Léopold Lambert – Paris on January 22, 2016
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If I had composed this Atlas of the Israeli Settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem a few years ago, I would have insisted that this inventory of colonial urban typologies constituted an evidence of the Israeli violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, I would have reminded the history of the invasion of the West Bank and East Jerusalem (as well as the Gaza Strip, the Sinai and the Golan Heights) in 1967 and the military rule that subjugated and continues to subjugate the Palestinian bodies since then, I would have referred to these colonized territories as “Palestinian land as recognized by the International Community,” etc. This is however not what I am going to do here, because I am convinced that this narrative and the imaginary it conveys is ultimately harmful to all Palestinians and, for the same reasons, to non-Zionist Israelis too. On the contrary (or, rather, in an apparent contradiction), I would like to undertake the rather perilous exercise of praising the Israeli settlements for the scenario of the post-apartheid future they accidentally allow.

Of course, this praise of the settlements could not be more independent from the politics that lead to their construction, their current apartheid function, as well as the militarized urban typology they constitute. The displacement of a part of the Israeli civil population, whether enacted by the government or retroactively legitimized by it, is part of a strategy of the fait accompli: occupying the invaded land with a civil infrastructure and population that make the withdrawal of the occupying army difficult and complicated. I wrote many times about the way the settlements and their (approximately) 750,000 inhabitants are currently organized at a territorial scale: the apartheid wall built in the beginning of the 2000s by the Sharon administration integrates an important amount of settlements on its Western side (see past map from my book, Weaponized Architecture), many of others are linked to the Western side of the wall by small highways, some of which are only allowed to cars with an Israeli (yellow) plate — these roads are punctuated by military checkpoints that ensure to maximize the Israeli movement while slowing down, if not stopping, the Palestinian one (see the recent visualization of such inequality created by Al Jazeera). As for the settlements’ urbanism, their spatial formation (both urbanistically and topographically), their architecture, as well as their fenced periphery make them redoubtable militarized instruments, despite an aesthetic of Western suburbs, as Eyal Weizman demonstrated in his successive collaborations with Rafi Segal (A Civilian Occupation) and Sandi Hilal & Alessandro Petti (Decolonizing Architecture).

What praise should there be then? What good can come from these colonial apparatuses of expropriation and extreme segregation? The answer to this question lies in the fundamental contradiction that they incarnate in the history of Israel. If we hopefully accept the impossibility of an eviction of the 2.8 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem — i.e. the dreadful scenario of a second Nakba after that the 1948 one forcefully evicted 750,000 Palestinians, a majority of which are now refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon — we can see that the only scenario for which the Israeli government can aim is the statu quo. In other words, only the current state of apartheid can serve the the Zionist ambitions since it is the only scenario that allows not to grant Palestinians (including Palestinians with an Israeli passport) equal rights with the Israeli population, while maintaining the occupation of the totality of the Historical Palestine territory — one might argue that Gaza has been “disengaged” in 2005, but the quasi-absolute dependence that is maintained on a territory blockaded and regularly bombarded disconcerts such an argument. Although we do not hear this discourse from the voice of the successive Israeli governments, I share the conviction with many other scholars and activists that the second best scenario for a Zionist agenda is to be found in the implementation of an official Palestine State “within the borders of 1967” (i.e. on two separate territories, West Bank+East Jerusalem and Gaza). Such a scenario, explicitly sought by the Palestinian Authority (as well as many Western countries that see in it the opportunity to forever ‘wash their hands’ from the Palestinian struggle) would ratify the ethnic cleansing that founded the State of Israel in 1948 and, as such, would finalize to crystallize a profound separation between the refugees and the rest of the Palestinian population (see past article for a list of additional problems). The Israeli settlements, because of their extremely difficult ousting — this is how they were built in the first place — are therefore a strong obstacle to such a scenario, hence the provoking idea to praise them. In addition to a material problem, we should have the courage of ethical consistency and thus condemn the idea of the forced displacement of a young Israeli settler population who lived their entire life in the West Bank and imagine a future where they can continue to do so (providing that this scenario takes in consideration the elements described in the next paragraph).

