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3 June 2009

Walking through walls: Soldiers as architects in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict

Conference lectured at the symposium "Arxipelago of Exception. Sovereignties of extraterritoriality" CCCB 10-11 November 2005

This essay is based around several interviews1 I conducted with both Israeli military personnel and Palestinian activists following the 2002 Israeli incursion into Palestinian areas as part of operation «Defensive Shield». Using these interviews I will try, in what follows, to reflect upon an emergent relationship between armed conflicts and the built environment.
Contemporary urban operations play themselves out within a constructed, real or imaginary architecture, and through the destruction, construction, reorganization and subversion of space. As such the urban environment must be understood not simply as the backdrop to conflict, nor as its mere consequence, but as trapped in a complex and dynamic feedback-based relation with the forces operating within it – be they a diverse local population, soldiers, guerrilla, media or humanitarian agents. Indicative of the emergent relationship between conflict and space are urban warfare tactics that redefine a relation to the physical/architectural element of the wall.

Walls, in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, have lost something of their traditional conceptual simplicity and material fixity, so as to be rendered – on different scales and occasions – as flexible entities, responsive to changing political and security environments; as permeable elements, through which both resistance and security forces literally travel; and as transparent mediums, through which soldiers can now see and through which they can now shoot. As I will attempt to demonstrate, the changing nature of walls transforms the built environment into a flexible «frontier zone», temporary, contingent and never complete.

The following essay thus aims to expand our empirical and theoretical knowledge of urban operations in order to sharpen potential political and human rights critiques of such operations in the context of both the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and more generally. By examining the military’s own language, and the theoretical basis that they claim as essential for the development of new military tactics – a basis often sought in critical and post-modern theory, including the writings of Deleuze and Guattari, Bataille, and the Situationists, among others – this article will try to explore what is at stake in the uses of such theoretical «tools» by military thinkers, especially since they are the very same tools through which forms of oppositional critique have themselves frequently been articulated.

Inverse Geometry

The first excerpts I want to consider here are from an interview I conducted with the commander of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) Paratrooper brigade, Aviv Kokhavi. When, like other career officers in active service, Kokhavi was sent to complete a university degree, he planned to study architecture but ended up studying philosophy at the Hebrew university in Jerusalem.2 Kokhavi was in charge of the April 2002 IDF operation in the Kasbah (old city) of Nablus, and in the Batala refugee camp alongside it, that formed part of a larger operation known in Israel as «Defensive Shield». He told me about the way in which the IDF conceived of this attack:

«We decided … to simply look at the space architecturally different … This space that you look at, this room that you look at, is nothing but your interpretation of it. Now, you can stretch the boundaries of your interpretation, but not in an unlimited fashion. After all it must be bound by physics – it contains buildings and alleys. The question is: How do you interpret the alley? Do you interpret the alley as a place, like every architect and every town planner does, to walk through, or do you interpret the alley as a place forbidden to walk through? This depends only on interpretation. We interpreted the alley as a place forbidden to walk through, and the door as a place forbidden to pass through, and the window as a place forbidden to look through, because a weapon awaits us in the alley, and a booby trap awaits us behind the doors. This is because the enemy interprets space in a traditional, classical manner, and I do not wish to obey this interpretation and fall into his traps. Not only do I not want to fall into his traps, I want to surprise him! This is the essence of war. I need to win. I need to emerge out of an unexpected place. And this is what we tried to do. This is the reason that we opted for the method of moving through walls ... like a worm that eats its way forwards – appearing outside and then disappearing. We were thus moving from the interior of homes to their exterior in a surprising manner and in places we were not expected, arriving from behind and hitting the enemy that awaited us behind a corner … Because it was the first time that this method was performed [on such a scale], during the action itself we were learning how to adjust ourselves to the relevant urban space, and similarly how to adjust the relevant urban space to our needs … We took this micro-tactical practice [of moving through walls] and turned it into a method, and thanks to this method we were able to interpret the whole space differently! … I ordered my troops: friends! This is not for your consideration! There is no way of moving otherwise! If until now you were used to moving along roads and sidewalks, forget it! From now on we all walk through wals!»

Elsewhere Kokhavi referred to this manoeuvre through walls and across the depth of the city as «inverse geometry», which he explained as «the re-organization of the urban syntax by a series of micro-tactical actions.»3 Most literally, the new routes cut through walls – adding up sometimes to hundred-metre-long paths – define inside as outside, and interiors of homes as a thoroughfare. His soldiers used none of the streets, roads, alleys or courtyards that make up the order of the city, and none of the external doors, internal stairwells and windows that make up the order of the building, but moved horizontally through party walls, and vertically through holes blasted through ceilings and floors. As such the three-dimensional movement through walls, ceilings and floors across the solid fabric of the city re-interprets, short-circuits and re-composes architectural and urban syntax. Movement becomes constitutive of space – it cuts across rather than submits to the authority of walls, borders and laws.

This tactic was developed to deal with the way Palestinian resistance was fortifying and being organized within Nablus and Balata in the days following the operation. The 100 to 200 guerrilla fighters in Nablus, including members of all the Palestinian armed organizations, had been barricading all entries to the old city and Balata with concrete-filled oil barrels, trenches and piles of trash and rubble. The streets and alleys were mined along their length with improvised explosives and gas tanks. The entrances into buildings facing these routes were also boobytrapped, as were the interiors of some prominent or strategically-important buildings. Several small independent groups of around 15 fighters, lightly armed with AK47s, RPGs, and explosives, were organised deep within the camp, each based around another major route or road intersection. Runners were supposed to keep the separate groups informed and supplied throughout the battle. In his preparation for the operation, Kokhavi informed his officers: «[T]hey [Palestinians] have set the stage for a fighting spectacle in which they expect us, when attacking the enclave, to obey the logic that they have determined … to come in the old-style, mechanized formations in cohesive lines and massed columns, conforming to the geometrical order of street network pattern.»4 The orders received by Kokhavi were to arrest or kill «terrorists» according to pre-drawn lists containing about 300 names, and to intimidate the civilian population so as to prevent them from cooperating with the resistance.5 The operation in Nablus started on 3rd April 2002 when Kokhavi’s troops cut off electrical, telephone, and water connections to the entire city, placed snipers and observation posts on the mountains and on the high buildings that surrounded it, and cordoned off the city and its surrounding camps in a perimeter closure.6 Then a large number of small military units entered the camp from all directions simultaneously, moving through walls rather than through the routes where they were expected.7 Kokhavi’s battle orders to his soldiers were: «We will completely isolate the camp, in daylight, creating the impression of a forthcoming systematic siege operation … [then] we will apply a fractal manoeuvre swarming simultaneously from every direction and through various dimensions on the enclave … Each unit reflects in its mode of action, both the logic and form of the general manoeuvre … Our movement through the buildings will push [the insurgents] into the streets and alleys, where we will hunt them down.»8 According to a survey conducted by the Palestinian scholar Nurhan Abujidi after the battle, more than half the buildings in the old city centre of Nablus had routes forced through them with anything from one to eight openings made in their walls, floors or ceilings – making several haphazard cross routes that could not be accounted for by simple linear progression.9

