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Tel Aviv University
TAU Ariel Handel "The Movement Regime in WB & Gaza": Handel doesn't admit that terrorists crossed to carry out suicide attacks

Editorial  Note

Ariel Handel, a fellow at the Minerva Humanities Center, (PhD under the supervision of Professors Adi Ophir and Tovi Fenster) uses clever epistemological and linguistic devices pioneered by Ophir to accomplish two things.  First he creates a straw argument, namely that the "space" is not an "empty vessel;" as if the existence of the Palestinians in the territories have been somewhat overlooked or "disappeared" by Israel.   Second, he conveniently uses "space,"  "movement regime," and other fancy terminology to perform his own little "disappearance" trick;  Handel does not find it necessary to admit that Palestinian terrorists have crossed the territories to carry out suicide attacks against civilians. 
 Handel  would be well advised to look at the real history of movement restrictions that led to the creation of the separation barrier.  The Oslo agreement of 1993 had envisaged open borders and an economic union between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  However, criminal Palestinian elements used the unimpeded access to steal cars and agricultural equipment, bringing the car insurance industry to a breaking point.   More important, the same routes were used to infiltrate suicide bombers into major urban centers, causing thousands of casualties.

Handel participated in this conference

Territorial and Border Configurations to the Test of Mobility and Migrations (19th-21st century)

Mercredi 15 juin 2011  |  Jerusalem (Israël)

Ariel Handel (The Minerva Humanities Center-Tel Aviv University). Modes of Surveillance and Population Management in Israel/Palestine

Taken from TAU alumni page

Ariel Handel

"The Movement Regime in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip: Historical, Technological and Sociologcal Aspects” (abstract)

Supervisors: Prof. Adi Ophir and  Prof. Tovi Fenster


The Movement Regime in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Historical, Technological and Sociological Aspects,

Ariel Handel

Space has been at the core of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict ever since the beginning, of Zionism. Therefore, maps and tables of land area calculations are common tools in, describing this conflict. From the UN partition map, through the map which illustrates, the Israeli borders on 1948, all the way up  to the more sophisticated maps which, represent the depths of the Israeli control in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, one, can see that the Palestinian territory is  shrinking as the Israeli territory keeps, expanding. According to these calculations the West Bank and the Gaza Strip together, constitute 22% from the territory of Mandatory Palestine – and from this certain parts, where appropriated for the sake of settlements, roads, military regions and nature, reserves. 41.9% of the West  Bank territory is subjected to the direct control of the, settlements, and area C which is under the Israeli civil and militarily exclusive control, occupies an additional 18.1% of this territory. These maps represent in a concrete, manner the Israeli expansion on the account of the Palestinian space and their, importance is unquestionable. Nonetheless, this kind of mapping has several, prominent weaknesses; they derive from  the fact that these maps represent an, absolute value of the territory and not the  use value, and therefore they ignore, everything that can't be mapped or photographed from the air, mainly the movement, in space. ii, ii,

The dissertation wishes to describe  the movement regime applied by the, Israeli control array in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in a broad manner which, combines an empirical description and  a theoretical interpretation. The basic, assumption asserts that within the territory exists a movement regime which functio'ns, as a technology of control and which constitutes a central and distinct layer in the, Israeli control array in those areas. The claim I tried to establish in the research is that, the space isn't some sort of an empty vessel - and that the territory isn't just the object, of final control – but that the space itself is a main player in the controlling array. This, can be called "controlling the space through the space" – namely activating control, monitoring, channeling, supervision and violence arrays  in order to regulate the, movements of people in the territory and  its different uses, with the purpose of, reaching a final objective which is an exclusive control of the space. In the first one, the space is a tool of control and in the second one it is the object of control, and the, distinction between them is important and significant.  For that  sake I have discern, two types of spatial values: absolute value, which is measured by definite distances of, kilometers or squared miles, producing  objective real-values  which can be mapped, and which enable the attribution of a certain area in an injective func'tion: the red area, belongs to A, the blue area belongs to B. The second type is the use value, which, inquires "what can be done in the given  space": Who can move around in it, from, where and where to? What kind of risks  does he take upon himself?  Are there, significant differences in the ability to use the given space? and more. That way the, "spatial conflict" between Israel and the Palestinians isn't only a conflict that revolves, around the percentages of space and different colored spots on the map, as it is mostly, presented, but mainly as one that deals with the possibilities of spatial use. The Israeli, control of the space deviates from the places that apparently defined as its zone, and iii, iii, vice versa. The fears from attacks in the roads of the West Bank create a climate of, fear which limits and defines movement of Israelis also in C areas, that are defined as, "Israeli" – similar to the Israeli control which is well felt also in A areas, which are, defined as "Palestinian".

