lands. To serve this purpose, the chapter examines Palestinian poet and playwright Burhan Al-Din Al-Aboushi’s play The Phantom of Andalusia (1949) and Palestinian playwright Amir Nizar Zuabi’s play I Am Yusuf and This Is My Brother (2010) compared to each other as two different Palestinian representations of the Nakba and compared to the Israeli narrative of the ‘War of Independence’ by Israeli playwright Motti Lerner in his play The Admission (2010). In addition to this, Joshua Sobol’s play Ghetto is examined as one of the classical Holocaust plays and compared to a contemporary play called Go to Gaza, Drink the Sea (2009) by Palestinian playwright Ahmed Masoud (co-written with Justin Butcher, author of The Madness of George Dubya) to draw the analogy between the living conditions of Jews in ghettoes to that of Palestinians in Gaza as part of the on-going Palestinian Nakba. Chapter Three examines another landmark of the history of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict: the Palestinian Intifada, an event which changed the nature of the conflict and showed that the Palestinians can act to decolonize their country. The Intifada, mainly described as ‘non-violent’, has led to huge impacts on the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians and how they see each other, both in reality and in theatre; however, again, the colonizer and colonized parties see it differently. The chapter examines these different perspectives by analysing the Israeli plays Masked (1990) by Ilan Hatzor and Coming Home (2002) by Motti Lerner, compared with The Stone Revolution (1997) by Egyptian playwright Alfred Farag and Al-Huksh (1992) by Palestinian playwright Adnan Tarabshi. The four plays present the Intifada as either a barbaric or a heroic act, depending on the political ideologies of the playwrights. I read the plays within the context of pro or anti-resistance propaganda. Chapter four is an attempt to read the concepts of diaspora, exile and homeland in both Jewish/Israeli and Palestinian experiences in the postcolonial paradigm. Concepts of exodus and diaspora are found in both Jewish and Palestinian history, but in two very different ways. Throughout the chapter I attempt to examine the similarities and/or differences between these notions in the two people’s memories through reading Yiddish playwright David Pinski’s The Last Jew (1905) in comparison with Palestinian playwright Ismail Al-Dabbagh’s play The Painful Events of the Life of Abu-Halima (2008), as two plays reflecting the notions of Jewish and Palestinian diaspora respectively. In addition to these works, the chapter examines Exile in Jerusalem (1989) by Israeli playwright Motti Lerner alongside In Spitting Distance (2008) by Palestinian actor and playwright Taher Najib. Exile, diaspora and homeland have occupied a significant space in postcolonial theories as outcomes of colonialism, and the aim of my chapter is to read Israeli and Palestinian plays discussing those themes from a postcolonial perspective, pointing out the differences and similarities between the Jewish and the Palestinian experiences of diaspora. It is very important to note that the choice of the plays is ultimately based on the thematic approach I tend to adopt in my presentation of the conflict. In other words, I have attempted to introduce the Israeli versus Arab/ Palestinian theatrical presentation of the same subject matter or the landmark events related to the conflict, again the materialist practices of colonialism regardless of the dates of the plays. This is not because their specific historical contexts are unimportant, but rather because the Israeli/Palestine conflict remains ongoing, in what could be seen as a historical deadlock. Finally, Chapter Five aims at examining the influence of the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict on Western theatre, showing how the West, as an outsider, sees and portrays the conflicted parties. I have chosen the following plays to examine the different approaches to the conflict: Dario Fo and Franca Rame’s An Arab Woman Speaks (1972), Arthur Milner’s Masada (2006) and Facts (2010), John Patrick Shanley’s Dirty Story (2003), Naomi Wallace’s The Fever Chart , Robin Soans’ The Arab Israeli Cook Book (2004), Alan Rickman and Catharine Viner’s My Name is Rachel Corrie (2003), David Hare’s Via Dolorosa (1998) and Wall (2009), Douglas Watkinson’s The Wall (2011), Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children (2009) and Richard Stirling’s Seven Other Children (2009) to examine the different approaches towards the conflict. Again, I approach this literature as postcolonial literature affected by imperialism and Israeli colonial aggression or as justifying and propagating the Zionist colonial project in Palestine or sometimes as both at the same time, depending on the author’s beliefs and ideologies.

