Jerusalem / since 1967 / Of Barriers and Walls
“… the wall is simply and exclusively a matter of security” Benjamin Netanyahu (Former Israeli Prime Minister, New York Times July 2004)
‘…against the ‘security wall’ being built by Israel to physically separate itself from Palestine… the sight of a 30ft high concrete barrier slashing through urban neighbourhoods, while shocking, is also ordinary…’ (Ed. Michael Sorkin, Against the Wall, 2005)
The separation wall built by Israel ‘follows a remarkably serpentine path designed not for defense – for which a straight line is more logical – but to reach into the West Bank and capture Israeli settlements for an expanded territory of Israel… The wall is also articulated horizontally in a system of laminar segregation that compress Palestinian space, boxing Palestine and allowing Israeli sovereignty to flow through it on all sides…’ (Ed. Michael Sorkin, Against the Wall, 2005)
‘Israel wishes the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem to see Judaization as an ‘inevitable fact’ that should be received passively as part of the modern development of the metropolis.’ (Ed. Michael Sorkin, Against the Wall, 2005)
The above excerpts speak of the barriers that exist and are being built to separate Palestine from Israel driven by religion and regionalism. The last excerpt however anchors this point further by stating the visualised development of the city where Palestine will be attempted to be overcome by the growth of Israel and Judaism.
The barriers under construction, as shown on the images below, will have a severe and significant impact on the future of the city since most segments of the wall will be of concrete and will aim to ‘isolate inhabited areas from each other and fragment Palestinian neighbourhoods’, which will form a separated Israeli Jerusalem. ‘The wall will separate around 40,000 Jerusalemite Palestinians from the city and its services… The spatial distortion is aimed at reducing the city’s Palestinian population in official publications.’
This multiplicity of walls and barriers in Jerusalem will subsequently affect its economic, cultural and commercial link between northern and southern Palestinian cities thus ‘reducing its scope as a Palestinian metropolis to the point where it no longer serves some surrounding neighbourhoods.’ (Ed. Michael Sorkin, Against the Wall, 2005)
‘… The Israelis always build on the crests with fortress-like walls rising out of the mountain below. Then they build miles of wire and search-lit fences, taking swaths of land for future expansion.’ (Wall notes: Tom Kay, Against the Wall).
Apart from being a seperation barrier, these walls attempted to keep the Palestinians out, also serve as points where new Israeli settlements could start to grow, since these regions could now be labelled as ‘protected’. Also, regionalism through defense mechanisms are used to sustain land for further development in the future.
What also becomes apparent as a result of barriers and walling is the disruption of many roadways and dispersed villages or unplanned settlements at the points of conflict. Such roadways are sometimes ‘blocked with an earth barrier, as was every Palestinian village…’ What also becomes evident is how regionalism takes control.
‘To get from one village to another, we often had to drive on crazily rutted steep dirt tracks, the settlers and soldiers controlling virtually every road…in the end the trip took eight hours, covering ground which, without the settlements might have taken two.’ (Wall notes: Tom Kay, Against the Wall).
– Alona Nitzan-Shiftan, Perspecta, Vol. 39, Re_Urbanism: Transforming Capitals (2007), pp. 92-104, The Walled City and the White City: The Construction of the Tel Aviv/ Jerusalem Dichotomy
– Sorkin, Michael, Against the Wall, Israel’s Barrier to Peace, (2005)