Spacio-cide: Colonial politics, invisibility and rezoning in Palestinian territory

Sari Hanafi, Associate Professor, American University of Beirut

Time: 13:00-14:30
Venue: CMI, Main meeting room, Fantoftvegen 38

In the last two decades, the Arab-Israeli conflict has been considered a ‘low intensity' conflict, based on a typology which simply takes into account the number of casualties. This typology is misleading, since despite relatively low numbers of casualties, on other counts the conflict may be seen to be in the process of intensification. In particular, a key area that has been gaining relevance is related to space and land: dispossession, occupation and destruction of Palestinian living space and what the author calls spacio-cide. In this paper, 2009 Spacio-cide CAA, it is argued that the Israeli colonial project is ‘spacio-cidal' (as opposed to genocidal), in that it targets land for the purpose of rendering inevitable the ‘voluntary' transfer of the Palestinian population, primarily by targeting the space upon which the Palestinian people live. This systematic destruction of the Palestinian living space becomes possible by exercising the state of exception and deploying bio-politics to categorize Palestinians into different groups, with the aim of rendering them powerless. The paper will demonstrate that spacio-cide policy is the potentiality of a structure of juridical-political delocalization and dislocation aimed at transferring the Palestinian population whether internally or outside of fluid state borders. This policy involves a combination of three strategies.

Sari Hanafi is Associate Professor of Sociology at the American University of Beirut and editor of Idafat: The Arab Journal of Sociology. Hanafi is also Program Research Director of the Issam Fares Institute's program: "Modes of Governance in the Palestinian Refugee Camps of Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Territory" and former Director of Palestinian Refugee and Diaspora Centre (Shaml).