Everyone chuckles. We go up to the viewpoint and everyone photographs the Western Wall plaza below. Calum provides a string of figures, including the golden dome of the mosque being 80 kilograms of gold. He explains the significance of the site in Christian tradition—the crucifixion of Jesus, Emperor Constantine telling his mother to build a church here, the Crusaders rebuilding it after conquering Jerusalem in He also discusses at length the tensions between the six denominations over section of the church, mentioning how they need a Muslim gatekeeper to open and close the doors every day to keep them from fighting over it.
As he concludes the tour, he emphasizes that this was to just give us an introduction to what Jerusalem is all about and encourages us to explore further. The Sandemans tour of the Old City navigates the contestation over Jerusalem by presenting its narration as a neutral perspective of the tourist gaze. It strategically shifts attention away from the disputed features of the city to instead produce a universalizing appreciation for the sheer amount of heritage it contains. The tone of the narration also conveys a universalizing impulse, which presents the heritage of the Old City as belonging to all visitors.
For example, the guide makes several comments about the layers of history upon which we stand, imparting a sense of wonder for the experience of a physical landscape that contains the heritage of so many civilizations. The assertion of neutrality allows for the tour to elide acknowledgment that it is providing a selective narration with political implications.
This approach is reinforced in how the guide mentions conflict in terms of the Armenians in Turkey and the intra-denominational squabbles at the Holy Sepulchre, but avoids discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The scripting of the tour also reveals a more subtle entanglement with politics. For example, at the Cardo mural, the guide has us imagine walking along the Roman street presented in the image. It collapses the distant past into our physical present, providing a stirring suggestion of the eternal quality of Jerusalem through which we stand in the direct echo of an era thousands of years ago.
The collapsing of time also situates the narrated scene after the exile of the Jews and before Islam came into existence, which pushes it closer to the frame of a Christian landscape and normalizes the salience of Christian history. Not only does this connote the deep passion that is engendered by the holy city, but his European perspective also secures Israel within the framework of a European Judeo-Christian culture.
It provides a perspective of an outside authority that suggests he can be indifferent to the politics while simultaneously inscribing the landscape of Jerusalem into a familiar history of western civilization. Combined with the subtly selective presentation of the Old City sites, this allows the tour to suppress the contemporary issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the narrated past and depict the historical sights as self-evident in the present.
The tour scripts itself as a neutral carrier of information that is disentangled from politics and power dynamics, though its language and frames of vision reveal its situated perspective. In normalizing a selective imaginary of Jerusalem as the default apolitical view, the Sandemans tour of the Old City ultimately reinforces the dominant Jewish-Israeli imaginary that overshadows other narratives from the contested landscape. It is not a religious tourism company per se, as its diverse offerings contrast with the tour companies that are explicitly geared towards Christian pilgrimage.
Bein Harim nevertheless caters to a more traditional mass tourism audience, as suggested by its higher prices, pick up and drop off services from major hotels, the variety of language options for the regular tours, and private tour options. As we drive along the Kidron Valley we have an excellent view of Mount Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations as well as of the monumental ancient Jewish burial tombs. We enter the Old City through from Mt. Zion, passing the Armenian Quarter to the excavated Byzantine Cardo. Although this fifteen hundred year old main street of Jerusalem was partially destroyed and unused during the Moslem conquest it had a brief new lease of life during the Crusader period and the excavated Crusader shops are now modern stores.
This two thousand year old wall is part of the encircling and supporting wall built by king Herod when the Temple Mount area was enlarged. As we walk along the Via Dolorosa we join the many pilgrims who are following the Stations of the Cross ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the church built over the place of the crucifixion of Jesus and the burial tomb.
Originally built in the Byzantine period, it was partially destroyed during the Persians and Moslem conquests and then rebuilt and slightly altered by the Crusaders. After a short stroll through the market place we exit the Old City and continue to Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum commemorating both the annihilation of six million Jews and those righteous among the nations who endangered their lives while trying to save Jews.
My fellow passengers include a woman and her son in his early 20s from Alabama, who cheerfully talk about how they just came from Ephesus and are heading to Nazareth after Jerusalem. I board the bus and immediately feel out of place in the overwhelmingly white and middle-aged group, which includes several businessmen taking a leisure day. The businessmen crack jokes about how all these religions are just spinoffs of each other.
The guide introduces Jerusalem from the Mount Scopus viewpoint, August 3. I speak Arabic, so we became friends with the Jordanian soldiers. And after , we could get into the Old City. Well, today, all religious buildings are protected by Israeli law. The deeper you dig, the more culture there is. A young American woman turns to her boyfriend and says she could get all her souvenirs here. Most of the participants carefully browse the shelves and make their selections.
Tour participants inside Golden City Bazaar, August After everyone has finished inside the shop, we head over to the Holy Sepulchre. Oren recounts several stories about Jesus in great detail before explaining how the church is holy for six Christian denominations. In the meantime, the rest of us follow him through the Ethiopian Orthodox chapel to hear about Queen Sheba and the Tribe of Judah. A procession of pilgrims singing in Spanish passes us on the narrow path, carrying a cross between them. A procession of pilgrims bearing the cross, August We thread our way through the crowds, stopping at several Stations of the Cross for Oren to explain in great detail what happened to Jesus at each one.
Several people press forward to touch their own hand to it. When we arrive at the entrance to the Western Wall, we dutifully place our bags in the security scanner and walk through the metal detector. We get time to ourselves, and many participants make a beeline through the crowd for the wall itself. Afterwards, we gather near the plaza entrance and Oren points to a large sturdy sphere. You know, it happens quite often because people coming here get very emotional and pray at the wall and forget their bags there! We then walk into a covered tunnel alleyway lined with shops and pause next to an excavated site, which he notes is a Second Temple ruin.