For anyone who might imagine that moving through walls is a relatively «gentle» form of warfare, the following is a description of the sequence of the events: Soldiers assemble behind a wall. Using explosives or a large hammer they break a hole large enough to pass through. Their charge through the wall is sometimes preceded by stun grenades or a few random shots into what is most often an unexpecting private living room. When the soldiers have passed through the party wall, the members of the invaded family are assembled and locked within one of the rooms where they are made to remain, sometimes for several days, until the operation ends, often without water, toilets, food or medicine. According to Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human-rights organization B’tselem, dozens of Palestinians have died during such operations. If moving through walls is pitched by the military as its «humane» answer to the wanton destruction of traditional urban warfare, and as an «elegant» alternative to Jenin-style destruction, this is because the damage it causes is often concealed within the interiors of homes. The unexpected penetration of war into the private domain of the home had been seen in Palestine, just like in Iraq, as the most profound form of humiliation and trauma. The following are excerpts from the testimony of a Palestinian woman identified as Aisha, collected by Palestine Monitor staff Sune Segal in November 2002:

«Imagine it – you’re sitting in your living room that you know so well, this is the room where the family watches TV together after the evening meal … And, suddenly, that wall disappears with a deafening roar, the room fills with dust and debris and through the wall pours one soldier after the other, screaming orders. You have no idea if they’re after you, if they’ve come to take over your home, or if your house just lies on their route to somewhere else. The children are screaming, panicking … Is it possible to even begin to imagine the horror experienced by a five-year-old child as four, six, eight, twelve soldiers, their faces painted black, submachine guns pointed everywhere, antennas protruding from their backpacks, making them look like giant alien bugs, blast their way through that wall?»
Aisha pointed to another wall in her home with a built-in bookcase: «And this is where they left. They blew up the wall and continued to our neighbour’s house.»10


Shimon Naveh, a retired Brigadier General in the Israeli army, is the director of what the IDF calls its «Operational Theory Research Institute». About 60 years old, his bald head, and some measure of physical resemblance, have made some refer to him as «Foucault on Steroids». The Institute was set up in 1996 as a theoretical laboratory for the training of senior military staff. Kokhavi was one of its students. One of the Institute’s reading lists is composed of much architectural theory (mainly from around 1968), as well as work in urban studies, system analysis, psychology, cybernetics, and postcolonial and poststructuralist theory. When I interviewed him, Naveh explained: «We are like the Jesuit order. We attempt to teach and train soldiers to think … We read Christopher Alexander, can you imagine? John Forester, other architects. We are reading Gregory Bateson, we are reading Clifford Geertz. Not myself – our soldiers, our generals are reflecting upon these kinds of material. We have established a school and we have developed a curriculum that trains operational architects.»11

According to Naveh, this institute is unique within the IDF and other militaries. However it forms a definitive part of what the geographer Stephen Graham has called a «shadow world» of military urban-research institutes and training centres that have been set up to rethink military operations in urban areas. According to Simon Marvin, this «shadow world» is currently responsible for more intense and well-funded urban research programs than all university programs put together.12 In a lecture he delivered in the context of the exhibition Territories-Live in Tel Aviv,13 Naveh showed a slide resembling a «square of opposition» that plots a collection of logical relationships between certain propositions referring to military and guerrilla action. The different corners contained such headlines as Difference and Repetition – The Dialectics of Structuring and Structure; Formless Rival Entities; Fractal Maneuver; Velocity Vs. Rhythms; the Wahhabi War Machine; Post-Modern Anarchists; Nomadic Terrorists – phrases which mainly referenced the work of Deleuze and Guattari.14 In an interview afterwards I asked Naveh: «Why Deleuze and Guattari?»:

«Several of the concepts in A Thousand Plateau became instrumental for us … allowing us to explain contemporary situations in a way that we could not have otherwise explained. It problematised our own paradigms … Most important was the distinction they have pointed out between the concepts of “smooth” and “striated” space … [that accordingly reflect] the organizational concepts of the “war machine” and the “state apparatus” … In the IDF we now often use the term “to smoothen out space” when we want to refer to an operation in a space as if it had no borders. We try to produce the operational space in such a manner that borders do not affect us. Palestinian areas could indeed be thought of as “striated” in the sense that they are enclosed by fences, walls, ditches, roads blocks and so on … We want to confront the “striated” space of traditional, old-fashioned military practice [the way most IDF units presently operate] with a smoothness that allows for movement through space, across any borders and barriers. Rather than contain and organize our forces according to existing borders, we want to move through them.»15
E.W.: «Is moving through walls part of it?»
«In Nablus the IDF understood urban fighting as a spatial problem … Travelling through walls is a simple mechanical solution that connects theory and practice. Traversing boundaries is the definition of the condition of “smoothness”.»16

This corresponds also to strategic positions developed in the Institution that bear on general political questions. Naveh supported the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza strip, as well as the Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon before it was undertaken in 2000. He is similarly in favour of withdrawal from the West Bank. In fact his political position is in line with what is referred to in Israel as the Zionist Left. His vote alternates between Labour and Meretz parties. And his position is that the IDF must replace presence in occupied areas for the possibilities to move through it, or produce in it what he calls «effects … military operations such as aerial attacks or commando raids … that affect the enemy psychologically and organizationally». As such, «whatever line they [the politicians] could agree upon – there they should put the fence. This is OK with me … as long as I can cross this fence. What we need is not to be there – but … to act there … Withdrawal is not the “end of the story”.»


«I have long, indeed for years, played with the idea of setting out the sphere of life – bios – graphically on a map. First I envisaged an ordinary map, but now I would incline to a general staff’s map of a city centre, if such a thing existed. Doubtless it does not, because of the ignorance of future wars.» Walter Benjamin17
To understand military movement through Palestinian urban areas, it is necessary to explain the way in which the IDF interprets the by-now-familiar principle of «swarming» – a term that has become a buzz word in military theory since the start of the Revolution of Military Affairs. In his interview Kokhavi explains the way he understands the concept: «A state military whose enemy is scattered as a network of sporadic gangs … must liberate itself from the old concept of straight lines, linear formations of units, regiments and battalions … and become itself much more diffused and scattered, flexible and swarm-like … In fact it must adjust itself to the stealthy capability of the enemy. … Swarming to my understanding is simultaneous arrival to target from a large number of nodes – if possible from 36o degrees.» In a different place, he mentions that a swarm «has no form, no front, back or flanks, but moves like a cloud», and should be measured by location, velocity and density, rather then power and mass.»18 The manoeuvre was in fact adapted from the Artificial Intelligence principle of «swarm intelligence». The principle assumes that problem-solving capacities are found in the interaction and communication of relatively unsophisticated agents (ants, birds, bees, soldiers) without (or with minimal) centralized control. «Swarm intelligence» thus refers to the overall, combined intelligence of a system, rather than to the intelligence of its components. It is the system itself that learns through interaction and adaptation to emergent situations.19

