Dark Hope: Working for Peace in Israel and Palestine

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University of Chicago Press, Nov 15, 2008 - History - 236 pages
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For decades, we’ve been shocked by images of violent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. But for all their power, those images leave us at a loss: from our vantage at home, it’s hard for us to imagine the struggles of those living in the midst of the fighting. Now, American-born Israeli David Shulman takes us right into the heart of the conflict with Dark Hope, an eye-opening chronicle of his work as a member of the peace group Ta‘ayush, which takes its name from the Arabic for “living together.”

Though Shulman never denies the complexity of the issues fueling the conflict—nor the culpability of people on both sides—he forcefully clarifies the injustices perpetrated by Israel by showing us the human dimension of the occupation. Here we meet Palestinians whose houses have been blown up by the Israeli army, shepherds whose sheep have been poisoned by settlers, farmers stripped of their land by Israel’s dividing wall. We watch as whip-swinging police on horseback attack crowds of nonviolent demonstrators, as Israeli settlers shoot innocent Palestinians harvesting olives, and as families and communities become utterly destroyed by the unrelenting violence of the occupation.

Opposing such injustices, Shulman and his companions—Israeli and Palestinian both—doggedly work through checkpoints to bring aid, rebuild houses, and physically block the progress of the dividing wall. As they face off against police, soldiers, and hostile Israeli settlers, anger mixes with compassion, moments of kinship alternate with confrontation, and, throughout, Shulman wrestles with his duty to fight the cruelty enabled by “that dependable and devastating human failure to feel.”

With Dark Hope, Shulman has written a book of deep moral searching, an attempt to discover how his beloved Israel went wrong—and how, through acts of compassionate disobedience, it might still be brought back.

 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
2 Jinba Twaneh the South Hebron Hills
12
Isawiyya Mount Scopus Anata Silwan
64
Salfit Yanun Banu Hassan
102
5 Saying No
118
Maskha Abu Dis ArRam Bilin
144
7 Epilogue
208
Postscript
213
Glossary
221
Select Dramatis Personae
225
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Page 3 - If I look deeply into myself, I can identify — side by side with hope, faith, and a certain embryonic capacity for empathy — the same dark forces that are active among the most predatory of the settlers. I, too, am capable of hate and of polarizing the world. Perhaps the balance, individual or collective, is always precarious. Here is a reason to act.

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About the author (2008)

David Shulman is the Renee Lang Professor of Humanistic Studies in the Department of Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was born in Iowa but moved to Israel in 1967 at age eighteen. Named a MacArthur Fellow in 1987, Shulman is the author or coauthor of nineteen books, including The Hungry God: Hindu Tales of Filicide and Devotion, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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