Acts of Solidarity: Crossing and Reiterating Israeli-Palestinian Frontiers

Alexander Koensler

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6 Citations (Scopus)
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In academic and public discourses on the Zionist-Palestinian conflict prevails still a ‘methodological nationalism’ based on a separatist imagination that overshadows the existence and role of Israeli-Palestinian forms of communality and solidarity. This article analyzes micropolitical practices that cross existing frontiers both within Israel and between occupied Palestinian territories and Israel. Through recent conceptualizations of ‘acts’, I read these ethnographic episodes in their intentional and performative dimension. What is the role of these ‘acts’? What are their effects on both the participants and the wider public? Through two interconnected cases, different functions of acts are explored. The first case relates to encounters between Israelis and Palestinian in the embattled city of Hebron in the occupied Palestinian territories; the second investigates moments of a Gandhi-inspired peace march at the ‘internal’ frontier of the Israeli Negev desert. The ethnographic perspective reveals what lies behind and beneath the acts, going beyond the obvious structures of power of the conflict. Acts function primarily as a valve of catharsis for the participants themselves, both overcoming and reproducing hegemonic discursive elements of the conflict. Paradoxically, acts of solidarity are often crucial in creating public knowledge about the conflict in more sectarian terms. 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340–356
JournalInternational Journal of Urban and Regional Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


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