According to Shimon Naveh, the swarm exemplifies the principle of «non-linearity». This principle is apparent in spatial, organizational, and temporal terms. In spatial terms – in contrast to linear operations (what Naveh calls the «subjection of manoeuvre to Euclidean logic»)` that rely on the operational authority of border lines, on a distinction between front, rear and depth, and where military columns progress from outside into the city – swarming seeks to conduct its attacks from the inside out and in all directions simultaneously. Lines of movements are not straight but tend to progress in wild zig-zags to disorient the enemy. The traditional manoeuvre paradigm, characterized by the simplified geometry of Euclidean order, is thus transformed into a complex «fractal» geometry. In organizational terms, instead of fixed linear or vertical chains of command and communications, swarms are coordinated as polycentric networks with a horizontal form of communication, in which each autarkic unit can communicate with each other without going through central command. The physical cohesion of the fighting units is thus replaced with a conceptual one. According to Naveh this «form of manoeuvre is based on the break of all hierarchies, with the command practice on the tactical level coordinating discussion. It’s a wild discourse with almost no rules». In it, as Kokhavi mentioned above, the fractal logic is exemplified by that fact that «each unit … reflects in its mode of action both the logic and form of the general manoeuvre». As Naveh puts it: «Although so much is invested in intelligence, fighting in the city is still, and ever more so, unexpected and messy. Battles could not be scripted. Command cannot have an overview. Decisions to act must be based on chance, contingency and opportunity, and these must be taken only on the ground and in real time.» The theory is that by lowering the thresholds of decision-making to the immediate tactical level, and by the encouragement of local initiative, different parts of the swarm can provide an answer to unpredictable encounters, to rapidly developing situations and changing events – to the forms of uncertainty called, since Clausewitz, «friction».21 In temporal terms, traditional military operations are linear in the sense that they seek to follow a determined, consequential sequence of events embodied in the idea of «the plan». In traditional military planning the idea of «the plan» implies that actions are preconditioned to some degree on the successful implementation of previous actions. Battles progress stage by stage. A «swarm», by contrast, is supposed to induce simultaneous actions, but these actions are not dependent on each other. The narrative of the battle plan is replaced by «the toolbox» approach.22 According to this approach, units receive the tools to deal with several given situations and scenarios, but cannot predict the order in which these events would actually occur.

With swarm manoeuvres, the military seeks to break with its geometrical and even topographical characteristics in favour of topological ones, and re-assemble itself as a network that is in effect inspired by guerrilla and terrorist tactics. This act of mimicry is based on the assumption, articulated by the military theorists John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, that «it takes a network to combat a network.»23 For Naveh, «the concept of the swarm corresponds with military attempts to understand the battle-space as a network – the city as a very complex system of interdependent networks. Furthermore urban battles take place within a field in which two networks – the military as a network and the enemy as a network overlap spatially. The fight must be understood as a dynamic relational field of forces where soldiers, objects, actions and spaces must be seen in constant and contingent relation with other spaces, objects and actions … These force relations imply intersection, convergence, cooperation or conflict. This relationality must be seen as the central feature of military spatiality.» This may explain the fascination of the military with spatial models and modes of operations put forth by theorists like Deleuze and Guattari, who themselves drew inspiration from guerrilla organizations and nomadic wars.24

Exemplary in the history of modern urban conflict and guerrilla warfare, the defenders of the Paris Commune, much like those of the Kasbah of Algiers, Hue, Beirut, Jenin and Nablus, navigated the city in small, loosely coordinated groups, through openings and connections between homes, basements, and courtyards, and through alternative routes, secret passages and trap doors. Unable to control the pockets of Red Army resistance scattered through Stalingrad, Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov similarly gave up centralised control of his army. The result was later analysed as a form of «emergent behaviour», where the interaction between the independent units created a so-called «complex adaptive system» making the total effect of military action larger than the sum of its components.25 «Manoeuvre Warfare» as developed by several military theorists in the period between the two World Wars, and as practised both by the Wehrmacht and by the Allies during the European battles of the Second, is based on such principles as increased autonomy and initiative.26 Similarly, walking through walls, the Israeli architect Sharon Rotbard reminds us, has been invented at every urban battle anew, out of localtactical necessities.27 It was first recorded in Marshal Thomas Bugeaud’s La Guerre des Rues et des Maisons, in the context of anti-insurgency tactics in the class-based urban battles of industrial-revolution Paris.28 Instead of storming the barricades from the front, Bugeaud recommended entering the barricaded block at a different location and «mouse-holing» along «over ground tunnels» that cut across party walls, then taking the barricade by surprise from the flank. On the other side of the barricades, and ten years later, Louis-August Blanqui wrote this micro-tactical manoeuvre into his Instructions pour une Prise d’Armes.29 For Blanqui the barricade and the mouse-hole were complementary elements employed for the protection of self-governing urban enclaves. This was achieved by a complete inversion of the urban syntax. Elements of movements – paving stones and carriages – turned into elements of stasis (barricades), while the existing elements of stasis – walls – became routes. The fight in the city, and for the city, was equated with its interpretation.

However, despite some similarities here, contemporary swarming is dependent not only on the ability to move through walls but on the technological capability of independent units to orientate, navigate and coordinate with other units across the city’s depth. During the operation in Balata, seven thousand IDF soldiers were moving through the camp and later through the Kasbah – Kokhavi referred to this as «infestation» – hardly setting foot at street level. In order to perform such manoeuvres, each unit had to understand its position in the urban geography, its relative position to other units and «enemies» within its operational space, as well as its relative position in relation to the logic of the manoeuvre as a whole. In an interview I conducted with an Israeli soldier, he described the beginning of the simultaneous battle thus: «We never left the buildings and progressed entirely between homes … It takes a few hours to move through a block of four homes … We were all – the entire brigade – within the homes of the Palestinians, no one was in the streets … During the entire battle we hardly ventured out … Whoever was on the street without cover would get shot … We had our headquarters and sleeping encampments in carved out spaces within these buildings ... It became impossible to draw up battle scenarios or single-track plans to follow through.»30 Indeed as far as the military is concerned, urban warfare is the ultimate post-modern war. The belief in a logically-structured, single-tracked, and pre-planned approach is lost in the complexity and ambiguity of the urban reality. Civilians turn combatants, and combatants turn civilians again. Identity changes as quickly as gender; characters switched from women to fighting men in the speed it takes an undercover «Arabized» Israeli soldier or a camouflaged Palestinian fighter to remove a machine gun from under a dress. For a Palestinian fighter caught in the crosshairs of this battle: «The Israelis were everywhere: behind, on the sides, on the right and on the left. How can you fight that way?»31 Since Palestinian guerrilla fighters were sometimes manoeuvring in a similar manner, through pre-planned openings, most fighting took place within the homes themselves. Some buildings became like layered cakes, with Israeli soldiers both above and below a floor where Palestinians were trapped.

Military theory

I asked Naveh in what way critical theory became important for his teaching and training. He responded: «We employ critical theory primarily in order to critique the military institution itself – its fixed and heavy conceptual fundaments … Theory is important for us in order to articulate the gap between the existing paradigm and where we want to go … Without theory we could not make sense of different events that happen around us and that would otherwise seem disconnected.» At a different point within the interview he returned to the issue of education: «We have set up the institute because we believed in education and needed an academy to develop ideas … At present the institute has a tremendous impact on the military … [It has] become a subversive node within it. By training several high-ranking officers we filled the system [IDF] with subversive agents … that ask questions … Some of the top brass is not embarrassed to talk about Deleuze or Tschumi.» I asked him: «Why Tschumi?»:

«The ideas of disjunction [embodied in Tschumi’s book Architecture and Disjunction] became relevant for us … Tschumi had another approach to epistemology – he wanted to break with single perspective knowledge and centralised thinking. He saw the world through a variety of different social practices, from a constantly shifting point-of-view [Tschumi] created a new grammar – he formed the ideas which compose our thinking.»32

E.W.: «Tschumi … ?! Why not study Derrida and deconstruction?»