We sit at a table already set with plates and glasses of water. Our pre-selected meal choices arrive and Oren explains what falafel and shawarma are while the participants listen attentively. The young American couple talks about how they were just in Egypt and decided to come see Israel as well. The group of businessmen turns out to be from various American cities and is on this tour to take their first day in Jerusalem to sightsee before their business meeting.
As we finish eating, Oren advises us to go upstairs to take photos of the view. The guide points out sites using an illustration of the Old City in the Second Temple period, August The Bein Harim tour of the Old City navigates the contested landscape by narrating it through a Jewish-Israeli imaginary. The guide makes no claims to being apolitical, as on the Sandemans tour, but he does not explicitly identify his narration as coming from a specific perspective.
Instead, his account is left as a matter-of-fact scripting of the sites of the tour, which allows it to smuggle in its politics without drawing attention to this process. In this way, the scripting of the Old City as a Jewish-Israeli place is conveyed with a fixity to its imaginary that is normalized and seemingly unselective.
The first component to naturalizing the selective narrative is the presentation of the Old City as a specifically Judeo-Christian landscape. The tour accomplishes this in part through the emphasis on the Jewish and Christian sites and the biblical stories associated with them as the most important features of the Old City. Jewish heritage is portrayed as salient because of its sheer age, as evidenced by the references to 74 the First and Second Temple periods at the Broad Wall and in the Western Wall plaza.
The extensive detail of the narration at the Holy Sepulchre and the Via Dolorosa implies that the tour participants are more interested in the Christian sites. In the souvenir shop, the sales pitch directed at the tour participants places overwhelming emphasis on Christian relics and authentic antiquity.
The Judeo-Christian holiness of the Old City is emphasized both in the scripting and performance of the sites. It also occurs in the guide having us imagine him as a Jew returning from Babylonian exile to build the Second Temple. Through these performances, the participants are invited to see Jerusalem past and present through the continuity of Judeo-Christian sanctity.
The most blatant example is how the guide arranges for the two Muslim women to be taken to see the Haram al-Sharif while the rest of the group tours the Holy Sepulchre. They are literally removed from the scripting of the mainstream tour in order to experience an alternative one in which Muslim heritage is included; this implies that the Christian sites are of regular, general interest whereas Islam is specialized and particular. The tour uses biblical heritage to bolster the legitimacy of Israeli state by making certain sights visible and subtly merging the ancient Jewish landscape with the modern one.
However, he does not provide this context. Instead, the comment is presented as self-evident and matter-of-fact, deftly providing a teleological implication of the state of Israel being the answer to the destruction of the European Jewish population. So much is left unsaid and unquestioned, deftly naturalizing the selective narrative of Israel as a Jewish state. A more blatant example is in how he uses the illustration of the Old City in the Second Temple period—in which the Dome of the Rock has not yet been built—to point out the sites we had visited on our walk.
By not addressing the temporal distinction, the narration collapses the ancient Jewish past into the Israeli present and folds us back into the biblical landscape. This approach erases the long history between the Second Temple period and modern Israel during which Jerusalem was not under Jewish control, critically excluding Muslim and Palestinian heritage and political claims to the past and present of Jerusalem without appearing to be making a political statement.
The tour thus embeds the Jewish past into the space of modern Israel while simultaneously suppressing non-Jewish, non-Israeli claims to the city by omitting them from the narration. By keeping the contestation out of the scripting of the Old City, the tour does significant political work without drawing attention to its politics. The way the guide describes the present landscape instead pulls from the selective narration of the past to produce a teleological understanding of the present. This strategy is crucially used to imply that the Israeli state is the most rightful and responsible overseer of the holy city, that Israeli control is the only way in which Jerusalem can be available for people of all religions to access their holy places.
The guide points out that the synagogues of the Jewish Quarter are new because the Jordanians destroyed the synagogues when they occupied the Old City after , but he references the 76 mosques to emphasize that all religious buildings are protected under Israeli law. The tour suggests that Israeli control is, at least in part, what allows Jerusalem to be a welcome destination for tourists and pilgrims alike. It is an implicit assertion about security—the idea that Israel keeps the holy city safe for international visitors.
Though the guide never addresses the pervasive presence of uniformed and armed police throughout the Old City, the militarized figures provide a backdrop for moments like his discussion of the security shelter in the Western Wall plaza and our passage through the security check. In shaping this imaginary of Jerusalem as the holy city that thrives only as the capital of Israel, the constructed visibility of the mainstream tour is premised on a highly selective narration of the past.
The synagogues of the Jewish Quarter were indeed damaged during the period of Jordanian control, but the point that the holy sites of all religions are protected under Israeli rule abstractly positions Israel as a benevolent caretaker while eliding specific details. This narrative normalizes the Jewish-Israeli imaginary of Jerusalem while excluding other claims to the city—as religious site, as political symbol, and as lived reality. For international visitors to Jerusalem, this imaginary becomes normalized and seemingly unselective because it extends beyond the guided tours of mainstream tour companies.
This sanctity is wholly contextualized through a Judeo-Christian frame, which conceals the Muslim past and present from the tourist gaze. As a result, it manages to obscure the perspectives that do not support the dominant narrative of the holy city as the unified capital of Israel. Tour participants photographing West Jerusalem on the drive out of the Old City, August The perspective of West Jerusalem offered through mainstream tourism invokes a specifically Jewish modernity that inscribes it into a familiar geography of western civilization.
