Jerusalem | Six-Day War in 1967 | Walls that bring ‘peace’ | Coexistence in Claiming Unity

Jerusalem, before 1967, used to be divided into the eastern and western part, with the former governed by Jordan and the latter owned by Israel. The 1967 Arab-Israeli war, succeeding the first one in 1948, helped the winning state ie. Israel to unilaterally annexed the eastern part of Jerusalem on 27 June, 1967. Since then, Jerusalem has been ‘unified’ as one city again.

With the increasing number of bombing of Israeli cities by Palestinian suicide bombers after 1996, the idea of establishing a separation wall, or fence, as Israelis prefer to refer to, became popular among political figures.

Walls suggest defence, protection and privacy. To Israel, it is also a tool to divide, split and isolate the Palestine. Claiming the barriers are for prevention of violent incidents, they are also aggressive measures to fragment the Palestinian urban and social fabric.

Does the existence of the separation wall/fence encircling the periphery of the post-war Jerusalem contradicts with the envision of a unified city of Jerusalem? The narrative aims to explore how effective these gestures can bring Israel a peaceful unification of the city.

The Israeli government decided to construct the ‘separation wall’ of around 1,200 kilometers to close off Jerusalem from the West Bank. With the route drafted by the military and security leaders in June 2002, according to Neazh Mashiah, the director of the project, the wall/fence primarily are intended to realise demographic, territorial and ethnic objectives. These walls are either 8-9 meters tall concrete walls with watchtower and sniper position or electric barriers of 3-5 meters tall barbed wire, electric sensors and cameras.

 

 

What does unification mean to Israel? Judaization, meaning achieving Jew dominant presence, is aimed by Israel since its annexation of Eastern Jerusalem in 1967. Under this objective, differentiation on planning policies often exists between the receiving end of the Jews and the Arabs. Unification, to Israel does not mean the peaceful coexistence of the two ethnicities but the gradual dominance of Jews and in return, the establishment of power of an ethnically homogenous society.

The post-war city development since 1967 has a colonial-settler nature. The walls do not only bound Palestinians and Israelis’ free movements, but also hide Palestine from the Israelis on their side of the wall. It is a step towards physically denying and repressing something’s existence and self-connection to the other, despite the close distance and relationship that exists between the Jews and the Arab neighbourhoods. Often creating differentiation of class among the population of the original settlers and that of the ruling country, colonialism seek for interests and resources from the locals to strengthen sovereignty of the coloniser. The application of physical barriers is the most apparent measure of segregation that Israel has done to the two ethnicities.

Can defence take another form without reinforces the idea of ‘threat’ or ‘enemies’? To what extent Judaization has to be taken to in Jerusalem?

 

Reference

  1. Khamaisi, Rassem, and Rami Nasrallah. “Jerusalem: From Siege to a City’s Collapse?.” City of Collision (2006): 163-170.
  2. Thawaba, Salem, and Hussein Al-Rimmawi. “Spatial transformation of Jerusalem: 1967 to present.” Journal of Planning History 12, no. 1 (2013): 10-11.

3 Comments on “Jerusalem | Six-Day War in 1967 | Walls that bring ‘peace’ | Coexistence in Claiming Unity

  1. Wall is quite a strong symbol of not only physical segregation but also socio-political, ethnic and demographic disconnection brought by Judaization. Wall here is not only a metaphor but an existence produced by immense and conflicts between difference demographic groups. However, how do you define Judaization in Jerusalem? Could you give more context about the evolution of the relationship between different demographic groups from not only the sovereignty perspective but also from the local residents views? Could you give some more angles to see the conflicts?

    Please add more four narratives, four historical documents as well as for bibliographic items before the due date.

  2. The Wall is a symbolic element in the Jerusalem Six Day War, purely looking at the construction and changes of the wall is an interesting strategy to analyse the post war period. As the previous comment mentioned, it is not only about spaces division, but it’s the effects of the segregation that matters. It would be nice to know more about the quantifiable effects brought by the wall, like the data of trading intensity across boarder, flow of citizens before and after the construction of the wall, or documents about how actually Israel established power through unification etc. It would help support and illustrate the ideas you are delivering though these narratives.

    • Besides the factors mentioned in the comments above, I will be interested to investigate the meaning and impact of the wall throughout time. Even thought it is a permanent rigid wall built, its meaning may change as in the relationship of the selarated places alters. I believe that there may be a change in the mentality of citizen in perceiving the wall throughout, whether it is from a sense of providing safety to a barrier between two places. At the end of the article you talk about whether or not the defense can take another form. I personally think that the wall now is a primitive permeanant one-off measure which is not thoroughly thoughtout. Perhaps the potential changes of relationship between two places can be reflected in the design of the walls? Or in other words, maybe it is a relatively responsive wall that reflect the actually relationship between two places at different form at different time?

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