Aims and Means: Conversations about Research

In the podcast series Aims and Means – Conversations about Research, Akevot Institute researcher Adam Raz talks to prominent researchers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to hear about their specific research angle and discuss the challenges of historical research based on archival materials.


The season finale is now live!

In this episode, historian, Dr. Omri Shafer Raviv talks about his research on the Israeli administration in the territories occupied in 1967. How has Israel’s system of ongoing control over the territories it occupies and the Palestinians living in them evolve and take shape? When did the government realize that the military control of the territories was permanent? What has Israel done to encourage residents of the territories to leave in droves and not return?

In episode 4, Dr. Yael Berda from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Hebrew University, speaks to Adam Raz about her research, which began back when she was a lawyer representing Palestinians in military courts. How do the bureaucratic mechanisms of the occupation work, and how is it that policy is ultimately made by bureaucrats manning the desks? How did British colonialist structures morph into Israel’s control over the Palestinians in the territories?


In episode 3, historian Dr. Leena Dallasheh talks about her research on the city of Nazareth. Why did Nazareth become a Palestinian city despite itself after 1948? And how does the fact that Israel is a surveillance state benefit those researching Palestinian society?


In episode two, historian Benny Morris discusses what he thinks remains to be researched about 1948 and what has changed in terms of access to archival materials in Israel. Morris also shares his opinion about the often-made charge that he had changed his position about the history of the conflict following the Second Intifada.


In episode one, historian Dr. Shay Hazkani discusses his new book, which focuses on the 1948 war as experienced by those who participated in it and how it has shaped the conflict and continues to shape it today.


Aims and Means: The untold and hidden stories behind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The first season of Akevot’s Aims and Means podcast deals with several key themes that characterized – and continue to characterize – the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights, as well as the occupation of the Sinai Peninsula (1967-1982): expulsion of local residents, establishment of settlements, selective law enforcement, and violations of international law. The six episodes each reveal a unique, fascinating, and almost entirely unknown story, based on archival research by Akevot Institute.


On this page you can follow all the episodes of the first season of the podcast. Next to each episode we have uploaded the full transcript, as well as the main documents that were used in the research about each episode. The podcasts, their transcripts, and the original documents are in Hebrew, but we have provided English summaries of each episode and the accompanying documents. 

The sixth and final episode of the season is now available for listening! 

Listen to the full episodes (in Hebrew):


Episode One | Operation Patient

In June 1970, the Israeli Prison Service began collecting groups of Palestinian detainees from detention facilities across Israel and concentrating them in the Beersheba prison. From there, every few weeks the groups were taken to a desolate spot in the desert equipped with a hat, a water canteen, and one Jordanian dinar, and were sent to cross the border into Jordan – to never return. Over at least two years, Israel deported more than 800 Palestinians in this large-scale deportation operation remains hidden from the Israeli public. Today, almost 50 years later, and despite many attempts by Akevot and others, the Ministry of Defense still refuses to release documentation about Operation Patient – the name of the deportation operation.

This episode relies on documents we were able to locate in archives in Israel and abroad to – for the first time – tell the story of Operation Patient.

To see the main documents behind this episode, click here ♦ 

Episode Two | Exiled in the Sinai

In 1971, while under Israeli control, the Sinai Peninsula served as a particularly cruel prison and a target for the exile of those who had never themselves been suspected of committing a crime. At least two sites in Sinai hosted detention camps in the early 1970s: Abu Zenima and Nekhel. Hundreds of people, including children, women, and men, were sent to the makeshift camps. They were kept in the heart of the desert – away from their homes, away from their families, away from the public eye, for varying periods that lasted up to several months. They lived there in harsh conditions described by those who visited the place as unbearable, isolated, and cut off from the world.

In this episode, we explore the story of the detention camps in Abu Zenima and Nekhel in Sinai – a story that has never been told, until now.

To see the main documents behind this episode, click here ♦ 

Episode Three | Unavoidable Necessity

In April 1972, an agricultural aircraft sprayed the fields of the village of Aqraba in the Jordan Valley with chemicals, destroying about 500 dunams of grain. It was the first step in a series of aggressive actions carried out by Israel to take over the lands of Aqraba and establish a settlement on them.

This episode of the podcast tells the story of the initiative to establish the settlement of Gitit, a story that includes the misuse of security-based justifications, the theft of absentee lands, and the abuse of residents who refused to comply with Israel’s demands.

To see the main documents behind this episode, click here ♦ 

Episode Four | A Private Initiative

On the morning of May 2, 1983, bulldozers sent by “Gal – Initiative and Development in Samaria Ltd.” arrived to the lands of the Palestinian village Biddya. The bulldozers appeared after false claims of land acquisition, consolidated with the assistance of the Deputy Minister of Agriculture at the time, lead to a swift decision to establish a new settlement, Elkana D, which was to be built on the village lands. When the residents of Biddya insisted on preventing the bulldozers from entering their lands, an armed Border Police force was called to the scene. The residents refused to evacuate the area and police quickly turned to physical force including pushing, beating and shooting. The result: a resident of the village, Ibrahim al-Aqra, was killed by gunfire to his chest.
This episode of the podcast returns to the story behind the foundation of the settlement Elkana D, and shows how the privatization of the settlement project in the early 1980s coincided with an affair of corruption and forgery of documents, and how it all led to the unnecessary death of a 75-year-old man trying to protect his land.

To see the main documents behind this episode, click here

Episode Five | Displacement in the Heights

On June 1, 1967, about 90,000 people lived in the Syrian Golan Heights. About two months later, a census conducted by Israel after taking over the Golan Heights counted only 6,396 residents – the vast majority of them Druze. Where did the tens of thousands of Syrians of the area go? The blurring of the fate of the Golan residents is related, among other things, to the fact that most of the Israeli documents dealing with this issue remain classified. However, documents we located in the Red Cross archives in Geneva provide details written by two Red Cross representatives who were sent to the Golan Heights immediately after the war.

This episode of the podcast provides a glimpse into what took place in the Golan Heights in the days and weeks after the occupation and describes how the filming of an Israeli propaganda film led hundreds of residents who remained in the Golan Heights after the war to flee.

To see the main documents behind this episode, click here

Episode Six | There Would Be No End

In October 1967, two Border Police officers were driving in the Latrun area when a truck carrying two Palestinians working for the Public Works Department (PWD) nearly collided with them. In response, the policemen drove the two Palestinians to an open field where they fired 17 bullets into their backs. What led to the random murder?

In this episode of the podcast, we return to one of the few cases – if not the only case – in which a member of the Israeli security forces was convicted for murdering Palestinians.

To see the main documents behind this episode, click here