The national narrative of modern Israel is bound up in a redemptive myth of the Holocaust and the establishment of the state, which is given concrete expression through the preeminent place of national memory, Mount Herzl and the Mount of Remembrance. As we walk across the creaking wooden boards leading to the history museum the exaggerated noise meant to imitate the walk to the crematoria, Oren says , the businessmen are loudly discussing their upcoming meeting. Oren says we have an hour to go through the exhibit and lets us loose into the crowd of families and tour groups being guided along the exhibit.
The dim, enclosed exhibit opens out onto a balcony with a panoramic view of the hills of Jerusalem, and people photograph this as we wait for everyone in the group to come out. We stop by a few other memorials, which Oren seamlessly narrates for us. The panoramic view at the end of the history exhibit of Yad Vashem, August Though the experience at Yad Vashem is fairly brief, it nevertheless manages to reinforces the selective imaginary of Jerusalem constructed in the Old City tour.
The tour participants join the crowd of visitors moving through the dark, enclosed spaces of the exhibit, which ends opening out to a balcony with a panoramic view of Jerusalem—a progression from the narrated past into a view of the present. This structure implies that the existence of Israel as the Jewish state is necessary for the survival of the Jewish people. The experience at Yad Vashem reinforces a teleological narrative of Jerusalem by presenting Israel as the clear answer to the destruction of the Holocaust.
It strategically uses a selective narration to normalize what is seen in the present. Our only stop beyond the Old City is Yad Vashem in West Jerusalem, which significantly asserts this Jewish history as what is most important and interesting for the tourist gaze about Jerusalem at large. In both modes of mainstream tourism exemplified by the Sandemans and Bein Harim tours, the tours negotiate the meanings of Jerusalem by covering over the multiple and disputed dimensions of its landscape. Their scopic regimes and scripting of history exclude perspectives that do not fit neatly within the dominant Jewish-Israeli national narrative.
The tours take different approaches to avoid engaging with the political contestation, but both are nevertheless deeply entangled in the questions of power and politics of the city. They naturalize a specifically Jewish-Israeli landscape and history of Jerusalem through a teleological narrative that links the biblical heritage with the modern state, while also highlighting its universality in a way that does not impinge upon Jewish-Israeli claims.
They use techniques that create a sense of temporal and spatial continuity in order to conflate the religious and political dimensions of the symbolic landscape. The tour is premised on how Jerusalem cannot be understood without examining its entanglement in power and politics, which shapes the entire tour experience of what is narrated and made visible. The experience is intended for anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, to go a little beyond the 'Them and Us' discourse, and to learn from a guide who has in-depth knowledge of the issues and an alternative perspective.
The tour begins in the Old City with a detailed briefing illustrated with maps, covering one hundred years of history from the late Ottoman period to the present day. This includes an introduction to Israeli occupation and settlement efforts in the Old City and the surrounding Holy Basin. This includes Jewish settlements in the Muristan Christian Quarter and Muslim Quarter, with discussion of their background and implications… The group will walk through the Muslim Quarter which includes a visit to the viewpoint at the top of the Austrian Hospice. An explanation of the sources of the adjacent Temple Mount's and Al Aksa's holiness in Judaism and Islam will be given.
Discussion will focus on Muslim and Jewish archaeological and development ventures around Al Aksa Mosque, which are sources of extreme tensions and discontent. After lunch there will be another short briefing with maps, then off on the bus to learn about the facts on the ground in East Jerusalem settlements and Palestinian neighborhoods.
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There will be opportunities for questions and discussion during the tour. Be prepared for many of your preconceptions about the conflict to be challenged. Our guide, Boaz, arrives soon after. Ten other people may tell this story ten other different ways. He shows a map of the UN partition plan, saying that it reflected a lack of understanding about this place.
He shows another map, the ceasefire borders the Green Line from the war: Jordan had the West Bank, Egypt had Gaza, and Jerusalem was divided and Israelis were cut off from the holy places in the Old City. About two-thirds of the Palestinian population became refugees. This turned into one of the core issues of the conflict, which lasts until today. Jump to there was another war where Israel attacked Egypt and Syria, Jordan attacked Israel, and Israel took a piece of land from each one and refused to withdraw, citing security interests.
The afternoon portion of the itinerary listed on the website does not reflect what we actually did, which speaks to both the rapid pace at which the situation on the ground changes in East Jerusalem and the unexpected disruptions to planned itineraries around which tour companies must maneuver. During the First Intifada, there were strikes, demonstrations, and a lot of violence. The Oslo peace process came about in the early s, where the core issues of the conflict were the refugees, Palestinian sovereignty, settlements, and security.
All of these were postponed to the end of the process. In the meantime, the Palestinian Authority was created to take care of civilian responsibilities in the West Bank, but not in Jerusalem. It was supposed to be temporary, but the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by an Israeli and the suicide bombings by Hamas slowed down the process. It broke down entirely as Yasser Arafat rejected an offer that many Israelis believed was very generous.
During the Second Intifada that followed, there were many military campaigns in densely populated civilian areas and many were killed. Israelis voted for Ariel Sharon to become prime minister, and he continued this aggressive approach towards Palestinians, ordering the creation of the separation barrier and the eviction of the Gaza settlements.
