Unsettling Gaza: Secular Liberalism, Radical Religion, and the Israeli Settlement Project

ISBN : 9780199751204

Joyce Dalsheim
240 ページ
175 x 241 mm

The terms Israel, Palestine, and conflict conjure up a set of images of struggles between two peoples over territory and sovereignty in the heart of the Middle East. However, there are conficts within that confict that contribute to the seemingly endless violence in the region. This book examines one of those conflicts, between Jewish Israelis, focusing on the case of right-wing religious settlers in Israeli-occupied territories, and the liberal left-wing public that vehemently opposes the settlers and their project. This is a conflict that has taken on central importance in the current political climate as the settlers are seen by many in the region as a threat to both democracy and peace with the Palestinians. At the same time, those religiously motivated settlers question the limits of liberal democracy and deem liberal Israeli practices as threatening to the very future of the State of Israel. In Israel the socio-religious-political scene tends to be depicted in sets of binary oppositions: right/left, religious/secular, in favor/opposed to settlement in post-1967 occupied territories. Arguing that these binaries are not the most useful conceptualization, Dalsheim employs recent fieldwork to place the two sets of apparently incommensurable discourses and practices in a single frame. During the year preceding the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, or "disengagement," she carried out ethnographic fieldwork among Israeli settlers on both sides of the Green Line in that region. She argues that this conflict between Israeli settlers arises from the suppression of sameness, rather than difference, focusing on the commonalities among settlers in the Gaza Strip and liberal Israelis (often from kibbutz communities) in the Western Negev across the Green Line. By shedding light on the roots of this intractable conflict, Dalsheim makes it possible to examine lesser known socio-religious-political positions and constellations of identity that challenge the limits of what appear to be the currently available options for Israel/Palestine.


1. Fundamentally Settlers?
2. Disturbing Doubling: Antagonizing Settlers and History in the Present
3. Producing Absence and Habits of Blinding Vision
4. Disciplining Doubt: Expressing Uncertainty in Gush Katif
5. Twice Removed: Mizrahim in Gush Katif
6. The Danger of Redemption: Messianic Visions and the Potential for Nonviolence
7. Unimaginable Futures: Hospitality, Sovereignty and Thinking Past Territorial Nationalism
8. On Disturbing Categories
9. On Demonized Muslims and Vilified Jews


Joyce Dalsheim is a cultural anthropologist who studies nationalism, religion, and conflict in Israel and Palestine. She earned her doctorate at the New School for Social Research, and has taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Wake Forest University, and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. In 2005, she held the Rockefeller Fellowship at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.