E-settler colonialism: Ivana Bevilacqua, ‘E-scaping apartheid: Digital ventures of Zionist settler colonialism’, Human Geography, 2021


Abstract: The ongoing “Intifada of Unity” against Israel’s settler colonialism has resuscitated discussions about the liberatory potential of digital emancipation due to the massive data traffic circulation through its international media coverage. In fact, in a process that has intensified since the outbreak of the global pandemic at the very least, social media platforms and geospatial mapping tools have been subverted from more mundane uses, developing into new forums for organizing, imagining, and practicing more just futures. Yet, the centrality of infrastructure both as a means of digital extractivism and as a site for rupture and resistance demonstrates that the path toward new trajectories of e-scaping cannot be conceived as a virtual venture directed at designing alternative volatile geographies alone, but should always involve facing and challenging power in its everyday forms. By investigating the materiality of cyber colonialism, this paper explores the entanglement between imperial cartography and digital map-making which has reduced Palestinians and their space to a pixelated terra nullius, sanitized from the paradigmatic sites of the occupation and overwritten by a pseudo-biblical narrative that aims to legitimize the re-indigenization of the Zionist settlers. At the same time, it unpacks online processes of hyper-visibility through which Palestine suddenly materializes as a signifier for its dangerous nature, yet fragmented and enclaved by an intangible and discretional regime of im/mobility enforced through the neglect of permits and visas, as well as by the material constraints posed by apartheid roads, barriers, checkpoints, gates, and walls. Finally, it retraces the rationality of Israeli violence diluted through the technical means of built environment, infrastructure, machines and algorithms which, on one hand, contributes to the dedevelopment of Palestine and the censorship of its people, and on the other, normalizes Israel’s position in the region due to its perceived technological superiority vis-à-vis its neighboring counterparts.

%d bloggers like this: