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September 02 , 2007

Palestinian Commemoration in Israel

Calendars, Monuments, and Martyrs


Collective memory transforms historical events into political myths. In this book, Tamir Sorek considers the development of collective memory and national commemoration among the Palestinian citizens of Israel. He charts the popular politicization of four key events—the Nakba, the 1956 Kafr Qasim Massacre, the 1976 Land Day, and the October 2000 killing of twelve Palestinian citizens in Israel—and investigates a range of commemorative sites, including memorial rallies, monuments, poetry, the education system, political summer camps, and individual historical remembrance. These sites have become battlefields between diverse social forces and actors—including Arab political parties, the Israeli government and security services, local authorities, grassroots organizations, journalists, and artists—over representations of the past.

Palestinian commemorations are uniquely tied to Palestinian encounters with the Israeli state apparatus, with Jewish Israeli citizens of Israel, and by their position as Israeli citizens themselves. Reflecting longstanding tensions between Palestinian citizens and the Israeli state, as well as growing pressures across Palestinian societies within and beyond Israel, these moments of commemoration distinguish Palestinian citizens not only from Jewish citizens, but from Palestinians elsewhere. Ultimately, Sorek shows that Palestinian citizens have developed commemorations and a collective memory that offers both moments of protest and points of dialogue, that is both cautious and circuitous.
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