Border Walls: Security And The War On Terror In The United States, India, And Israel 9781350218734, 9781848138230

*** Winner of the 2013 Julian Minghi Outstanding Research Award presented at the American Association of Geographers ann

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Table 1.1 Barriers initiated or substantially fortified since 2000 . . . . . . . 10

Maps 2.1 US–Mexico border . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 3.1 Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal . . . . . . . . . 61 4.1 1947 UN partition plan for Palestine and 1949 armistice boundaries (Green Line) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 4.2 The West Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 7.1 East Jerusalem/al-Quds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152 7.2 North Bethlehem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156


Before I wrote this book, I used to read acknowledgment sections and wonder how a monograph could possibly require the assistance of so many people. Now, having written one, I have more people to thank than I could have imagined. First, thanks to my wife, Sivylay, and my children, Rasmey and Kiran, for supporting me throughout this project. They left comfortable lives in Wisconsin and Hawai‘i to spend months away from home in India, Bangladesh, Palestine, and Israel. Sivylay also proofread and commented on the manuscript. Thanks to my parents, who were supportive of my work, even if they would prefer I would study something a bit less dangerous. My brother, Brent, read the whole book and provided detailed comments. Moina Lum, my research assistant in Honolulu, was excellent at compiling data, proofreading text, and fact-checking figures and quotations. I also deeply appreciate the time and patience of my field research assistants at each site, particularly Riton Quiah and Namareq Younus. In Bangladesh and India, my field research was assisted by the Lutheran Aid Mission Bangladesh (LAMB), which provided lodging and support services. Others who supported this project in Bangladesh and India are Sherola, Farooq and the Marino staff, Dr Mizanur Rahman Shelley, Dr Mark Pietroni, Dr Teresa Pietroni, Dr Christine Edwards, Dr Colin Edwards, Josh Jore, Subro Pal, and Rana. In Palestine and Israel, Sabeel International and its director Dr Naim Ateek provided logistical support. Dr Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) provided early insights into the political situation that guided my work. Emanuele Bompon, Shaul Cohen, Tristan Sturm, and Laila Al-Marayati provided helpful contacts. Zoughbi al-­Zoughbi, Usama Nicola, and the staff at Wi’am, the Pales­tinian Conflict Resolution Center, assisted with logistics in ­Beth­lehem. In El Paso, Joe Heyman kindly answered all of

my banal questions and provided me with the names of many ­important contacts in the city. To everyone else, whose names are withheld to protect their privacy, many thanks. This research project received funding from several different organizations, including the US National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0602206, the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies, the Political Geography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), the AAG-IGU travel grant, and the Department of Geography at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Thanks also to the Center for South Asia at the University of Wisconsin for several years of support for Bengali and Hindi language training through Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships. Parts of Chapters 3 and 6 were previously published as journal articles. Chapter 3 is drawn from the article ‘Geo­ political boundary narratives, the global war on terror, and border ­fencing in India,’ which was published in 2009 in the Trans­actions of the Institute of British Geographers (Jones 2009b). Chapter 6 is drawn from the article ‘Agents of exception: border security and the marginalization of Muslims in India,’ which was published in 2009 in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space ( Jones 2009c). Both are reproduced here with the permission of the publishers. Several friends and colleagues read and commented on this work. Laura Allen, Tuti Baker, Brandon Barbour, Thomas Belfield, Corey Johnson, Darrell Kicker, Borjana LuburaWinchester, Kevin MacClaren, Karl Mercer, Adam Moore, Stacy Nojima, Donovan Preza, Patricia Thielen, and Ellen Trahan all read the entire manuscript. Preeti Chopra, Gary Fields, Leila Harris, Joe Heyman, Bob Kaiser, Mara Loveman, Kris Olds, and Lisa Romano read chapters at various points in their develop­ment. Robert Perkinson and Matt Lauzon provided helpful advice on navigating a book contract. Heather Fran­cisco made the India-Bangladesh map and Julius Paulo ­designed the other five maps in the book. Thank you to Ken Barlow, Ewan Smith and the production team at Zed Books for their help in shepherding the manuscript to publication. ­Finally, thanks to all my colleagues in the Geography Department at the University of Hawai‘i for welcoming me and supporting my work.



