About Us

Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine
UK architects, planners and other construction industry professionals campaigning for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.


“PALESTINIANS IN ISRAEL” Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy 

By Ben White   Pluto Press  2012



Review by Abe Hayeem

Palestine News   Autumn 2012

Ben White, in this indispensable handy companion to his earlier book on Israeli Apartheid,  has distilled with forensic research from volumes of evidence, the myth of Israel’s claim to be a European style democracy. His wry and lucid commentary, under several headings, highlights the absurdity and paradoxes of Israel’s laws fabricated to institutionally discriminate against Palestinians’ true equality as Israeli citizens. Israel is in reality an ethnocracy, giving pre-eminence to its Jewish citizens. Palestinians are given inferior status as a favour rather than a right, with some trappings of democracy.

Especially in the fields of land and home ownership, labyrinthine and Kafkaesque laws like the Absentee Property Law, expropriated the bulk of land from Palestinians in 1947/48, prohibiting Palestinian ‘citizens’ from living in 93% of Israel. Apart from seven sub-standard Bedouin townships, there has never been a new Arab town planned, in comparison with hundreds of towns for Jewish Israelis, which, in law deter Palestinians from living in them.

Currently, in its drive to further ‘Judaise’ the Negev and Galilee, in effect continuing the Nakba of 1948, the Bedouin are being driven from the unrecognized villages like Al-Araqib, using draconian laws. In this process of ‘de-Arabisation’, Jewish settlers are even infiltrating Arab neighbourhoods in the mixed cities like Jaffa and Acre, parallel to events in East Jerusalem and Bedouin areas of the Hebron Hills in Area C. This is all to counteract the ‘demographic threat’, using extreme force and dispossession, to ‘ensure the homogeneity of Jewish national identity, free from Palestinians with a collective identity.’

Further chapters detail the vast inequalities in provision of education, civic and social services. The unequal legal regime, backed by military brutality was exemplified by the deliberate shooting of Palestinians in the October 2000 protests in solidarity with the Intifada, where the IDF escaped justice. A whole new tranche of discriminatory laws further erode any freedoms.

The paranoid fears of equality are expressed by MK David Rotem :“I am not ashamed that I want to maintain this country as a Jewish and democratic state. In your way there would be no state. Israel is a Jewish and democratic state, not a state of all its citizens.”

Ben’s talent at unearthing damning quotations, reveals the sheer unabashed racism of not only today’s far-right MKs, but of Israel’s founding fathers. His concluding chapter links the situation of Palestinians on both sides of the green line, and asks us to consider the only scenario that can change the current situation of relentless colonization by ‘re-imagining the Jewish and Palestinian presence in Palestine/Israel and a future based on a genuine co-existence of equals, rather than ethno-religious supremacy and segregation’.


From PALESTINE TO ISRAEL: A Photographic Record of Destruction & State Formation 1947-50  

by Ariella Azoulay      translated by Charles S. Kamen                                    

Pluto Press 2011

"Arabs Fleeing" from IDF and Defensive Archives                                                        Photographer not identified.
Review in Palestine News       Winter 2012        by Abe Hayeem


The events that led to the violent foundation of the Israeli state are wrapped in layers of mythology and propaganda, which are still being promoted and advocated today.

Ariella Azoulay’s fascinating book and recent exhibition at the Mosaic Rooms in west London, combines detailed research and analysis of the history and politics of the whole period that preceded the Partition of Palestine before 1947 and the succeeding years. It lifts the lid off the prevailing mythology, using photographs mainly from the Haganah archives, hidden for more than six decades, and provides a revealing new commentary on them. By its pioneering methodology of using a ‘civil imagination’ and re-interpretation, it rejects the nationalist narrative that the photographs are meant to portray to the Israeli public in concealing the unfolding disaster it created, and reconstructs the reality of the ‘Nakba’ that was caused to the Palestinians.

Until today, Israelis in general were encouraged to think of the events that happened to the Palestinians as a ‘catastrophe from their point of view’. Azoulay’s intention by revealing the truth of the events hidden by the photographs’ banal original captions, is to lift their ‘colonial aphasia’- the difficulty in generating the appropriate vocabulary to the appropriate events, concepts and things - and use the proper understanding of these events that affected both peoples, as a way to formulate a new reality that would bring about a move towards  eventual reconciliation.

