Mittwoch, 9. Februar 2011

16. Siedlungspolitik Israel - Zionist/Israeli Planning: The Fabrication of Israel VI International Plans

Neue Veröffentlichung! Abschließendes Kapitel online verfügbar (siehe unten) - bei Bedarf kann eine broschierte Druckversion in schwarz-weiß erworben werden (30 € incl. Versand)


About the Usurpation and Destruction of Palestine through Zionist Spatial Planning

A Unique Planning Issue

Viktoria Waltz - Herausgeberin - Dortmund 2010 – Eigenverlag

Die hier in loser Folge zur Veröffentlichung vorliegenden Texte geben einen detaillierten Einblick in die Vorgänge, die zum Konstrukt Israel geführt haben und lassen keinen Zweifel daran, dass es unter den bestehenden zionistischen Rahmenbedingungen um nichts geringeres als das Ganze geht, um ein jüdisches Israel ohne Palästinenser und mit keinem Impuls für zwei Staaten, die nebeneinander leben könnten und auch nicht um eine Integration Israels in den Nahen Osten, sondern um die Fortsetzung des aggressiven, zerstörerischen Kurses bis hin zu weiteren Kriegen.
The Future of Palestine and the Complicity of International Planners in Israeli Crimes - A Final Comment

From last chapter (see all chapters under archive Dec.2010-Febr. 2011)
The occupation and infiltration of main cities of religious and historical importance for Jews, Christians and Moslems, is a clear indication of the malicious character of Judaization by means of planning. Since the 1967 occupation, two cities in particular, Hebron and Jerusalem, like Jaffa after the 1948 war, have faced an intensive program of destruction, aimed at eventually eliminating their Palestinian character and replacing it with a fabricated layer of Jewish 'cornerstones.' Constructing new realities in stone plays a dramatic role in reshaping the image of these cities into a Jewish one. In addition, the people, the original inhabitants are under threat due to the use of military force and the illegal use of power. Furthermore, creating Jewish majorities by inserting colonies into these cities is accompanied by a harsh policy of depriving the Palestinian inhabitants of their rights to their homes, properties and even citizenship, especially in Jerusalem.
The Judaization of East Jerusalem is an illegal act whereby the whole city was incorporated into the Israeli system and proclaimed the capital of Israel by Knesset legislation. This allows the Israeli government to justify the planning that is actually aimed at Judaization as official and legal development.
Hebron is an even more difficult case. After the agreements with the Palestinian Authority, the city was divided into different areas, like two countries with different legislation, culture and ways of life. Very racist, mostly American, settler groups did the dirty work of this usurpation process, breaking into the densely populated Palestinian city before official activities and the state of Israel itself became involved as the military power over the city; later, the state concurred officially. These aggressive Israeli Jewish groups still play a vanguard role in Judaizing the city. Beyond legal constraints, rules and controls, they do their job more roughly and hence more efficiently than any government would be allowed to do. In cooperation with the WZO planners, these settler groups fulfil tasks that a government would have difficulty justifying. However, the moment these aggressive groups find themselves in a problematic situation, the role of the state is asserted on the pretext of having to guarantee the security of the usurpers. It is a malicious game.
This is what happened in Hebron and, in another way, in Jerusalem. In neither city has the process come to an end, however plans and actions to assert more control and reshape the map are ongoing. Will these cities suffer the same fate as Jaffa and other Palestinian cities in Israel, where Palestinian existence nearly disappeared?
After 1948, the Old City of Jaffa lost all its Palestinian inhabitants. Israel actually calls Jaffa the 'Old City of Tel Aviv,' a total negation of historical facts which shows clearly the intention to fabricate, even in words, what does not exist. Haifa has almost lost its Palestinian character; many quarters nowadays show more Russian influence than Palestinian presence. Palestinians in Acca are still fighting for the survival of the city's Palestinian character and to remain the majority. Other cities, like Ashdod or Ramle, were emptied of Palestinians in the 1947-49 ethnic cleansing, and those who returned after the census live a shadow life, unrecognized and socially and culturally deprived. According to WZO visions, this state of affairs is intended to be the future reality for Hebron, Jerusalem and other West Bank cities in the long run. Already the ground is being prepared by brash Jewish settler groups from all over the world, in order to join with Israeli planners to create a new reality under Israeli governance.
However, international planners play another role in this game.
Isaac, Jad, Viktoria Waltz

The Future of Palestine and the Complicity of International Planners in Israeli Crimes - A Final Comment

