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Jerusalem Day: W. J'lm businesses shutter in solidarity with Palestinians

Each year on Jerusalem Day, Palestinian businesses located along the route of the March of the Flags are ordered by police to shut up shop during the parade. This year, Jewish business owners in West Jerusalem closed up early in solidarity.

By Yael Marom

On Wednesday afternoon, as on every Jerusalem Day, Palestinians in and around the Old City’s Muslim Quarter were under police orders to shutter their shops and homes during the “March of the Flags,” which sees tens of thousands of young Israeli Jews descending on the occupied city. The day, and the march, celebrate what the Right insists on calling the “unified” city of Jerusalem.

This closing of businesses, and the loss of revenue that results, is a yearly occurrence for Palestinian traders whose businesses are located along the route of the march. This year, however, around 50 owners of shops, bars and restaurants in West Jerusalem decided to act in solidarity with their Palestinian colleagues, signing a petition in protest of the impact of the march. Several displayed signs expressing solidarity with Palestinian business owners, and some even decided to shut up shop while the march was ongoing.

The owners of Falafel Mullah, in the Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, explained: “It’s unacceptable to us that any store should be closed for security reasons — it’s difficult as it is to make a living here. We have many partners in the east of the city and when they lose out and are deprived of basic rights, we’re affected too.

“Difficulties involving finances and security cross borders, so merchants in West Jerusalem are standing in solidarity with residents in the east of the city whose income and basic rights are affected by this march.”

Daniella, whose restaurant Barood is also part of the initiative, said: “The March of the Flags is a violent, ugly procession, which disturbs the Jerusalem public.

“This day affects traders across the entire city, as do other citywide events. It’s difficult to support oneself in this city. Solidarity between traders is important, not only today, but every day of the year,” she added.

“The March of the Flags on Jerusalem Day brings the complexity of Jerusalem to a peak — the violence, the racism and the hatred that extends throughout the city,” said Noam of Hamarakia, another restaurant taking part in the initiative.

“The violence reaches its height in East Jerusalem, in particular...

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Palestinian cars torched in 'price tag' attack in northern Israel

Two cars were set on fire and the words ‘price tag’ spray painted on a house in ‘Ara, a Palestinian village in northern Israel.

By Yael Marom

Residents of ‘Ara, a Palestinian village in northern Israel, awoke on Wednesday morning to find that two of their cars had been set on fire and the words “price tag” spray-painted in Hebrew on the wall of one of their homes. Police arrived on the scene of the incident and have opened an investigation, although there are currently — as expected — no suspects.

The graffiti on the wall in ‘Ara also said “regards from the removed,” likely referring to an administrative order that the Shin Bet against extreme right activist Meir Ettinger, as reported on Tuesday. The order bars him from the West Bank for six months, and from Jerusalem for three months.

The order also places Ettinger, who was released from a 10-month spell in administrative detention around a year ago, under night-time house arrest. Ettinger is not the only right-wing figure whose activities the police are trying to curb through use of administrative orders with no trial, and through declaring various parts of the country off-limits.

But it seems that, as usual, Arabs are paying the price for police efforts to tackle the so-called hilltop youth’s extremist right-wing violence.

Last week, a settler shot a protester dead in the West Bank town of Huwwara after getting caught up in a demonstration, trying to run over demonstrators, and having a volley of stones thrown at him. A photojournalist was also shot and wounded in the incident.

About a month ago, on the morning of April 22, a gang of Israelis from the radical Yitzhar settlement attacked the nearby Palestinian villages of Urif and Huwwara. Residents of the village alerted the Israeli authorities during the first wave of violence, following which the army and police arrived on the scene. However, they made no arrests, simply driving the settlers back from the village before leaving.

The settlers smashed car windows, set fires and injured several Palestinians, including one woman who received a head wound. Israeli soldiers who arrived on the scene shot rubber bullets at the Palestinian residents. Nonetheless, the incident only came to the attention of the Israeli media because an IDF officer received an injury to his hand from a settler.

The day before, a large group of masked settlers from the...

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Diaspora Jews must place our bodies on the line

As internationals and Jews, we are unjustly privileged — and therefore obligated to take part in nonviolent direct action in support of the Palestinian struggle for freedom.

