An on-the-ground account of the design and evolution of West Bank settlements, showing how one of the world’s most contested landscapes was produced by unexpected conflicts and collaborations among widely divergent actors.
Since capturing the West Bank in 1967, Israel has overseen the construction of scores of settlements across the territory’s rocky hilltops. The settlements are part of a fierce political conflict. But they are not just hotly contested political ventures. They are also something more everyday: residential architectural projects.
In the Land of the Patriarchsis an on-the-ground account of the design and evolution of West Bank settlements. Noam Shoked shows how settlements have been shaped not only by the decisions of military generals, high-profile politicians, and prominent architects but also by a wide range of actors, including real estate developers, environmental consultants, amateur archeologists, and Israelis who feel unserved by the country’s housing system. The patterns of design and construction they have inspired reflect competing worldviews and aesthetic visions, as well as everyday practices not typically associated with the politics of the Israeli occupation. Revealing the pragmatic choices and contingent circumstances that drive what appears to be a deliberately ideological landscape, Shoked demonstrates how unpredictable the transformation of political passion into brick and mortar can be.