In general, the main part of the research deals with the space in the Occupied, Territories is divided into the activity at the geo-strategic level (the absolute values of, the areas that are mapped as "ours" or "theirs" and of the statist approach that sees in, all of this things that flow directly and without almost any disturbances from the, "higher ranks" downward) on one hand – and on the other hand the activity at the, micro level, that is the specific influences of certain checkpoints and barriers on those, who go through them.

The dissertation aspires to connect the two levels and to present, the tied connection between them: how does the uncertainty in regard to the passing, through a specific barrier influences the perception of the space in general; what it the, connection between the sovereignty on a territory and the micro-geographic control in, privileged spatial cells and more. Not only the research that focuses on the Occupied, Territories, but also the general spatial theoretical research fails to notice many times, this connection.

This research aspires to make a contribution in both fields: In the, spatial research of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; as well as the in the research of, space as a controlling tool and as a distinct part in a general technology of microgeographical control which carries strategic implications.

The dissertation has three parts: 1) study of the human movement in the space, its political aspects, and the manner it is used as a population management and a, spatial control tools; 2) genealogy of the space splitting at the West Bank and the, Gaza Strip, based on the categories that were defined in the first part; 3) the influences, of the movement regime and its political meanings. iv, iv, The basic assumption of this research, which deals with the movement regime, in the Occupied Territories, involves the great importance placed on the spatial human, movement research. Zigmunt Bauman states that "to move" and "to act" are almost, synonymous concepts and therefore the speed of movement, its safety, its range and, its cost carry a great importance in regard to the questions of stratification, managing, and controlling human beings. The first chapter elaborates on the discussion involving, the influence of the infrastructures and  the technology of movement on the social, stratification, and deals with what can be called "the political economy of the roads".

The analysis involves the longitudinal differential acceleration as well as the, diagonally crossing possibilities. That is to say, the question of who can use the road, and what is the speed that one can move in it, as well as the question of who can cross, the road and for whom it is used as a  spatial barrier. The  roads system is a, governmental-infrastructure means which brings close to each other privileged points, while it distances, in different measurement, the rest of the points from one another.

The definitions of "near" and  "far" aren't necessarily connected to the space as it is, measured by absolute values, but are a social product for all  intents and purposes:, Physical blocking, transportation high costs, lack of accessibility, a climate of fear or, uncertainty – all these produce the use distance between certain points. In that, manner, the road structure splits the space on the base of the abilities of movement as, a derivative of the economical situation, gender, race or nationality.

Realizing that the distance is actually a social category enables us to see in a, new mode the questions involving continuousness and spatial control. The distance, isn't a fixed datum, but a result of a continued active production. Therefore, we can, talk about territorialization as an active act of "distanciation" – namely bringing close, privileged points while creating a movement continuity between them. Then "The v, vcontrol on the space" will be a monopole on  the territorialization activity: the one, controlling the space is the one that holds the exclusivity on the definitions (and the, concrete production) of the "near" and "far" or in other words, the one who is, controlling the way of folding and unfolding the space.

