Israel: In this Land / Zed Nelson

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This series of images was borne from the challenges of attempting to understand the mindset of contemporary Israel.

The project investigates the psyche of a nation trapped in a conflict deeply rooted in a struggle for occupation and possession of land. Travelling the complete land and sea border of the country, it explores the notion that Israel is a nation defined by its borders.

A memory of the long history of Jewish exile and persecution and the short turbulent history of the Jewish state is a necessary compass to its current psyche. One of its most acute problems is precisely the way its past weighs upon – and informs – its future. Gripped in a violent, blood-soaked reality, modern Israelis live with a siege mentality.

It’s hard not to feel some sympathy for the notion of a Jewish homeland. But the violent birth of Israel displaced so many Palestinians that the problems it created remain as fresh and raw today as when the conflict first began. Events that followed have spawned one of the most intractable conflicts in the world.

Each new Israeli settlement constructed on Palestinian land cements years of conflict to come.  Each new violent act – committed by either a Palestinian Arab or an Israeli Jew – pushes the hope of a resolution ever further out of reach. Israel’s preoccupation with security and its sense of isolation, continues to thwart its ability to reinvent itself and emerge from the shadows of its past