Sheikh Jarrah: The extremes of 'sharing space' in Jerusalem

Photo-essay: Sharing space in divided cities can take many shapes: from tense encounters and confrontations, to active cooperation and social relations. Here Yair Wallach of the Conflict in Cities and the Contested State research group examines Sheikh Jarrah, one of the flashpoints of confrontation in Israeli settlement expansion.


Click for Photo-Essay. Images by Activestills.org. All rights reserved.

'Sharing space' in divided cities can take many shapes: from tense encounters and confrontations, through commerce and labour, to active cooperation and social relations. Perhaps the best example to reveal the opposite ends of this spectrum is Sheikh Jarrah, one of the flashpoints of confrontation in Jerusalem.

In recent years, settlers have sought to establish strongholds in the Palestinian neighbourhood, especially around the Jewish holy site of the Shimon ha-Tsadik tomb.

However, in the last two years the settlers’ campaign to evict Palestinian families has met with a vigorous response from Palestinian and Israeli Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity protestors, who have transformed the neighbourhood into a centre of joint protests against the settlers.

Joint protest, however, is not without contestation, as Israeli and Palestinian activists negotiate political and cultural differences. And yet in less than two years, Solidarity actions have become a visible presence in the Jerusalem landscape, not only in Sheikh Jarrah but also in other parts of the city.

 


This article/photo essay forms part of the research carried out by 'Conflict in Cities and the Contested State' (RES-060-25-0015), funded by the Large Grant Programme of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the UK. For further details please see: www.conflictincities.org.

About the author

Yair Wallach is the Pears Israeli Studies Lecturer at SOAS. Formerly he was a Research Associate with Conflict in Cities at the University of Cambridge, where he researched 'shared space' in Jerusalem and other divided cities. His research interests are in the Palestine-Israel conflict, and the intersection between ideas and material culture in the everyday experience of modernity.