At the heart of the current Palestinian-Israeli struggle lies the question of territorial partition and the establishment of sovereignty. The Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority negotiated interim borders, but new permanent checkpoints and border closures became severe problems and contributed to the failure of negotiations and the eruption of a new uprising. Crossing the Green Line Between the West Bank and Israel is about passing through these checkpoints—specifically those that mark the Green Line, the geopolitical border separating the West Bank from Israel proper—and how their existence affects the daily life of West Bank Palestinians.
With unparalleled access to firsthand accounts, Avram S. Bornstein explores the complex relationship between Israeli Arabs, Jews, and West Bank Palestinians in the best tradition of ethnographic inquiry and participant observation. By describing the everyday lives of West Bank Palestinians with whom he lived and worked, Bornstein reveals that Palestinian agriculture and industry have become so severely restricted by Israeli border policies that tens of thousands of Palestinians must work for Israelis, crossing the border illegally every day to get to their jobs. The divide can be felt profoundly by those Palestinians forced to live in the West Bank, as their socioeconomic situations differ dramatically from those of relatives living only a few miles on the other side of the border.
Avram S. Bornstein teaches anthropology at John Jay College, City University of New York.