 

 

New Article: Griffin, Segregation and Grassroots Politics on the Bus

Griffin, Maryam S. “Freedom Rides in Palestine: Racial Segregation and Grassroots Politics on the Bus.” Race & Class 56.4 (2015): 73-84.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0306396814567410

 

Abstract

This article offers an examination of the role of buses in Palestinian protest actions directed at an international audience. These demonstrations occur as part of a post-Oslo strategic shift in which Palestinian resistance has de-prioritised leader-centred negotiations in favour of grassroots mobilisation that directly appeals to international civil society. Given this strategy, the bus is a useful vehicle, both literally and symbolically, for transmitting the message of Palestinian demands for freedom. First, the bus powerfully evokes the triumphs of an earlier generation of activists fighting racial segregation. Second, as a recognisable form of public transportation and mobility, the use of the bus allows Palestinian activists to focus international solidarity on one of the central hardships of occupied life: the denial of the right to freedom of movement, which entrenches the ongoing separation of Palestinians across Palestine.

New Book: Sorek, Palestinian Commemoration in Israel

Sorek, Tamir. Palestinian Commemoration in Israel, Calendars, Monuments, and Martyrs, Stanford Studies in Middle Eastern and Islamic Societies and Cultures. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015.

 Sorek, Tamir. Palestinian Commemoration in Israel, Calendars, Monuments. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015.

Collective memory transforms historical events into political myths. In this book, Tamir Sorek considers the development of collective memory and national commemoration among the Palestinian citizens of Israel. He charts the popular politicization of four key events—the Nakba, the 1956 Kafr Qasim Massacre, the 1976 Land Day, and the October 2000 killing of twelve Palestinian citizens in Israel—and investigates a range of commemorative sites, including memorial rallies, monuments, poetry, the education system, political summer camps, and individual historical remembrance. These sites have become battlefields between diverse social forces and actors—including Arab political parties, the Israeli government and security services, local authorities, grassroots organizations, journalists, and artists—over representations of the past.

Palestinian commemorations are uniquely tied to Palestinian encounters with the Israeli state apparatus, with Jewish Israeli citizens of Israel, and by their position as Israeli citizens themselves. Reflecting longstanding tensions between Palestinian citizens and the Israeli state, as well as growing pressures across Palestinian societies within and beyond Israel, these moments of commemoration distinguish Palestinian citizens not only from Jewish citizens, but from Palestinians elsewhere. Ultimately, Sorek shows that Palestinian citizens have developed commemorations and a collective memory that offers both moments of protest and points of dialogue, that is both cautious and circuitous.

Table of Contents with abstracts

Introduction

The chapter demonstrates the centrality of commemoration as a form of political protest among Palestinian citizens, as well as the historical link between this commemoration and the adoption of Israeli citizenship as part of their identity. It argues that Palestinian commemoration in Israel is both a stage for displaying Palestinian national pride and a mobilizing vehicle for struggle over civil equality, and its content is shaped to a large extent by the tension between these two goals. The chapter contextualizes the study in the relevant literature on collective memory and explains the unique case of the Palestinians citizens of Israel compared with other “trapped” minorities. Finally, the chapter outlines the methodology used in the book.

1 Commemoration under British Rule

The chapter explores how political calendars and shared martyrology provided important markers of identity and symbolic tools for political mobilization in Mandate Palestine. The dates on the emerging Palestinian calendar grew out of the politicization and nationalization of traditional holy days, as well as the commemoration of politically significant events of the period, including those involving local Palestinian martyrs. Commemorative events were especially important for the advancement of Palestinian particularism, which could not rely on a distinct language and culture or a common religion. Although the Palestinian elite was well aware of the importance of these markers to identity formation, its ability to nurture them was limited by institutional weakness, lack of political sovereignty, and British antagonism to this commemoration.