The unilateral decision to leave Gaza helped Hamas present it as the achievement of their fighting. The peace process has been stalled in the past few years and outbursts of violence continue. During the war, Jews were expelled from the Old City and Palestinians were expelled from the western part of Jerusalem. When Israel took the Old City in , the municipal boundaries were redefined to include it and a piece of the West Bank that was unilaterally defined as East Jerusalem. They see it as the reunification of a city rather than annexation—a rather romantic view.
These are two cities that are quite separate but mashed together, and one is ruling the other. But the urban center of Al-Quds is right here. As we take in the scene around us, Boaz points out the different uniforms: the blue ones are for the police and the green ones are for border guards. We head back inside the gate and walk through the bustling narrow streets of the Muslim Quarter. Walking past old women selling produce, Boaz tells us they come from West Bank villages to make their living here. We see Israeli flags on some buildings, which Boaz identifies as settlements.
He explains that in Judaism, the rock is part of the western part of the Temple, so the site is sacred in both traditions. Outside Damascus Gate, August Figure 3. Instead, at one stop, Boaz directs our attention to the display of key chains and other trinkets from a souvenir shop beside it.
He talks about Palestinian symbols—for example, the ubiquitous keys symbolize the houses Palestinians left behind in the nakba. In the refugee camps in the West Bank, you can find big sculptures and graffiti of keys. Examining Palestinian symbols with the souvenir stand, August Turning away from the crowds on the main path, we walk up a smaller street devoid of tourist bustle. Boaz gestures to the buildings on either side of us, explaining that these are from the Mamluk period, around years ago. Mamluk architecture, August We follow him back to the main route, looking at the large flag, security cameras, and metal fencing of a settlement.
He discusses the routine police harassment Palestinians experience and how the settlers often have security guards and special shuttles to take them to the neighborhoods where they work and go to school, because they only have these residences to assert their presence. Passing a set of policemen along the way, we gather in front of the steps to the opening that leads to the Haram al-Sharif.
Another border police duo is stationed at the top. He talks about how the Temple Mount is a strong national symbol for some Israelis, which leads to clashes, especially when security restrictions are placed on Muslims in order to secure Jewish tours of the complex, which Muslims see as attempts to control their religious site. Those incidences affect the entire country. If people are wounded here, it echoes in the rest of Israel. Settlements in the Muslim Quarter, August Figure 3.
Boaz first explains the significance of the Western Wall in Jewish theology and religious tradition, but then gestures around us, pointing out how we just came from the crowded streets of the Muslim Quarter to this large open area. Before , it was the Mughrabi neighborhood, a very dense block of houses. As we wait for the others to return, I ask Boaz if there are photos of the destroyed neighborhood. Once we regroup, we head up the stairs at the far end of the plaza and stop by a large menorah in a glass case for Boaz to talk about the organization that promotes Jewish praying rights to the Israeli parliament and public.
They do it in part by bringing Jewish tours to the Old City. We head into the Jewish Quarter, gathering in the spacious Hurva Square. Boaz tells us how the quarter was damaged in and the Palestinian refugees living in its ruins were kicked out in The Israelis renovated the quarter and conducted archaeological excavations that focused on the First and Second Temple periods. He points out the map and signs directed at tourists, saying that the municipality invests much more here.
This area and the Western Wall are the only parts that most Israelis know of the Old City, because many are too afraid to go to elsewhere.
While confidentiality is always an issue in such sensitive research, it is paramount in a militarized location like Jerusalem. This paper has sought to reveal the intimate, embodied aspects of settler colonial state violence and criminality against birthing and pregnant women in oEJ. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Round Up. I analyse the experiences of pregnant and birthing women in oEJ as a bottom-up approach to investigating Israeli state criminality.
We cross down into the tunnel walkway near the Cardo. We examine a lithograph that depicts the Western 90 Wall and the plaza before it. We also look at a painting of an IDF soldier and an ultra-Orthodox man praying at the Western Wall, which Boaz uses to talk about the conflation of religion and the military in Israeli nationalism.
Artworks in the tunnel walkway, August We arrive at the Holy Sepulchre, where we make brief stops at the Alter of the Crucifixion, the Prison of Christ, and the Stone of Anointing. Boaz talks about what Christians believe happened here, and why it is significant in their traditions. We have lunch in a Muslim Quarter restaurant. Over shared falafel and salad, we engage in lively conversation; Karl and Tatiana in particular ask Boaz many questions. The Green Olive tour navigates the disputed meanings of Jerusalem by scripting the Old City precisely as multiple and contested, actively grappling with the entangled politics of which it is a part.
It 91 invites participants to consider narratives as discursive constructions that actively work to shape the complex landscape. This approach invites participants to take on a more active role in comparison to the relatively passive experience provided in mainstream tours; the guide has us think critically about the discourses surrounding Jerusalem, including his own, rather than treating us as mere receivers of his own narration.
In providing historical and political context, it conveys a more transparent scripting of the relationship between the narrated past and the lived present of Jerusalem.
It challenges the dominant scripting that ignores ongoing contestation and examines the active construction of the historical narrative and the contemporary landscape. Combined with the strategy of redirecting the tourist gaze, the alternative tour thus works to reveal what is suppressed and obscured in mainstream tourism. Though the alternative tour also includes the main tourist sites in its itinerary, the difference in how they are scripted speaks to the politics of the tour. At the Western Wall, we spend time in the plaza but also pause near the entrance to the Western Wall Tunnels to discuss how they are used in Israeli tourism to secure Jewish connection to the Western Wall.
At the Holy Sepulchre, the Green Olive guide highlights the active construction of the discourses that render the sites significant to various Christian denominations. These examples show how the alternative tour brings politics into the frame of the tourist gaze at the major religious sites, whereas mainstream tourism simply emphasizes their unquestionable sanctity.
