Visual Occupations: Violence and Visibility in a Conflict Zone
Introduction: Visual Politics at a Conflict Zone
The introduction lays out three organizing conceptual principles—concealment, surveillance, and witnessing—which the book argues are responsible for the visual politics sustaining the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’s “appearance,” maintaining the Israeli military occupation’s visual regimes, and shaping the ways of seeing and visual rights available to actors and spectators. Invoking contemporary popular media examples and the region’s political history, the introduction argues that Israeli blindness and Palestinian invisibility are both byproducts of political denial and conditions for articulating modes of political resistance. Concealment is the key principle organizing the dominant Israeli civil society visual field since 1948, which continues to be increasingly restricted by a vast mechanism of erasure, denial, and obstructions of sight, whereas surveillance organizes the visual field dominating the life of Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories. Lastly, witnessing shapes what the book identifies as the main countervisual practice undermining Israeli visual dominance and questioning the limits of visual documenting practices.