«Our generals are architects … Tschumi conceptualised the relation between action, space and its representation. The Manhattan Transcripts [a project by Tschumi that notated a murder on Central Park, NYC] gave us the tools to draw operational plans in a different manner than drawing simple lines on maps. He provided the useful notations to plan an operation. Derrida may be a little too opaque for our crowd. We share more with architects – we combine theory and practice. We can read but we know as well how to build and destroy and sometimes kill.»

Besides the theories cited above, Naveh also mentioned such canonical elements of urban theory as the Situationist practices of dérive – a method of drifting through a city based on what the Situationists called psychogeography - and of détournement – the adaptation of found or squatted buildings for a different purpose than that they were designed to perform. These were of course conceived by Guy Debord and others in the Situationist International as part of a general strategy that sought to undo the built hierarchy of the capitalist city and break the borders between private and public, inside and outside,33 use and function; replacing private space with a «borderless» public surface. References to the writing of Georges Bataille, directly or as cited in the writings of Tschumi, capture the desire for an attack against architecture. Bataille’s own call to arms was meant to undo the rigidifying rationalism of a postwar order, escape «the architectural straitjacket», and liberate repressed individual desires: «[A]n attack on architecture, whose monumental productions now truly dominate the whole earth, grouping the servile multitudes under their shadow, imposing admiration and wonder, order and constraints, is necessarily, as it were, an attack on man.» For the likes of Bataille, Tschumi, and the Situationists, the repressive power of the city is subverted by movement through and across it. In the post-war period, when the broadly «leftist» theoretical ideas I have mentioned here were developed, confidence waned in the capacity of sovereign state structures to protect or further democracy. The «micro-politics» of the time was, in many ways, an attempt to constitute a mental and affective guerrilla fighter at the intimate levels of the body, sexuality, inter-subjectivity. The personal was to become subversively political. It was, as such, a strategy of exodus from the formal state apparatus into the private domain, which was later to extend outwards. While these theories were conceived in order to transgress the established built «bourgeois order» of the city – with the wall, projected as solid and fixed, embodying this repression in matter and form – here these methods are projected in order to conceive of forms of tactical attack in an «ene-my» city. Education in the humanities, often believed to be the best lasting weapon with which to combat imperialism, has here been adopted as imperialism’s own weapon.

It is not my aim in this article to try and correct mistakes and exaggerations made in the use or interpretation of specific theories by such military thinkers. It is obvious that Naveh attempts to impress, and enjoys his adopted role as the «subverter» of subversive theories. In conversation he often attempts to make chilling claims. He repeats the fact that his job and the final aim of his theory and practices is to kill: «Did you read the book on “intimate killings?” … In order to kill we must arrive right next to the person we want to kill … we do not want to capture ground we want to kill and leave.» Moreover, military use of theory is of course nothing new. The figure of the soldier-philosopher is one of the clichés of Israeli military history. In the 1960s, when academic education was part of a military career, many high officers, returning from studies in the US, were, for example, discussing Spinoza, often describing the battle-space, especially the 1967 occupation, through the Spinozian concept of «extension». It is not then a question of placing blame, at this point, on theory as such. Rather, what is required is a recognition and understanding of the use of particular strands of left-wing theories, where they are deployed in order to project power, not to subvert it. When I asked Naveh himself about the ideological basis of the theories he uses, he answered: «We must differentiate between the charm and even some values within Marxist ideology and what can be taken from it for military use. The theories do not only strive at a utopian socio-political ideal that we may like or dislike, but are based upon a methodology that wants to disrupt and subvert the existing political, social, cultural or military order. The disruptive capacity in theory [elsewhere he mentions the term nihilist] is the aspect of theory that we like and use. This theory is not married to its socialist ideals.»

Transparent walls

A special emphasis of military operations in an urban terrain is dedicated to developing future technologies and techniques aiming at the «un-walling of the wall» (to borrow Gordon Matta-Clark’s term).34 Besides the physical piercing of walls, new methods have been devised to allow soldiers to see and shoot through walls. An Israeli company by the name of Camero has developed a hand held cross-wall vision machine that combines thermal imaging with ultra-wideband radar that, in a similar way to medical ultra-sound, can produce three-dimensional renderings of biological-life in spaces behind solid objects.35 The images depict human-bodies as fuzzy heat sources floating (like foetuses) within an abstract clear medium onto which everything solid – walls, furniture, objects – has been melted. Special ammunition capable of piercing through walls, without the bullet-head much deflecting, have been developed to complement the ability of seeing through walls with that of killing through them. As such, cross-wall radar will have a radical effect on the relation of military practice to architecture at large. Its future developments may have the capacity to render all built environment, but life, transparent, unveiling the oriental cityscape and making solid architecture effectively evaporate. Instruments of «literal transparencies» are the main components in a military ghostlike fantasy world of no borders, of boundless fluidity in which the city becomes a navigable space, an ocean. By seeking to see what is invisible, collapse time and space, and move through space, the military seeks to elevate contemporary technologies and (almost contemporary) theories to the level of metaphysics – literally seeking to move beyond the here and now of physical reality.

This relates also to technologies seeking to produce «controlled» destruction. After the international outcry that followed the destruction in the Jenin refugee camp on April 2002, the IDF saw it as necessary to provide further courses to its engineer corps in order to improve their «art of destruction», which had seemingly gone out of control. In a military conference held in Tel Aviv, an Israeli engineering officer mentioned to his international audience that «helped by the study of building construction and structures», at present «the military can remove one floor in a building without destroying it completely or remove a building that stands in a row of buildings without damaging the others.»36 This testified, if no doubt exaggerated, ability to «chirurgically» remove building parts is the engineer’s response to the logic of «smart weapons». In a similar manner to that in which «smart weapons», such as those used in the context of Israel’s policy of «targeted assassinations», have brought a higher level of civilian casualties, simply because the illusion of precision gives the military and political complex the necessary justification to use explosives in civilian environments where they cannot be used without hurting civilians (in Gaza there have been two civilian deaths for every intended killing during the al-Aqsa Intifadah),37 the imagined ability of «smart destruction», and attempts to perform «sophisticated» swarming, could bring more destruction over the long term than «traditional» strategies did, because these methods, and the manipulative and euphoric rhetoric associated with them, help decision-makers to authorize their frequent use. It is thus essential to critically assess the language of the military in this regard. Highly euphoric military theoretical and technological «talk» seeks to describe war as remote, sterile, easy, quick, intellectual, exciting and almost cost-free (to the military that is). Violence can thus be projected as tolerable, and the public more inclined to support it. As such, by further developing and communicating new war-making technologies, the illusion that a military solution is possible is projected into the public domain. Yet as countless examples have so far demonstrated, including the operations in Balata and the Kasbah of Nablus, the realities of urban warfare are much messier and bloodier than the way the military would like to portray them.