The second chapter deals with the question of how the territorialization, operates in a concrete manner. This chapter focuses on the spaces where antagonistic, interactions take place, namely when there is a separation between two populations, (in fixed spaces or in movement routes), which is combined with the second, population perception as the one competing for the space and as a source of, endangerment. The territorialization analysis was divided to two: theoretical part and, comparative part. The main model used for the presentation of the manner of gaining, control over a territory and raising the level  of control on the said territory is that, presented by Reviel Netz (2004), which shows how the intelligent use of scattering, points and their joining to each other in an exclusive movement arteries and their, fortification brings a "topological inversion" – meaning that the lines connecting one, point to another turn into a disconnection lines that separate "land cells" one from, another. This model shows how a minority group, but one that has technological, advantage involving violence and speed creates for itself continuous movement while, splitting the second population and slowing it down.

The comparative part examined the stated above within several concrete, situations: The British colonies in Kenya and South Africa, the Apartheid regime in, South-Africa; cities divided into gated  communities and slums and Palestine during, the years 1880-1948. Each of these examples presents a different type of territoriality, as a derivate of the relation between the  two groups and of the  different types of, continuousness created in the space.

The theoretical and the comparative discussion vi, vi, brought up that the important factors for analyzing the control in the space aren't, necessarily these of the land quantity or the territorial continuousness (as it is usually, perceived), but mainly involving the  dispersion, the  use options and the  level of, separation in the fixed spaces as well as the movement spaces.

The second part of the dissertation was dedicated to the description of the, space splitting in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, based on the factors described, above. The third chapter focuses mainly on the period of June 1967 to September, 2000 – where the appropriation of the space by Israel along with the split of the use, values deepened until it reached the threshold of the topologic inversion.

The fourth, chapter deals with the second Intifada, when the threshold was crossed and the lines, that connect the Israeli array turned in a finalized manner to fences which split the, Palestine space from within. The latter turned into an archipelago of isolated islands, that the movement between them is difficult, slow and is bound to frictions and, multiple disruptions. The splitting and the control gaining description moves through, two routes: synchronic (which discusses the settlements array, the military control, the, restriction of movement and the connection between Israel within the Green Line and, the Occupied Territories) and diachronic (that follows within each clause the different, genealogical stages: sowing of the Israeli points within the existing spaces, connection, and fortification of the lines, intensification of the  control and the antagonism, bringing the points closer and creating  a sequences, and finally the topological, inversion).

The combined activity of the two aspects involving the controlling array, the, civil and the military, were always accompanied by the limiting the use of the, Palestinian spaces. The Israeli expansion increased the quantity of the separated uses, (from construction to agriculture and finally to movement and staying in space).  The vii, vii, second Intifada indicated the moment of the topological inversion: the connection of, the Israeli isolated points with fortified lines, and the inversion  of the situation in a, way that the Palestinian spaces are isolated from the continued space controlled by, the army forces.

 In an interesting manner, paralleling the deepening of the micro-separation in, the West Bank, which develops into an institutionalized movement separation and to, roads divided by walls in order to separate the populations from one another, the, blurred division between the West Bank and "Israel proper" remains still (a situation, that is completely different from the one  that exists in the  Gaza Strip since the, "disengagement" in 2005, an issue I will elaborate on later). The vagueness and the, instability of the borders along with the constant game of inside-outside, integration, and segregation keep on existing in the  relation between Israel proper and the, Occupied Territories. This subject is presented by an analysis referring to the, discourse around the Separation  Barrier (and the fact that in spite of all the, investments in it only half of it was build until the end of 2009) - and also with the use, of analyzing several visual images where settlements photograph their own self, as, part of the discourse with the Israeli citizens within the borders of the Green Line.

