Drawing upon subaltern geopolitics and feminist geography, this article explores how militarisation shapes micro-geographies of violence and occupation in Israel–Palestine. While accounts of spectacular and large-scale political violence dominate popular imaginaries and academic analyses in/of the region, a shift to the micro-scale foregrounds the relationship between power, politics and space at the level of everyday life. In the context of Israel–Palestine, micro-geographies have revealed dynamic strategies for ‘getting by’ or ‘dealing with’ the occupation, as practiced by Palestinian populations in the face of spatialised violence. However, this article considers how Jewish Israelis actively shape the spatial micro-politics of power within and along the borders of the Israeli state. Based on 12 months of ethnographic research in Tel Aviv and West Jerusalem during 2010–2011, an analysis of everyday narratives illustrates how relations of violence, occupation and domination rely upon gendered dynamics of border collapse and boundary maintenance. Here, the borders between home front and battlefield break down at the same time as communal boundaries are reproduced, generating conditions of ‘total militarism’ wherein military interests and agendas are both actively and passively diffused. Through gendering the militarised micro-geographies of violence among Jewish Israelis, this article reveals how individuals construct, navigate and regulate the everyday spaces of occupation, detailing more precisely how macro political power endures.
Natanel, Katherine. Sustaining Conflict. Apathy and Domination in Israel-Palestine. Oakland: University of California Press, 2016.
Sustaining Conflict develops a groundbreaking theory of political apathy, using a combination of ethnographic material, narrative, and political, cultural, and feminist theory. It examines how the status quo is maintained in Israel-Palestine, even by the activities of Jewish Israelis who are working against the occupation of Palestinian territories. The book shows how hierarchies and fault lines in Israeli politics lead to fragmentation, and how even oppositional power becomes routine over time. Most importantly, the book exposes how the occupation is sustained through a carefully crafted system that allows sympathetic Israelis to “knowingly not know,” further disconnecting them from the plight of Palestinians. While focusing on Israel, this is a book that has lessons for how any authoritarian regime is sustained through apathy.
Table of Contents
1 The Everyday of Occupation
2 Bordered Communities
3 Normalcy, Ruptured and Repaired
4 Embedded (In)action
5 Protesting Politics
KATHERINE NATANEL is a Lecturer in Gender Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.
The 1948 war resulted in a sweeping spatial transformation of areas included in the bounds of the newly formed Jewish state, including that of the western Jerusalem. Arab neighbourhoods were almost totally depopulated during fighting and shortly after resettled by Jews, most of which has been war refugees from Jerusalem’s Jewish neighbourhoods or newly arrived immigrants. The effect of war on human spatial structures is in many cases abrupt and sweeping. Yet, due to the limited use of heavy weaponry by both belligerent sides, the damage to built-up structures and infrastructure systems was not inclusive. Repopulation of former Arab areas by Jews was of large scale and carried out by different local and national institutions. Yet it seems as in many cases it was personal initiatives, especially of war refugees that sought for alternative housing that had a crucial effect over the newly formed settlement pattern. One way or another, the spatial structure of Jerusalem that was formed in decades of urban dynamic development was drastically transformed after a short period of fighting between December 1947 and early 1949, that affects the spatial structure of Israel’s capital city until now.