Bangladesh Rifles Indian Bharatiya Janata Party Indian Border Security Force US Customs and Border Protection US Central Intelligence Agency US Department of Homeland Security US Department of Defense US Endangered Species Act European Union US Federal Bureau of Investigation International Boundary and Water Commission US Immigration and Customs Enforcement International Court of Justice Israeli Defense Force US Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant ­Responsibility Act NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement NEPA US National Environmental Protection Act PA Palestinian Authority PLO Palestine Liberation Organization POTA Indian Prevention of Terrorism Act of 2002 UAPA Indian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act of 2004 UN United Nations US United States USA PATRIOT Act  US Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 USD US dollars WWII World War II

Introduction: Fortress Democracy

In the first decade of the new millennium, despite predictions of the creation of an increasingly borderless world, the countries often described as the oldest democracy in the world, the largest democracy in the world, and the most stable democracy in the Middle East built a combined total of 5,700 kilometers of security barriers on their political borders. For comparison, if strung together these barriers would stretch all the way from New York to Los Angeles, with enough left over to build another barrier from Frankfurt to Istanbul. This book analyzes how these controversial border security projects were justified in the United States, in India, and in Israel; what consequences these physical barriers have on the lives of those who live in these newly securitized spaces; and how the process of locking down and closing political borders should be theorized in terms of state-making, nationalism, and sovereignty. Over twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, why are these leading democracies building massive barriers on their borders? The 3,169km border between the United States and Mexico was demarcated in the middle of the nineteenth century, but had only approximately 100km of fencing prior to 2006, all of which had been constructed since the 1990s. The US Congress passed the Secure Fence Act of 2006, with bipartisan support, which authorized a barrier along an additional 1,125km of the border with Mexico. By 2010, 1,080km were completed and consisted of a mix of roads, fences, walls, vehicle barriers, and sections of a high technology ‘smart border’ (Haddal 2010). The government of India, in addition to completing a barrier along its 2,308km border with Pakistan, at the time of writing also had plans to complete 3,437km of fencing on its 4,096km border with Bangladesh by March 2012 at a total cost of over 4 billion USD (Kabir 2005; Indian Ministry of Home Affairs 2011). Prior to 2002, the border with Bangladesh was open, relatively lightly guarded, and had less than 200km of fencing. The Israeli barrier was begun in 2002 during the Second Intifada, an uprising by Palestinians that included a series of bombings inside Israel. The barrier was built

2   |  introduction

without any agreement with the Palestinian Authority on where the border was – or should be – and over 80 percent of the barrier is constructed in the West Bank. Work on the planned 790km barrier was done rapidly and by 2007 over 500km were finished at a cost of over 1 billion USD (Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2008). Although there are context-specific differences in the American, Indian, and Israeli barriers, which are expanded on and analyzed in each individual chapter, there are also broad similarities in how the projects were justified, what they mean for the political identity, sovereignty, and territory of each state, and how they affect the lives of borderland residents. At the most general level, this book argues that these physical and symbolic changes to border security are and will remain the most durable and profound consequence of the global war on terror. Each of these projects was under consideration for many years but languished until they were linked to the very real feelings of fear and vulnerability that imbue the discourse of the global war on terror. These feelings are generated by two shifts in how ‘the enemy-other’ is described in the discourse. First, the enemy-other is represented as no longer constrained by geography – as previous nation-state enemies were – and instead can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time. Secondly, the enemy-other is described as an example of unrepentant evil that cannot be reasoned with or contained, and therefore does not deserve a place anywhere in the modern, civilized world. The asymmetrical nature of the conflict which lacked a state-based enemy in conjunction with these two shifts in the discourse contributed to the ‘Bush Doctrine’ of preemptive war to destroy evil abroad and increased security at home to prevent evil from entering the territory of the state. The global war on terror narrative alone, however, does not explain why these particular countries built barriers on these particular borders and not others. The second argument of this book is that the feelings of fear and vulnerability of a globalized terrorist network were reanimated and focused through representations of neighboring countries as ungoverned spaces with uncivilized populations. In all three cases, the territory on the other side of each of these borders was described as largely ungoverned, where modern sovereign-state practices that bring order and stability were absent or incomplete. Similarly, the people on the other side were described in dehumanizing

fortress democracy  |   3 ways that made them appear unworthy of the modern human rights that are guaranteed by each of these democracies. When paired with the fear generated by terrorist attacks, the idea that the government has little control and the neighboring people are less than modern coalesced in the strong feeling that a barrier is the only way to protect the stability of the modern state. The borders of the state came to be seen as the margins of modernity, as the last place to mark the boundary between the modern, civilized world and the perceived violence and barbarity on the outside. The third argument is that although the narratives that justify the barriers in the United States, India, and Israel focused on external factors of terrorism, violence, and instability, the underlying causes and enduring significance of each of the barriers are internal to each state. In all three cases, the barriers are more than simply a defense against external threats. The builders of these barriers also sought to define who belongs within the state by creating and reifying boundaries both on the ground and in people’s minds. In this way, the barriers are best understood as only the latest examples of sovereign states attempting to create a homogenized and orderly population inside a bounded territory. The construction of a barrier on the border simultaneously legitimizes and intensifies other internal exclusionary practices of the sovereign state. It legitimizes exclusion by providing a material manifestation of the abstract idea of sovereignty, which brings the claim of territorial difference into being. It intensifies exclusionary practices because the continued presence of ‘the other’ inside the state’s territory after the construction of the barrier suggests that even more forceful measures are necessary. Although the immediate trigger for the construction of these barriers was the fear generated by the global war on terror, their lasting significance will be in the context of the long-term expansion and consolidation of sovereign power in the state system. Finally, throughout this book a human face is put on the violence and exclusion of border security. By drawing on interviews with borderland residents, it describes the connections people once had across the unmarked boundaries and it analyzes the profound changes to everyday life that result from the rapid securitization of the border. In all three countries, the expansion of internal security practices is most evident at the border, where the state attempts to impose

4   |  introduction

sovereignty over its territory. The governments of the United States, India, and Israel describe these barriers as essential tools to protect the ideals of freedom that define the modern democratic state. This book finds, however, that the exclusion and violence necessary to secure the borders of the state often undermine the very ideals they are meant to uphold.

