PREOCCUPIED

Since 1967, millions of Israelis have served as soldiers, border guards or administrators in the Palestinian territories occupied during the Six Day War.

Serving in the West Bank and East Jerusalem during mandatory military service has become a rite of passage for young Israeli men and women fresh out of high school.

During this time an intersection occurs between their civilian identities as young adults and their military identities. The latter places them in a position of power over a civilian population of which they often have little to no understanding. 

In the 21st century, the smart phone provides a unique connection between these dual identities. It is not uncommon to see these soldiers using their phones while on duty at checkpoints with smart phones wielded as readily as automatic weapons. 

The images in this book are collected from the public Instagram accounts of Israeli Defence Force service men and women serving in the occupied Palestinian territories. Each images was marked with a location tagged in the West Bank or East Jerusalem, ranging from military bases and Israeli settlements to checkpoints and Palestinian villages.

This smart phone documentation highlights the normalisation of serving in an occupying army as images of time in service become interchangeable with images of civilian life such as beaches, friends and food. The irrepressible 'selfie' transcends this intersection as the service men and women capture themselves regardless of what their backdrop or identity might be at the time.

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