Jerusalem Unbound Geography, History, and the Future of the Holy City By Michael Dumper (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. 339 pages.)

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Muhammad Yaseen Gada



Jerusalem represents the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The everchanging
events there have perplexed and compelled analysts, political scientists,
academics, and activists to devise countless solutions, especially since
1948. Moreover, the last decade has witnessed a substantial change in its demography
due to the Separation Wall and the ongoing Jewish settlement in
East Jerusalem, both of which violate international law and agreements. The
physical barrier is itself a grim reminder of Israel’s harsh unilateral and discriminatory
measures that seriously impact for the bilateral peace process.
Michael Dumper (professor of Middle East politics, University of Exeter)
has written extensively on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this book, he explores
and illustrates how, despite the wall (hard border), people on the both
sides have managed to create and retain various trans-wall spheres of influence
(soft borders) by taking advantage of its porous nature to breach it by various
ways. This reality, which renders Jerusalem a “many-bordered” or unbound
city, is primarily attributable to its rich, complex, and intersecting religious
and political interests that are sought and contested by many actors (p. 5).
The city’s physical boundaries, discussed in chapter 1, shifted continuously
from 1947 to 2003; the Separation Wall actually runs right through it. According
to Dumper, three major events have had long-term ramifications on this
conflict: the 1947 UN Partition Plan; the 1949 partition of East and West Jerusalem
between Jordan and Israel, respectively; and the ongoing illegal Israeli ...

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