2 The Kafr Qasim Massacre and Land Day

The Kafr Qasim massacre in 1956 was only one out of several massacres committed against Palestinians in the same historical period. The selection of the event into the political calendar of the Palestinians in Israel and the endurance of its commemoration are related to the status of the victims and commemorators as Israeli citizens. The commemoration of the massacre has been influenced by the need to prevent its reoccurrence and therefore the emphasis on civil rights has been a central discursive tool. From 1976, Land Day was added as a second anchor on the political calendar. Land Day commemoration has been shaped by the tension between Palestinian nationalism and a struggle for civic equality. Until the 1990s, the Israeli Communist Party has dominated the commemoration of both events, and accordingly, the status of Jewish citizens as speakers, chorographers, and potential audience had been salient.

3 The Political Calendar in the Twenty-First Century

The twenty-first century has witnessed the addition of two dates to the political calendar of the Palestinians in Israel—a memorial day for the Nakba and al-Aqsa Day, commemorating the events of October 2000 during which Israeli police killed thirteen Palestinians inside Israel. Both events have become a sphere of contention not only between Palestinian citizens and the state but also between religious and secular forces within Palestinian society, which even commemorate the Nakba in different days. The October 2000 events have pushed Palestinians in Israel to reconsider the meaning of citizenship, not necessarily to withdraw from a shared Israeli public sphere, and this complicated approach is reflected in all the four major commemorations on the political calendar.

4 Memorials for Martyrs, I (1976-1983)

Memorial monuments have been added to commemorative repertoire of Palestinians in Israel since 1976. This chapter begins by explaining the delay in their appearance. In the first wave of commemoration (1976-1983), six monuments were built, which reflected the high level of caution practiced by their creators. The caution was expressed by locating some of these monuments in cemeteries rather than in central visible sites, by inscribing sanitized text on the monuments that did not identify a perpetrator, by including Jewish citizens as creators or commemorated subjects, by avoiding explicit contextualization of the commemoration in the broader Palestinian national narrative, and by emphasizing loyalties that were considered less political such as local, religious, and communal identities.

5 Memorial Monuments for Martyrs, II (1998-2013)

A second wave of monuments began slowly in 1998, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Nakba, and it drastically increased following October 2000. The monuments in this wave reflected a limited decline in caution and self-censorship, expressed not only by the number of monuments, but also by their location in highly visible sites. In addition, there was a mildly growing tendency to frame local pride as an aspect of national pride, and a decline in the attempts to use localism as a protective measure from the state’s antagonism to Palestinian national identity. This trend was expressed unevenly across different localities, and old prudent tactics were still evident, especially around monuments referring to 1948. In addition, Palestinians who were not citizens were mostly excluded from the monuments.

6 On the Margins of Commemoration

Beyond the canonic events on the political calendar, the historical remembrance of Palestinians in Israel includes many other dates and events situated in various degrees of distance from the core of the cannon. Some events have been commemorated mainly locally, without continuous cross-regional participation; others mostly by a specific party or movement; still other commemorations have been limited to press coverage, and the memory was not embodied by mass rallies; or the embodied commemoration in the form of mass rallies did not last more than a decade. There are three major dimensions of marginalization. First, temporal – teaching pre-1948 Palestinian history is an intellectual project with marginal public resonance so far; second, thematic, Palestinians in Israel have remained at a safe distance from the armed struggle, especially if it targeted civilians; third, geo-political, Palestinians who are not citizens of Israel have been extremely marginal in the public commemoration.

7 Disciplining Palestinian Memory

The anxiety of the Jewish public in Israel regarding the public appearance of a Palestinian national narrative has led to continuous attempts to discipline the public display of Palestinian political memory. In the first decades after 1948 this discipline was imposed mainly by strict monitoring by the security services. As the Jews’ siege mentality abated and Arab self-confidence and organizational ability increased in the 1980s and 1990s, elements of the Palestinian national narrative gained more public visibility. From 2000, the Second Intifada reversed the abating anxiety, but it was too late to restore the old modes of disciplining memory. In the new era, disciplining memory is based on a combination of restrictive legislation, public intimidations by government officials, and the watchful civic gaze of ordinary citizens. These modes are not completely ineffective but they are far from pushing national historical remembrance back to the private sphere.

