JERUSALEM(2000-2017)/INFRASTRUCTURE AS POLITICAL TOOL : THE CASE OF LIGHT RAIL IN DIVIDING JERUSALEM II Public Representation
Through public representation, the Israel Government made huge effort to demonstrate that Jerusalem is under the control of Israel and is becoming a more modern city with their infrastructural development especially the Light Rail system. Against the background of a controversial territorial and political situation, the Israel ignore any opinion from the Palestinian side, not only construed by also promoted the light rail to city’s residents, visitors and the world that Jerusalem is a “united city” belongs to them. Through public advertising and promotion of tourism, the rail became part of the political and territorial legitimization.
The rail line connects West Jerusalem to the Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and also contested area in the West Bank where the Jews inhabit(all of which are illegal under international law). It is as part of the Master plan for Jerusalem that aimed to hider Palestinian growth in Jerusalem while expanding Jewish presence and domination throughout the city. The light rail has radically alter the impression of the city especially from a point of view of an outsider. Through making statement on official website and advertising poster, the Israel is slowing trying to let the world forget the Palestinian is also coexisting and occupying half of the city.
On the official website of the light rail system, it stated” Development of the light rail line is bringing prosperity and growth to the city’s estate and business sectors, and upsurge in cultural and entertainment centers, and accessibility to the downtown area for resident of large neighborhoods, such as Pisgat Ze’ev.”Know that the rail line passes through the territory of the Palestinian, the Israel pays no effort to clarify the context of the city which is actually a very contested place that is made as an outcome of political and social relations and struggles for power(Yacobi,2004:6). Officially the Light rail is praised as a means of urban development and modernity that is to equal benefit to the people in the city, the Israelis and Palestinian. However, it is actually more of an political statement and also infrastructure serving mostly the Israelis and the Israel government. Thus, the meaning of the public transportation goes far beyond an utility, it becomes a huge clothe that covers everything on the table that is controversy and contesting.
(The light rail along Jaffa Road in the center of Jerusalem)
Another example of public representation is the poster that advertised the Jerusalem Marathon 2013. The race pass through east Jerusalem and not paying any attention to the territorial dispute between the two sides of the city. The race featured the Light rail train as the background of the title “Jerusalem Marathon”. This shows that the Israel government (the organizer of the race is Jerusalem Municipal Sports Division) is yet again using the same tricks as light rail by legitimizing the act with a reason and tries to claim more control over Palestinian territory physically and psychologically.
Though Public representation, the Israel government tries to cover the fact the the city is in a state of segregation and spaces are in struggle. They intend to take over the place through “soft” act with sugar coating.
(Jerusalem Marathon 2013 Poster)
Rokem, J., & Vaughan, L. (2017). Segregation, mobility and encounters in Jerusalem: The role of public transport infrastructure in connecting the ‘divided city’. Urban Studies,
Nolte, A. (2016). Political infrastructure and the politics of infrastructure. City, 20(3), 441-454
Wendy Pullan(2013) Conflict’s Tools. Borders, Boundaries and Mobility in Jerusalem’s Spatial Structures, mobilizes,8:1, 125-147