So, could we think of the use of Deleuzian theory as a mere form of propaganda? It would be too easy to dismiss it as only that. For, again, like «smart weapons», this theory has both a functional and a discursive function in the conflict. In terms of function, how far Deleuzian theory influences military tactics and manoeuvres is a question that arises with regard to any relations between theory and practice, and is thus rather complex. Theory may obviously create new sensibilities and may help to explain and further develop ideas that emerged independently within separate fields of knowledge. In terms of discourse, war, if it is not a total war of annihilation, is always a discourse between ene-mies. Every military action is meant to communicate something to the enemy, to demonstrate, to threaten, to signal. Talk of «swarming», «targeted killings», and «smart» destruction may thus help the military communicate to its enemies that it uses only a part of its full capacities for destruction. In this respect, a swarming operation is presented as a warning that «next time we would indeed save ourselves many casualties» by being brutal without restraint – as we have done in Jenin.38 Raids can thus be projected as a «lesser evil», a more moderate alternative to the full devastating capacity that the military possesses, and will unleash if the enemy increases the acceptable level of violence or breaches some unwritten rule. In military operational theory it is essential that the military never uses its full destructive capacity and always keeps the capacity to increase the level of atrocity. Without this relative «restraint», fear and thus threat are meaningless.

Shifting house walls

The IDF’s destruction of the Jenin camp – more than 400 buildings in an area of 40,000 square metres39 – could be understood as the creation of a radically new layout to the camp. The end of the battle saw new roads cut, existing ones widened, and an open space cleared out at the centre of the camp. Tanks and other military vehicles could afterwards penetrate deep into the interior of the camp along the new and widened paths. In fact the wanton destruction of the centre of the camp started on April 9th when Palestinian guerrilla fighters managed to kill thirteen IDF soldiers in an ambush in the Hawashin district of the camp by causing an entire alley to collapse upon them, making use themselves of the built fabric as a weapon.

The conflicts that emerged between Palestinian residents of the refugee camp and UN representatives after the battle, may reflect another aspect of the relationship of design to destruction. The following information is largely based on filmed research that Nadav Harel, Anselm Franke and I did during the rebuilding of the camp: Twenty-seven million dollars donated from the United Arab Emirates’ Red Crescent were allocated to allow the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to implement a new masterplan in the camp and replace most of the destroyed homes with new ones.40 The public presentation of these plans sparked off a series of conflicts. Briefly described, there were two controversial issues in the reconstruction plans as I understood them. The first concerned the road layout: UNRWA engineers used the IDF destruction path to propose the widening of the camp’s roads. The nine streets that were used as access routes for IDF tanks into the camp, and that were widened by bulldozers, were to be rebuilt according to the new, «broadened» dimension. From their previous span of just over 5 metres they were to be stretched to almost 7 metres across – just wide enough for Israeli tanks to swerve in without smashing into house walls. In some cases the widening took place only on the ground floor. This was achieved by «pushing» the external front walls of homes almost 1 metre inwards of their original position in a way that made the upper floors overhang parts of the street.41 Although UNRWA’s proposal was argued to be an improvement of the camp’s traffic arrangements, the camp’s popular committee,42 where the armed organizations have a crucial influence, protested the fact that the widening of the roads might allow Israeli tanks to drive easily through the camp. One of the committee members publicly protested, insisting that «it should be made more, not less difficult for Israeli tanks to enter the camp.»43 The debate ended with UNWRA exercising its sovereignty over the camp’s affairs and pushing on regardless with construction according to the «widening» plan. Berthold Willenbacher, UNRWA’s project director,44 was quoted in an apologetic afterthought that painted the military aspect of the redesign as a mere negative by-product: «We designed a way for Israelis to get through with tanks and we shouldn’t have done that because the armed guys have less chance of getting away than if it’s narrow alleys. We didn’t take their aspect into consideration.»45 However members of the committee told us that they believed that this decision was undertaken consciously by UNRWA in order to protect the new built «assets».

A related dispute regarding the nature and function of walls as visual barriers erupted between the members of the popular committee itself. In some buildings within the camp, small courtyards were separated from the street by 2-metre-high walls. The courtyards behind the walls are places where women and children play and cook. These walls were often destroyed by IDF soldiers during the operation in order to expose possible sniper hideouts. The second debate dealt with the height of these walls. Hamas representatives on the popular committee asked that these walls be built just under average eye level so that passers-by could look into the courts and make sure that Islamic codes of modesty were not relaxed. As such, this debate came to be concerned with issues of privacy. Hamas’ attempt to lower the courtyard walls sought to generate a regime of surveillance that, although different in its intentions than the one mentioned above in the context of Israeli surveillance strategies, could also be understood as an attempt to make the wall transparent. This debate ended with the committee, dominated by the largely secular Fattah, deciding against lowering the walls, and allowing the Nablus-based architect of the camp’s rebuilding, Hidaya Najmi (who, since reconstruction, has been careful not to enter the camp), to go on with his design of high walls and private courts.

The first debate thus demonstrates the way in which the logic of «design by destruction» has been extended into the reconstruction of the camp with an urban layout that increased its permeability. The new layout may allow a future IDF armoured incursion to become less destructive to property. The IDF could enter the camp in the «traditional manner» with heavy vehicles moving through without breaking buildings’ parts and without soldiers smashing through party walls. By taking responsibility for the well-being and maintenance of architecture in a situation of hostilities, this design becomes complicit with the military logic of the camp’s destruction, and may precisely fall into one of the more obvious traps of the «humanitarian paradox», according to which humanitarian help may, under certain conditions, end up helping the oppressor.

If the first debate was concerned with issues of permeability, the second was con-cerned with issues of transparency. Both show the power of walls to imply a different urban and social order. These debates reflect yet another Israeli fantasy: that Palestinian resistance could be subdued by the destruction and reorganization of its physical habitat. The Palestinian city and the refugee camp, as Stephen Graham has demonstrated, are often imagined by Israeli security and political figures as formless conglomerates of material refuse – a kind of malleable «solid» through which IDF soldiers may plough or tunnel their way, redesigning space with their movements.46 Resistance, accordingly, could be subdued with the organizational simplification embodied by these acts of «design»; acts whose effect may bring about the «modernisation» of the built fabric. Indeed much of the history of urbicide is preceded by a history of infrastructure and hygienic improvements. The upgrade of infrastructure and living standards may seek to eradicate the conditions that breed discontent, but also, and increasingly so, to create the vulnerabilities that may reduce the motivation of the urban population to support active resistance.

It is important to note that, apart from the Kasbah of Nablus, all the places discussed above are refugee camps. In the camps, the question of urbicide is not straightforward. The temporary nature of the refugee camp is its very essence, as it manifests the urgency of the claim for return. A sense of temporariness is often maintained by keeping conditions in camps at a bare minimum. In some camps, sewage still runs unchecked, and trees are not planted lest the camp be perceived as a permanent city. Sometimes building a new house in the camp could be seen as a betrayal of the national cause, and it is primarily the younger generation that reject plans for reconstruction. As a young Palestinian activist in the Daheisha refugee camp mentioned to the filmmaker Eyal Sivan: «They [the UN] were planting and we [Fattah activists] were uprooting.» In fact having an address in the camp often means keeping alive an address in the lost land. This could itself explain why there are 12,000 people registered as residents in the Daheisha camp, but only 8,000 actually living there. The «upgrading» of the Jenin camp, and its consequential integration to the fabric of the city of Jenin, may have the effect of undoing this very status of temporariness. This has, in fact, been a central part of Israeli strategic thinking since the creation of the refugee problem. Indeed, according to documents recently uncovered by Tom Segev, the first proposals for construction in the occupied West Bank, debated in the Israeli government immediately after the 1967 war, were for the building of new cities for Palestinian refugees from Gaza. Relocating the refugees and turning them into city- or village-dwellers was meant to diffuse and undo the physical preconditions of «the refugee problem»47.  Ariel Sharon oversaw in 1971, as the military commander of Gaza, and again in 1981, as Minister of Defence, plans to re-house Gaza refugees in Israeli-style housing blocks purpose built beside the camps. In Mohamed Bakri’s film Jenin Jenin, shot in the immediate aftermath of the April 2002 destruction, interviews with camp residents communicated the impression that the camp was accepted as a city only when the destruction and threat of dispossession arose again. «Camp-cide», if such a word is to exist, should therefore have a meaning different from that of «urbicide». It should paradoxically come to describe the constitution of the camp as a city and the concomitant loss of its provisional «camp» status. It is in this context that we can understand a statement made by one of the members of the Jenin camp’s popular committee who, after seeing the newly built cream-coloured permanent looking homes, declared: «We have lost the right of return.»48