The UN resolution that created the partition of Palestine in 1947, designed only by the Zionist leadership and the UN, was vehemently opposed by most of the country’s Arab inhabitants of 90 percent of the land who were never consulted, and ‘not an insignificant number of Jews.’ The Palestinians were not wanted in the new state that was declared, and the Zionist leadership and its enforcers, the Haganah, were bent on erasure of the Palestinian presence and the physical evidence of their habitation, agriculture and customs. Their war crimes included the  destruction of  hundreds of beautiful villages and towns, including large parts of Ramle, Lydda, Jaffa, Haifa and Beersheba, reducing them to rubble, which the new Jewish immigrants from Europe helped to move, level and use as a base to rebuild new homes, if not taking over the ones that were retained, after the inhabitants were expelled.

In a typical photograph, as Azoulay comments. “the official caption that reads ‘Beit Sha’an abandoned’ doesn’t serve to display for us a town abandoned, rather than one whose inhabitants are to be returned, a town that no longer belongs to those who built it or who until yesterday lived there. It refers to the achievement that created a ‘valley that’s entirely Jewish’ “.

The author’s commentary, often in elegant, challenging and intriguing prose, that replaces the existing bland and often misleading euphemisms in the archive photographs, exquisitely captures the nightmare of the expulsions, the mood and feelings of the dispossessed, and the casual arrogance of the dispossessors. It makes one feel a witness to the events which unfold in these haunting, surrealistic tableaux. The pictures depict the corralling of the refugees behind barbed wire enclosures, the long queues directed out of emptying villages, the buses employed to move them to Jordan, Lebanon, and Gaza across newly established lines that once were open land or borders. Then followed the registering of refugees in locations they were allowed to stay but still confined to ghettoes, all these were ‘mechanisms of subordination’ and then socialization carried out with pre-planned ruthlessness.

Much of this has ironic echoes of what is still continued with the Occupation today, with the matrix of control, the identity cards, the checkpoints and the Separation Wall in the West Bank, the dispossession of the Bedouin in the Negev and the West Bank, and the house evictions and demolitions in East Jerusalem.

 Azoulay describes the events between 1947 and 1950, and subsequently, as “a civil malfunction - the way citizens relate to the man-made disaster in whose continuing reproduction and preservation they participate.” This original book is an indispensable tool to unraveling the dystopia created by the Israeli state and illuminates the way to a new future of justice and hope.


Ariella Azoulay directs the Photo-Lexic Project at Tel Aviv University. She is the author of a number of books on Photography including 'the Civil Contract of Photography(2008) and 'Civil Imagination: A Political  Ontology of Photograohy(2012). 



The Forgotten Palestinians – Ilan Pappe Book Review

The Forgotten Palestinians – Book Review
By Khalil Nakhleh

 (The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel.
Ilan Pappe. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2011)

 No doubt, hundreds if not thousands of articles, reports and books have
been written about the Palestinians in Israel, "the forgotten
Palestinians", in Arabic, English and Hebrew, during the last sixty
some years. To my knowledge, this is the first time a major,
mainstream, US academic university press publishes a comprehensive and
sympathetic narrative of the Palestinians in Israel, with a focus on
their evolving Palestinianhood, by a well respected anti-Zionist,
Israeli Jewish historian.

Is this a notable change, where after sixty-three years of the
destruction and decimation of their society and identity, and official
insistence that they should be relegated to a hybrid, artificial, and
rootless group of people, dubbed as "Arabs in Israel", or
"non-Jewish minorities", there is, seemingly, a Western academic
cognizance and affirmation of their Palestinian genealogy and identity?
Basically, yes. In part, I believe, this has to do with the erudite
scholarship and credible academic record of Ilan Pappe (the author of
this book). But, in large part, it has to do with the relentless and
cumulative academic, intellectual and political challenge mounted,
particularly over the last 20-30 years, by Palestinian intellectuals and
activists citizens of Israel (1), which rendered dubious Israel's
historical and cultural claims, as they re-affirmed, simultaneously, in
no uncertain terms, the Palestinian identity of this minority—their
self-identity, and its historical and cultural connectivity to the
larger Palestinian body.

This is an important book about the nearly 1.4 million "forgotten
Palestinians" who are the remnants of the indigenous Palestinians
who lived in the land of Palestine until it was decimated by the Zionist
settler-colonial onslaught in 1947/1948, and who continue to live today
within the artificially-created Jewish-Zionist state of Israel.