In the coming months, because of an on-going cartographic/literary/architectural work for an exhibition in May, I will have the opportunity to reflect on what a post-apartheid Palestine could look like. Beyond the immediate positive aspects of such a scenario implies, namely, the equal rights for all bodies living in Historical Palestine and a borderless immigration that would allow the refugees’ return, the problem posed by the settlements will remain a complex one to address. The question they ask is encountered in every decolonizing process: how to consider the wealth that has been produced in the colonial conditions and the necessary inequality between dispossession (the settlements are built on land that has been expropriated) and accumulation that they produced — in this case, between Israelis and Palestinians of course, but also within the Palestinian population too. A realistic decolonizing scenario that would not take this question seriously would preserve the urban typology of the settlements and its currents inhabitants would see the arrival of a Palestinian middle-class wishing to separate themselves from a population in lower economic conditions as we currently see it happening in Ramallah (see this past article, as well as Tina Grandinetti’s article in the second issue of The Funambulist Magazine). The settlements’ urban form would thus continue to ensure a form of segregation, one that would no longer abide by the racist logic of the apartheid, but, rather, by the capitalist logic of the distanciation of social classes. Nevertheless we can can argue that the settlements should not be demolished — we saw the tons of toxic rubble that it produced in Gaza in 2005 — but, rather, that their architecture and urbanism be radically rethought and investigated to address the challenge that they represent. This work has been partially lead by Decolonizing Architecture already cited above, but only in a scenario of a ‘disengagement’ of the West Bank layered on the one in Gaza. The scenario of a post-apartheid Palestine, on the other hand, necessarily involves a work involving the mixity of social classes and communities. My intuition for this matter might seem improbable but the radicality of the current state of apartheid requires a radical imagination to dismantle it to its very last cog: what if the settlements and their architectural/urban modifications implemented to disintegrate their segregative effects were the scene of the temporary return of the refugees, while many of the villages and towns destroyed after 1948 were being rebuilt? The temporary housing infrastructure that such a scenario requires could act as a urban scaffold to quickly and actively defuse the urban forms of the apartheid. This idea is only one of the many that could be investigated both in terms of program and architecture to not only prepare the post-apartheid future, but also to construct an imaginary in which this future is possible.

The following Atlas is therefore less the inventory of evidences of the current state of apartheid — although it clearly shows an important part of its materialization — than a toolbox to imagine a post-apartheid Palestine scenario in which the problem/opportunity constituted by the settlement can be fully investigated. In order to situate each settlement, I reused my 2010 map of “The Palestinian Archipelago” (see past article/maps) that shows the ‘islands’ of relative Palestinian autonomy (Oslo Accords’ Zones A and B) within a ‘sea’ of Israeli control punctuated with numerous ‘reefs’ (the settlements). The index’s numbered keys (and thus the order of the aerial photographs) ‘combs’ the settlements from the North to the South. The aerial photographs can find a more “incarnated vision” in a past article that would deserve a photographic addition. I hope that you will find this atlas useful and instructive:


Atlas of the Israeli Settlements - Map by Leopold Lambert for The Funambulist (20160 Atlas of the Israeli Settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem (The Palestinian Archipelago) by Léopold Lambert for The Funambulist (2010-2015).

PHOTOGRAPHIC SURVEY OF THE ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS /// (click on the names to access the photo)

