40 years continued: a political impasse / + update: Hollow Land by E.Weizman / R. Bechler on the ai report

Fred Halliday, professor of international relations at the LSE, and visiting professor at the Barcelona Institute of International Studies, offers his analysis and view on the Middle East situation in the latest publication at opendemocracy.net:Forty years after the six-day war of June 1967, the prospects for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seem as remote as ever. It doesn’t have to be this way, he writes. His read worthy article continues …

In December 2006, in the context of developing links with Israeli and Palestinian universities, I paid a visit to the city of Jerusalem, formally united under Israeli rule, but in practice still divided into an Israeli west and an Arab east. As soon as I had completed my business, I cut short my visit and left to return to my home in Barcelona: never had I felt so depressed about the prospects for peace in this region; that the two communities were so lacking in effective leadership and coherent and reasonable political purposes; that the lessons of the past, and the persistent but unnecessary suffering associated with the conflict, had been so completely forgotten, overwhelmed by a new wave of demagogy, religious intransigence and hatred. ….
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UPDATE: Aside with the article are also references listed to elder reports on the issue among those the meanwhile spread “Politics of Verticality” by E.Weizman and his not so wellknown work on A.Sharon and the Geometry of Occupation and his recent book titled: Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation (look here for information on the upcoming presentation in London).
Hollow Land is a groundbreaking exploration of the political space created by Israel’s colonial occupation. In this journey from the deep subterranean spaces of the West Bank and Gaza to their militarized airspace, Weizman unravels Israel’s mechanisms of control and its transformation of the Occupied Territories into a theoretically constructed artifice, in which natural and built features function as the weapons and ammunition with which the conflict is waged.

Weizman traces the development of these ideas, from the influence of archaeology on urban planning, Ariel Sharon’s reconceptualization of military defense during the 1973 war, through the planning and architecture of the settlements, to contemporary Israeli discourse and practice of urban warfare. In exploring Israel’s methods to transform the landscape itself into a tool of total domination and control, Hollow Land lays bare the political system at the heart of this complex and terrifying project of late-modern colonial occupation.

Rosemary Bechler has published a resume on her reading of the before mentioned ai report on 40 years of siege.

While the Israeli authorities contend that this regime is necessary to prevent Palestinians from entering Israel to carry out suicide-bombings and other attacks, the report – Enduring Occupation: Palestinians Under Seige in the West Bank – emphasises that “virtually all the checkpoints, gates, blocked roads and most of the fence/wall are located inside the West Bank – not between Israel and the West Bank” (Amnesty italics). In a section cogently entitled “Israeli settlements: the reason for the restrictions”, the authors stress that the only conceivable logic behind so much of what Eyal Weizman calls “Israel’s architecture of occupation” is “to create territorial contiguity of these settlements with Israel” while ensuring that “there is no territorial contiguity between Palestinian communities in different areas of the West Bank.”

These restrictions are imposed “not, as Israel claims, to prevent Palestinians from entering Israel” – but “in fact … to bring about long-term demographic changes”: “For four decades … so-called ‘temporary’ measures… have had the effect of establishing or increasing the Israeli presence and appropriation of land in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, while at the same time reducing or removing the presence of Palestinians in these areas.” ….
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