1  |  Borders, Barriers, and the War on Terror There is something about walls. You know with the whole Vietnam experience, when we were trying to express the whole experience, the lives lost, what did we come up with? A wall. We built this wall [on the US–Mexico border] to express something. There is no question that the wall says something in and of itself. And it depends on which side of the issue you are on as to what you think it says. For someone like myself that tends to look at migration as a phenomenon of the poor – it is so connected to the poor – that wall is almost like a denial of the humanity of the poor. I am not even going to recognize that you are a human being. This wall says that.  (R­uben Garcia, director of Annunciation House, El Paso)

Globalization and borders The physical barriers built by the United States, India, and Israel on their political borders are the largest and most expensive infrastructure projects undertaken in each country in the new millennium (Kabir 2005; Rael 2011; Weizman 2007). All three of these border security projects were under consideration for many years, but had not been completed owing to the high cost, local political resistance, and concerns about the damaging stigma associated with building barriers, particularly after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Indeed, as the Cold War ended and the discourse of globalization was ascendant, the idea of building a massive and expensive barrier on a political border seemed anachronistic. The establishment of free trade agreements such as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and the removal of internal border checkpoints in the European Union (EU) appeared to confirm progress towards a borderless world (Ohmae 1990, 1996). In the 1990s, there was unease about the cultural, economic, and political changes that might be brought by globalization, but it often focused on the possibility of conflict around the world as traditional ways of life were defended from the spread of ‘Western’ practices (Barber 1995). The process of globalization did result in international production networks as many companies moved manufacturing jobs

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out of wealthy countries into other parts of the world. At the same time, many agricultural societies restructured their economies as develop­ment was linked to the idea of free trade through the removal of trade barriers at borders (Brunet-Jailly 2011; Sparke 2006). The world’s population grew rapidly but unequally during the decade, with much of the increase concentrated in poorer countries, which often resulted in the expansion of urban slums (Davis 2004). At the same time, advances in transportation and communication technologies increased awareness of how other people lived around the world. By the end of the 1990s, the potential cultural and economic impacts of immigration into wealthier countries from other parts of the world was a significant issue (Heyman 1998). In the United States, the idea of a permanent physical barrier was proposed to slow the flow of immigrants and drugs across the vast southern border with Mexico (Andreas 2009; Nevins 2010). In India, immigration and smuggling were concerns, as was the need to define the boundaries of the still relatively new country (Jones 2009b; Krishna 1994). In Israel, there were ongoing debates about the territorial extent of the state and how to incorporate or exclude the millions of Palestinians that live in the occupied territories (Gordon 2008; Yiftachel 2006). These concerns resulted in more spending on border security in all three countries at the end of the twentieth century. Indeed, despite the rhetoric of globalization and a borderless world, the 1990s saw almost as much border fencing globally as the previous four decades of the Cold War combined (Hassner and Wittenberg 2009). In the United States, for example, the number of Border Patrol agents was doubled in the 1990s, new strategies of enforcement were tested, and a few short sections of physical barrier were built (Heyman and Ackelson 2009). Even more aggressive border security projects were proposed but languished unfunded because the political and public will was not yet there to support them. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the United States,1 multiple bombings in major cities across India, and the Second Intifada in Israel/Palestine, these projects moved to the front of the queue and were rapidly built in each country. While the causes cannot simply be reduced to terrorism, and the consequences have broader ramifications, these discourses did provide the necessary fear and affect to make border security an immediate priority. This chapter links together the seemingly disparate border security projects in the United