1 Tal Menashe / 2 Hinanit / 3 Shaked / 4 Reihan / 5 Hermesh / 6 Mevo Dotan / 7 Mechola / 8 Shadmot Mehola / 9 Rotem / 10 Avnei Hefetz / 11 Enav / 12 Shavei Shomron / 13 Elon More / 14 Bqa’ot / 15 Ro’i / 16 Chemdat / 17 Sal’it / 18 Hamra / 19 Argaman / 20 Kedumim / 21 Bracha / 22 Itamar / 23 Tzofim / 24 Yitzhar / 25 Alfei Menashe / 26 Karnei Shomron / 27 Immanuel / 28 Nofim / 29 Yakir / 30 Masu’a / 31 Oranit / 32 Sha’arei Tikva / 33 Etz Efraim / 34 Elkana / 35 Kiryat Netafim / 36 Revava / 37 Barqan / 38 Ariel / 39 Kfar Tapuah / 40 Rechelim / 41 Migdalim / 42 Alei Zahav / 43 Pedu’el / 44 Eli / 45 Ma’ale Levona / 46 Shilo / 47 Shvut Rachel / 48 Ma’ale Efraim / 49 Yafit / 50 Petzael / 51 Tomer / 52 Beit Arye / 53 Ofarim / 54 Halamish / 55 Ateret / 56 Gilgal / 57 Netiv Ha’gdud / 58 Nili / 59 Na’ale / 60 Nahliel / 61 Ofra / 62 Kochav Ha’shachar / 63 Yitav / 64 Niran / 65 Modi’in Ilit / 66 Hashmonaim / 67 Kfar Ha’oranim / 68 Talmon / 69 Dolev / 70 Beit El / 71 Rimonim / 72 Na’ama / 73 Psagot / 74 Beit Horon / 75 Kokhav Ya’akov / 76 Ma’ale Michmash / 77 Givat Ze’ev / 78 Giv’on Ha’hadasha / 79 Giv’on / 80 Neve Ya’akov / 81 Geva Binyamin / 82 Alon / 83 Mevo Horon / 84 Har Adar / 85 Har Shmuel / 86 Almon / 87 Kfar Adumim / 88 Ramot / 89 Ramat Shlomo / 90 Pisgat Ze’ev / 91 Mitzpe Yericho / 92 Vered Yericho / 93 Beit Ha’arava / 94 French Hill / 95 Ramat Eshkol / 96 Maalot Dafna / 97 Almog / 98 Jewish Quarter / 99 Ma’ale Adumim / 100 Keidar / 101 Kalia / 102 East Talpiyyot / 103 Giv’at Ha-Matos / 104 Har Gilo / 105 Gilo / 106 Har Homa / 107 Beitar Illit / 108 Ovnat / 109 Gva’ot / 110 Neve Daniel / 111 Rosh Tzurim / 112 El’azar / 113 Efrata / 114 Bat Ayin / 115 Alon Shvut / 116 Tko’a / 117 Nokdim / 118 Kfar Etzion / 119 Migdal Oz / 120 Karmei Tzur / 121 Ma’ale Amos / 122 Asfar / 123 Mitzpe Shalem / 124 Telem / 125 Adora / 126 Kiryat Arba / 127 H2 (Hebron) / 128 Negohot / 129 Haggai / 130 Pnei Hever / 131 Otniel / 132 Carmel / 133 Ma’on / 134 Eshkolot / 135 Shim’a / 136 Susiya / 137 Sansana / 138 Tene / 139 Yatir

