An Aesthetic Occupation was written during the in-
terval spanning two notorious political incidents
in Jerusalem: the so-called archaeological tunnel
episode of September 1996 and the crisis that fol-
lowed upon Israeli Likud party leader Ariel Sha-
ron’s self-declared “visit of peace” to the Haram
al-Sharif/Temple Mount exactly four years later.
Nevertheless, this is not a timely work in the con-
ventional sense of the term. To the contrary, the
very idea of “timeliness”—the notion that during
such moments of crisis, the truth of a political sit-
uation presents itself directly and without media-
tion—is one that I call into question in the pages
that follow. More to the point, this is a political
biography of that same idea, a history of its par-
ticipation in the same violent struggle it would
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