8 The Struggle over the Next Generation

The official curriculum in Israeli schools has long excluded the Palestinian national narrative. The chapter presents evidence that although Palestinians in Israel do not tend to see the formal education system as a main source of their historical knowledge, this system is still influential in shaping historical remembrance. Given the uniqueness of public education as an extremely imbalanced political battlefield, activists, educators, and parents developed diverse tools aimed to bypass, alter, or confront the curriculum of the formal education system. The chapter discusses some of these tools, including increasing the role of private schools, developing alternative teaching materials, and disseminating these materials either inside the public education system or thorough extracurricular activities.

9 Political Summer Camps

Summer camps became an important element in the alternative education system of the Palestinian citizens of Israel, and a space for processing national memory and transmitting it to children. All major parties and movements organize summer camps, in which the development of collective memory has a central place. Themes banned at school are openly discussed in an environment considered relatively safe. At the same time Israeli state agencies, through trial and error tactics, check the limits of their ability to monitor and discipline the curriculum of these camps. Summer camps, however, are not equivalent to a mandatory education system. The ability of Palestinian agents of memory to inculcate their own version of history to the next generation is limited as they lack the coercive power of a central government that can impose universal “required knowledge.”

10 The Quest for Victory

The chapter examines the semiotic structure of Palestinian collective memory in Israel and identifies a continuous tendency to balance themes of victimhood with themes of prowess. Modern Palestinian and Arab histories make themes of victimhood significantly more available and the frequent attempts to construct various events as victories is a common thread that links the “literature of resistance” under the military regime, with the widespread satisfaction from the Israeli failure in Lebanon in 2006. The attraction to triumphal themes is even more evident among those Arab citizens who define themselves as both Palestinians and Israelis, probably because Israeli defeats at the hands of Arabs pave the way for imagining a more egalitarian interaction with Jews.

11 Latent Nostalgia to Yitzhak Rabin

As one of the major figures responsible for the Nakba, the way the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is remembered by Palestinian citizens of Israel after his assassination in 1995 is a very good example for a strategic suspension of the Nakba memory. The chapter suggests the existence of a latent nostalgia for Rabin’s second term as prime minister (1992–1995) as a period when being Israeli looked like a realistic option for Palestinian citizens of Israel. This nostalgia is “latent” because in the post-2000 era it can be found only in responses of individuals to a survey questionnaire, but not in the public sphere.

Conclusion
 The chapter identifies the tension between being Palestinian and being an Israeli citizen as a major force that shapes Palestinian commemoration in Israel. While some other axes of conflict (integration-separation; local-national; elite-masses; intra-Palestinian communal relations) are not simple derivative of this tension, they are commonly related to it in one way or another. Together, these tensions create frequent discrepancies between various forms and spheres of historical remembrance and commemoration, as well as internal inconsistencies in the commemorative rhetoric.

 

Tamir Sorek is Associate Professor of Sociology and Israel Studies at the University of Florida. He is the author of Arab Soccer in a Jewish State: The Integrative Enclave (2007).

 
 
 

New Article: Dibiasi, Changing Trends in Palestinian Political Activism

Dibiasi, Caroline Mall. “Changing Trends in Palestinian Political Activism: The Second Intifada, the Wall Protests, and the Human Rights Turn.” Geopolitics (early view, online first)

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14650045.2015.1028028

 

Abstract

This paper asks where and why Palestinian protests take place and how particular manifestations of territorial dislocation affect the dynamics of Palestinian political activism. Political, social and territorial transformations over the Oslo period had resulted in the fragmentation of Palestinian resistance, a development that had become most evident during the second intifada through the absence of mass-based non-violent protest. Israel’s complex control over Palestinian territory and mobility has been a key factor in driving this fragmentation. In contrast to checkpoints, forbidden roads, and closures, the construction of the Separation Wall had a very different impact, and amid the continuation of a violent and fragmented uprising, it presented a focal point for cohesive organised non-violent local protest. This paper examines to what extent the construction of the Wall has engendered a different type of protest, conception of activism and new forms of cooperation, that break the trend of the second intifada.