It highlights how the mainstream strategy of not explicitly addressing politics in the narration does consequential political work in normalizing a selective imaginary. Moreover, while none of the tours actually go to the Haram al-Sharif due to logistical constraints that make it difficult to include on a walking tour, the 92 differences in how the tours otherwise incorporate the site into the narration are revealing.
In addition to the different scripting strategy, the alternative tour also directs our gaze to other parts of the main tourist sites. On the Via Dolorosa, we turn from the Stations of the Cross to examine one of the many souvenir stands that, on the mainstream tours, constitute mere scenery. The alternative tour uses it to engage with the context of Palestinian history and lived reality in the discussion of the nakba and the symbolism of the keys, which inscribes the Muslim Quarter in a broader Palestinian geography that links the West Bank with Jerusalem or rather, Al-Quds.
On the path from the Cardo, instead of simply passing by the artworks that line the walkway as the mainstream tours do, the alternative tour has us analyze the images. Through our active participation, the guide draws our attention to the ways in which Jewish-Israeli connection to Jerusalem is naturalized and made self-evident through these images.
These examples indicate how the alternative tour challenges the absolute, singular imaginaries of Jerusalem presented in the mainstream tours. By directing our gaze to other features of the landscape at the main tourist sites, the tour contextualizes and makes visible the multiplicity of Jerusalem as political symbol and lived reality. More prominently, the alternative tour challenges mainstream imaginaries by bringing participants to sites that are excluded entirely from their itineraries.
As a result, the line can be very long and difficult to incorporate in guided tour itineraries. At the path with the Mamluk architecture, the guide moves beyond the Haram al-Sharif in making Muslim heritage visible, emphasizing that it has an extensive presence in the Old City that is largely elided in mainstream tourism. Notably, we are directed to see the enclave settlements as he discusses the ideological views of the Orthodox Zionists and how they assert control over this space. These examples show how the alternative tour both challenges the selective framing of mainstream tours and presents the sites of Muslim and Palestinian Jerusalem as valuable tourist sights in their own right.
Another way in which the scopic regime of the alternative tour challenges dominant framings of Jerusalem is how participants are made to notice the militarized presence in the city. While mainstream tours ignore these sights as natural parts of the landscape, unrelated to the history being narrated, the alternative tour incorporates them into the narration. This approach insists that the questions of security are crucial to understanding the contemporary landscape of Jerusalem, whereas mainstream tours render them as a taken-for-granted situation by treating them as unremarkable backdrop to the legitimate tourist sights.
The alternative tour instead questions Israeli discourses of security by showing how they exclude certain populations, as well as reminding tourists that such militarization is not normal for a tourist landscape. The discussion of security and militarization thus challenges the naturalized selective imaginary of mainstream tourism and dominant Israeli discourses more generally.
It especially confronts the notion that any narration can be apolitical, as the Sandemans tour insisted, by incorporating multiple perspectives to demonstrate how power relations are inextricable from the different, situated narratives about Jerusalem. While the mainstream tours only briefly touch on the site with the story of Muhammad ascending to heaven to explain its significance in Islam, the alternative tour contextualizes it by discussing the different perspectives—of Muslims and Jews, religious and secular Jews, the Israeli government and general population—concerning the political claims surrounding it.
Moreover, it denaturalizes the implicit imaginary of mainstream tourism that presents the Jewish Quarter as being inherently more interesting and valuable from a heritage perspective by comparing its tourist landscape with that of the Muslim Quarter. He discusses how archaeology has been actively used by Israelis to strengthen Jewish connections to the Old City, which reveals the politics inherent to the production of the heritage landscape of Jerusalem. For Doron Bar and Rehav Rubin, this selective attention 95 The alternative tour also denaturalizes the absolute sanctity of the Western Wall and its plaza.
In mainstream tourism, the Western Wall is portrayed as being of valuable tourist interest because of its age and ultimate holiness. The alternative tour moves beyond that imaginary to historicize the site, recounting the Palestinian lived reality of the Mughrabi Quarter and its destruction after the war for the purposes of constructing the plaza, a history that is not found in most tourism discourses about the Western Wall. This narration challenges the absolute Jewish sanctity of the area by revealing how a selective imaginary becomes sedimented and normalized.
It also contextualizes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by demonstrating the inextricable linkage of religion and politics, which mainstream tourist imaginaries generally avoid. This scripting places the site in temporal context, whereas mainstream tourism dehistoricizes the Western Wall in order to emphasize its eternal quality and the Jewish and thus Israeli claim to its sanctity.
In revealing how the dominant narratives are naturalized, the alternative tour challenges the imaginary of Jerusalem as the unified and eternal capital of Israel. Home to approximately people on the eve of the war, the neighborhood was placed under strict curfew upon Israeli entry into the Old City. The residents were given two hours to vacate their homes or else were forcefully evicted; by the next day nearly all of the homes had been flattened, though the proper orders for eviction and expropriation were not presented to the community until several months later.
Beginning the tour at Damascus Gate, in addition to making Palestinian lived experience visible, brings Al-Quds into the frame. At the threshold between the Jewish Quarter gallery walk and the Muslim Quarter souq, the guide highlights the subtle border between Jewish-Israeli Jerusalem and Palestinian Al-Quds as it manifests in the corporeal experience of the immediate distinct contrast. Despite mainstream attempts to fix Jerusalem as a specific place of Jewish sanctity and Israeli nationalism, the alternative tour reveals how the spatial narratives of much of the Old City are Muslim and Palestinian.