This is not a traditional book review. It is an interactive reading of
Ilan's book, where I deliberated virtually with him about the
overall subject, during my careful reading of the book, which I utilize
now as a stepping stone. However critical certain aspects of this
reading may appear, it must be kept in mind that it's coming from a
friendly (not hostile) corner. I focus here only on few aspects.

The Book and the Author

Ilan writes as an astute and knowledgeable observer, and as a
sympathetic occasional participant in some of the developments he
narrates. Thus his narrative of the evolving Palestinian identity in
Israel over the past sixty some years, emerges considerate, sensitive,
honest, and anti-Zionist, written in total solidarity with Palestinian
dilemmas, and with deep understanding of these dilemmas. Furthermore, it
is a gentle narrative reflecting, in my view, Ilan's personality, as
I know it.

He focuses not only on official policies, but on the complexity of the
daily life of the Palestinians, and how they struggle and manage to live
it, in a hegemonic Jewish Zionist state that insists with recurring
persistence on not seeing them. By its nature, Ilan states, "this
book aims to present a people's history as far as possible and
therefore the magnifying glass is cast more on the Palestinians than on
those who formulated and executed the policies towards them" (p.13).
At times, however, I felt an inadvertent inclination on Ilan's part,
to grant those "who formulated and executed the policies ...",
i.e., the Israeli Jewish Zionist structure, and the ideology that
propelled them into control (e.g., Zionism, p.266), an unnecessary
charitable and humane understanding.

Be this as it may, this is, nevertheless, a painful narrative of the
evolution of my people's persistent dispossession and unrelenting
attempts at their exclusion and elimination. And how they learned to
survive under an oppressive system of control that always maneuvered to
expel them from their homeland, or, temporarily, forcing them to
co-exist as unequal under its hegemony.

At the same time, it is an Israeli Jew narrating painfully about the
sins that his state and consecutive governments committed, and persist
in committing, against the indigenous Palestinian inhabitants of the
land. In contrast, if I, as a Palestinian Arab member of that
community, were to write such a narrative it would have emerged more
furious and less tolerant narrative of the Jewish Zionist majority that
has been in direct oppressive control of my people for well over half a

The Oslo Accords and Their Impact

Ilan described correctly the impact of the Oslo Accords on the
Palestinian minority in Israel in the following words:

"What emerged was not that the community was unique in comparison to
other Palestinian groups but rather that it had a unique problem.
Zionism was the exceptional factor, not being a Palestinian in
Palestine, or what used to be Palestine. The strong affirmation of the
connection to the country and not to the state was the end product of a
long internal Palestinian analysis of the predicament, crisis and nature
of the community, which was followed by a prognosis and a kind of action
plan for how to deal with the crisis being a national indigenous
minority within the Jewish state. ... [T]he community went from a very
hopeful and assertive period, 1995 to 2000, into a very precarious and
dangerous existential period after 2000 and until today ... (pp.195-196;
emphasis added)."

I assert, however, that the concerns of the "forgotten
Palestinians" in terms of the "predicament" and the identity
of the community, as "a national indigenous minority within the
Jewish state", started being driven home with the events culminating
in the eruption of "Land Day" in 1976. Clearly, those concerns
were not formulated with the same clarity then, as it became post the
"2000 earthquake" (P.229 ff). Nevertheless, although the book
presents a fairly detailed discussion of the circumstances leading to
"Land Day", the connection was not made as strongly, or as
organically, as it should have been made with what has been termed
"hubbet October" in 2000, and all the evolving events following
that. I would have liked to see a deeper analysis about this

If my claim is valid, and since I can say with certainty that Ilan
recognizes this connection between the mid-seventies and today, why then
was more focus placed on the "2000 earthquake"? Largely, I
believe, it's an issue of the availability of public and
academically credible analyses and articulation of these concerns and
predicaments post 2000, which were made available in English and Hebrew,
primarily. The emergence of a substantial group of political and
educated elites among the Palestinians in Israel over the last thirty
some years made this feasible.

Although I agree with the generalization that:

"The political and educated elites of the Palestinians in Israel
lost all beliefs in `coexistence', liberal Zionist discourse or
a future of change within the present parameters of the Jewish state

I maintain that this was abundantly and inherently felt in the aftermath
of the savage Zionist attack on the indigenous lands in Galilee by
official "security" apparatuses of the Jewish state, twenty-five
years earlier, although not publically articulated in academic language.
It was very clear then that "[t]he police legitimized in its own
eyes and in the eyes of the public the killing of demonstrators
[Palestinian citizens] as part of its response" (p. 239).
Furthermore, it was very obvious, then, "the full support the
Israeli media gave the police and the lack of any sympathy or solidarity
with the victims and their families" (p. 239).