01-Tal-Menashe 01-Tal-Menashe   —> Return to the index ///

02-Hinanit 02-Hinanit   —> Return to the index ///

03-Shaked03-Shaked   —> Return to the index ///

04-Reihan 04-Reihan   —> Return to the index ///

05-Hermesh 05-Hermesh   —> Return to the index ///

06-Mevo-Dotan 06-Mevo-Dotan   —> Return to the index ///

07-Mechol 07-Mechol   —> Return to the index ///

08-Shadmot 08-Shadmot   —> Return to the index ///

09-Rotem 09-Rotem   —> Return to the index ///

10-Avnei 10-Avnei   —> Return to the index ///

11-Enav 11-Enav   —> Return to the index ///

12-Shavei Shomron 12-Shavei Shomron   —> Return to the index ///

13-Elon More 13-Elon More   —> Return to the index ///

14-Bqa'ot 14-Bqa’ot   —> Return to the index ///

15-Ro'i 15-Ro’i   —> Return to the index ///

16-Chemdat 16-Chemdat   —> Return to the index ///

17-Sal'it 17-Sal’it   —> Return to the index ///

18-Hamra 18-Hamra   —> Return to the index ///

19-Argaman 19-Argaman   —> Return to the index ///

20-Kedumim (1) 20-Kedumim (1)   —> Return to the index ///

20-Kedumim (2) 20-Kedumim (2)   —> Return to the index ///

21-Bracha 21-Bracha   —> Return to the index ///

22-Itamar 22-Itamar   —> Return to the index ///

23-Tzofim 23-Tzofim   —> Return to the index ///

24-Yitzhar 24-Yitzhar   —> Return to the index ///

25-Alfei Menashe 25-Alfei Menashe   —> Return to the index ///

26-Karnei Shomron (1) 26-Karnei Shomron (1)   —> Return to the index ///

26-Karnei Shomron (2) 26-Karnei Shomron (2)   —> Return to the index ///

27-Immanuel 27-Immanuel   —> Return to the index ///

28-Nofim 28-Nofim   —> Return to the index ///

29-Yakir 29-Yakir   —> Return to the index ///

30-Masu'a 30-Masu’a   —> Return to the index ///

31-Oranit 31-Oranit   —> Return to the index ///

32-Sha'arei Tikva 32-Sha’arei Tikva   —> Return to the index ///

33-Etz Efraim 33-Etz Efraim   —> Return to the index ///

34-Elkana 34-Elkana   —> Return to the index ///

35-Kiryat Netafim 35-Kiryat Netafim   —> Return to the index ///

36-Revava 36-Revava   —> Return to the index ///

37-Barqan 37-Barqan   —> Return to the index ///

38-Ariel 38-Ariel   —> Return to the index ///

39-Kfar Tapuah 39-Kfar Tapuah   —> Return to the index ///

40-Rechelim 40-Rechelim   —> Return to the index ///

41-Migdalim 41-Migdalim   —> Return to the index ///

42-Alei Zahav 42-Alei Zahav   —> Return to the index ///

43-Pedu'el 43-Pedu’el   —> Return to the index ///

44-Eli 44-Eli   —> Return to the index ///

45-Ma'ale Levona 45-Ma’ale Levona   —> Return to the index ///

46-Shilo 46-Shilo   —> Return to the index ///

47-Shvut Rachel 47-Shvut Rachel   —> Return to the index ///

48-Ma'ale Efraim 48-Ma’ale Efraim   —> Return to the index ///

49-Yafit 49-Yafit   —> Return to the index ///

50-Petzael 50-Petzael   —> Return to the index ///

51-Tomer 51-Tomer   —> Return to the index ///

52-Beit Arye 52-Beit Arye   —> Return to the index ///

53-Ofarim 53-Ofarim   —> Return to the index ///

54-Halamish 54-Halamish   —> Return to the index ///

55-Ateret 55-Ateret   —> Return to the index ///

56-Gilgal 56-Gilgal   —> Return to the index ///

57-Netiv Ha'gdud 57-Netiv Ha’gdud   —> Return to the index ///

58-Nili 58-Nili   —> Return to the index ///

59-Na'ale 59-Na’ale   —> Return to the index ///

60-Nahliel 60-Nahliel   —> Return to the index ///

61-Ofra 61-Ofra   —> Return to the index ///

62-Kochav Ha'shachar 62-Kochav Ha’shachar   —> Return to the index ///

63-Yitav 63-Yitav   —> Return to the index ///

64-Niran 64-Niran   —> Return to the index ///

65-Modi'in Ilit 65-Modi’in Ilit   —> Return to the index ///

66-Hashmonaim 66-Hashmonaim   —> Return to the index ///

67-Kfar Ha'oranim 67-Kfar Ha’oranim   —> Return to the index ///

68-Talmon 68-Talmon   —> Return to the index ///

69-Dolev 69-Dolev   —> Return to the index ///

70-Beit El 70-Beit El   —> Return to the index ///

71-Rimonim 71-Rimonim   —> Return to the index ///

72-Na'ama 72-Na’ama   —> Return to the index ///

