Bringing together essays and photographs by leading Israeli practitioners, and complemented by maps, plans and statistical data, A Civilian Occupation explores the processes and repercussions of Israeli planning and its underlying ideology. It demonstrates how, over the last century, planning and architecture have been transformed from everyday professional practices into strategic weapons in the service of the state, which has sought to secure national and geopolitical objectives through the organization of space and in the redistribution of its population. In fact, as the book shows, Israeli architecture has consistently provided the concrete means for the pursuit of the Zionist project of building a national home for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. As such, it is the first study to supplement the more familiar political, military and historical analysis of the Israel-Palestine conflict with a detailed description of the physical environments in which it is played out.
The banning of the first edition of this book by its original publisher was proof, if any were needed, that architecture in Israel, indeed architecture anywhere, can no longer be considered a politically naive activity: the politics of Israeli architecture is the politics of any architecture.
Nathan Witt reflects on the origins of Campus in Camps, an experimental, community-based educational initiative in Dheisheh Camp, Bethlehem. Read up on, support, or donate to Campus in Camps here, and the Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency here.
By Nathan Witt, July 2015
Campus in Camps in Dheisheh Camp, Bethlehem, was first set up by Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal from Decolonizing Architecture (DAAR) in 2012. It is an experimental educational programme run by local and visiting volunteers from various backgrounds. The focus of the programme is on the production of alternative methods of shared knowledge, seeking to empower both the volunteers and the community through the sharing of lived experience. This way, Campus in Camps affords opportunities to negotiate what is too seldom understood as a site of permanent and normalised exile.
The latest Israeli military attacks in Gaza, dubbed 'Operation Protective Edge', is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years. Before the July 2014 offensive, the last large-scale escalation was in November 2012, when the Israeli military bombarded the Gaza Strip with air strikes for eight days. Those strikes killed 171 Palestinians, including more than 100 civilians. In 2008-2009, Israeli soldiers launched a 22-day military operation in Gaza, dubbed Operation Cast Lead. About 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed. [source: Aljazeera]
Tens of thousands of Palestinians have left their houses to seek shelter from an Israeli ground invasion, July 2o014. Photo: Emad Nassar/Al Jazeera
As the latest attacks intensify, and the number of civilian deaths continue to rise, it seems more pertinent than ever to understand the political motivations behind these assaults and, more importantly, how Israel have been able to carry out such atrocities without intervention. Here, we present a list of books from Israeli and Palestinian authors, to explain the conflict and consider what the future might hold. All books on this list are available for direct purchase, at discounts of 30% for hardcovers, 40% for paperbacks, and 50% for ebooks. Additionally, for a limited time, you can download the ebook of the trenchant anthology The Case for Sanctions Against Israel for free.