The story of the fabrication of Israel revealed in the previous sections has more facets than we have discussed so far. Certainly, main factors in the realisation of this construction were carefully chosen planning instruments and measures with long term perspectives.
However, the aims go beyond territorial claims. The whole idea belongs to an overall vision, an image of what Israel was and how it can be re-invented. (Abu-Lughod, Heacock, Nashef, 1999) New names are replacing the Palestinian names of cities and locations in order to re-establish locations mentioned in the bible or torah and thus reinvent a historic Israel in alliance with Christian symbols, while denying and disfiguring what is Palestine and Palestinian history and identity. As explained by Edward Said, "how the history of ancient Palestine was gradually replaced by a largely fabricated image of ancient Israel, a political entity that in reality played only a small role in the area of geographical Palestine." (Said 2000: 175)
The Christian world knows Hebron, but not the Arab name of Al Khalil, which reflects the religious significance of the city of Abraham/Ibrahim from a Muslim perspective. Sarah's tomb? A mysterious Jewish tunnel under the Muslim quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem? David’s city in Jerusalem’s Silwan? Even Israeli archaeologists have questions about it. The terms Samaria and Judaea replaced the West Bank, which is also not an original Palestinian name, but part of the British Mandate's division of the Jordan Rift Valley. Israeli settlements in the West Bank, such as Ofra, Bet El, Beit Horon and Shilo are not only reinvented names taken from ancient names mentioned in the Bible; they are also reinvented locations prepared by Zionist planners in the first Zionist visions and plans. There are no remaining traces of any ancient Jewish village from Biblical times, but it becomes reality and fact by renaming and rebuilding these places.
As a result, the invented Zionist narrative dominates and gains credibility in the western world. This is the power behind Israeli/Zionist planning policies. For example, what the WZO claimed in their 1984 propaganda booklet--that Gaza 'was never heavily populated' (WZO, 1984:19) re-imagines the prevalent European Christian view of the Holy Land long before the advent of Zionism. (See the description of the Holy Land in Selma Lagerloef’s novel Jerusalem). In an essay on 'Renaissance Cartography and the Question of Palestine' (1999), Matar revealed how this question was posed cartographically with Palestine portrayed as a land 'without a people’. Focusing on holy locations only and the route of the biblical exodus, the European/Christian maps of last centuries seem justifying the Crusades conquer of the Holy Land. Matar points out that "This conflation of faith and cartography ... led to the emergence of one of the strongest heresies in the sixteenth century, that the exodus was a prophetic anticipation of the 'Restoration' of the Jews to the Promised Land in preparation for the Second Coming." (p. 149) (Matar 1999: 149)
Moreover, the struggle to judaize Palestine doesn't stop at locations. Landscape as well is under threat. Qleibo has outlined a dismal picture of Palestine in the future, without its beautiful hilly silhouette since the Jewish colonies posted on hills are reshaping the skyline completely (Qleibo 1992). Har Homa, the recently established colony on Abu Ghneim hill, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, is constructed on an artificially constructed hill to give the impression of an ancient housing cluster that actually never existed, in the process destroying an ancient site accessed by the people of Bethlehem for leisure and enjoyment.
The Palestinians' fight for identity in harmony with their own history has become like the task of Sisyphus. Especially in Israel, the reshaping of landscapes and locations has almost eliminated a Palestinian spatial existence, also recognised as ‘urbizid’ (analogically used with genozid/genocide: „systematische Zerstörung oder Vernichtung von Städten“/’systematic destruction or elimination of cities’, Funk 2005) and ‘ecozid’ (analogically used in environment context: destruction or elimination of ecosystems like rainforest). Parallel to Zionist destruction, modern life styles and techniques have replaced traditional Palestinian structures, while lack of space, money and resources allowed only small Palestinian spatial interventions to preserve or influence Palestinian localities. Hence, Palestinian presence in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Region nowadays is materialised in European building style and adapting to international standards. Therefore, the naturally built-up history of rural and urban life is increasingly under threat from inside and external destruction. Moreover, the remaining signs of an indigenous history are being neglected. Further complicating the situation is the fact that Palestinians and their institutions still have no power or sovereignty over their own land, and continue to rely on foreign support, which entails foreign influence and intervention, whether European, Israeli or American. It is a colonial war and usurpation by all means - cultural, social, economic and spatial -imposed on a weak occupied society with no real sovereignty. In addition, international funding and international compliance with Israeli projects are also threats to Palestinian existence and identity.

International Projects for Palestine without Palestinians
At the beginning of the 'peace process,' many expectations and development scenarios came to the fore. The World Bank immediately provided international donors and supporters with statistics and material to assist in their planning. Future perspectives, like an international free trade zone for Gaza, were proposed, despite the fact that such plans were unrealistic in view of the fact that Palestinians had no independence or sovereignty over their land. The first 'Master Plan' for Palestine devised by Palestinians was drawn up by Mahdi Abdel Hadi's Center for Engineering and Planning in Ramallah, outlining the future sustainable development of what should become the Palestinian State (CEP 1992). The first official Palestinian Master Plan, entitled Palestine 2015, was created between 1994 and 1998 by the newly established Palestinian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MOPIC). Palestine 2015 is comprised of the Regional Plan for the West Bank Governorates, the Regional Plan for Gaza Governorates, the Emergency Natural Resources Protection Plan (e.g. water and wastewater, landscape, cultural heritage, ecology, agricultural land) and the Palestinian Development Plan (MOPIC 1998). These plans were supported by the Europeans. Starting from the assumption of two territorially separate parts of a Palestinian state, the approach adopted in these plans was to follow international standards of sustainability, democracy, participatory and balanced development between rural and urban areas, and agricultural and industrial sectors. Planning institutions like the Ministry of Local Government and city planners still try to follow these guidelines in part. However, the continued existence of the occupation, the post-Oslo zoning of the West Bank into different areas of mainly Israeli control and the completely separate Israeli planning on Palestinian land, mainly in Areas B and C precludes coherent development policy. People build according to their needs, the rest is developing haphazardly, if not forced into a special direction by international investments like the creation of a program called 'Metropolitan Ramallah' or 'Ramallah-al-Bireh-Beituniya Metropolitan Area Project' (RABMAP) (Khamaisi 2006, Musleh 2006). The latter sounds like futile countermoves to the Israeli Metropolitan Plan for Jerusalem which intends to include Ramallah and Bethlehem in the usurped Jerusalem area (see section V).
In conclusion, it is not the Palestinians but others who are the main planners, and whether the planner is Israel, donor countries or institutions of diffuse nature, they are not necessarily working in the Palestinians' interest.