Amongst the instruments through which the Israeli military regime carries out the occupation of the Palestinian Territories, hundreds of colonies, erected on strategic hill tops all over the West Bank, play a fundamental role. The position and the architecture of these built-up areas, which take as a model the fortified citadel (concentric rings of buildings with windows pointing towards the outside), allow the settlers to control the surrounding landscape at 360 degrees. It is hard to find a Palestinian village from which a colony cannot be seen. Besides occupying the land physically, the colonies occupy the landscape visually and sonically, putting a constant psychological pressure on the Palestinians by giving the feeling of constant surveillance. In this sense the colonies are conceptually similar to Bentham’s Panopticon, an ideal prison, in which a single guardian controls all the inmates from a central tower, whereas the prisoners never know if they are being watched or not and thus limit themselves out of fear. Like this, the perceptually omnipresent colonies, whose expansion can be seen and felt day by day, are multifaceted «living entities» that have an enormous visual, acoustic and psychic impact on the Palestinians’ everyday life. Paradoxically, since the beginning of the Second Intifada, the act of observing a colony can be interpreted as a serious terrorist act.
On the 22nd of May 2008 – the 14.995th day since Israel’s invasion of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai and the Golan Heights in June 1967 – we turned the «paradigm of vision» embodied by the colonies on its head. For 24 hours we stayed in a Palestinian olive orchard, just a few hundred meters from the wall (1) facing the colony of Jabal Abu Ghneim/Har Homa (2) and observed and filmed it. During this time we consciously observed the signs and listened to the sounds of the conflict: the excavators and bulldozers at daytime, the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel at nighttime.
Over 720 Km long once completed, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice, not running around the West Bank but through it, it expropriates the Palestinians of their most fertile land and the largest part of their water resources and severely reduces their mobility.
Considered illegal because built south-east of the 1948 cease-fire line, violating the Oslo Accords because it creates ‘facts on the ground’, which predetermine final status negotiations and, distinguished by a particularly rapid and aggressive growth, it completes a ring of Israeli colonies around Jerusalem, sealing off the city from the Palestinians.
The project was kindly supported by the German culture allocation of the Autonomous Province of Bozen-Bolzano .
Flattening the sand / excavators at work
Patrolled magic hour
Ufo / surveillance device
Where we filmed from
Some photos of the inside of Har Homa and of the area in which the colony is rapidly expanding