The power of the alternative tour comes through not in that it provides an unselective imaginary of Jerusalem, but rather in how it makes clear upfront that its narrative is partial and situated because all narratives of this contested landscape are entangled in politics. The tour challenges the constructed visibility of mainstream tourism, shedding light on what it leaves unsaid and concealed, thus exposing the politics embedded in what they do show and how it is narrated.
The political work of mainstream tourism manifests in its suppression of the eruptions of the present into the narrated past and vice versa, so that the dominant Jewish-Israeli imaginary is made to seem unselective, normalized, and matter-of-fact. Alternative tourism reveals how it subtly yet deliberately furthers the Israeli geopolitical project, and works to confront it with other perspectives that are obscured in the mainstream imaginaries.
It engages with how the present and the past are strategically used to shape a particular landscape that fits within the dominant political imaginary, revealing the multiple narratives of Jerusalem and the power dynamics that obscure Muslim and Palestinian perspectives and lived realities. Travel guides especially emphasize the beautiful vistas of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus, the location of Hebrew University.
The alternative tour, however, frames it differently: it follows the contextualization provided in the Old City portion of the tour in providing a historical perspective of East Jerusalem that is entirely overlooked in the dominant Israeli narrative. The division of Jerusalem was made official in the Armistice Agreement that was signed in and supervised by the United Nations.
It thus creates a larger and more complex spatial geography, whereas mainstream tours rely on an expansive temporal geography to obscure the political tensions concerning East Jerusalem. Source: Ir Amim, , by permission After lunch, we pile into a van and Boaz introduces us to the driver, Amir, a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem. The Palestinian villages have urbanized into neglected neighborhoods in the areas illegally annexed by Israel, because the municipality Ibid. We see the nondescript community center and apartment buildings.
He points out how the Jewish neighborhood on the left has a sidewalk but the Palestinian neighborhood on the right only has concrete blocks. A checkpoint located squarely within a Palestinian neighborhood of East Jerusalem, August Amir parks next to a police station on a hill and we follow Boaz up to a viewpoint from which the Old City and its surrounding neighborhoods are spread before us.
He takes out a map of greater Jerusalem to discuss the Green Line. The Palestinian Authority generally wants, under the two-state solution, the Palestinian part of Jerusalem, including the Old City, to become the capital of Palestine. The landscape of Greater Jerusalem, August He gestures to the panorama before us. The illogical route is to keep Palestinians from being able to claim any of Jerusalem and to leave room for settlement growth at their expense.
In , they annex this land and it becomes sanctified as part of Jerusalem. We drive along the winding roads through the Palestinian neighborhood as he talks about the enclave settlements, which have Israeli bus services while the Palestinian areas have their own system. We drive on a road where he points out how the sidewalk abruptly ends, the transition point between the settlement and the Palestinian neighborhood.
But this makes problems because Palestinians living in Jerusalem have the legal status of residents, not Israeli citizens. So if they leave the country, they could get their residency revoked. The area is fairly deserted, with just a few other vehicles filling up. While some of the group goes into the shop to buy snacks, the rest of us take a closer look at the Wall.
There are cars are parked along the concrete slabs, which are bare aside from some sparse black graffiti. Pieces of trash are littered on the barbed wire at the top. But most come because they need to work. Palestinian businesses on both sides of the Wall have been weakened, the majority of the Palestinians in Jerusalem live below poverty level, and their public schools are neglected. We had driven up a hill but had to reroute because a throng of police and soldiers were blocking off the street due to the stabbing incident. We pass through another neighborhood where the streets are littered with garbage.
Driving in East Jerusalem, August We arrive at a viewpoint overlooking a portion of the Wall separating a Palestinian neighborhood and a highway with a checkpoint. Boaz says that the neighborhoods on either side of the checkpoint are Palestinian. And then the police respond with violence and they go in to arrest people connected with terrorism. Just as the Bein Harim tour selectively incorporated the landscape beyond the Old City, the alternative tour only covers a particular part of Greater Jerusalem.
However, it critically examines the multiple and contested dimensions of the landscape and demonstrates how its meaning as either political symbol or lived reality is not as straightforward as mainstream narratives suggest. As with its tour of the Old City, Green Olive strategically provides context and redirects the tourist gaze in order to confront the dominant imaginaries of Jerusalem. The entire tour of East Jerusalem functions as a redirection of the tourist gaze, as it brings participants to sites that are not found on tourist itineraries.
The alternative tour reveals what is suppressed in the production of the imaginary of unified Jerusalem, in which the post status of the city and its environs constitutes the rightful restoration of Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli state. Through the differently constructed visibility of its scopic regime, it exposes how the reality of the physical landscape counters the dominant imaginary. In drawing attention to the features of the landscape that we otherwise would not notice or think are remarkable, the tour emphasizes how the conflict is embedded in everyday lived reality—a slow violence that is just as impactful as the spectacular eruptions of violence that characterize the conflict in global media.
When the spectacular dimension of the conflict is incorporated, it is presented in a way that underlines how it is deeply embedded in the everyday Palestinian life. For example, the tour brings us to the Wall after we have driven through several Palestinian neighborhoods, and the site itself is clearly not part of the tourist landscape. The alternative tour also confronts the absolute and exclusive dominant Jewish-Israeli imaginary by bringing in a variety of situated views.
The mainstream tours obfuscated the politics of their own script, either by explicitly asserting its neutral perspective or by deftly presenting its specific narrative as the only one. The alternative tour, in contrast, provides the perspectives of the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority, and international law with regard to the geopolitical situation of East Jerusalem. The tour thus insists that Jerusalem cannot be understood without engaging with the multiple and contested meanings that shape it.
