Challenging the urbicide 1

Authored by: Marion Lecoquierre

Routledge Handbook on Middle East Cities

Print publication date:  June  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138650749
eBook ISBN: 9781315625164
Adobe ISBN:


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The Palestinian city of Hebron (West Bank) represents a nerve center in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Heavily disputed for political and religious reasons, it is occupied by Israel since the Six Days War (1967). . Since then, Hebron has contained an increasing population of Israeli Jewish settlers and a massive military presence. In 1997 the city was divided into H1, which fell under the Palestinian Authority and covers most of the city, and H2, the old city, under Israeli control. The protracted occupation of the old city has profoundly modified the urban fabric, installing an urbicidal process which has slowly destroyed the material, social, and symbolic dimensions of urban life. However, this process is met on the ground with resistance. Three main strategies can be observed on the part of the Palestinian actors involved in the area (residents, activists, institutions, NGOs…) : sumud or steadfastness; renovation and rehabilitation of the old city's buildings; and encouraging and organizing local - and political - tourism. Advocating for new practices and perceptions of the urban space, these strategies attempt to oppose the urbicide by creating or re-creating new forms of territorialization and appropriation of the city.

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