Tourism as a tool for colonisation, segregation, displacement and dispossession

The case of East Jerusalem, Palestine

Authored by: Rami K. Isaac

Routledge Handbook on Tourism in the Middle East and North Africa

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138651920
eBook ISBN: 9781315624525
Adobe ISBN:


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Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Palestine has seen complicated changes in its political state of affairs. These have included the creation of Israel in 1948 and the 1967 war. As a consequence of the latter, Israel occupied the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. These events have created catastrophic political, economic, psychological and social facts which have deeply affected the lives of the Palestinian people, many of whom became refugees dislocated to neighbouring countries and indeed the world as a Palestinian diaspora. In many ways Palestine itself was simply wiped off the map, with historic Palestine coming to be known as Israel. In this context tourism became a political and colonial tool, in the supremacy and domination of the Israel establishment over land and people. The aim of this chapter is to scrutinise how Israeli master plans for Jerusalem aim to shape the city into a tourism and high-tech centre, and the ways in which they use urban planning to remake the city’s demography. This chapter will also shed some light on Israel’s purposely engineered economic breakdown of East Jerusalem, which renders the city essentially unliveable for Palestinians so as to ensure Jewish control over it. Tourism in this context is used as a tool to control the narrative and ensure the projection of Jerusalem to the outside world as a ‘Jewish city’.

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