borders and the war on terror  |  7 States, India, and Israel by arguing that there are broad similarities in how the barriers were justified in each country, in how they affected the local lived experience of the borderlands, and in the long-term consequences they will have in each society and globally. The global war on terror This book is about the global war on terror, not terrorism itself. During the past decade, the United States, India, and Israel were attacked by terrorist organizations and the fear felt by people in each country is very real. In the United States, 2,976 people were killed in New York City, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on 11 September 2001. In India, the killing of 166 people during the siege of Mumbai in November 2008 received the most extensive international attention, but there were also major bombings in India every year from 2001 to 2008. In Israel, just in the month of March 2002, 142 people were killed in bombings. The purpose of this book is neither to deny these facts nor diminish their significance. These were all horrible acts and are to be condemned in the strongest terms. The focus here, however, is specifically on how these events were understood after the fact. Rather than investigating the causes of terrorism or revisiting the acts themselves, this book is about how the governments and the people of these countries responded to these provocations. The discourse of the global war on terror differed from previous geopolitical narratives of the Cold War in two critical ways that allowed open borders to be perceived as a security threat. The first shift is the description of the enemy-other in the global war on terror as an evil that has no place in the modern world. The idea that the enemy-other is outside the spaces of modernity is substantially different from the earlier rhetoric of the Cold War, which emphasized the containment and prevention of the spread of communism (Campbell 1992). While the Soviet Union was described by Ronald Reagan as an ‘evil empire,’ it had international legitimacy because it was another sovereign state, a member of the United Nations, and on the UN Security Council. Conflict during the Cold War predominantly occurred when the Soviet Union or the United States attempted to project power beyond their borders. In contrast, in the global war on terror, the enemy is denied legitimacy anywhere in the world (Gregory 2004; Gregory and Pred 2007; Oza 2007a).

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This shift in the rhetoric is evident in the speeches the leaders of the United States, India, and Israel gave in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Former US president George W. Bush (2002: 5) argued in a speech on 14 September 2001 that ‘Our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.’ In India, the former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (2001) made a nationally televised speech on 14 September to declare that ‘Every Indian has to be a part of this global war on terrorism. We must, and we will, stamp out this evil from our land, and from the world.’ Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon (2001a) used similar language on the evening of 11 September when he said, ‘The fight against terror is an international struggle of the free world against the forces of darkness who seek to destroy our liberty and our way of life.’ In the global war on terror, the rhetoric is no longer about containing the enemy; it anticipates eliminating the enemy from the world. The second shift is the description of this evil threat as global and no longer constrained by geography. In the Cold War, the dominant geopolitical narratives relied on the metaphors of containment and dominoes. This simplistic but evocative narrative described the countries that surrounded the Soviet Union as having the greatest risk of falling, like dominoes, to communism (Dodds 2003). In the global war on terror, the threat is no longer limited to neighboring areas. Instead, the enemy-other could strike anywhere, at any time, against anyone, as attacks in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States demonstrated. Crucially, the local context of the attack is removed and instead each instance is described as another equivalent example of global terrorism. Therefore, while evil is ‘stamped out’ elsewhere, it is essential to secure political borders to prevent the enemy-other from entering the secure space of the modern state. The concern about a globally capable and evil enemy-other abroad exposed feelings of vulnerability at home (Low 2008). As officials in the United States, India, and Israel assessed what steps could be taken to prevent future attacks, each country’s long and relatively open borders appeared to be an immense security risk (Brunet-Jailly 2006). An underlying assumption in these discussions was that at some previous point in history most borders had been closed and that the process of globalization resulted in an opening of borders

borders and the war on terror  |  9 not only to the movement of people and goods but also to these new threats. The opposite is closer to the truth. While there are examples of militarized borders in past eras – for example, the Eastern Bloc countries during the Cold War – most political borders have never been militarized. Even the simple idea of using mutually agreed-upon borders to divide separate states is a relatively recent development (Murphy 1996). The changing purpose of borders The idea of building a wall to keep someone out (or in) is not a new phenomenon. The earliest sections of the Great Wall of China were built over 2,500 years ago with the most recognizable parts constructed over 500 years ago. Hadrian’s Wall in northern England was begun by the Roman Empire in ad 122 to define its northern boundary and prevent the movement of raiders. Most medieval cities had walls and fortifications to protect their people and resources in the event of an attack. All of these walls are early examples of political territoriality, which Sack (1986: 19, emphasis in original) defines as ‘the attempt by an individual or group to affect influence or control people, phenomena and relationships by delimiting and asserting control over a geographical area.’ However, prior to the modern era, there was not a systematic use of bounded territories to signify political claims (Murphy 1996). Instead, through most of human history there were small centers of power, such as the walled cities of the medieval era in Europe, which had absolute control only over nearby lands. Between these centers of power were loosely or un-administered spaces with overlapping and often contentious claims made by multiple kingdoms, city-states, or empires (Scott 2009). Over the past 300 years, as technological advances in communication and transportation allowed the expansion of state administration, the precise role played by boundaries changed from defensive military lines, to markers of sovereignty, to sites for preventing the movement of undesired people (Rosière and Jones 2012). The oldest purpose of political borders was to mark military defensive lines beyond which one ruler would not allow the army of an opposing ruler to go. A few of these boundaries still remain in the contemporary world – for example, the demilitarized zone on the Korean peninsula or the line of control that separates Indian and Pakistan forces in Kashmir. These types of borders are anomalies where competing territorial claims are

10   |  one Table 1.1  Barriers initiated or substantially fortified since 2000 (n = 25) Year started

