Archive for July, 2010
Yesterday’s Guardian carries video and comment regarding the demolition of a Bedouin village in the Negev region of Israel. Neve Gordon provocatively refers to the razing of this village as ‘ethnic cleansing’, arguing that it is evidence of the state of Israel’s desire to ‘Judaise’ the Negev. The description of the demolition of residential structures and the uprooting of trees certainly indicates an attempt to prevent the Bedouin establishing a claim to territory that Israel regards as its own (and thus, following the logic of Zionism, as Jewish). Building is a primary way in which identity and territory can be linked since dwelling establishes a durable relationship between individuals and the place they reside in. Given that ethnic cleansing is defined by its assumed linkage of identity and territory one can understand how Gordon comes to his conclusion. However striking this claim might be, however, to my mind it obscures the deeper politics of administrative demolition in Israel.
My book Urbicide: The Politics of Urban Destruction is now available in paperback.
It can be ordered from the Routledge website: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415573566/. At the moment it costs £23.50/$39.95 and they are offering free delivery for orders over £20/$35.
Click on the book cover on the right to see contents and read an extract
Urbicide is the first book length discussion of the deliberate destruction of cities. I examine the ‘killing of cities’ in cases such as the 1992-95 Bosnian war, the Russian Chechen Campaigns, and the Israel-Palestine conflict. I outline a theoretical understanding of what is achieved in such destruction.
In March, Cambridge Review of International Affairs published my review of Jon Calame and Esther Charlesworth’s book Divided Cities: Belfast, Beirut, Jerusalem, Mostar, and Nicosia (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009). I was busy teaching this spring and so forgot to write about it at the time – but I have returned to thinking about some of these themes in the wake of recent riots in Belfast. (more…)