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Solid Sea 03: The Road Map

The territories of Israel and Palestine are, in these days, a laboratory of the world. Particularly the West Bank, is a region where, in few acres, an incredible variety of borders, enclosures, fences, checkpoints and controlled corridors are concentrated. On January 13 and 14, 2003 we tried to measure, with our EU passport, the density of border devices in the area surrounding Jerusalem. On January 13 we traveled on the highway 60 along with a person with an Israeli passport from the colony of Kiriat Arba to the colony of Kudmin. The following day, we traveled along with a person with a Palestinian passport from the city of Hebron to the city of Nablus. The two routes both start and end in the same latitude; at some points they overlap. Their traveling times, however, are profoundly different. To move between the two latitudes, the Israeli traveler took around one hour, while the Palestinian took five and a half hours. The West Bank territories are divided into three different zones:

Zone A under Palestinian Authority military and administrative control. It includes most Palestinian cities.
Zone B under Israeli military control, but under Palestinian Authority administrative control. It mostly includes Palestinian villages.
Zone C under Israeli military and administrative control. It includes most Israeli colonies.

This partition produced a leopard-skin like territory, where the three zones alternate with each other without any apparent logic. The different temporality of the two routes is due to the fact that the Israeli travelers, in order to move from a settlement to the other from a Zone C to another Zone C , can use the so-called by-pass-roads: that is highways often in tunnels or elevated which link the colonies, while by-passing Palestinian villages. On the other hand, the Palestinian travelers, who want to move from one city in Zone A to another in a different part of Zone A, must pass through B or C Zones which are under Israeli military control, crossing a number of both permanent and temporary checkpoints or trying to avoid them. The checkpoints which are situated along the 'Green Line' that runs between Israel and the West Bank, as well as along the edges of East Jerusalem cannot be crossed by those who have a 'travel document' issued by the Palestinian Authority unless they are also provided with a special permission issued by the Israeli government. Other checkpoints are daily activated and removed according to the Israeli government's security guidelines.

The Road Map is part of the Border-device(s) research, a project developed by multiplicity with Domus Academy, Milano Class of Urban Management and City Design, and the Berlage Institute, Rotterdam Second term studio 2003.

With the contribution of: Kunst Werke, Berlin. Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio Corso di Cultura del Territorio 2002-2003, 3rd year. IUAV Venezia Laboratorio di Progettazione Urbanistica, 2002-2003, 3rd year.

Route of the Israeli traveler

Border Device(s): Stills from the journey of the Israeli traveler
Photo: multiplicity, 2003.