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Apartheid in Palestine: just ‘a geographic problem’ after all

May 21, 2009

The co-founder of Architecture for Humanity is advocating what he calls a three-state solution of ‘East Palestine, West Palestine and Israel’ on The Huffington Post: ‘As a pragmatic designer I tend to look at things in a different manner and by looking at the conflict as a geographical problem, not a political one then the creation of East Palestine and West Palestine seems an obvious solution.’

The writer legitimizes further bantustanization of occupied land while writing off Palestine as a ‘geographical’ problem. This encapsulates the humanitarian discourse of the conflict pretty well (if it doesn’t just make you want to yell, ‘It’s the occupation, stupid!’): it’s just a matter of shuffling ethnically and religiously homogenous people around.

Nowhere in the ‘solutions’ does the writer even allude to, never mind take seriously, the reality of occupation and Israel’s gradual rescinding of its duties as an occupying power to–better to let ‘East/West Palestine’ gradually leach off of other Arab states. Nowhere does the writer allude to, never mind take seriously, Israel’s heinous treatment of Palestinians inside its borders as third-class citizens and cattle-prodding them at checkpoints outside–better to let banish them to the east and west wings of the house, draw the curtains and banish them from the hallways.

See, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is really easy to wrap your head around if you just pull out a Lonely Planet map. Defeat that pesky, ill-sounding ‘contiguous state’ problem by making two new states. You don’t even have to call the old one by it’s name–‘Gaza’ unhelpfully reminds people of walls and children used as target practice anyway.

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