Léopold Lambert – Paris on July 2, 2019
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Political Cartography Of Palestine (Léopold Lambert Funambulist

Above is a comparison of the current state of the Israeli apartheid in Palestine with its permanent form that the so-called “Kushner Plan” (from the name of the current U.S. President’s son in law), backed by the Saudi government, is currently attempting to enforce. In this plan, Palestinians would have to commit “a national suicide” — literal words of Danny Danon, the Israeli ambassador to the UN who was given a prime space in the New York Times to express such a politicide claim — in exchange of a $50 billion investment plan for a new bantoustan state(s). Please note that the Plan itself has not been fully uncovered yet and that this map is only a speculative one, but the following points are known to be included within it:

  • The annexation of significant portions of the West Bank crystallizing the current de facto status of the Israeli colonies (built in contravention with the Fourth Geneva Convention) as part of Israel.

  • The consolidation of the blockade on the Gaza Strip, associated to a lease of Egyptian land to extend Palestinian land and to construct an international port.

  • A junction between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip through an elevated or tunnel-based road. My speculation here is that the West Bank itself would be fragmented into two (perhaps three) territories which would also include another infrastructure of the kind (tunnel, bridge, etc. the “politics of verticality” as defined by Eyal Weizman are already well at work in apartheid Palestine.

  • The normalization of the 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights (Syria) and East Jerusalem (14 years after their invasion).

  • The designation, as capital of the so-called “New Palestine,” of Abu Dis, on the other side of the Apartheid Wall in Jerusalem.

  • The status transformation of Palestinian refugee camps in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan into permanent precarious cities.

The gradient land dispossession and eviction/subduction of Palestinian since 1948 (and of Syrian people after the 1967 invasion of the Golan Heights) has been showed through maps countless times, and this new map adds to a painful cartographic imaginary of settler colonialism. However, as this plan will require a strong political mobilization from within Palestine and outside of it in the near future, it felt important to try to visualize what it actually entails.

Post-scriptum: To the depressing vision the map above creates, I feel obliged to include in contrast a more constructive one that I made three years ago for Sarha Collective‘s exhibition Chapter 31 on the futures of Palestine, which shows, rather naively, “a relic of the future” of a post-apartheid Palestine. The map shows a Palestine that has become more than the “binational state” often wished for: it has become a multinational territory, whose open borders no longer discriminate which bodies are allowed to return to it, and which ones are to be prohibited from doing so. New buildings either memorialize the past of this territory, or organize its present. While the Museum of the Nakba, the Intifada Memorial, the Apartheid Museum and the Qalandiya Museum join Yad Vashem in the memorialization of the tormented history of Jewish, Arab, Bedouin and Black Palestinians, the Jericho International Train Station, the Gaza Harbor, the Bedouin University of the Negev, the New Gaza University and many more infrastructural and academic buildings constitute the new nodes of Palestinian daily life. Trains and ferries keep Palestinians close to their neighbors and family members abroad: one hour to reach Beirut, Damascus or Amman from Jerusalem, three to reach Cairo from Rafah, one day to reach Istanbul from Haifa, etc., Finally, Israeli colonies in the West Bank have become relocation villages for the 5 millions Palestinian refugees returning, while their villages, attacked, emptied, and destroyed in 1948 are being rebuilt.

Excavated Objects From A Post Apartheid Palestine Leopold Lambert
Map Post Apartheid Palestine Leopold Lambert 2016
Excerpt of “Excavated Objects from a Post-Apartheid Palestine” by Léopold Lambert (2016).