The alternative tour ultimately demonstrates how narratives about Jerusalem are always entangled in questions of power and politics. It asserts that this is why it is crucial to turn to the Palestinian perspective of Jerusalem as lived reality, to include narratives that are concealed and erased from the dominant scripting of the city. Though participants may have some sense of Palestinian perspectives on Jerusalem as a political symbol from international coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, bringing the everyday lived situation into the frame of vision makes visible the disparities between the situation on the ground and the dominant Israeli narratives.
The tour thus dismantles the imaginary of holy, unified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel that is naturalized and presented as matter-of-fact in mainstream tourism. The importance of critical examination is especially conveyed in how the guide closes the tour by talking about the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement. He provides a way forward for participants to take on a more active role in response to what we have seen, to translate the experience beyond our position as mere tourists in this landscape because we have not come to it from a neutral, apolitical perspective.
The tour, in acknowledging its own situated and selective scripting of Jerusalem, shows that it has a different goal than mainstream tourism, which seems to be invested in maintaining the status quo. Alternative tourism instead challenges the dominant imaginary of Jerusalem to reveal the extent to which it is entangled in political contestation, despite mainstream efforts to present it as a normalized, unselective understanding of the city. For international tourists, the imaginary of Israel as the Holy Land largely dominates, emphasizing the rich heritage and religious significance of the city.
But in this chaotic landscape, the selective sights and sites included in the frame form an imaginary that depends on what tourists desire to see. Because the tourist gaze is always embedded within a larger discourse and series of practices, its consequences differ depending on how it is mobilized.
Mainstream tourism provides tourists a Jerusalem that fulfills the desire to experience the biblical landscape and expansive heritage of the holy city. This imaginary manifests as a narrated past that is not disrupted by the politics and violent conflict of the present, which is enforced through the instrumental use of the narrated past to normalize what is viewed in the present. The dominant Jewish-Israeli imaginary of Jerusalem is naturalized as seemingly unselective, covering over the other narratives that shape the city—the multiple and contested perspectives that would contest it.
The audience of alternative tourism, meanwhile, seems to be more invested in seeing Jerusalem in its capacity as a lived city and as a political symbol in its contemporary resonances. This intention is fulfilled through its strategies of foregrounding the different meanings of Jerusalem and acknowledging that its own narration is necessarily selective and situated. In this sense, mainstream tours are under-scripted: so much of the past is withheld, suppressed, and left unseen in the effort to reinforce the Jewish-Israeli present.
Alternative tourism challenges this selective imaginary of Jerusalem as the eternal and absolute sacred and unified capital of Israel by highlighting, especially, the Palestinian perspective. East Jerusalem, August Chapter 4. Shooting Palestine: Seeing and Not Seeing the Occupation in the West Bank We are also looking at our observers… we too are looking, we too are scrutinizing, assessing, judging. We do more than stand passively in front of whoever, for whatever reason, has wanted to look at us.
Our international passports had allowed us to explore the eerily silent street, but we nevertheless had been hesitant and uneasy as we walked, some sense of transgression looming over us. This discomfort points to the fact that, on the face of it, the West Bank is a strange destination for tourists. It is a place of ongoing violence, yet the West Bank is also not conventionally understood as a war zone per se. In the following years, the territories were placed under military governance. Israel expropriated occupied land and regulated Palestinian lives without integrating them into Israeli society.
The First Intifada uprising broke out in , ending with the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords in Unable to provide basic services to its population, the PA lost legitimacy as conditions deteriorated, leading to the eruption of the Second Intifada in September First, there are the overt forcible measures such as direct military action, curfews, arrests, imprisonment, and torture. These include the expropriation of Palestinian land and the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but also the system of highways and bypass roads that link them and interrupt the territorial contiguity of Palestinian areas and Israeli military control over natural resources and holy places.
The route of the Wall runs more than twice the length of the Green Line, the Armistice line separating Israel and the West Bank that was demarcated following the war. These mechanisms provide an outward appearance of bureaucratic management, allowing the matrix of control to lend a benign face to the occupation. Tourism negotiates the reality of the West Bank as a conflict zone in different ways.
Mainstream tourism makes it available to the tourist gaze in spite of the occupation while alternative tourism makes it available because of it. The message ultimately provided in these instances is not only that it is indeed safe enough to travel to the West Bank, but also that it is a worthwhile destination for visitors from abroad. This imaginary of the Middle East as both a space of insecurity and as a space of alluring difference falls within the long tradition of Orientalist discourse.
Though international tourists take a variety of approaches to visiting the West Bank, a prevalent choice is to stay in Jerusalem and go on guided tours to the West Bank as a day trip. In practice, the distinction between the space of insecurity and the space of otherness is often murky and collapsed. The bounded experience of the guided tour, during which participants are transported from site to site on their own bus, necessitates their production as a particular kind of subject in order for them to make sense of the place they experience.
In participating on the guided tour, the tourists are invited to view the places through the framing provided. By delineating what is to be seen, these scopic regimes also necessarily establish what is not to be seen. This chapter demonstrates how mainstream tourism actively contributes to the work of sustaining the occupation of the West Bank by normalizing its everyday violence.
This structure is not meant to provide two case studies of tourism in the West Bank. Rather, it is an invitation to read these tours contrapuntally, as each is necessary to make sense of the other. Do I know anyone in the West Bank? Am I sure? At the Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem, however, the attitude is markedly different. Brochures and flyers for the daily tours are found throughout the hostel, advertising not only tours to sites within Israel but also the ones into the West Bank and to Petra, Jordan.