By Leanne Gale

My first protest in the West Bank was in 2012. On the advice of a college professor, I went to a demonstration in Susya, a Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills. The village was then, as now, under threat of demolition.

When we arrived, along with a few other American students affiliated with J Street U, there were already around 700 Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals present. The children of the village had painted Palestinian flags on their faces and the energy was almost celebratory. But when we began to march to the site of Susya’s ancestral lands, which had been taken over by an Israeli settlement, the Israeli military came out in full force. The demonstration was dispersed with tear gas, stun grenades, and the threat of skunk water. I had never been so terrified in my life.

That terror came back this week when I returned to the South Hebron Hills with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence. Almost 200 diaspora Jews helped establish the Sumud Freedom Camp on the site of the Palestinian village Sarura. Twenty years ago, the residents of Sarura had been forced to abandon their village in the face of settler violence and the imposition of a closed military zone on their land. This past weekend, they chose to name the freedom camp “Sumud,” Arabic for steadfastness, to embody a central concept in the Palestinian lexicon of resistance.

The action was organized by an unprecedented coalition of Palestinian, joint Israeli-Palestinian, and diaspora Jewish organizations, including the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee, Youth Against Settlements, Holy Land Trust, All That’s Left, Combatants for Peace, and Center for Jewish Nonviolence. Many of the Jews who flew in from around the world had absolutely no idea what it might be like to confront settlers or the Israeli military. And yet, out of obligation, they came.

One trip participant, an American Jew from Connecticut, recalled her first time protesting the occupation in the West Bank in 1983. She was the only diaspora Jew there then. A second trip participant, an American Jew from Washington D.C. and veteran anti-occupation activist, remarked that if I...

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What can Trump really do in the face of a 50-year occupation?

President Trump has arrived in Israel, promising the ultimate deal. Ahead of the big day, a few political activists and commentators shared their thoughts on what, if anything, Trump can bring to the region. 

By Yaser Abu Areesha

President Donald Trump, a man who often speaks about making the “ultimate deal” that would bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has landed in Israel. But despite official declarations, no one is actually sure what he wants or whether he will surprise us. What is certain is that Trump moves in mysterious ways.

The president is no longer the messiah of the extreme right in Israel, which seeks to annex the West Bank with as few Arabs as possible. The Left, for its part, looks at Trump with anxiety. Israeli and American officials have been sweating over this trip, and the only ones who have gained anything from this trip have been the Saudis, who were crowned by Trump as the leaders of the Arab world to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.

The Palestinian side also has trouble figuring out the president. His declarations of support for the Palestinian right to self-determination or his whimsical call for either a one- or two-state solution, which themselves do little to help Palestinians who have grown tired of lip service by world powers.

As a service to our esteemed guest, and in order to combat ignorance, I decided to turn to a few political activists and ask them what, in their opinion, is the ultimate deal Trump should propose.

First end the occupation, then have a referendum

My first interviewee was Issa Amro, an anti-occupation activist from Hebron, who runs the Youth Against Settlements organization.

Issa, Trump is here. Are you excited?

Why should I be excited? Trump represents the positions of the Israeli Right, and does not adopt any stances that will allow the Palestinian people minimum rights.

But Trump said he supports the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.

At the same time as adopting extreme positions that support settlements and appoints a right-wing ambassador to Israel. This only proves that he supports the extreme right in Israel. In light of this situation, he will probably propose a solution according to which the Palestinians simply need to come to terms with the occupation, without ever having any autonomy over their land.

What solution should he propose then?

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Anti-Trump protests greet U.S. president in Israel

A slew of protests against Donald Trump and American policy await the U.S. president, who visits Israel as the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike reaches its 36th day.

By Yael Marom

Donald Trump’s visit to Israel on Monday is already generating the expected smiles, celebrations and tensions, and disputes between Israeli ministers over who gets to press the flesh with the president of the United States. But there are also some who will be using Trump’s visit to send a message to the controversial president, in support of the Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike.

