Jerusalem Walls: Transforming and Segregating Urban Fabric

In: African and Asian Studies
Salem A. ThawabaDepartment of Architectural Engineering & Urban Planning master program Birzeit University Palestine, Email:

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Jerusalem city witnessing last touches of constructing the Israeli wall that came as a part of a general strategy aim to separate the city from its periphery. The city, that includes about 400,000 Palestinians considered as the hub of fifty Palestinian communities. This structure is interlinked by complex cultural, social, and economic relationships. This aims to de facto annex vast areas to Israel using different means like land confiscations, colonial activities and finally constructing the wall in order to reach the city “Israelization”. Israel claims that Jerusalem is an open city as was declared immediately after 1967. On the ground, since 1967, Israel created different kinds of walls to divide Jerusalem into Palestinian enclaves and Israeli contiguous urban scheme (Hasson, 1996).

This study investigates the impact of Israeli policies on Jerusalem area since 1948. Since then all planning practices were directed to isolate Jerusalem by cutting off all surrounding Arab communities. The aim of the study is to shed light on the hidden agenda of the Israeli planning strategies and its impact on the Palestinian urban structure.

In order to assess the urban settings for the study area, aerial photos were analyzed, field visits, literature and historical review were conducted. The outcome of the study shows that Israeli planning machine in the area was aiming to enlarge “Greater Jerusalem” area by annexing as much land as possible within the city boundary. Another aim was to weaken and segregate the surrounding Palestinian communities in away to make it impossible for these communities to form a center as a Palestinian hub competing the historical hub of Jerusalem.

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