The Dogville effect

« … laws and unmarked frontiers remain … unwritten laws … And thus when frontiers are decided the adversary is not simply annihilated; indeed, he is accorded rights even when the victor’s superiority in power is complete. And there are, in a demonically ambiguous way, “equal” rights: for both parties to the treaty it is the same line that may not be crossed.» Walter Benjamin49

The «politics of separation» enforced by Israel throughout the territories of conflict, of which the wall/fence system is only a part, operates according to the principle that for Israeli soldiers, and to a lesser degree for settlers and Israeli citizens, space should be «smooth», «liquid» and «permeable», but that it must remain definitively «striated» and solid for Palestinians. Besides the main wall/fence built throughout the West Bank, a variety of temporary border-like apparatuses – material synonyms to the border – have emerged: «barriers», «blockades», «closures», «road blocks», «check points», «sterile areas», «special security zones», «closed military areas», «killing zones». These are transportable, deployable, removable and flexible «border devices» that shrink and expand the territory within which Palestinians can move. The material presence of these boundaries varies. Sometimes they hardly exist at all (as in the case of a closure decree). At other times, they have differentiated degrees of permeability (as in the case of a «breathing closure»). Borders are conceptual and declarative before, and sometimes regardless of, being material. In Lars von Triers’s film Dogvile, boundaries between properties, as well as between interior and exterior spaces, were drawn on the stage floor without being materially extruded. However, these notations still had the authority to dictate the movement of the characters. Here, military orders, the will and means to enforce them, could create a barrier before and sometimes regardless of any physical fortifications. On the other hand, the strongest material borders could be meaningless without the legal and military means to enforce them. A barrier that has no legal authority becomes transparent. Although the Wall between occupied Gaza and Egypt was the most fortified, it collapsed a day after the IDF completed its redeployment because the regime that maintained it was replaced. It only stood because of the willingness of the Israeli authorities to maintain it by fire and death.

Naveh’s precondition for withdrawal – «as long as I can cross this fence» – implies a conditional withdrawal that can be annulled at times of emergency. In fact, Israel’s preconditions for any territorial compromise, and the drawing of temporary border-lines from Oslo onwards, all had a clause of exception that guaranteed Israel’s right, in some emergency security circumstances which it could itself declare, for «hot pursuit», by which it could break into Palestinian controlled areas, enter neighbourhoods and homes in search of suspects, and take these suspects for interrogation and detention in Israel. This undoubtedly undoes much of the perceived symmetrical nature of walls implied in the Benjamin citation above. As long as this clause allowing for «hot pursuit» is included in Israeli-Palestinian agreements, Israel still remains sovereign in Palestinian territories – simply because it can declare the exception that would allow it to move through the Wall and then within Palestinian cities.50


«The words of built space, or at least its substantive, would seem to be rooms, categories which are synthetically or syncategorematically related and articulated by the various spatial verbs and adverbs-corridors, doorways and staircases, for example, modified in turn by adjectives in the form of paint and furnishings, decoration and ornament … “Sentences” … are read by readers whose bodies fill the various shifters.» Frederic Jameson51

According to Hannah Arendt, the political realm of the Greek city was guaranteed, quite literally, by two kinds of walls (or wall-like laws): the wall around the city, defining the zones of the political, and the walls between the public areas and the private house, guaranteeing the autonomy of the private space. «The one harboured and enclosed political life as the other sheltered and protected the biological life process of the family.» Without these walls, «there might have been an agglomeration of houses, a town (asty), but not a city, a political community.»52 The differentiation between a city, as a political domain, and a town, is based on the conceptual solidity of the elements that safeguard both public and private domains. Their destruction – physical or conceptual – would turn the city back into a non-political domain, the habitat of subjects-without-rights.

In historical siege warfare the breaching of the outer city wall marks the destruction of its sovereignty. Accordingly, the «art» of siege warfare engaged with the geometries of the perimeter of city walls and with the development of equally complex technologies for breaching them. Contemporary academies of urban operations, as mentioned above, are increasingly concerned with methods of transgressing the limitations embodied by the domestic wall. In that respect we could think about the city’s walls as one would think about the City Wall – the operative edge of the law and the very condition of democratic urban life. At stake within the juridico-physical interplay that makes a City are thus two interrelated political concepts: sovereignty and democracy. We may understand the former as the «wall» (or border in the case of a state) assigned to protect the latter, which in turn is dependent on protection of the private sphere, defined not only as the private interior of the home, but, since the Reformation, as a freedom of conscience.53 Sovereignty is embodied thus by the idea of the «city wall» (or the border), defining and protecting the sovereign boundary of the (city) state, whilst democracy is embodied by the protection of the party wall, separating and defining private spaces. For Arendt, the rise of society is the rise of the oikia or the household: «Even Plato, whose political plans foresaw the abolition of private property and the extension of the public sphere to the point of annihilating private life altogether, still speaks with great reverence of Zeus Herkeios, the protector of border lines, and calls the horoi, the boundaries between one estate and the another, divine, without seeing any contradiction.»54 The breaching of the domestic wall as a physical, visual and conceptual border could mark out one of the most radical representations of the «state of exception». In it, the obliteration of the limit to privacy has become one of the core tools. In this context we can understand what is at stake in the USA PATRIOT Act’s expansion of so-called «sneak and peek» warrants, allowing federal agents to covertly access the private domain and enter the private space of individual suspects.55 The domestic wall is conceptualised as a border, the home as enemy territory, and property intrusion as armed invasion. «Homeland Security» (what could now be dubbed «Home Security») is thus placed outside of democratic control. The military analysts exult at the possibilities offered by Deleuze and Guattari, Tschumi, etc., because this inner domain – the subversive micro-sovereignty of privacy – now represents a potential extension of their power and sovereignty into places into which it was not yet extended. As such, the invasion of the «home» – of intimate space, the space of subjectivity – has become yet another «last frontier».

