The Israeli architecture of destruction – and the ‘hidden violence’ against Palestine


David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific

COINCIDING with the visit by renowned Haaretz journalist Amira Hass to New Zealand in the past couple of weeks, Al Jazeera has been running a repeat of the brilliant programme “The Architecture of Violence” in the Rebel Architecture series.

In this, architect and communicator par excellence Eyal Weizman explains how Israel has transformed urban warfare and how the techniques are used to subjugate Palestinians.

Travelling across the illegal settlements and roads of the West Bank and also along the Separation Wall, Weizman shows how the controlled use of architecture is deployed to consolidate the Israeli grip on Palestine.

“Architecture and the built environment is a kind of a slow violence,” he says.

“The occupation is an environment that was conceived to strangulate Palestinian communities, villages and towns, to create an environment that would be unliveable for the people there.”

Having watched Weizman’s documentary a couple of nights before the Pacific Media Centre hosted Hass for a talk at AUT University on the theme “Dilemmas as a ‘non-objective’ journalist”,  Amira Hass’s insights really resonated with the Café Pacific publisher.

TDB Recommends

The core themes reflected what she also spoke about in Australia. For example, Green-Left’s Narendra Kommalapati reported how she spoke about Israeli governments deliberately rejecting the Palestinian offer in the 1990s to have a state based on only 23 percent of “historical Palestine”.

Accepting the offer would have meant recognising Palestinians as equal and ending the colonialist project of Israel and ending the privileges of Jewish Israelis, a task Israel’s rulers were not prepared to undertake.

The inbuilt racism of Israeli society can be seen from the fact that more than 18,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria are trapped in Syria and cannot return to the place where they have roots.

Yet anyone in Australia who is Jewish can become a citizen of Israel within days, have complete freedom of movement and pass on these rights to relatives anywhere in the world.

Any Jew anywhere in the world has greater rights in Israel than any Palestinian. While this reality is unquestionable to many Jewish people, reality does not make it just, Hass said.

Before Amira Hass’s talk at AUT – just three days after the World Press Freedom Day had been observed globally – the hosts raised the issue of an attack on a Palestinian journalists’ demonstration for free movement, which left the local journalists union leader and two others wounded.

Pacific Media Centre’s Pacific Media Watch freedom project reporter/editor Alistar Kata interviewed Hass after the seminar, and this is how her report summed up the meeting:

The common imagery of Israeli airstrikes, destruction of property and the loss of human life is how international audiences see the Israeli-Palestinian relationship.

But Israeli journalist and author Amira Hass says the issue also needs to be covered when violence is not happening.

This is so audiences can “understand that there is an ongoing violence on the part of the Israeli occupation that does not necessarily have to be quantities of blood”.

Palestinians faced bureaucratic violence as part of their daily lives.

Hass spoke at a seminar at the Auckland University of Technology … about her experiences and “dilemmas as a ‘non-objective’ journalist” in reporting the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

She said the first role of journalists was to “monitor the centres of power”.

“Our main target is to monitor power to see what it does to people – usually it is a lot of harm.”

Hass spoke at Otago University, Auckland University and AUT, and always to a packed audience.


  1. Thanks for this informative post, David. I have recently been watching an Al Jazeera documentary series on Freeview here in Auckland (Al Jazeera is available), and it tells us how it all started, with the Zionist settlement in Palestine, which the British appear to have assisted, at least in the beginning. ‘Al Nakba’ is also a must watch, I reckon:

    For those that have little historic knowledge about the history of Palenstine, from the start of last century, and the establishment of the State of Israel, this is also a good documentary to learn what happened.

    The Zionists were smart in executing their plan, and they are still very smart at isolating, marginalising and dominating the Palestinian Arabs.

    This is how it looks like now on the West Bank:

    And the ‘Aliyah’ is still being pursued to this day:

    Yet apart from the odd bit of “hard talk” that occurs now and then, most western and other powerful nations simply ignore the conduct of Israel’s governments and armed forces, and the plight of the people of Palestine.

  2. If you look more closely- the same “business model” has been used across the USA, getting all Indians into their open air concentration camps where they are fed alcohol, meth and gambling to finally destroy them. This is also the same model used across NZ- using economic means to force Maori into their areas, where the fluoride is pumped in along with the Crown’s meth and alcohol businesses. And pockie machines. Genocide by stealth. And now being used to target poor white people also. The Goy.

  3. The Zionists explained – Babylon gave birth to Rome, which gave birth to Baby London, which gave birth to DC (Columbia – the White Dove in Latin)- which gave birth to the Zionists. The same inbred gang all the way through- make no mistake about it.

