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From moments to durations: the impact of Israeli checkpoints on Palestinian everyday life in Jerusalem

Maha Samman

International Journal of Urban Sciences, 2021, vol. 25, issue 1, 124-148

Abstract: The article examines how Israeli checkpoints constructed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory impact the daily lives of Palestinians. As elements of urban segregation and control, and constructed through the implementation of Israeli planning regulations and procedures, these checkpoints signify the dynamics of spatialisation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem. With a focus on the Qalandia checkpoint, located in north Jerusalem, the article discusses how crossing it impacts the temporal aspect of everyday life of Palestinians, creating loops of new experiences that produce elongated journey-times. Actions and reactions while commuting at the checkpoint are analyzed using Foucault’s ideas on Discipline and Lefebvre’s ideas on Rhythmanalysis. Foucault’s ideas help in analyzing how the checkpoint takes part in the wider strategy designed to subjugate Palestinian people through discipline. And the Palestinian rhythms that emerge to handle their experiences are explained within the notions of what Lefebvre theoretically categorized as secret, public, fictional, and dominating-dominated rhythms. The article suggests that the spatial injustice created by the checkpoints through the continuous ‘disciplining’ of people, attempts to induce a repulsive ‘existential temporality’ to affect the Palestinians’ connection to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, Palestinians, through reproduced rhythms, still endure these strategies to maintain their attachment to Jerusalem, as part of their resilience against injustice.

Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1080/12265934.2020.1777892

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