In 2010 the French NGO Aix Group released a 60 page document which introduces the challenges and propositions that could be made for the construction of a road link between Gaza and the West Bank. This hypothesis is of course based on the credible scenario of what is now called ‘the two states solution’ which would geographically separates the two territories under Palestinian sovereignty, Gaza on one side, the West Bank and East Jerusalem on the other side. In this scenario, this link would indeed be an extremely crucial element for the future of the Palestinian unity since the exercise of a unique sovereignty over two territories always constitute a very delicate practice. At a different scale the 24 year long example of Pakistan (1947-1971) separated between Western and Eastern territories – the latter became Bangladesh in 1971- illustrate such difficulties.
The studies attempts to propose an exhaustive list of options for the link’s materialization (road, train, monorail, surface, tunnel, bridge…see below) as well as a variety of its potential routes (five of them including three studied more specifically…see below as well). In order to function, the link would be under Palestinian authority surrounded by the Israeli territory (as defined by the UN based on the 1967 borders), thus constituting a peculiar geo-political precedent: a sovereignty applied to a line on the map. However, what is proper to a line or rather, a corridor, is the maximization of its surface in contact with the exterior. In this historical conflictual context and if considering the options given by this NGO, the potentialities for Israel to control or block the link – for whichever reason invoked – are plethora and this interesting legal case deserve probably a deeper level of imagination and ‘cleverness’ to actually make it effective and trustworthy for the Palestinians.
In conclusion, we might point out that such delicate situation of a precarious link illustrates why the two states solution is not the one that should be wished for. It is not surprising that the State of Israel is more and more tending towards this scenario as they know that the status quo cannot be eternal and that if the apartheid policies would be abolished between Jewish and Arabs, the demographic weight of the latter would make them weight heavily in the societal and political organization of the territory of Palestine – I use the term Palestine as a geographical region here. It seems that this scenario is less and less considered however, and the imaginative design of other narratives for the construction of a Palestinian state – which would be confronted to many other internal issues – appears therefore as the thing to do. Decolonizing Architecture, through the elaboration of a narrative that sees the 500,000 Israeli settlers of the West Bank leaving their colonies, back to the lawful Israeli territoy, is leading the way in how we, architects, can participate to this construction.
All the following documents are extracted from the document about the Link by Aix Group (2010)