  4. Of course one can expect a completely unbiased view from Aljazeera 😉

    When it comes to Israel I am reminded of Nietzsche’s comment:

    “When fighting dragons, be careful not to become a dragon yourself.”

    Having failed to win any of the conventional wars they started, Israel’s neighbours (all thug dictators by the way) adopted irregular warfare of which a large slice is propaganda, such as you see here.

    Meanwhile compared to the rest of the region, Israel is a beacon of peace, justice and democracy. Imperfect for sure, and in danger of being dragged down by its enemies into becoming a dragon indistinguishable from them.

    • What garbage you write here!

      Al Jazeera are one of few international media outlets that ALSO show us the Arab perspective, while MOST mainstream media, commercial and non-commercial, all over the “western world” tend to favour Israel, and the Jewish population, some of whom are Zionists or descendants of Zionists.

      The close ties between western capitalist interests, and western governments’ strategic interests in the Middle East are blatantly obvious to those who bother to look at both sides of the story. The British, French, US and others are always more mindful of the Jewish interests, as having a “friendly” nation called Israel right there in the Mid-East, in a very strategic position near major oil fields, the important Suez Canal and the Eastern Mediterranian, that is the best they could ever hope for.

      So they can control the strategic and economic developments there, or at least keep some “check” on what Arab nations may get up to, one way or another.

      It was not by coincidence that Balfour, Sykes and Picot stressed the importance of the Jewish and their Zionist lobbies and influences, which convinced the Brits and the US to strongly support the migration of Zionists and other Jews into what was then Palestine, and eventually support the establishment of Israel as we now know it.

      Al Jazeera are rather moderate on all this, presenting an objective documentary, and if they were not, they would not be allowed to have their journalists report from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, which they regularly do, in Arabic and English!

      Also, in ‘Al Nakba’, an Israeli historian and researcher is providing his input and sharing information held in Israel. How “one sided” is this?

    • AndrewO – how old are you?! Because saying that “Israel is a beacon of peace, justice and democracy” is the sort of naive nonsense I spouted in my teens.

      By the way, you left out Truth, Justice, and the American Way. And mom and apple pie. Don’t forget the pie.

  5. Israel bombs, shells and kills far to many woman and children to be considered a beacon of peace …………………..

    Stealing land and forcing the people who were on it into the modern equivalent of the warsaw ghetto is not very peaceful either …..

    Zionist believe that they are the chosen ones and they kill with impunity

    Israel was created by terrorism, murder and ethnic cleansing ……

    If you have real morals or compassion you will Pity the Palestinians.

  6. I find it interesting how the Left has, over time come to associate itself with Fascist Muslims in the Middle East.

    How did that happen? It’s bizarre!

    We have millions of refugees pouring from Syria, tens maybe hundreds of thousands dead, strewn right across the Middle East. Gas attacks on civilians. Beheadings on video. We have thousands killed just now in a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria BY OTHER MUSLIMS. Dead and destruction all over….

    ….yet the Progressive/Left is only worried about Israel.

    Please explain your one-eyed bigotry.

    • @ Andrewo . Fuck off . God , you’re annoying . You’re like that bloody fly that keeps on going no matter the spray .

    • More garbage you write here. Who here supports “fascist Muslims”???

      There have been other posts, where many commenters shared concern about Islamic State and such extremism, but also expressed concern about the cause for such extremism to flourish.

      Maybe you go and find one true responsible person for the huge mess the Middle East now is, one George W. Bush, who could not wait to march into Iraq, then overthrow a dictator, but also created an enormous power vaccuum and a resulting mess, that enabled such extremists to find an ideal play ground.

      If you may actually use more grey matter, you may one day realise, that had it not come to the way the state of Israel was established, and had it not been for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to be driven away by Zionists, we may not even have groups like Fatah and Hamas today, who though cannot be compared with ISIS and such groups.

      You surely lost all credit with that last comment. Good night and sweet dreams, I hope not full of bizarre nightmares based on such wild imaginations you just presented us.

    • OK andrew –

      should anyone fire munitions at civillians?

      If you take off your blinkers and actually listen you would spot that people are not so much condoning hamas attacks – theyre pointing out the gross hypocrisy of those who refuse to apply even the most basic idea of a level standard to actions on both sides

      we can all pretty much agree hamas shouldnt fire rockets at civilians – but if we can agree on that why the hell does israel get a free pass to do vastly worse?

      answer that before you accuse others like you did above

      and actually answer it – dont give us some twist turny bullshit

      note: im giving you a chance here – take it

Comments are closed.