Wednesday, August 23, 2006
The Lowest Points in Israel
posted by: Frubious Bandersnatch at 11:46 AM

"The lowest points in Israel are to be found, of all places on the mountain peaks and hill tops. It is no mere chance that the settlements built by Israel in the territories it has occupied have positioned themselves on these lofty heights. The settlements are almost always up there, scarring the landscape, dominating the plateau, challenging, provoking, picking a fight. Down in the flatlands live the 'natives'- the Palestinians, who built their houses in order to live in them, not in order to taunt and defy and provoke hatred. The settlers up above, the Palestinians down below- this is the essence of the story. In the spring of 2002 you cannot drive along the roads of the West Bank for more than a few minutes without catching sight of them towering above you. In the spring of 2002 you can hardly find a window in a Palestinian house that does not open on to the red-tiled roofs or orange-tinted security lighting of the neighboring settlement. Neighboring? You can find everything over there- everything but neighbors. One beside the other, two communities living in hatred and fear of each other. One on top, armed with tanks, roadblocks and helicopters, the other below, armed only with their steadfast hold on the land. Which is stronger? And which will survive...

...From the window of a burnt clothing store in re-occupied Bethlehem, from a bathroom window in Kafr Beth-Dajan, from a living room window in the village of Sinjel, from the mouth of a cave belonging to the cave dwellers in southern Mount Hebron, from an office in Nablus, from a store in Ramallah- from everywhere you can spot the settlement on the hilltop, looming, threatening, dreadfully colonial. Ganim and Kasdim over Jenin, Psagot over Ramallah, Ariel over Salfit, Elon Moreh over Askar refugee Camp, Ma'ale Edummin over Azariyah, Beitar Ilit over Nahalin, Bracha over Borin, Yizhar over Hawara: alienated, threatening, conquering houses, lusting for more. The breaching of the international law that explicitly prohibits the transfer of civilian population into occupied territory- an act that is considered a war crime by the Fourth Geneva Convention- is overlooked by Israel. International law? The Geneva Convention? Not for the Israelis, who willfully ignore the legal aspects of the settlements. America and Russia, China and Japan, France and Germany, Egypt and Morocco, Chad and Sri Lanka- what other issues summon such complete agreement? Nevertheless, Israel holds its own."

Sample from: Gedeon Levy (2002) The Lowest Points in Israel in Segal R. & Weizman E. (eds) 'A Civilian Occupation: the Politics of Israeli Architecture' Cromwell Press: 2002; London

Suggested reading from Odog
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