Having completed a Master's degree in Anthropology back in 1992, I worked on a new museum exhibition on co-existence in Jerusalem and soon realized that going back to school would be an easier task. And so I enrolled on the Anthropology D.Phil. programme at Oxford, choosing to write on the memories of Palestinian refugees. The President of Wolfson College asked why I was venturing so far from my country, Israel, to write about something that happened right there. However, it seemed to me that in fact England was way too near (not solely for geographical reasons but also because of its long complacent, history in Palestine).

My fieldwork was conducted in Israel, the Occupied West Bank and Jordan, between 1996 and 1998, consisting of interviews and shared field trips with refugees of Palestine from three villages of Mount Carmel Tirat Haifa, Ain Hawd and Ijzim. It was a difficult task, despite the post-Oslo era of hope and it was an experience that changed my understanding of my own place in the world.

My Viva came a month after the outbreak of the Second Intifada in October 2000, when hope for a solution to the conflict evaporated and travelling into the Occupied Palestinian Territories was no longer an option. I became interested in the struggles over the landscape of memory in Israel and along with a colleague looked into the ways the Islamic Movement was involved in the preservation of Palestinian village remains from 1948. The Jewish version of the events now intrigued me. How is this war, I wondered, described by those who were part of the commando forces, those who "won" it, those who uprooted the Arabs and inherited their homes and land, now in the dusk of their lives?                                                                                  

Continued here

(Copyright 2011, OUAMEAS. All rights reserved.)
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