West Bank Settlement and the Transformation of Zionist Housing Ethos from Shelter to Act of Violence
This paper identifies a transformation in Israel's housing ethos from civilian shelter to national and neoliberal violence. Housing, once materializing the State of Israel’s raison d’etre as shelter from Jewish persecution has transformed to offense and retaliation in struggle over the West Bank, as declared by Prime Minister Netanyahu's noted 'they kill- we build' statement. Conducting close analysis of housing and settlement history since 1967 I challenge accepted historiography of the settlement movement and identify the pivotal moment of change by which the settlement project transformed its housing ethos from civilian shelter to 'civilian occupation' to Kudumim outpost in the early 1990s. This transformation parallels the neoliberalization of the housing market in Israel-proper since the 1990s, protested as neoliberal violence by the 2011 housing protest movement. This paper contributes to our understanding of spatial violence by identifying housing as the object of agonistic violence, invoking Chantalle Mouffe's concept of the object of agonism and pointing to housing as the object of contemporary negotiations over the very terms and values of the Israeli polity.
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