The Colonial Future: The Spatial Construction of Futurelessness in Israel/Palestine

Authors: Merav Amir*, Queen's University
Topics: Political Geography, Middle East
Keywords: Settler Colonialism, Israel/Palestine, Violence, Temporalities
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Iris, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The growing realisation that the end of the Israeli occupation is highly improbable in the foreseeable future, a realisation which is increasingly shared by Israelis and Palestinians, is usually attributed to political power relations. The importance of power plays by political elites notwithstanding, this talk will aim to demonstrate that the perceived inevitability of the perpetuation of the colonial present in Israel/Palestine should be understood as also shaped by the region’s residents lived experiences of space and place. Space is constructed to preclude the ability to effectively imagine an alternative future, and to render any resistance to the existing power-relations as futile. This perception is materialised through two temporal frameworks which both negate the future: perpetual temporariness and future-as-present. The permanent temporariness of the occupation is harnessed towards the arbitrariness of the configurations of control over the Palestinians, in the name of the (always already) pending Palestinian independence, while serving the expansionist goals of the settler colonial project. Concurrently, the façade of the future to come fabricates the hollow presence of Palestinian sovereignty and the presumed experience of a post-occupation Israel. The materialisation of these two temporalities through a re-signification of the meaning of key sites, in their spatial configurations of governance, violence and control, is designed to render the struggle towards altered political futures unattainable.

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