The first protesters to receive Trump will be members of the grassroots group Women Wage Peace, who plan to demonstrate outside the President’s Residence in Jerusalem during the meeting between Trump and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. The women, who will be calling for a diplomatic solution to the conflict, last week formed a giant human sign in Jaffa spelling out “Ready for peace” — the same message they’ll be relaying to the two presidents on Monday.

On Monday evening, as Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are meeting in Jerusalem, activists from the left-wing Hadash party will demonstrate outside the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, under the slogan of “Trump go home!”

On an invitation to the protest, organizers wrote: “Trump and U.S. government policy are part of the problem, not the solution. After 50 years of occupation, peace between Israel and the Palestinians will come from the people who live here, and not from the interests of the American superpower — which is the biggest beneficiary of the continuing wars, destruction and repression in the region.”

Knesset members, including Aida Touma-Suleiman and Abdullah Abu Ma’aruf of the Joint List, are also set to join the demonstration.

American supporters of the U.S. Democratic Party are expected to protest shortly after, outside the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem. According to the organizers, the demonstrators will be seeking to “voice our opposition to the dangerous, right-wing agenda, and the incitement and hatred among our leaders, as well as to voice our support for peace, human rights and equality.” They also intend to “show President Trump that even when he visits Israel, he cannot escape protests against his policies.”

Trump arrives on the 36th day of the mass hunger strike by Palestinian political prisoners. The prisoners’ physical condition is starting to deteriorate, and the Israel Prison Service is reportedly...

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Stop calling it 'Jewish terror'

Let’s stop calling those who have bombed, shot, or burned Palestinians ‘Jewish.’ Let’s call them what they really are: Israeli.

By Yonatan Englender

Israel is a country that is quick to appropriate every phenomenon or activity that takes place within it, from the success of its tech entrepreneurs (in whom the state did not invest even a single shekel) to the successes of its athletes (for whom the state did not provide even the most basic conditions for adequate practice). Even environmental disasters and car crashes are quickly turned into national events.

Therefore, it is a bit strange that we refrain from referring to our homegrown terrorists as “Israeli,” instead referring to them as “Jews.”

The kind of terrorism committed by the likes of Baruch Goldstein, Jack Teitel, or the Jewish Underground — which attempted to blow up the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the 1970s — is always defined as “Jewish terror,” never Israeli. This is true even when the terrorists are IDF soldiers, such as Danny Tickman, who opened fire on Arab-owned shops in Haifa, or David Ben Shimol, who fired a missile at a Palestinian bus, killing one and wounding 10 others. The same goes for the young Israelis (two of them soldiers) who were arrested last month for walking around Be’er Sheva and beating Arabs with clubs, knives, and metal bars.

We label these terrorist acts, committed by people who were raised and educated in Israel, “Jewish terror,” thus creating a buffer between us and them. In our internal cataloguing, we choose to view these as acts that stem from religious fanaticism, somewhere on the ISIS-Hamas spectrum, rather than as a part of normative Israeliness.

The photos published by the media of these terrorists, often showing them in kippot and tzitziot, only supports this kind of classification. Their despicable actions — tossing grenades into a family home, stabbing passersby, burning a teenage boy alive — turn them into monsters, the same kind of convenient image that comes to mind when we think of Palestinian terrorists. Only religion can turn people’s hearts into stone and make them act this way, we think. We tell ourselves that these Jewish terrorists are inspired by their Muslim counterparts, that they are nothing more than a few rotten apples in a healthy society.

We must remember, however, that the identity of these terrorists is not only religious — it is also national. Jewish terror in the United States, France, or Israel contains unique characteristics, as every...

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The one day Jerusalem's Palestinians fear the most

I remember the nightmare of Jerusalem Day as a child in the Muslim Quarter: the right-wingers rampaging through the alleyways, the racist slogans, the police standing by, and my father staying home from work to guard our home.

By Suleiman Maswadeh

Jerusalem Day is approaching, and with it my anxiety. Since I was a young boy, Jerusalem Day, in which Israelis mark what they call the “reunification” of West and East Jerusalem, is a difficult and strange day for me. A day of rage, grief, and lack of security.

