At Home with "Palestine": Performing Historical Photographs of the West Bank in Israeli Households




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Bloomsbury Visual Arts


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Peer reviewed



This chapter offers insights into the multiple roles played by photography in the sociocultural embodiment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Looking into the emergence of photographic cultures in Israel of the post-1967 war period, it focuses on the participation of photographs that Jewish-Israelis captured within the West Bank in performances and celebrations of Israel’s 1967 war victory. Jewish-Israelis started flooding into this territory only a week after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war ended. Commonly carrying cameras, they subsequently took photographs in spaces that had just returned to accommodating more prosaic activities than armed conflict. Drawing on archival research and ethnographic work with local participants, the chapter demonstrates that the photographs that Jewish-Israeli citizens captured in the West Bank of that period informed their understanding of Israel’s claimed right to this territory alongside their perception of its Palestinian residents. Portraying the lives that the photographs have lived in the Jewish-Israeli household since that time, it argues that they helped Jewish-Israeli citizens cement their perceived historical relationship to the West Bank at the same time as they reassured the itinerants, their friends and families that their morality was intact, the situation in the country safe and their relationship with the Palestinians affable.


Some of the research activities undertaken towards the completion of this study were carried out as part of the project Digital Heritage in Cultural Conflicts (DigiCONFLICT) that received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 699523 (Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage), implemented in the United Kingdom by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) under Project Ref AH/S000119/1. I am grateful to all the individuals and families who welcomed me to their homes with open arms and enabled me to explore their photographic collections, together as well as independently. Their kindness, generosity, open mind and sincere cooperation were fundamental to my ability to develop the multiple layers of this study.


1967 Arab-Israeli war, Domestic photographs, West Bank, Palestine, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Photography and travel, Photography and war, Photographic albums, Family photography


Pasternak, G. (2020) At Home with "Palestine": Performing Historical Photographs of the West Bank in Israeli Households. In: Gil Pasternak, ed. Visioning Israel-Palestine: Encounters at the Cultural Boundaries of Conflict, pp. 210-243. London & New York: Bloomsbury Visual Arts.


Research Institute

Institute of Art and Design