Towards a Post-Apartheid Palestine: Atlas of the Israeli Settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem


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 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   —> Return to the index ///


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

09-Rotem   —> Return to the index ///

10-Avnei   —> Return to the index ///

11-Enav   —> Return to the index ///

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

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

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

15-Ro’i   —> Return to the index ///

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

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

18-Hamra   —> Return to the index ///

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

28-Nofim   —> Return to the index ///

29-Yakir   —> Return to the index ///

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

38-Ariel   —> Return to the index ///

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

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

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

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

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

44-Eli   —> Return to the index ///

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

46-Shilo   —> Return to the index ///

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

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

49-Yafit   —> Return to the index ///

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

51-Tomer   —> Return to the index ///

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

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

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

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

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

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

58-Nili   —> Return to the index ///

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

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

61-Ofra   —> Return to the index ///

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

63-Yitav   —> Return to the index ///

64-Niran   —> Return to the index ///

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

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

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

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

69-Dolev   —> Return to the index ///

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

82-Alon   —> Return to the index ///

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

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

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

86-Almon   —> Return to the index ///

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

88-Ramot   —> Return to the index ///

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

97-Almog   —> Return to the index ///

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

105-Gilo   —> Return to the index ///

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


138-Tene   —> Return to the index ///

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