Marking a hollow victory.

Author:Fitzharris, Sally
Position:MOSAIC - Brief article
 
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IN JERUSALEM THERE were parties to celebrate: since then many hundreds of column inches have analysed the 'victory' or otherwise of Israel's annexation of Palestinian East Jerusalem. But in a quiet street of Tel Aviv last week, a photographic exhibition entitled '40 years from 67' told the story more succinctly. In the Artists' House at 9 Alcharizi Street, four trophy cities were pasted to the walls: Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron and Gaza, fruits of the Six Day War in 1967. This exhibition was not about victory.

Each group of photographs was supported by text: but explanation was barely necessary.

Jerusalem was pictured in stones, rubble, broken houses: a Caterpillar bulldozer and Star of David flag told the story of municipal housing policy and Palestinian house demolition. Bethlehem, walled and wired, showed an imprisoned people, Hebron with its market streets emptied, metal doors welded shut, and racist graffiti described settler injustice. The Gaza sequence was harder to illustrate: though a leading photograph of a young boy in the shadow of a soldier's automatic rifle was memorable. In itself the display showed the co-operation necessary between Palestinians and Israelis: Gazan photographers had to mail images through to Israel, since neither could enter the other's territory.

While some of the images were strong enough to stand on their own they worked best in groupings: a potent peripateia or reversal of Israeli state rhetoric. This was the work of Active Stills: a group of young, freelance photographers established in 2005, 'out of a strong conviction in photography's power to create change through awareness'. The original four had met in the West Bank village of Bil'in where young Israeli activists demonstrate against the Wall with Palestinians and internationals. Since then, their numbers have doubled to become an international-Israeli-Palestinian collective. Keren Manor, one of the founders of the group is a student of Miki Kratsman: for many years...

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