From humanitarian handouts to colonial hand-me-downs: used Israeli goods in Palestinian markets

“In Colonial Shoes: Notes on the Material Afterlife in Post-Oslo Palestine,” Jerusalem Quarterly 48, 2011.

This essay investigates the dense mix of anxieties, assumptions, and social and material relations to which the circulation of used goods in Jenin, the northernmost West Bank Palestinian city, has given rise over the past half-century. In doing so, it asks what it means for the politics of everyday life today that many Jenin residents went from receiving humanitarian hand-outs to buying colonial hand-me-downs. It explores the ambivalences with which each type of used good is spoken about and demonstrates how the post-Oslo amputation of the West Bank from Israel—which occurred in the decade of transition from hand-outs to hand-me-downs—has made it possible for Israeli discards to develop an afterlife in places like Jenin.