Home > Conflict & Security, Middle East, Politics > Ariel Sharon and the Geometry of Occupation

Ariel Sharon and the Geometry of Occupation

Eyal Weizman writes in openDemocracy:

The government maintains that the principle that guides the path involves “temporary and urgent security considerations”, not political ones, and that the barrier is not and will not become a permanent border.

The claim for the “temporariness” of the barrier describes it as an instrument of contingency in a temporary state of emergency. But it is precisely the transient nature of Israeli unilateral actions across the frontier of the West Bank that renders them most effective in terms of the occupation.

In their book Bad Days, Israeli philosophers Adi Ophir and Ariella Azoulay noted that the occupation perpetuates itself through ever-new seemingly “temporary” facts, and that it is the “temporality” of conflict that allows the occupation to continue permanently.

Barriers are indeed different than borders in that they do not separate an “inside” and an “outside” of a sovereignty-based political and legal system, but merely act as contingency apparatuses to prohibit movement across a territory. Throughout Israeli history, though, the state always preferred to use temporary security arrangements as a way to create permanent political facts on the ground. If Sharon gets his way, the barrier will be transformed from a temporary security measure to a permanent political and material fact.

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