In my childhood I witnessed right-wing Israelis violently rampaging through the Old City, and especially in the Muslim Quarter where I lived. These rampaged only intensified over the years, due to the security situation as well as the leniency of the authorities. Those who celebrate Jerusalem Day know full well that these kinds of actions are an outright provocation toward the city’s Muslim inhabitants. This is especially felt in the Muslim Quarter.

Take the day off

The violence usually takes place right under the nose of Israeli security forces. Right-wing extremists provoke us by aggressively banging on our doors and target young Arabs. The reason is simply: they know that the young are easily riled up. And if anyone dare think of responding, we all know who the police will believe. The rampages end with a giant march through Damascus Gate, during which Israelis are accompanied by a large police presence. The truth is they don’t need the police; most of them are armed with automatic rifles, and can eliminate any threat. After all, they already have permission to do so.

50 Years Too Many in-text banner

My parents would forbid me from leaving the house on Jerusalem Day. They told me that the intense heat could give me heat stroke. I do not know how my mother thought that this was going to convince a child like myself; after all, it was clear to me as a young kid that the weather was perfect for, say, a family outing. I know that there was something wrong with their claim, and the Hebrew songs being sung under our home, along with a dramatic increase in traffic in our...

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Palestinians, Israelis and diaspora Jews build West Bank protest camp

Hundreds of activists, organized by a coalition of Palestinian, Israeli and American Jewish groups, built an encampment in Surara, from where Palestinians had been expelled in the 1990s.

By +972 Magazine staff

Around 300 Palestinians, Israelis and diaspora Jewish activists staged a direct action in the village of Sarura in the south Hebron hills of the West Bank on Friday, building a protest camp on land from which Palestinians were evicted in the 1990s. The event was also intended to mark 50 years of occupation.

The event was organized by a coalition of groups, including the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, local Palestinian committees, Youth Against Settlements, the All That’s Left Collective, the Holy Land Trust and Combatants for Peace. Members of IfNotNow also participated in the action. Activists arrived in the morning and continued working through to the afternoon, when several people — including Youth Against Settlements’ Issa Amro — spoke about the purpose and impact of the event.

In a press release, the organizers said that the “Sumud Freedom Camp” would remain in place for a week, during which workshops on nonviolent resistance will be held. The organizers also called on activists “around the world to hold meetings, demonstrations, solidarity actions, discussion groups and prayer groups aimed at ending Israel’s military occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people.”

Sulaiman Khatib of Combatants for Peace called the action “another step in our nonviolent joint struggle for freedom and respect for everyone in this land.”

Activists taking part in the event updated from the ground, tweeting with the hashtag #WeAreSumud (“sumud” means “steadfastness” in Arabic, and is a central concept in Palestinian resistance to the occupation). Participants also noted that the outpost had been inspired by the Standing Rock protest camps in the United States, established to try and prevent the building of an oil pipeline through Native American land.

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Israel's nation-state bill threatens the mother tongue of Mizrahi Jews

The Israeli government’s attempts, via the nation-state bill, to erase the Arabic language from this country not only threatens Palestinians, it also undermines Mizrahi identity. But their attempt is doomed to fail.

By Netta Amar-Shiff

When my grandmother, Sa’ida, came to Israel, she worked at Kfar Hadasim Youth Village as a house mother, and needed to undergo a quick process of Hebraization so as to communicate with hundreds of new immigrant children. Although they had much in common, there remained a gulf between them, the most prominent of which was their mother tongues. Hebrew served as a bridge for both the children and my grandmother to a new society in Israel. Her mother tongue was relegated to the personal, and especially the synagogue.

By the time I came into this world, my grandmother had an impressive command of Hebrew, as opposed to her friends who were not forced to work with children and teenagers. And yet she regularly peppered her words of wisdom with Yemeni Arabic idioms. As a fly on the wall during her Shabbat conversations with her friends, I would understand few words — yet the meaning was clear. Only sometimes did my grandmother stop to translate for me. This is how Arabic, my grandmother’s language, the language my mother knows perfectly yet never spoke to me, found its way into my heart.

