A feminist activist from Israel revisits her partner’s all but eye-witness account of a young Palestinian woman in occupied Ramallah who was forced to provide sexual services to Israeli tax officials. Years after the facts, she turns the rigor of her critical gaze at her failure of vision and potential action. Privileged Jewish, Ashkenazi, educated, middle class, she is also placed beyond the pale by her dissent and her lesser gender. But, she says, “This telling is not a ritual of absolution. It is not a confession. I am trying to understand, to locate where and how it works – the trap. The paralysis. The silencing. … The record I’m keeping admits to the guilt, takes responsibility for it. Squirms with it. Dwells with it, squirming. It also recognizes the wisdom; of managing within constraints, of identifying the possibilities, of slow, persistent negotiating, of painstaking work against the grain of, but still within, femininity.” Originally published in Hebrew in the collection “Home Archaeology: Essay Tales” and re-rendered into English by the author, this piece unearths some of the most unspoken, deeply buried and horrific layers of occupation, subjection and collusion.

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