Ariel Handel, PhD candidate at the Cohn Institute for History and
Philosophy of Sciences and Ideas, Tel Aviv University , 03-6994134 firstname.lastname@example.org, Ariel Handel, Writing PhD about space, time and their relations at the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in the Cohn institute for the History and Philosophy of Sciences and Ideas, Tel Aviv University.
Space and Time in the Occupied Territories, Uncertainty as Control Technology Ariel Handel
Tel Aviv University
The Paper’s main argument would be that Israel is controlling the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) by systematically dismantling the relation between space and time, or, in other words, by disassembling the
correlation between spatial absolute value and usage value. Absolute value is what can be measured in uniform distance units, which are, basically, indifferent to the occurrences in the measured space: for example, aerial distance between two points.
Usage value, in contrast, deals with spatial actual usage possibilities. If between two points stands impassable wall, no matter what is the absolute distance from one to another, the actual distance, considering the usage value, would be infinite. Spatial usage value always embodies time in it. Paving road between two points does not change the distance in kilometers, but shortens drastically the actual distance between them. In the same manner, blocking road lengthens the actual distance by containing time postponement within it.
In the Article I will attempt to analyze few basic modes of spatial control (i.e. clear sites in which space itself takes major part in control shaping), which are used for describing Israel’s control mode in the OPT: prison, ghetto, siege, camp and “movement policing”. The
comparison would be done by spatial analysis tools, putting emphasis on relations between inside and outside, opacity and permeability,
characteristics and locations of supervision points and the visibility relations (what is been watched, where from, where to and why). The analysis would show that although having few similarities among each of the mentioned models none of them fully describes the situation in the OPT, which can be understood only by referring to what I would like to call “technologies of spatial uncertainty”.
These technologies consisting instruments (different kinds of barriers), signs (extensive regulations system) and people (soldiers aside settlers) are widely implemented in the OPT, in purpose of disrupting usage values of Palestinian spaces. This technology, simple and cheap, dismantling Palestinian space into many tens of cells that the size and borders of them are changing daily. The outcome is that the ordinary Palestinian cannot have clear knowledge which way is passable and which is forbidden as well as what is the sanction for the lawbreaker. Thus a spatial chaos is produced minimizing movement to the level of life maintaining
activities on the one hand – and creating a-priori guiltiness on the other hand (since nearly every movement is restricted and most of Palestinians are therefore movement criminals).
The main article’s body would be dedicated to methodical description,
supported by maps and graphs, of the mentioned technologies and their influence on Palestinian movement options in the OPT. When there are no fixed distances between places and journey times are changing almost infinitely, the space itself becomes liquid and discontinuous. In that, common writing about space and society is inverted. While usually planned space is thought of as supervised and rational – and the pedestrians and users are changing it from “below” – in the OPT the authorities are producing the chaos while the users are the ones trying to insert order and permanency in it. A distinguish will be made between three different zones of the West Bank (the Bank’s core, the “Seam Zone”, the Separation Barrier and its passages) according to the space-time relations prevailing among them. The resolution to be dealt will not be that of the sole structure but that of the village, the road and the “cell”. In that the paper is to be placed on the seam line amidst architecture and geography, borrowing spatial analysis tools and language from both disciplines.
Further reading on Ariel Handel:
http://www.jnul.huji.ac.il/IA/ArchivedSites/Seruv31120303/www.seruv.org.il/english/signers.asp signer 572