Chapter 15 The wall and the tunnels: crossings and separation at the border between Egypt, Israel and the Gaza Strip
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Navone shows the paradigmatic violent border in the case o Palestine as indicating all elements to designate the example as “humanity in excess,” An example that could be included as a case of “humanity in excess” through Pablo Vila´s (2000, 2003) idea of borders reinforcing fractured identities between and among various ethnic communities. It is based on ethnographic materials collected during several fieldworks on the borderland between Egypt, Israel and the Gaza Strip, between 2009 and 2011. The paper is based on participant observation and on several interviews conducted around the Rafah Border Crossing, on the Egyptian side. During the random and unpredictable openings of the border crossing, thousands of people stand in queue in front of the terminal, waiting to cross the border. How does this “triangular” border work? When and where does it work? Who is allowed to cross it? Who is not? Can an adequate answer to all these questions be provided by interpreting the border as a membrane, compressed between opposing forces acting from either side - “border crossing” versus “border reinforcing”, inside versus outside? What emerges from his research is the widespread perception that the border, balanced unsteadily beneath the pressure of multiple forces, is not functioning. He focuses on the reconfiguration of the border system taken on following the Egyptian revolution. How does it function currently, andwhat are its effects on Palestinian mobility, and particularly the importance of vast smuggling efforts. The new spatialisation of the border has broadened its magnitude, further complicating its identification, the understanding of its functioning, and its crossing as well as the policies directed to population on the move.

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