The military practice of walking through walls ties together the physical properties of construction with the syntax of architectural and social order. The technologies developed to allow soldiers to see living organisms through walls, and the ability to walk through them, addresses not only the materiality of the wall but its very concept. Activities whose operational means is the «un-walling of the wall», thus destabilise not only the legal and social order, but the democratic order itself. With the wall no longer physically and conceptually solid and legally impenetrable, the functional spatial syntax that it created – the separation between inside and outside, private and public, as well as between retreat and exclusion – collapses.56 The palindromic linguistic structure of law/wall binds these two structures in an interdependency that equates built with legal fabric. The very order of the city relies on the fantasy of a wall as stable, solid and fixed. Indeed architectural history tends otherwise to see walls as a constant or basic – architecture’s irreducible given. The un-walling of the wall invariably becomes the undoing of the law.57

When Kokhavi claims that «space is only an interpretation», and that his movement through and across the built fabric of the city re-interprets architectural elements (walls, windows and doors) and thus the city itself, he uses theoretical language to suggest that one can «win» an urban battle, not by the destruction of a city, but by its «reorganization». If the wall is only the word of a «wall», un-walling also becomes a form of rewriting – a constant process of undoing fuelled by theory. Could re-writing amount to killing? If moving through walls is a method of «reinterpreting space», and the nature of the city is «relative» to this form of interpretation, could «re-interpretation» constitute a form of murder? If «yes», then the «inverse geometry» that turns the city «inside out», with its private and public spaces shuffled, would require a definition of the dangers of urban operations that goes beyond the physical and social destruction they bring – but deals with their «conceptual destruction» as well.

1. This article was originally written for the workshop «Urbicide, The killing of Cities?» that Stephen Graham, Daniel Monk and David Campbell organized at Durham University in November 2005. I would like to thank them for their invitation and comments. I would also like to thank Brian Holmes and Ryan Bishop for commenting on earlier drafts, and David Cunningham for working so hard on making sense of this one. My recent work centres around the way militaries have started to think about cities. For this reason I have been going to military conferences dealing with cities and urban warfare and interviewing military personal in Israel the UK and the US. The interviews cited here were conducted in the context of Archilab, The Naked City, Orleans, 2004, with the contributions of Eyal Weizman, Anselm Franke and Nadav Harel. The questions were composed by Eyal Weizman and filming was undertaken by Nadav Harel and Zohar Kaniel. Interviews conducted in August and September 2004.

2. Kotes-Bar, Chen, «Starring Him» [«Bekikhuvo»], In: Ma’ariv, 22 April 2005 [originally in Hebrew].

3. Cited in Greenberg, Hannan, «The Limited Conflict: This is How you Trick Terrorists», In: Yediot Aharonot, 23 March 2004, <>

4. Cited in Naveh, Shimon, «Between the Striated and the Smooth: Urban Enclaves and Fractal Manoeuvres», paper delivered at «An Archipelago of Exception», a conference at the CCCB in Barcelona, 11 November 2005, organized by Eyal Weizman, Anselm Franke and Thomas Keenan.

5. Oren, Amir, «The Big Fire Ahead», In: Ha’aterz, 25 March 2004.

6. At least 80 Palestinians were killed in Nablus, most of them civilians, between 29 March and 22 April 2002. Four Israeli soldiers were killed. See <>, 12 February 2003.

7. In fact the idea for the manoeuvre is credited to a platoon commander and his sergeant in one of the units, both from kibbutz Giva’at Haiim. See Naveh, Shimon, «Between the Striated and the Smooth», op. cit.

8. Cited in Naveh, Shimon, «Between the Striated and the Smooth»», op. cit.

9. Nurhan Abujidi who conducted a survey in Nablus after the battle, found that 19.6% of buildings affected by forced routes had only one opening, 16.5% had two openings, 13.4% had three openings, 4.1% had four openings, 2.1% had five openings, and 1.0% (two buildings) had eight openings. See Abujidi, Nurhan, «Forced To Forget: Cultural Identity & Collective Memory / Urbicide: The Case of the Palestinian Territories, During Israeli Invasions to Nablus Historic Center 2002-2005», paper presented at «Urbicide, The Killing of Cities?», a workshop at Durham University, November 2005.

10. Segal, Sune, «What Lies Beneath: Excerpts from an Invasion», November 2002. Available at <>, 9 June 2005. See also Abujidi, Nurhan, «Forced to Forget», op. cit.

11. Shimon Naveh in discussion after delivering the lecture «Dicta Clausewitz: Fractal Manoeuvre, A Brief History of Future Warfare in Urban Environments», at «States Of Emergency: The Geography of Human Rights», a debate that formed part of «Territories Live», B’tzalel Gallery, Tel Aviv, 5 November 2004, organized by Eyal Weizman and Anselm Franke.

12. Marvin, Simon, «Military Urban Research Programmes: Normalising the Remote Control of Cities», paper delivered at «Cities as Strategic Sites: Militarisation Anti-Globalisation & Warfare», Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures, Manchester, November 2002; Graham, Stephen, «From Sanctuaries to “Glass Prisons”?: Global South Cities, Urban Warfare, and US Military Technoscience», Antipode (forthcoming).

13. When the exhibition Territories Live, (curated by Anselm Franke and Eyal Weizman) arrived in Tel Aviv it was hosted and paid for by the B’tzalel Academy School of Architecture under the directorship of Zvi Efrat. The Israeli Ministry of Education, which indirectly financed this exhibition, sought to «balance it out» by including Naveh in our list of speakers.

14. Naveh, Shimon, «Dicta Clausewitz». Compare Naveh’s titles to those used in, among others, Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Félix, A Thousand Plateaus, Continuum, New York and London 2004; and Deleuze, Gilles, Difference and Repetition, Columbia University Press, New York 1995.

15. See also Naveh, Shimon, Asymmetric Conflict, An Operational Reflection on Hegemonic Strategies, The Eshed Group for Operational Knowledge, Tel Aviv: 2005, p. 9.

16. Telephone interview on 14 October 2005.

17. Benjamin, Walter, «A Berlin Chronicle», In: One-Way Street and Other Writings, Verso, London and New York: 1979, p. 295.

18. See Greenberg, Hannan, op. cit.

19. Bonabeau, Eric, Dorigo, Marco and Theraulaz, Guy, Swarm Inteligence: From Natural to Artificial Systems, Oxford, Oxford University Press: 1999; Edwards, Sean J.A., Swarming on the Battlefield: Past, Present and Future, Rand, Santa Monica (CA) 2ooo; Arquilla, John and Ronfeldt, David (eds.), Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy, Rand, Santa Monica (CA) 2oo1.

20. Naveh, Shimon, «Between the Striated and the Smooth», op. cit.

21. Von Clausewitz, Carl, On War, Everyman’s Library, London 1993, pp. 119-21; De Landa, Manuel, War in the Age of Inteligent Machines, New York: Zone Books, 1991, p. 78-79.

22. Michel Foucault’s description of theory as a «tool-box» was originally developed in conjunction with Deleuze in a 1972 discussion. See Deleuze, Gilles and Foucault, Michel, «Intellectuals and Power», In: Foucault, Michel, Language, Counter-Memory, Practice, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1980, p. 206.

23. See Arquilla, John and Ronfeldt, David (eds.), Networks and Netwars, op. cit. See also Naveh, Shimon, In: Pursuit of Military Excellence: The Evolution of Operational Theory, Portland (CA) Frank Cass, 1997.

24. See De Landa, Manuel, Intelligent Machines, op. cit.

25. Walters, Col. Eric M., «Stalingrad, 1942: with Will, Weapon, and a Watch», In:  Antal, Col. John and Gericke, Maj. Bradley (eds.), City Fights, New York: Ballantine Books, 2003, p. 59.

