Hollow land

02 Sep 2007 | 300 words | occupation israel border

Just finished reading Eyal Weizman’s impressive Hollow Land – Israel’s Architecture of Occupation. In the book Weizman describes of how the Israeli occupation gradually hollows out what is left of Palestine, by means of architecture. His understanding of architecture is fairly broad and includes aspects like spacial theories of urban warfare, the separation wall, airborne occupation, the strategic locations of west-bank settlements and the system of checkpoints. The chapter on checkpoints (‘The Split Sovereign and the One-Way Mirror’), which is one of the strongest one’s in the entire one includes this fantastic quote, which perfectly illustrates the insanity of the entire occupation project:

The checkpoints do not only carve up space, but also divide up time as well. Israel changes to daylight saving time a month after the rest of the world because of coalition agreements with ultra-Orthodox parties whose constituency’s hours of prayer are governed by celestial composition and level of daylight. The Palestinian Authority shifts it’s clocks to daylight-saving time in tune with the rest of the Northern hemisphere. In spring, a one-hour time difference opens up across the two sides of the checkpoints, creating two time zones. ‘The working day ends at 6pm local time but 7pm checkpoint time. the checkpoint shuts at 7pm it’s time. Until everybody got used to move the clock backwards and finish work an hour earlier, the checkpoint was blocked with hundreds of winter time people begging the summer time soldiers to allow them back home’.

[i think either Weizman or Azmi Bishara, from whom the the quote in the quote is taken must have confused summer and winter time here. if the initial explanation is correct then the soldiers are still on winter time and the workers are on summer time].

A number of more extensive reviews are available at roundtable.kein.org.