73-Psagot 73-Psagot   —> Return to the index ///

74-Beit Horon 74-Beit Horon   —> Return to the index ///

75-Kokhav Ya'akov 75-Kokhav Ya’akov   —> Return to the index ///

76-Ma'ale Michmash 76-Ma’ale Michmash   —> Return to the index ///

77-Givat Ze'ev 77-Givat Ze’ev   —> Return to the index ///

78-Giv'on Ha'hadasha 78-Giv’on Ha’hadasha   —> Return to the index ///

79-Giv'on 79-Giv’on   —> Return to the index ///

80-Neve Ya'akov (1) 80-Neve Ya’akov (1)   —> Return to the index ///

80-Neve Ya'akov (2) 80-Neve Ya’akov (2)   —> Return to the index ///

81-Geva Binyamin 81-Geva Binyamin   —> Return to the index ///

82-Alon 82-Alon   —> Return to the index ///

83-Mevo Horon 83-Mevo Horon   —> Return to the index ///

84-Har Adar 84-Har Adar   —> Return to the index ///

85-Har Shmuel 85-Har Shmuel   —> Return to the index ///

86-Almon 86-Almon   —> Return to the index ///

87-Kfar Adumim 87-Kfar Adumim   —> Return to the index ///

88-Ramot 88-Ramot   —> Return to the index ///

89-Ramat Shlomo 89-Ramat Shlomo   —> Return to the index ///

90-Pisgat Ze'ev 90-Pisgat Ze’ev   —> Return to the index ///

91-Mitzpe Yericho 91-Mitzpe Yericho   —> Return to the index ///

92-Vered Yericho 92-Vered Yericho   —> Return to the index ///

93-Beit Ha'arava 93-Beit Ha’arava   —> Return to the index ///

94-French Hill 94-French Hill   —> Return to the index ///

95-Ramat Eshkol 95-Ramat Eshkol   —> Return to the index ///

96-Maalot Dafna 96-Maalot Dafna   —> Return to the index ///

97-Almog 97-Almog   —> Return to the index ///

98-Jewish Quarter 98-Jewish Quarter   —> Return to the index ///

99-Ma'ale Adumim 99-Ma’ale Adumim   —> Return to the index ///

100-Keidar 100-Keidar   —> Return to the index ///

101-Kalia 101-Kalia   —> Return to the index ///

102-East Talpiyyot 102-East Talpiyyot   —> Return to the index ///

103-Giv'at Ha-Matos 103-Giv’at Ha-Matos   —> Return to the index ///

104-Har Gilo 104-Har Gilo   —> Return to the index ///

105-Gilo 105-Gilo   —> Return to the index ///

106-Har Homa 106-Har Homa   —> Return to the index ///

107-Beitar Illit 107-Beitar Illit   —> Return to the index ///

108-Ovnat 108-Ovnat   —> Return to the index ///

109-Gva'ot 109-Gva’ot   —> Return to the index ///

110-Neve Daniel 110-Neve Daniel   —> Return to the index ///

111-Rosh Tzurim 111-Rosh Tzurim   —> Return to the index ///

112-El'azar 112-El’azar   —> Return to the index ///

113-Efrata 113-Efrata   —> Return to the index ///

114-Bat Ayin 114-Bat Ayin   —> Return to the index ///

115-Alon Shvut 115-Alon Shvut   —> Return to the index ///

116-Tko'a 116-Tko’a   —> Return to the index ///

117-Nokdim 117-Nokdim   —> Return to the index ///

118-Kfar Etzion 118-Kfar Etzion   —> Return to the index ///

119-Migdal Oz 119-Migdal Oz   —> Return to the index ///

120-Karmei Tzur 120-Karmei Tzur   —> Return to the index ///

121-Ma'ale Amos 121-Ma’ale Amos   —> Return to the index ///

122-Asfar 122-Asfar   —> Return to the index ///

123-Mitzpe Shalem 123-Mitzpe Shalem   —> Return to the index ///

124-Telem 124-Telem   —> Return to the index ///

125-Adora 125-Adora   —> Return to the index ///

126-Kiryat Arba (1) 126-Kiryat Arba (1)   —> Return to the index ///

126-Kiryat Arba (2) 126-Kiryat Arba (2)   —> Return to the index ///

127-H2 (Hebron) 127-H2 (Hebron)   —> Return to the index ///

128-Negohot 128-Negohot   —> Return to the index ///

129-Haggai 129-Haggai   —> Return to the index ///

130-Pnei Hever 130-Pnei Hever   —> Return to the index ///

131-Otniel 131-Otniel   —> Return to the index ///

132-Carmel 132-Carmel   —> Return to the index ///

133-Ma'on 133-Ma’on   —> Return to the index ///

134-Eshkolot 134-Eshkolot   —> Return to the index ///

135-Shim'a 135-Shim’a   —> Return to the index ///

136-Susiya 136-Susiya   —> Return to the index ///

137-Sansana 137-Sansana

138-Tene 138-Tene   —> Return to the index ///

139-Yatir 139-Yatir   —> Return to the index ///