Initiating country

On border with

2000 Israel Lebanon 2001 Uzbekistan Afghanistan 2001 Turkmenistan Uzbekistan 2002 India Bangladesh 2002 Israel West Bank 2003 China North Korea 2003 Botswana Zimbabwe 2003 India Pakistan 2003 Saudi Arabia Yemen 2004 India Burma 2004 Thailand Malaysia 2004 Kuwait Iraq 2005 Brunei Malaysia 2005 United Arab Emirates Oman 2006 United States Mexico 2006 Kazakhstan Uzbekistan 2006 Saudi Arabia Iraq 2007 Pakistan Afghanistan 2007 Iran Pakistan 2009 Uzbekistan Kyrgyzstan 2009 Burma Bangladesh 2010 Israel Egypt 2010 Iraq Syria 2011 Greece Turkey 2011 Azerbaijan Armenia

not settled and militaries maintain control of the zone that separates the two states. Most contemporary borders, however, are no longer defensive lines. Rather they are mutually agreed-upon boundaries that separate different sovereignty regimes where one administrative and legal system ends and another begins (Brunet-Jailly 2011; Elden 2009; Murphy 1996). The creation of the United Nations after WWII formalized this system in which each UN member recognizes the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other members. Security barriers on political borders were largely unnecessary because the risk of invasion by a neighboring state subsided and was replaced by the performance of sovereignty in the form of a global visa and passport regime (Salter

borders and the war on terror  |  11 2006; Torpey 2000). The border between Mexico and the United States, for example, does not mark a defensive line where each country is concerned about the invasion of the opposing military; instead, it marks the territorialized edge of different systems of law, economy, and politics (Craib 2004). Over the twentieth century, the practice of absolute sovereignty over a bounded territory produced substantial wealth inequalities globally, which increased the desire of many people to move either to avoid deteriorating conditions in their home state or to seek better economic opportunities elsewhere (Agnew 2009; Baldwin et al. 2001). These movements, along with the possibility of hostile people or items passing into the state, resulted in a new purpose for borders as a location to prevent the unauthorized movement of people. The border barriers in the United States, India, and Israel – as well as the twenty-two other barriers begun since 2000 – must be understood in the context of this consolidation of authority over bounded territories and the subsequent divergence of wealth globally (see Table 1.1). The average annual per capita GDP (in 2010 USD) of the countries that have built barriers since the fall of the Berlin Wall is $14,067; the average for the countries on the other side of these barriers is $2,801. Consequently, the feelings of uncertainty from the global war on terror played a crucial role in justifying the construction of these barriers, but the underlying purposes and consequences cannot be understood through the narrow window of terrorism and security alone. Although the stigma associated with building barriers on borders disappeared, barriers are still controversial, and even the terminology to describe these barriers is contentious. In Israel, the barrier is called the ‘security fence’ or the ‘anti-terror fence.’ In Palestine it is referred to as ‘the wall’ or the ‘Apartheid wall.’ The barrier itself also changes forms. In urban areas, near Jerusalem/al-Quds or in Qalqilya, it is a big concrete wall. However, the majority of the barrier is indeed a fence, but a very elaborate and expensive one. It has rolls of barbed wire, an accompanying road, as well as high-tech motion-detection systems. In English, fence and wall have distinct connotations. Fence sounds more temporary and permeable, evoking a picket fence or chain-link fence around a suburban yard. Wall, on the other hand, has the connotation of being much more permanent and solid with the strong sense that it blocks movement as well as vision. Neither accurately describes the entirety of the West Bank security project.

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Similarly, the US project is primarily a ‘fence’ but much more elaborate than the term normally implies. The Indian project is probably accurately described as a fence, but it also includes roads, barbed wire, and floodlights along its length. For clarity, throughout this book the more general term ‘barrier’ will be used to describe the new border security structures, except when quoting directly from interviews or other documents. Ungoverned space and uncivilized people Although the decisions to build barriers on these specific borders relied on different justifications in the United States, India, and Israel, they were based on similar representations of the territory on the other side as ungoverned and the people as uncivilized. The feelings of vulnerability generated by the actions of a very small number of terrorists were reanimated and mapped onto narratives about modernity and civilization. These civilizational narratives subsumed other considerations and made the barrier on the border – which previously had seemed incongruous with democratic ideals of openness and freedom – now seem essential to protect those same ideals from external threats. The negative stigma associated with barriers after the Berlin Wall disappeared and the security projects were rapidly completed. In all three cases, the territory on the other side of these borders was described as an ungoverned space, where modern sovereign-state practices that bring order and stability were absent or incomplete. Narratives of civilization and wilderness are not a novel aspect of the discourse of the global war on terror but, rather, are emblematic of the expansion of the sovereign-state system around the world throughout the modern era (McClintock 1995; Said 1979). European colonialism was imbued with the idea of bringing civilization and modernity to the ‘savages’ that lived in the wilderness, although the underlying motive was capturing territory for resources and labor. European explorers treated most lands they encountered as terra nullius, or land belonging to no one, because they did not find what they considered to be modern forms of governance (Carter 1989). In the process of colonizing these lands, they also instituted new forms of territorial administration based on maps, surveys, and censuses of the people, which eventually formed the basis for the decolonized states that emerged after WWII (Edney 1997; Winichakul 1994). In the twenty-first century, almost the entire globe is administered

