Transformative destruction in Gaza City: 1967-1982

Fatina Abreek-Zubiedat, Alona Nitzan-Shiftan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This paper discusses the vision of Gaza’s Mayor Rashad al-Shawa to develop it as a port city between the years 1975-1982, during the post-1967 Israeli occupation. I show how architecture and urban planning were perceived by al-Shawa as a way to modernize the city and turn its subjects into citizens, despite the political reality. Al-Shawa’s desire to develop the city without the al-Shati Refugee Camp that lies within it, clashed with Israel’s intention of tearing down the camp and assimilating its residents in the city itself, while freezing the development of its port. These are articulated in the master plan commissioned by the mayor. I demonstrate how the master plan was formulated in the conflict-ridden city as a scientific document relying on twin modernist conceptions: one which advocates place, authenticity, vernacular culture and local history, and one which champions modern development as a tool of urban intervention and historical reinterpretation. The tension embodied in the plan indicates two different perceptions of space and time that eventually not only prevented the city’s development but also retained the refugees as a bargaining chip between Palestinian nationalism and the occupation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEntangled histories, multiple geographies
Subtitle of host publicationPapers from the international scientific thematic conference EAHN 2015 Belgrade
EditorsVladan Djokić, Ana Nikezić, Ana Raković
Place of PublicationBelgrade
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Destruction
  • Development
  • Gaza
  • Modernism
  • Palestinians
  • Refugees


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