In addition to the issue of the availability of `public
articulation', mentioned above, there is the concomitant rise of
academic, activists, human rights defenders, etc, NGOs that were allowed
legally to register following the Madrid Peace Conference in the early
nineties, and which were responsible, largely, for the `public
articulation' literature. These NGOs became legitimate funding
targets by transnational funding agencies, including NGOs, governments,
corporate companies, etc. This phenomenon, in itself, begs deeper
analysis, which, I maintain, it did not receive in this book, and when
it did (e.g., p. 217 ff), the analysis was very accommodating and

The `Vision Documents'

I agree with Ilan that the `Vision Documents', which were
produced over a period of 3-4 years at the beginning of the twenty-first
century, by the Palestinian political and intellectual elite in Israel,
were ground breaking documents, and that "the Palestinian community
had taken the initiative itself and adopted the language of the
indigenous people versus the settler state" (p. 254). I maintain,
however, that the Palestinian community in Israel was positing in these
documents a more fundamental position, in which they were reaffirming
their Palestinianhood and rejecting Zionist hegemony over their land and
lives, with some degree of variance from one document to another.(2)
This explains why these documents were declared by the entire spectrum
of Israeli public opinion as "a statement of war" (p. 253).

Conclusions of the Book

It is extremely important to refocus our attention, strategically, to
the core and important conclusions of the book. In the concluding
chapter—the Epilogue, under the title "the Oppressive
State", Ilan stressed that:

1. [T]he worst aspect of the minority's existence is that its daily
and future fate is in the hands of the Israel secret-service apparatuses
2. It seems that in the last few years ... the Jewish state has given up
on the charade of democracy ... and ... has escalated its oppression of
the minority in an unprecedented manner (P.266);
3. [W]e expect either escalating state violence against the
Palestinians, wherever they are, or further oppressive legislation (P.
274; emphasis added);
4. [T]he history of this community, despite the endless Israeli efforts
to fragment the Palestinian people and existence, was still an organic
part of the history of the Palestinian people (P. 200; emphasis added).

A note that can never be final ...

My conclusion from the above is crystal clear: the lesson that we should
learn is to actively resist all attempts by the enemies of the
Palestinian people, including the current Palestinian ruling elite
structure, to fragment the Palestinian people and existence, and to
re-institute and revive our struggle for a FREE, JUST, EQUAL, and

All Palestinians must read this book. All Jews—Zionists and
anti-Zionists alike, who express concern about justice and human rights
for the Palestinians, must read this book.

- Dr. Khalil Nakhleh, a Palestinian anthropologist, independent
researcher and writer, who for the last three decades has sought to
generate People-Centered Liberationist Development in Palestine. He is
working on a book, Development Ltd: The Role of Capital in Impeding
People-Centered Liberationist Development, expected to be ready for
publication in 2011. He contributed this article to Contact him at: <>
< <> > .


(1) A cursory look at the "bibliography" section provides ample
support to this statement, keeping in mind, however, that numerous
sources are omitted here, as well as all the relevant sources in Arabic.
(2) Please refer to my book, The Future of the Palestinian Minority in
Israel, Ramallah: MADAR, the Palestinian Center for Israeli Studies ,
2008, (Arabic).


Nothing to Lose But your Life - Suad Amiry

An 18-hour journey with Murad  - Paperback       

Review by Abe Hayeem in Palestine News- Spring Edition 2011

The hazards for Palestinians from the Occupied Territories finding work in Israel are revealed in an illuminating and moving new book by Suad Amiry. In her remarkable earlier diary “Sharon and My Mother–in-Law”, she exposed the horrors of the Israeli invasion in Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 by evoking the personal daily lives of the beleaguered families and community in Ramallah, using a dark sense of irony and humour. Her talent is displayed yet again in this original and gripping narrative.

Israel’s total control of the West Bank and its natural resources has engineered the collapse of the Palestinian economy creating a 31% rate of unemployment. Palestinians have practically no choice but to seek work inside Israel or in building the illegal settlements.