The fifth chapter wishes to examine the control by means of uncertainty, the, way it works, its influences and the resistance to it. The claim is that in the Occupied, Territories, mainly since the outbreak of the second Intifada, the uncertainty is used as, a method of control which intensifies the existing separation arrays. That is to say, that a conduct of fear and uncertainty, which is characterized by instability between, the presentation of power and its activation, is used deliberately instead of putting, walls and fences all through thousands of kilometers alongside the contacting lines, between the Israeli and the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Not only viii, viii, that it is difficult to make a move in the Occupied Territories without bumping into a, sign of the Israeli presence – outpost, settlement, road, infantry and vehicle patrol by, soldiers and so forth – but each sign like this also carries in it potential violence. The, conscious lack of written regulations and of supervision regarding the soldiers and the, way they activate the obstruction array increases the fear of getting close to the, barriers, to the road or to an olive orchard which is being overlooked by one, settlement or another.

The separations regime has a deep influence on the daily lives aspects of the, Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. First, the sealing of the Green Line distances, the Palestinians from the work places, educational institutions and medical treatment, in Israel itself (and this after a dependency which was developed through decades and, precisely in those certain fields). Secondly, it splits the Palestinian space into three, different cells: The West Bank, Eastern Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Due to that, separation important social, familial and national relationships are disconnected and, the possibility to receive the different medical treatments is avoidable as well as, obtaining higher education etc., Inside the Occupied Territories – mainly in the West Bank – the situation is, much more complex, when the area is divided to many tens of separated "land cells", that the passage between them is difficult and uncertain (the description refers mainly, to the years 2001-2007, although it keeps on existing as a permanent potential also, during the time of writing these lines, and  as I elaborated in  detail throughout this, dissertation). Almost each movement obligates a passage between land cells (that, their perimeter mostly doesn't go above several isolated rural villages, and almost, always is disconnected from the urbanite  area which supplies services, work, trade, and medical care). There are several areas that the entrance to them is solely ix, ix, permissible to their residents (East Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, the "Seam Zone", and sometime certain villages or areas for a restricted period of time) – and the rest of, them have hundreds of barriers that as mentioned above their locations, regulations, and their operation modes constantly change.  The outcomes involving the barriers, interfere with the daily routine since it can't be planned, and therefore the presence of, the control array presents itself in each step of the Palestinians in the Occupied, Territories. The distances between one point to another  change and at times even, several times a day – and the time to travel become a much more liquid factor when, there is no ability to assess the time of the waiting or the bypass. Since the cost of the, travel isn't only measured by time and money – but also in factors of convenience in, one hand and fear on the other hand – those changes are so intense that no wonder, that a significant number of Palestinians never have left their villages during the peak, period of the separations.

The fact that the control is found everywhere, and it is put into practice not, only  within the space but also in a clear mode  through the space, turns the, Palestinian resistance to present and active  at all times. The resistance in the space, and through the space is divided to two: Preserving the existing – which is being, expressed with the parallel effort of  Sumud (steadfastness, in Arabic) and of, smuggling; and exit toward the Israeli space in order to disrupt it  - mainly through the, West Bank roads, but also in the cities of Israel itself. In this dissertation I have, focused mainly on the non-violent resistance, what is defined as "everyday, resistance", which is divided as stated earlier between the steadfastness and the, smuggling.

The smuggling, which is the forbidden movement in the space, crosses the, constantly changing lines, is part of the Sumud logic. The spatial strength as well as x, xthe everyday necessity obliges the movement in between sections. The presence isn't, enough and it has to be accompanied with a constant move. Among the types of, resistance I have presented, there is the use of internet and advanced communication, technology; creation of new roads and roads that bypass the barriers; the uprising and, the self rehabilitation at the barriers themselves through tactical struggles in regard to, the lines and paths that might be approved and forbidden;  opening communication, channels and informing through the radios, cellular phones and sign language which, is agreed upon in-between the drivers in the roads; splitting of the spatial services to, the different field cells; gathering in a place which received a warning in regard to its, bombing or an intent exposure of a military ambush; non violent demonstrations and, the establishment of Palestinians "outposts".