borders and the war on terror  |  13 space and is assigned to a single government that represents the territory at the UN. Consequently, the contemporary narratives about ungoverned space do not claim that these neighboring areas are wilderness exactly, but rather that there is not a properly functioning sovereign state there. The implication is that although the territory was assigned to a state, the process of actually taking control of the territory is incomplete (Fields 2010, 2011). Mitchell (2010) connects the contemporary geopolitical narratives about ungoverned space to the ‘broken windows’ theory of urban policing. The theory suggests that if broken windows, or other forms of vandalism, are allowed to persist in a neighborhood, other potential vandals could perceive it as a signal that vandalism is accepted and that rules can be ignored. In order to counteract this problem, proponents advocate increased policing, more surveillance, and swift punishments for minor infractions to ensure that people respect authority and behave in an orderly manner. Moreover, Mitchell (ibid.) argues that the same idea is used to promote order in the global state system. Governments that do not maintain control in their territories are seen as a risk to the entire system and therefore require additional surveillance and policing to restore a basic level of governance. Similarly, rogue regimes that flout international obligations by not respecting the basic human rights of their citizens or by harboring anti-state actors such as terrorists are seen as a ‘broken window’ that needs to be repaired. The US National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism mentions these potentially ungoverned spaces specifically, stating that ‘terrorists benefit from physical safe haven when states grant them access to territory, or when they gain access to ungoverned, ill-governed, or under-governed space within states that lack effective control over their own territory’ (US Joint Chiefs of Staff 2006: 15). This view of the state system does not see sovereignty as the absolute right of every state, but rather contingent upon upholding these basic tenets of order and stability (Elden 2009). It is a vision of the modern state as a utopia that must fend off the dystopia that lurks at its borders. The persistence of the idea of terra nullius in modern political debates is most evident in Israel and Palestine. The logic of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank is predicated on the argument that there is not another state structure in that territory and that they are historically Jewish lands. When Israel builds in East Jerusalem, across

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the Green Line (the 1949 armistice line), Palestinian officials say it is in their territory and an egregious violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which establishes rules for the treatment of civilians during times of war and which prohibits settling people in occupied territory. The Israeli government argues that the Green Line is not an international border and the West Bank was never a self-governing state. Further, they point out that the local populations were the ones that refused to recognize it as a border in 1949. In the official Israeli view, the West Bank is not a sovereign territory and there is not another state that is a party to the conflict, which renders the Fourth Geneva Convention irrelevant. Furthermore, statements by the Israeli government argue that the West Bank barrier is an example of the older purpose of borders as a defensive line that exists only to prevent the incursions of a threatening enemy on the other side (Israeli Ministry of Defense 2007). The Palestinian Authority is des­ cribed as unable or unwilling to control its population, which means there is not a partner for peace and there is not an administration in the West Bank capable of upholding the obligations of a modern sovereign state. These statements argue that the barrier is temporary, only for security, and not meant to be a modern political border that divides different areas of sovereignty and administration. However, in practice, barriers often institutionalize distinctions through different sets of laws, economies, and politics, which, this book argues, is one of the primary goals of the Israeli barrier. In the United States, Mexico is represented as a wild territory where the state is no match for drug cartels. Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, across from El Paso, Texas, is the quintessential example of this lawlessness. In US government statements and media reports, the Mexican government is described as either too weak or too corrupt to maintain control over its territory. In either case, it demonstrates that Mexico generally, and the borderlands specifically, are ungoverned spaces that lack a modern sovereign state. The border space is treated as untamed land that needs to be conquered, controlled, and brought within the sovereignty regime of the state (Brunet-Jailly 2005, 2006). The only short-term solution is to declare a state of emergency, to deploy the National Guard at the border, to increase the number of Border Patrol agents, and to build a barrier to prevent these uncivilized and violent practices from spilling over into the territory of the United States.

