Today Israel’s Separation Wall swallows land, separating Palestinian farmers from their fields, and Israeli settlements grow in the Occupied Territories. Meanwhile amidst the endless ink spilled on both sides of the Israel-Palestine debate it often seems as if little new can be said.
Enclosure, however, marshalls bold new and persuasive arguments about the ongoing dispossession of Palestinians. Revealing the Israel-Palestine landscape primarily as one of enclosure, geographer Gary Fields sheds fresh light on Israel’s actions. He places those actions in historical context in a broad analysis of power and landscapes across the modern world. Examining the processes of land grabs in early modern England, colonial North America, and contemporary Palestine, Enclosure shows how the same patterns of exclusion and privatization were born, nurtured and implemented across time and geography. That the same moral, legal and cartographic arguments were copied by enclosers of land in very different historical environments challenges Israel’s current rationale as being uniquely beleaguered. It also helps readers in the UK and United States understand the Israel-Palestine conflict in the context of our own, tortured histories.
Gary Fields is Associate Professor of Communications at UC San Diego. His research focuses on the complex interplay between landscape, human assertions of control over geography, and relations of power and domination.
"An immensely rigorous and original book. Although the process of peasant displacement has been examined separately before--the importance of this book lies in showing how the English enclosures can be seen as a prototype and precedent for the Amerindian and Palestinian cases through the instruments of enclosure, cartography and law." —Salim Tamari, Director of the Institute of Palestine Studies