The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the world’s most polarizing confrontations. Its current phase, Israel’s “temporary” occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, turns a half century old in June 2017. In these timely and provocative essays, Gershon Shafir asks three questions—What is the occupation, why has it lasted so long, and how has it transformed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?—in order to figure out how we got here, what here is, and where we are likely to go. He expertly demonstrates that at its fiftieth year, the occupation is riven with paradoxes, legal inconsistencies, and conflicting interests that weaken the occupiers’ hold and leave the occupation itself vulnerable to challenge.
Gershon Shafir is Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego, and the founding director of its Human Rights Program. He has served as the President of the Israel Studies Association and is the author or editor of ten books, among them Land, Labor, and the Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1882–1914. He is also the coauthor, with Yoav Peled, of Being Israeli: The Dynamics of Multiple Citizenship, which won the Middle Eastern Studies Association’s Albert Hourani Award in 2002, and the coeditor, with Mark Levine, of Struggle and Survival in Palestine/Israel.
“Fifty years after the Six Day War, Israeli direct control over the West Bank and indirect control over Gaza continue with no end in sight. While younger generations of Palestinians have grown up knowing nothing but occupation, all global citizens need to learn or be reminded of how it came about, its nature, and the reasons for its longevity. Gershon Shafir tells this story masterfully, with insight, clarity, and passion. A much needed guidebook for understanding one of the great moral questions of our time.”—James Gelvin, author of Israel-Palestine Conflict: One Hundred Years of War