Guests excitedly chat about whether to take a guided tour or to explore the West Bank on their own. As well as the historical sites, we will have the opportunity to view the Mount of Temptation from below, where the biblical story of the defeat of the Devil took place. The final stop is Bethlehem, where we will visit holy sites of the city, including the Church of Nativity; walk through the Old City with its colorful market; and walk alongside the separation barrier that cuts through the city and see the colourful contributions made by famous graffiti artist, Banksy.
Finally, we head back to Jerusalem with a day of memories that will not be soon forgotten. This is a chance to see different facets of an extraordinary region, covering a number of places and topics and meeting people in a way that is difficult for travelers to do alone. However, upon entering the space of tourism, this by and large dissipates, overshadowed or perhaps replaced by the desire to experience the appealing exotic otherness the West Bank has to offer instead.
The only indications of the conflict are a cursory reference to the Wall and an implication, in the last line, that the tour provides insider access to a place where travelers cannot reach on their own. A staff member goes around checking each of our names in the list of registrants. The bus stops at the side of the road and a short man with an easy grin hops on. And your team was terrible in the Euros. The group is attentive but subdued as Samir continues, providing information ranging from the religious breakdown of the population to the varying degrees of Israeli and Palestinian control over Areas A, B, and C.
Half-seriously, he tells us that the West Bank has several capitals: the biggest city is Hebron, Bethlehem is the capital of tourism, Nablus is the financial capital, Jericho is the agricultural capital, and Ramallah is the political capital. As part of a whole system of mechanisms that stifle Palestinian life in the West Bank, checkpoints appear as technologies of control for those who are subject to its dispossession and indignity.
For most tourists, the checkpoint is simply another moment of transit rather than a static site in and of itself. The matter of meeting our Palestinian guide is presented as a logistical detail, common to tours anywhere, rather than as a significant issue that demands our engagement. But there is another Palestine too, one of bustling cities and chaotic souqs, rolling hills and traditional villages… where biblical sites abound. But this frame is also constructed through the scripting of the sites and the embodied experiences made available to us. These practices significantly inform and shape how the participants apprehend the sights on the tour.
We pass through another checkpoint, an event that I actually notice this time if only because the bus briefly slows down and the driver says good morning to the soldier. There used to be conflict in this area, which is why there are land mines to your right and left. Qasr el-Yahud is an expansive but empty space peppered with signs directed at tourists. He points out the Israeli soldiers at a distance from the water, a young man and woman with guns slung casually over their shoulders, laughing and looking at their phones. We then drive past a checkpoint, where a bus full of passengers is stalled.
Samir tells us that those buses are what Palestinians use to go through the checkpoint. We arrive in Jericho. The city is over 10, years old and not many people live here now, Samir tells us. The bus idles by a tree that Samir says is the sycamore tree that the tax collector in Roman times sat under. As we continue, someone asks about the agriculture here. We get off the bus in an empty parking lot near the entrance to Tell es-Sultan, the ancient city of Jericho. People ask questions about the workings of everyday life in the West Bank, mostly related to the socioeconomic conditions.
Samir waves us off and we follow Mohammed up the stairs into the blistering heat. He talks about several biblical events that took place here, such as the temptation of Jesus on the nearby mountain. We follow him around the tel, listening to his descriptions of the 23 layers of ancient civilization and photographing the excavated sites. Meanwhile, Luis a Chilean man in his thirties who now lives in Australia, I later learn has donned a keffiyeh and is riding the camel.
The first site eases participants into the tour by showing the ways in which the itinerary makes the West Bank accessible for tourist consumption, both in a material and conceptual sense. Qasr el-Yahud had been closed to the public while under Jordanian control between and While our own movement between biblical sites is informed by the crossings between Area A and Area B, attention is instead drawn to the settings for the stories about Jesus. Moreover, the religious transcendence of geopolitical borders inscribes these sites within the wider global geography of the international Christian population.
Not only does the tour flatten the nuances of Jericho as a place into a singular biblical narrative, cementing its importance for Christian pilgrimage, but it also portrays these sites as ones that are of interest for all tourists. Back on the bus, Freddie asks what our next stop is. We drive past Bedouin camps; Samir talks about how the West Bank borders have forced much of the historically nomadic population to stay put, resulting in economic difficulties for them.
But because there has been no agreement with Israel, he says, Ramallah was chosen. The soldiers appear happy to oblige the members of our group who do so. For the tourists, this quality implies that the West Bank is something other than a territory under occupation. This imaginary is reinforced by the presence of armed soldiers in PA uniform and the proliferation of the Palestinian flag around the site.
These practices suggest that, not only are we seeing the real Palestine, which lacks the tension and violence so often cited in global media, but that the real Palestine is a nation-state with sovereign authority and military power. Our oversized group awkwardly maneuvers around the small space to sit down. Several people ask Samir for the WiFi password. He goes around taking drink orders several people order beer and then heaping plates of rice and chicken are passed down the table.
Seated at a separate table, Samir and our bus driver eat something else—the flatbread that the other diners, mostly women and children, are having. Picture Information. Have one to sell? Sell now - Have one to sell? Get an immediate offer. Get the item you ordered or get your money back. Learn more - opens in new window or tab. Seller information alibrisbooks Contact seller. Visit store. See other items More See all. Item Information Condition:. Sign in to check out Check out as guest. The item you've selected was not added to your cart.
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