borders and the war on terror  |  15 In India, Bangladesh is described as a state that cannot control its borders and cannot prevent radical extremists from operating within its territory. The government of India accuses Bangladesh of harboring separatist leaders and allowing the flow of weapons across the border because the Bangladesh government is too weak or too corrupt to bring order to its territory. Additionally, the disorder in Bangladesh is blamed for pushing millions of immigrants across the border into India to look for work. This concern is compounded by the physical geography of Bangladesh as a low-lying deltaic plain that could potentially be devastated by any sea-level rise that accompanies climate change (Karim and Mimura 2008). Consequently, India has to gain firm control over the borderlands to prevent that threat from spreading into India by building a barrier and by increasing patrols on the formerly open and sparsely guarded border. Just as the territories of the neighboring states are represented as ungoverned spaces, the people on the other side of the border are described in ways that dehumanize them and make them ­ appear unworthy of modern human rights. These ‘othering narratives’ began with representations of terrorists as evil, violent, and irrational people driven primarily by a hate for the modern freedoms of civilization. However, these same representations of good and evil, civilized and barbaric, were mapped onto the entire populations of the neighboring countries. In the process, the violent and deplorable behavior of a few people is perceived to be condoned or at least tolerated by all of the people. These othering narratives emphasize the negative characteristics of the people on the outside, which reinforces the feelings of the superiority of the members of the group (Paasi 1996, 1998). As the other across the border is dehumanized, basic human rights are connected to citizenship in the state, rather than understood as a universal concept. In the public discourse in each country, the people without the marker of democratic citizenship are denigrated and maligned as not respecting laws, as wanting to destroy the civilized order, and therefore not worthy of equal protection under its laws. These representations coalesce around the view that any measures necessary should be taken to prevent the evil-other from entering the territory of the state regardless of the consequences it might have for individuals, particularly if they are not citizens of the state. While the United States, India, and Israel fortified borders based

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on representations of a threatening other on the outside, the European Union, at first glance, appears to be a counter-example. Indeed, over the same decade, the EU added twelve new members across eastern Europe, a single currency was adopted by several EU members, and internal barriers to movement were removed in many parts of the EU. There are two problems with this counter-argument. First, the expansion of the EU did not result in the removal of borders completely, but rather it shifted them to the edges of the new member states (van Houtum 2010). At these sites, there was a similar hardening of the border as these national borders became the edges of the EU (Kaiser and Nikiforova 2006). Secondly, many EU member states continue to grapple with the presence of an ‘internal other’ that is perceived to not be part of the dominant group (Johnson 2008; Johnson and Coleman 2012). These fears of internal others were exacerbated by the perception that residents of the new eastern European countries would move to the original EU states or that lax border controls could allow immigrants from Africa and Asia easier access. This sentiment is evident in the rise of right-wing political parties in western Europe and in the EU response to refugee flows during the Arab Spring revolts in 2011 (Bialasiewicz 2011; Williams 2006). Indeed, Saskia Sassen (2006) characterizes the militarization of the Mediterranean as the ‘Berlin Wall on water.’ Furthermore, Denmark reestablished its border checkpoints in 2011 and several other EU members are considering taking the same step (Steininger 2011). Consequently, beyond the veneer of integration, the EU exhibits many of the same exclusionary border-making practices as the United States, India, and Israel. In sum, the fear that justified the barriers on each of these borders was not just about a deterritorialized terrorist threat, but specifically about the ungoverned space across the border where dangerous people are perceived to live and have the potential to threaten the stability of the modern sovereign state. By describing the territory as governed by a less-than-modern state and the people as less-than-human, it becomes much easier to imagine building an exclusionary barrier to protect ‘us’ from ‘them’. Defining state subjects and territory Although the narratives that justified the barriers in the United States, India, and Israel placed the blame squarely on external con-

borders and the war on terror  |  17 cerns of globalized terrorist networks and neighboring ungoverned spaces, the underlying cause and enduring significance of the barriers are internal to each state. All sovereign states attempt to be ‘nation-states’ by representing their people as a single group that has a strong bond to the land. Despite nationalist histories that describe a long connection between a people and a territory, all modern states are relatively recent creations (Scott 2009). As these states emerged over the modern era, they gained control over larger territories and justified those claims of sovereign authority by marking their territory with boundaries on maps and by describing the newly incorporated population as a single nation (Anderson 1991; Brubaker 1996; Wini­ chakul 1994). Since the first modern sovereign states came into existence in Europe in the middle of the seventeenth century, these entities have consistently increased their authority over particular territories and peoples (Mann 1988; Neocleous 2008). The modern state system passed a significant milestone with the Treaties of Westphalia in 1648, which began to institutionalize the practice of mutual recognition of bounded sovereign territories. This idea spread around the world through European colonialism as local political systems were replaced with territorially defined colonies. This transition occurred by mutually recognizing borders with other states, standardizing languages and measurements, establishing a centralized government bureaucracy, creating a cycle of military expenditures and tax increases, developing detailed maps of their territory, and conducting censuses to identify the people in their territory (Agnew and Corbridge 1995; Murphy 1996, 2005). This slow creep of the government into everyday life means that the rural peasant of the seventeenth century, who was largely unknown to the state and received few benefits, is now a modern citizen who is documented as soon as they are born, educated in the state’s schools, provided for through social services, and protected by its police, judges, and military (Foucault 1977, 2003; Scott 2009). James C. Scott (1998, 2009) describes this transition from a mobile and uncategorized people to a settled and counted population as the process of making it ‘legible.’ The state’s power comes from the ability to define and legitimize a particular set of economic, cultural, and political practices in a territory. Unknown populations, whether mobile or simply uncounted, disrupt the order of the state because they are difficult to locate, control, and tax. John Torpey (2000)