Permits for work are scarce, with migratory workers from other countries (themselves brutally exploited) deliberately brought in to deny employment for Palestinians. In 2009 no more than 23,000 were given work permits, forcing nearly half of the 40,000 Palestinians entering Israel to work illegally. This leads to exploitation of these workers by many Israeli employers who often do not pay them, and then simply hand them over to the authorities if they complain. 15,000 illegal Palestinian workers are arrested annually, and in October 2010 alone, 500 were detained. The desperate search for work, in what should be short journeys can take whole days crossing into Israel. These men, fearing being unemployed more than anything else, say they are not “scared of jail or the oppression of the occupation”. In the ‘cat and mouse’ game escaping the soldiers guarding the borders along the Apartheid Wall, workers can be shot and killed.


It is this scenario that led to the title of this book and the author’s courageous decision to join a group of workers led by the intrepid Murad, a brother of one her staff members at RIWAQ*, in their quest for work across the encroaching barrier mapping out its own illegal boundary separating Israel from the occupied territories. The destination is Petach Tikvah, a major Israeli town north of Tel Aviv, (built on land controversially purchased in 1878 from the Palestinian village of Mlabbis), where Murad and his friends have worked for ‘sympathetic’ Israelis, and where Murad has also found a Jewish girlfriend he longs to see again.

What takes only 18 hours feels like a mini-odyssey. Amiry is disguised as one of the workers, travelling by taxi, bus, and then on foot, bravely scampering over the Palestinian landscape of red earth, olive trees and boulders, in the shadow of the settlements - often going round in circles, negotiating checkpoints, detritus and barriers, dodging the Israeli soldiers in their armoured cars. With a mischievous streak in often-hilarious vignettes, Amiry sympathetically describes the traditional domestic life of Murad’s family, the raw humorous banter;(“had I not decided I wasn’t a woman on this trip, I would have put an end to all their sexist remarks, but I must admit I was enjoying the Big Boys’ political analysis”) the camaraderie, the foibles, hopes and despair of the growing crowd of workers and characters from villages along the route towards and across the enclosing barrier.

The tragedy is that the apartheid separation of the two peoples is so unnecessary, as the Palestinians show an amazing ability to co-exist with the Israelis when allowed to, and feel a longing to move about freely amongst what was the land of their villages and towns, whose access is denied to them. But as Abu Yousef, one of the older workers, who spent twenty eight years in such searches for work through the night says “ No doctora, it is not this darkness that worried me, it is the darkness of their hearts...They have no mercy and they know no God. I spent my whole life working for them and now look at me; like a thief, I steal my own livelihood in the dark...”

When things get tough on this risky sojourn Amiry retreats into lyrical surrealist dream sequences involving zoo animals reacting to the Wall, the ghosts of the villages, and recreating the idyllic life in Mlabbis – with the Nakba still hauntingly pervading the landscape and lives of the Palestinians on both sides of the fence. This important and heart-wrenching book evokes the absurdity and nightmare of denial and dispossession of a people from their own land and is a spur to those who wish to help bring an end to this injustice.

* Su’ad Amiry is the director of RIWAQ, (at the time  of this review) the centre for architectural conservation in Ramallah. The new dirctor is Khaldun Bishara.

See also Suad Amiry at the TEDxRamallah conference held on 16 April 2011;feature=email



Atlas of the Conflict : Israel -Palestine by Malkit Shoshan



Atlas of the Conflict

about 010
how to order
shopping basket
all titles
Grootens books
New Year's ideas
forthcoming titles
recent titles
special offers
last copies!

Malkit Shoshan
Designed by Joost Grootens

480 pp / 195 x 115 mm / hardcover
price € 34.50
ISBN 978 90 6450 688 8
published 2010, recent

from the press back
Read more about this atlas:
Look inside this book: click here.
The Atlas of the Conflict maps the processes and mechanisms behind the shaping of Israel-Palestine over the past 100 years. Over 500 maps and diagrams provide a detailed territorial analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, explored through themes such as borders, settlements, land ownership, archaeological and cultural heritage sites, control of natural resources, landscaping, wars and treaties. A lexicon, drawing on many different information sources, provides a commentary on the conflict from various perspectives. As a whole, the book offers insights not only into the specific situation of Israel-Palestine, but also into the phenomenon of spatial planning used as a political instrument.
Made possible by the Netherlands Architecture Fund and the FBKVB