By Jeff Halper
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Additional resources for An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel
D. student in anthropology, I had a professional agenda. My fieldwork, for which I had a generous fellowship, Halper 01 intro 26 14/12/07 10:16:33 THE MAKING OF A C R I T I C A L I S R A E L I 27 involved research into the ethnic identities of working-class Kurdish Jews in the inner-city neighborhood of Jerusalem, which I had come to know as a volunteer when I was at HUC and where I still live. In Nakhlaot I found a community where I felt welcomed and accepted. My Hebrew was passable and getting better, and I enjoyed interviewing elderly Jews from the Kurdish areas of Turkey, Iraq and Iran, as well as from Yemen, and their children.
Here is the volunteered testimony of reservist Moshe Nissim, a bulldozer driver and self-described “average Israeli,” who spent three “satisfying” days and nights of action as he used his massive D-9 Caterpillar bulldozer to demolish homes in the densely packed Jenin refugee camp at the onset of Operation Defensive Shield, in March 2002. For three days I just erased and erased. The entire area. I took down any house from which there was shooting. To take it down, I would take down several more.
On that day the bulldozers of Israel’s Civil Administration, its military government in the West Bank, demolished his home for the first time. It was an act so unjust, so brutal, so at odds with the ethos of the benign, democratic, Jewish Israel fighting for its survival I had absorbed on “my side” of the Green Line that it was inexplicable in any terms I could fathom. It had nothing to do with terrorism or security. It was not an act of defense or even keeping Palestinians away from Israeli settlements or roads.
An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel by Jeff Halper
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