The dissertation concludes with a discussion concerning the political meanings, of the control through uncertainty. It also presents a claim that in spite of the allegedly, continuity in the func'tions of the control tools they actually funct'ion in a different, manner within different systems. Therefore, a checkpoint or a movement permit from, the seventies and the eighties shouldn't be considered as the same tool according to its, func'tions in the years of 2000. The systematic func'tion is critical in understanding the, system activity. For the sake of this claim I have presented the Foucauldian concept of, the dispositif, which is an array that is composed of different elements, materialistic as, well as discursive, which organize between themselves according to threats or, strategic needs. The different parts that  constitute the array shouldn't be examined, separately from one another, but as a part of the whole which  they create in each, period or a set of data. The purpose is to show that the different instruments have a, different meaning in different contexts.  xi, xi, For this purpose I have distinguished between three idealtypes of, governmental forms: colonial/founding, inclusive/bio-political; and exclusionary. The, claim stated that in the Territories, since the nineties and mainly with the outbreak of, the second Intifada, prevails an exclusionary control system which is characterized by, its aspiration to decrease the friction between the authorities and the subjects and by, refraining from the responsibility towards them. The control with the use of, uncertainty integrates well with this control logic. Indeed intended uncertainty is, created by the government in all its forms I have stated above, but the func'tion of this, technology in regard to the content is essentially different form one another. While in, the founding/colonial array the purpose is reserving gaps of knowledge in order to, intensify the population control, and the inclusive/bio-political array which its main, purpose is penetration, appropriation and the application of new rules in order to solve, the situation of the allegedly uncertainty – than in the exclusionary array the, uncertainty is created for itself, from  the purpose of distancing and minimizing, friction. The meaning of control isn't containment, regulation or management – but, distancing, reducing friction and abstaining from responsibility toward the Palestinian, population.

The dissertation had a double purpose: The first one is to shed light on, somehow hidden and  neglected aspects, ones that were perceived many times as, "temporary" and as "not important", in the research of the Israeli control array, characterizations in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip; the second purpose is to, present theoretical aspects and to provide  an academic weight to the issue of the, human movement in the space and to connect between the micro-geographic of, power, as it is revealed in the management of the individual in the space, and the, geostrategic aspect of the military occupation, management of  the borders, separation xii, xii, between population and strategic withdrawals – all this  with the combination of, empirical research and the theoretical framing which is drawn from different, disciplines: political theory and sociology, human geography and more. In this, manner the research aspires to make a contribution also to the field of the expanded, research, which deals with the different emergency zones around the globe, and to, combine the Israeli control in the Occupied Territories within the context of an, empirical, theoretical and comprehensive research. 


Handel's lecture below from 2004 can be watched here 
After 01:56:00 minutes into the program

What is left of the Palestinian Territories? A spatial look


Ariel Handel

It seems that we are getting closer to a day in which talking about "Palestinian Territories" in the manner we talk normally about space would become senseless. In an always-increasing process – and especially since September 2000 – the Palestinians are uprooted from their land, enclosed and secluded. The Palestinian space – as I will attempt to show – becomes homogenous, immobile and frozen. It becomes porous and transparent for the military forces – while opaque and imprison for the Palestinians. The lecture would pass between several spaces: from the lowest resolution, in which I would claim that one cannot talk, at least not in the way these disciplines define themselves now, about geography and architecture in the Occupied Territories – and down to the very body's space which becomes penetrable and unstable due to the searches and the extra-judicial assassinations. In the Occupied Territories the differences between private and public space, inside and outside, and all the variation that allows us using or exploring the space, are nearly gone. The lecture would deal mainly with the Palestinian side, but I will show that none of the other actors in the Occupied Territories, namely the army and the settlers, lives or experiences the actual space either. The spatial analysis will allow us to understand better the modality and the logic of the occupation - as well as to see why is it so hard to know "what is really going on" in the Occupied Territories. 


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