26. Liddell, Hart; Basil, Henry. Strategy, New York: Plum Books, 1991.

27. Rotbard, Sharon, White City, Black City, Tel Aviv: Babel Press, 2005, p.178.

28. Bugeaud, Marshal Thomas, La Guerre des Rues et des Maisons, Paris: J.-P. Rocher, 1997. The manuscript was written in 1849 in Bugeaud’s estate in the Dordogne after his failure to quickly suppress the events of 1848. Bugeaud did not manage to find a publisher for his book, but distributed a small edition among his colleagues. In the text, Bugeaud suggested widening the Parisian roads and removing corner buildings at strategic crossroads in order to allow for a wider field of vision. These and other suggestions were implemented by Haussmann several years later. See Rotbard, Sharon, White City, Black City, op. cit.

29. Blanqui, Auguste, Instructions pour une Prise d’Armes, Paris: Société encyclopédique franaise, 1972. Available online on: <>, 25 September 2005.

30. Interview with Gil Fishbein, Tel Aviv, 4 September 2002. Fishbein describes the first stages of the battle of Jenin before the bulldozers were called in.

31. Cited in Henkin, Yagil, «The Best Way Into Baghdad», In: New York Times, 3 April 2003.

32. Naveh mentioned that he is currently working with the Hebrew translation of Bernard Tschumi’s Architecture and Disjunction. Originally: Tschumi, Bernard, Architecture and Disjunction, MIT Press, Cambridge (MA) 1997.

33. «“Go inside!”, he ordered in hysterical broken English. “Inside! I am already inside!” It took me a few seconds to understand that this young soldier was redefining inside to mean anything that is not visible, to him at least. My being “outside” within the “inside” was bothering him. Not only is he imposing a curfew on me, he is also redefining what is outside and what is inside within my own private sphere.» Cited in Segal, Sune, What Lies Beneath: Excerpts from an Invasion, op. cit.

34. Hatton, Brian, «The Problem of our Walls», In: The Journal of Architecture, vol. 4, spring 1999, p. 71. Wodiczko, Krzysztof, Public Address: Krzysztof Wodiczko, Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis 1991, published in conjunction with an exhibition held at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 11 October 1992 - 3 January 1993, and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, 22 May - 22 August 1993.

35. Dar, Zuri and Hermoni, Oded, «Israeli Start-Up Develops Technology to See Through Walls», In: Ha’aretz, 1 July 2004; Brazilay, Amnon, «This time they were not prepared for the last war», In: Ha’aretz, 17 April 2004. See also Golan, Amir, «The Components of the Ability to Fight in Urban Areas», In: Ma’arachot, no. 384, July 2002, p. 97.

36. See Greenberg, Hannan, «The Limited Conflict», op. cit.

37. From September 2000 to the time of its evacuation, 1,719 Palestinians were killed in Gaza – two-thirds of them unarmed and uninvolved in any struggle, 379 of them children. See Has, Amira, «The other 99.5 percent», In: Ha’aretz, 24 August 2005.

38. This resonates with Naveh’s attitude to American military action in Falluja: «a disgusting operation, they flattened the entire city…if we would have done just that we would have saved ourselves many casualties».

39. 1,500 other buildings were damaged and 4,000 people were left homeless. Fifty-two Palestinians were killed, more then half of them civilians. Some, including those who – elderly or disabled – couldn’t leave on time, were sometimes buried alive under the rubble of their homes. See Amnesty International, Shielded from Scrutiny: IDF Violations in Jenin and Nablus, 4 November 2002; and Graham, Stephen, «Constructing Urbicide by Bulldozer in the Occupied Territories», In: Cities, War and Terrorism, Blackwell Press, Oxford 2004.

40. A further $5 million from Saddam Hussein were divided between the families whose homes were destroyed, and those who lost relatives.

41. Between 10 and 15% of the original ground area of the lots of destroyed buildings were later registered as public ground. In some cases, this area was seized only on the ground floor. UNRWA was buying further land on the edge of the camp and relocated some of the households from the destroyed core. The project was dedicated to Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late President of the UAE.

42. A popular committee is an organizational form based on participatory democracy developed within the occupied villages, refugee camps and cities which emerged during the first Intifada. In most places, political parties from the main factions in the PLO, as well as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, appointed representatives.

43. Levy, Gideon, «Tank Lanes Built Between New Jenin Homes», In: Ha’aretz, 10 May 2004. See Weizman, Eyal; Franke, Anselm and Harel, Nadav, Walking Through Walls, op. cit.

44. The first project director was killed by IDF soldiers who later claimed to have mistaken him for an armed Palestinian.

45. «We got blamed for doing it this way but we made the roads wider for cars and ambulances – it would be silly not to. We just wanted to make a normal living area…we see it from a technical aspect, not in terms of war; the Israelis will come in regardless». See McGuirk, Justin, «Jenin», In: Icon Magazine, no. 24, June 2005. Avalaible at <>, 25 September 2005. See also Levy, Gideon, op. cit.

46. See Graham, Stephen, «Constructing Urbicide», op. cit.

47. Segev, Tom, Israel in 1967, Jerusalem: Keter Books, 2005, p. 566 [Hebrew].

48. But this is not typical of the position of many other refugees delighted with their new homes. See Levy, Gideon, op. cit.

49. Benjamin, Walter, «Critique of Violence» In: Reflections, New York: Schocken Books and Random House, 1989, p. 295-296.

50. In recent months, the practice has been reported in the areas around Ramallah. Prime Minister Netanyahu previously stated: «Hot pursuit is a sub-issue. It’s a specific instance of a generic issue, and the generic issue is the freedom of action of Israel to protect its citizens wherever they are. And against whatever threats emanate from anywhere.» Press Conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu on the Hebron Accord, 13 January 1997 <>.

51. Jameson, Frederic, «Is Space Political?», in Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Verso, London and New York 1991.

52. Arendt, Hannah, The Human Condition, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1998, p. 63-64.

53. Because walls function not only as physical barriers but as devices of information exclusion (of vision and sound), they have provided, since the eighteenth century, according to architectural historian Robin Evans, the physical infrastructure for the construction of privacy and modern subjectivity. See Evans, Robin, «The Rights of Retreat and the Rights of Exclusion», In: Translation from Drawing to Building and Other Essays, London: Architectural Association Publications, 1997.

54. This is developed in Plato’s Laws, Book 8, 843; cited in Arendt, Hannah, op. cit., p. 30.

55. The Fourth Amendment of the US constitution guarantees individuals’ rights against unreasonable search and seizure. It is required that the government gives notice before searching through or seizing an individual’s belongings. Before the USA PATRIOT Act was passed in Congress on October 24th 2001, prior notice could be suspended only under a narrow set of circumstances. Section 213 of the Act expanded so-called «sneak and peek» warrants. Under this section the government can delay notice of a search if it can show «reasonable cause to believe that providing immediate notification of the execution of the warrant may have an adverse result». This means that government agents can enter a dwelling without notice if they have a reasonable suspicion that an announcement would inhibit the investigation of a crime, by, for example, enabling the destruction of evidence. This procedure replaced the old standard of «knock and announce» by which, when executing a warrant, law enforcement officials must generally announce their presence, <> [14.8.05].

56. Evans, Robin, «The Rights of Retreat and the Rights of Exclusion», p. 38.

57. Hatton, Brian, «The Problem of Our Walls», p. 66-67.

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