GETTING BY THE OCCUPATION: How Violence Became Normal during the Second Palestinian Intifada:

LORI ALLEN

ABSTRACT

The second Palestinian intifada against Israeli occupation, which began in September 2000, saw Palestinian areas repeatedly invaded and shelled by Israeli forces. A long history of war and targeted cities is told along the thoroughfares of Palestinian towns; memories of past battles and defeats inscribed in street signs recall massacres in places like Tel Al-Za'atar and Deir Yasin. But recent events were more important than any official marker and formed the most relevant base by which Palestinians organized their lives. Commemorative cultural production and basic acts of physically getting around that became central to the spatial and social practices by which reorientation and adaptation to violence occurred in the occupied Palestinian territories. This article analyzes the spaciotemporal, embodied, and symbolic aspects of the experience of violence, and the political significance of cultural practices whereby violence is routinized. Such an approach provides a lens onto the power of violence in Israel's colonial project in the occupied territories that neither necessitates an assumption that violence is all determining of Palestinian experience, nor a championing of every act of Palestinian survival as heroic resistance. Memorialization that occurs in storytelling, in visual culture, in the naming of places and moving through spaces is one way in which this happens. The concept of "getting by" captures the many spatial and commemorative forms by which Palestinians manage everyday survival. The kind of agency that is entailed in practices whereby people manage, get by, adapt, and the social significance of getting used to it may be somewhat nebulous and unobtrusive as it develops in the shadow of spectacular battles and bloodshed. I demonstrate that this routinization of violence in and of itself, the fact of getting by, just existing in an everyday way, is socially and politically significant in Palestine.