As a child of Generation X in 1970s Israel, I was part of part of the lost generation of the Israel of the ’80s and ’90s. A generation that includes women and men who today sit in the government. And yet, the melting pot did not totally work on me and many others of my generation. On the contrary, we felt a need to look back at our parents and grandparents’ lost generation. To pave a new path for building a future.

Preserving Arabic as a living language

Our Arab lineages and family histories only became more prominent during the Oslo Accords in the ’90s. The rise of the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow Coalition and an alternative cultural-historical discourse, in which the “other” Israel demanded a slice of the pie, brought the history of Arab Jews to the public’s attention. This was followed by a flurry of cultural activity, including the founding of the Israel Andalusian Orchestra, new literature, classical and popular poetry, dance, and theater, which looked to Jewish-Arab origins. The enemy within — our denied Arab identity...

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Trump finally drags Israel into his orbit of chaos

The litany of scandals affecting the Trump Administration made relatively little impact on Israel — until this week, when the revelation that classified information he leaked to Russian politicians likely came from Israeli intelligence.

By Mitchell Plitnick

When the history of this chaotic period is written, people will doubtless be amazed that, not even four months into his presidency, Donald Trump could have made so many mistakes, done so much wrong, and acted in such legally questionable ways.

It may well be, too, that historians will look back at May 16, 2017 as the day that marked the beginning of the final disgrace of Trump’s presidency. With the revelation that recently dismissed FBI Director James Comey had allegedly recorded and sent to FBI colleagues a memo detailing Trump’s attempt to pressure him into dropping the FBI’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and Trump’s Russia ties, other matters of grave importance have not gotten the attention they deserve.

Only a day before the Comey memo revelation, in an Oval Office meeting with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister, Trump reportedly revealed highly classified intelligence regarding a planned Islamic State terrorist attack against the United States. The information that Trump divulged had apparently not been shared with some of the closest U.S. allies and was “code-worded” information, a particularly high level of classification.

The next morning, it emerged that the information had come from Israel.

Although the Comey memo scandal may well turn out to be what brings Trump down, this breach of trust may have had more lasting effect than any of Trump’s other numerous misadventures. It was an unprecedented betrayal of Israel’s confidence. Ironically, Trump has now done what even Barack Obama’s biggest detractors never accused him of: seriously compromised Israel’s security relationship with the United States.

It is difficult to overstate the damage Trump has done to both Israel and the United States. Israeli intelligence officials were already highly worried about Trump’s poor judgment and apparently close relationship with Russia. They had expressed concern that intelligence they shared with the U.S. could end up getting to Iran through Moscow. Now, their fears have been magnified greatly.

On the professional level, Israeli and American intelligence officers will still have the relationships they’ve had before. The mutual respect and personal connections will not be affected. But at...

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Reconstruction of Umm al-Hiran killings disproves car-ramming claims

An investigative team led by Forensic Architecture and Activestills proves, through a reenactment and visual analyses of footage of the incident, that the deaths of a Bedouin teacher and an Israeli policeman in Umm al-Hiran in January were not the result of a car-ramming attack.

By Yael Marom

The results of a police investigation into the January 18 events in Umm al-Hiran, during which — prior to a slate of home demolitions — a Bedouin man who was shot by police ran over and killed an Israeli policeman before succumbing to his wounds, have yet to be published. But it’s already clear that every detail the Israel Police tried to pass off to the public and the media was incorrect.

The reconstruction also proves that Abu al-Qi’an was still alive after his car had stopped, as the autopsy findings showed. He even opened his car door before falling out of the vehicle. An eyewitness testified to investigators that he saw a police officer pointing his gun at Abu al-Qi’an while the latter was still alive, strengthening the claim that the already-injured Abu al-Qi’an was shot again after his car had stopped and he did not pose a threat to anyone.Forensic Architecture, in partnership with Activestills, has now managed to put together a reconstruction of what happened in Umm al-Hiran that day. Their work proves that contrary to police claims, Yaqub Mousa Abu al-Qi’an did not intentionally accelerate his car, but rather it picked up speed and went down the slope only after police had opened fire and hit Abu al-Qi’an’s right leg. As a result, his car struck and killed police officer Erez Levi.

Recapped below, in chronological order, is the string of claims the police made following the incident, each of which has been debunked.

