A Half Century of Occupation

Episode 344

hosted by Nir Shafir

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2017 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Six-Day War and the start of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula, and Golan Heights. Gershon Shafir discusses why this occupation has lasted for so long in the West Bank and how “the Occupation” has differed from earlier forms of settler colonialism in Israel-Palestine. In particular, we focus on the state of “permanent temporariness” that the Israeli government has purposefully inculcated in the face of international law and the emergence of a specific movement of religious-nationalist settlers. At the end, Shafir contemplates how the Occupation has changed the larger Arab-Israeli conflict itself and, by means of a feasibility study, suggests a variety of different visions for the future of the area.

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Contributor Bios

Gershon Shafir is a professor of sociology at the University of California, San Diego. He has published and edited numerous books on the topics of nationalism, ethnicity, citizenship and human rights, especially in regard to Israel/Palestine.
Nir Shafir is a historian whose research explores the intellectual and religious history of the early modern Middle East, with a focus on material culture and the history of science and technology. He curates Ottoman History Podcast’s series on history of science in addition to being one of the co-founders of hazine.info, a website that explores the archives and libraries of the Islamic world. He is an assistant professor of history at UCSD.


Episode No. 344
Release Date: 5 February 2018
Recording Location: La Jolla, Calif.
Audio editing by Chris Gratien
Music: Ben Yemenimi Al Isterim - Hafiz Burhan; Katibim (Uskudar'a Gider iken) - Safiye Ayla
Special thanks to Kara Güneş for permission to use the composition "Istanbul"
Images and bibliography curated by  Nir Shafir

Select Bibliography

Shafir, Gershon. A Half Century of Occupation: Israel, Palestine, and the World’s Most Intractable Conflict. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2017.

LeVine, Mark A., and Gershon Shafir, eds. Struggle and Survival in Palestine/Israel. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.

Shafir, Gershon. “Settler Citizenship in the Jewish Colonization of Palestine.” In Settler Colonialism in the Twentieth Century: Projects, Practices, Legacies, edited by Caroline Elkins and Susan Pedersen. New York: Routledge, 2005.

Shafir, Gershon. Land, Labor and the Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1882-1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.