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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.
Katherine Natanel is a Lecturer in Gender Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.
"This sensitively observed, thoughtfully researched, and beautifully written book closely analyzes the workings and texture of apathy that are the foundation of antipolitics in Israel. In chapter after chapter, Natanel records the relentlessness of a kind of detachment that allows for Israelis to live a 'normal' life while only miles away from them a brutal apparatus of occupation attempts to pacify Palestinians. Natanel incisively shows the enormous amount of work that goes into this apathy and inaction, which are so necessary to the making of Israeli settler-colonialism."—Laleh Khalili, Professor of Middle East Politics, University of London
"Astutely navigating the everydayness of the Israeli settler-colonial occupation of Palestine, Katie Natanel, employing a feminist autoethnography and ethnographies of privileged yet knowing and caring Israeli anti-occupation women activists, explores how the gendered texture of political apathy reproduces Israeli colonization, and how active disengagement ultimately enables, rather than resists, the continuity of Israeli normalcy and thus domination and occupation."— Ronit Lentin, Associate Professor of Sociology, Trinity College Dublin