Contested Land, the Implicate Relation of Memories and Traumas of Israelis and Palestinians

Friday, July 18, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: F206
Oral Presentation
Aide ESU , Social Sciences and Institutions, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
Israel and Palestine, over the course of their historical conflict, have created a complex patchwork of memory narratives dealing with different representations of the same landscape. The paper examines how the two peoples have elaborated their narratives of national identity by practicing a pre-modern repertoire to shape a modern identity, and by knitting together their collective, multiple visions of the land. Israelis and Palestinians have used space as a temporal-spatial tool to practice the remembering of lost land and to elaborate an imaginative geography.

In an intractable conflict like the Israeli-Palestinian one, a culture of conflict and a psychological repertoire of conflict have developed. This repertoire includes ethos, emotional orientation and collective memory, which all sustain and reinforce the conflict. My purpose is to focus attention on both narratives adopting Bar-Tal’s view: “Israeli society represents a mirror image of the Arab societies, particularly of the Palestinian society (…) both societies shared beliefs and mutually held social representations.”(Bar-Tal 1998). The case of the Israeli and Palestinian memories raises many questions; however, I wish to limit the discussion to the relationship between dreamt/imagined space in the Diasporas memories, and the entanglements related to loss and claims of return. The time line does not follow a unified, progressive chronology. A temporal dialogue keeps memory alive, but the past is not simply “preserved. The results of the 1948 war dramatically changed the relationship to the land. Political Zionism fulfils for “people without land the dreamed-of homeland. The uprooting from the homeland is the focal point of Palestinian national identity, the trauma and the loss feeds their memory and nourish their narratives.