The initial version of events the Israel Police released to the media claimed that a police officer had been killed in a “car-ramming attack,” and that the “terrorist” responsible — who allegedly intentionally drove at speed with no headlights on — had been shot. It was also hinted that he had ties to the Islamic State group. However, that same day it transpired that the police story omitted an important detail — police opened fire on the car before it had struck Levi.

In response, the police changed their story, claiming that they had fired their weapons, but only...

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The true price Israel pays for the occupation

Both the economic and political elite in Israel benefit from the occupation in different ways. The longer the occupation persists, the wider become the gaps between these two ‘1 percents’ and the rest of the country. 

By Shlomo Swirski

What is the cost to Israel of the occupation? And who in Israel is paying it?

Discussions of Israel’s military rule over the Palestinian territories conquered in 1967 — now marking 50 years — usually revolve around moral, military, diplomatic, and legal matters.

The impact of the conflict on Israeli society — on the standard of living, economic growth, inter-ethnic and Arab-Jewish relations, and disparities between the center and the periphery — is rarely considered. Political, academic, and media discourse often takes place as if the occupation has no real connection to what is happening within Israeli society.

This report seeks to add a vital and missing dimension to the discussion by focusing on some of the critical social and economic repercussions of the occupation and of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

What emerges from this analysis, it can already be said, is that the main losers of this reality are low-income Israelis, both Arab and Jewish. These citizens of Israel are harmed by the competition with cheap Palestinian labor, which also opened the door to cheap labor from other countries; by the fiscal austerity policies designed to convey to the international business community the message of fiscal stability, despite the frequent violent clashes; by the effect of the belt-tightening measures on the social safety net and the major social ministries — education, health, and welfare; and by the need to pour increasing amounts of money into security matters instead of social services.

50 Years Too Many in-text banner

The occupation adversely affects economic stability, creating growth conditions that are sometimes extremely volatile, particularly during extended periods of violence, such as the two Intifadas and Protective Edge Operation in the Gaza Strip in 2014. This instability hurts not only low-income Israelis, but also large corporations and high income earners, the difference being that the governments of Israel have done everything in their power to shield the wealthy by lowering personal income and corporate taxes, reducing...

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Israel is still unable to deal with the catastrophe of 1948

The fact that Israel is unable to swallow or get rid of the territories it occupied in 1967, makes it far more difficult for the state to recognize the catastrophe that befell the Palestinians during the 1948 War. 

By Oren Barak

Why does the State of Israel, which just celebrated 69 years of independence, struggle to deal with the unpleasant events in its distant past, especially not the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe in the 1948 War?

Professor Avraham Sela and Professor Alon Kadish, two top scholars of the 1948 War from Hebrew University, recently published a book titled “The War of 1948: Representations of Israeli and Palestinian Memories and Narratives.” The book looks at a number of realms in which the memory of the war, as well as how it is forgotten, are expressed — among both the Jewish public in Israel, as well as Palestinian citizens. These realms include television shows, museums, hasbara, art, literature, physical space, and more.

The final chapter, was written by Sela and Professor Neil Kaplan, a Canadian researcher who focuses on the Israeli-Arab conflict, suggests an important insight: memory and historical narratives are the product of a particular political and social reality — not the other way around. The question is, then, what is the political and social reality that influences what is remembered and what is forgotten about the war, as well as on the historical narratives by both the Israeli and Palestinian sides. I will focus on the Israeli side.

Although the physical, organizational, and theoretical infrastructure of the state was laid during the era of the “Yishuv” before 1948, Israel was a new state that was undergoing an accelerated process of nation building and integration. Thus, the leaders of the state, and especially its first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, used the tools and institutions at their disposal. This included the education system, hasbara, the media, memorial sites, museums, and the army. Moreover, they encouraged the writing of a national history that would serve the needs of the nascent state.

Furthermore, several of the chapters in the book focus on the results of this process, which include a number of key events in the 1948 War, alongside the forgetting of less pleasant events, which “erased from space and consciousness,” as Noga Kadman put it in her book on the widespread destruction of the remains of Palestinian villages inside Israel following 1948. This behavior...

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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