By Efrat Ben-Ze'ev
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2011
Online Publication Date:October 2011
The war of 1948 in Palestine is a conflict whose history has been written primarily from the national point of view. This book asks what happens when narratives of war arise out of personal stories of those who were involved, stories that are still unfolding. Efrat Ben-Ze‘ev, an Israeli anthropologist, examines the memories of those who participated and were affected by the events of 1948, and how these events have been mythologized over time. This is a three-way conversation between Palestinian villagers, Jewish-Israeli veterans, and British policemen who were stationed in Palestine on the eve of the war. Each has his or her story to tell. Across the years, these witnesses relived their past in private within family circles and tightly knit groups, through gatherings and pilgrimages to sites of villages and battles, or through naming and storytelling. Rarely have their stories been revealed to an outsider. As Dr. Ben-Ze‘ev discovers, these small-scale truths, which were collected from people at the dusk of their lives and previously overshadowed by nationalized histories, shed new light on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as it was then and as it has become.