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uses the metaphor of the state ‘embracing’ the population to understand mechanisms like issuing passports which regulate legitimate movement and bring the population within the domain of the state. Similarly, Michel Foucault (2003) argues that ‘one governs things’ so it is important to locate and name the things like territory and subjects that are to be governed. Foucault (ibid.: 244) calls this process ‘governmentality’: 1) The ensemble formed by institutions, procedures, analyses, and reflections, the calculations and tactics that allow the exercise of this very specific albeit complex form of power, which has its target population, as its principal form of knowledge political economy, and as its essential technical apparatuses of security. 2) The tend­ ency that, over a long period and throughout the West, has steadily led toward the preeminence over all other forms (sovereignty, discipline, and so on) of this type of power – which may be termed ‘government’ – resulting, on the one hand, in the formation of a whole series of specific government apparatuses, and, on the other, in the development of a whole complex of knowledges [savoirs]. 3) The process or, rather, the result of the process through which the state of justice of the Middle Ages transformed into the adminis­trative state during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and gradually becomes ‘governmentalized.’

The formalization of the boundaries in the United States, India, and Israel is part of this larger process of governmentalizing a territory, of embracing the population, and making both legible. Because there is not a preexisting essence to any identity or territorial category – they are all socially constructed perspectives on the world – defining state subjects and territories is an iterative process as these categories are imagined, defined, and contested. Over time new people are folded into the state imaginary, while others are excluded from it. It is a process that never reaches an end and which must be reproduced, reiterated, and reified to remain effective. Although the expansion of the state creates the impression of a singular powerful entity, in reality the state consists of a multitude of individuals that make decisions that promulgate the idea of the state and sovereignty every day (Agnew 2009). The histories and demographics of the United States, India, and Israel have some distinct parallels that make this process of defining

borders and the war on terror  |  19 state territory and subjects particularly important – and difficult – to implement. First, all three countries were created in territories that were previously British colonies, albeit ones with different degrees of British colonial influence and duration.2 The British techniques of colonization created a sharp break with previous administrative systems and implemented a new British-style government based on territorial sovereignty and private property. The complete replacement of the governance structures in all three places dramatically curtailed the possibilities at the time of decolonization. The idea that the emergent sovereign state represented a preexisting nation of people simply did not make sense. In the United States and Israel, there was a wholesale reimagining of who belonged there as people from distant places resettled the land. In India, rather than reinstating an indigenous government, the 1947 partition created territorial arrangements that had never existed before. During their creation, all three countries were shaped by massive migrations of people to new places where they lacked a connection to the land. The original thirteen colonies that became the United States were populated predominantly by European immigrants and slaves from Africa who displaced Native American populations. The vast majority of the current US population is not native, but rather their ancestors moved there at some point.3 Furthermore, the United States grew substantially after its creation as it claimed Native Americapopulated areas in the west and conquered and annexed the territory of at least two internationally recognized sovereign states: Mexican territory during the Mexican–American War of the 1840s and the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, which was overthrown with the support of US marines in 1893, then annexed in 1898. The original land area ceded to the American colonies by the British was 2.15 million sq km; today the United States territory is 9.8 million sq km, or almost five times as large. Prior to the Zionist movement, less than 5 percent of the population in Palestine was Jewish (McCarthy 1990). In 1947, when the UN proposed a partition of British Mandate Palestine that gave the new state of Israel 56 percent of the land, the Jewish population had grown to about one third of the total population. After the 1948 war, Israel claimed 78 percent of the land and then occupied the rest in 1967. Hundreds of thousands of non-Jewish people were expelled or fled, and over a million Jewish people moved to Israel from around

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the world, completely reshaping the identity of the land (Falah 1996; Morris 2004). India was also created through a British-mandated partition that produced massive population movements (Tan and Kudaisya 2000). As the Indian independence movement pressured the British to leave India, there were many different proposals about what type of independent state or states they should leave behind. In the end, they decided to partition it based on religion, creating separate homelands for Hindus and Muslims in India and Pakistan.4 Never before were there religiously defined states in South Asia and, despite the violence in the years leading up to the partition, there was a history of relatively peaceful relations between the communities (Pandey 1991). Furthermore, in many places, even using the separate categories of ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ did not match the syncretistic and blurred realities on the ground (Jones 2006, 2007). After the partition, however, minority populations in both new countries were targeted for attacks and encouraged to leave (Chatterji 2007). An estimated 500,000 to 1 million people died and 14 million people became refugees and fled to the country where their religious group made up the majority.5 These millions of people had to make a new home in a new land, and the maps of the new countries had to be reimagined as homelands. More generally, beyond an attachment to a civic state, all three countries have diverse populations without a singular identity that links them together. The immigrant history of the United States results in a population that is composed of a wide range of people from all around the world. This diversity is one of the strengths of the United States, but also makes defining the character of the nation more difficult. In Israel, in addition to the large Palestinian population, the Jewish population is diverse and is composed of people from western Europe, eastern Europe, Russia, the United States, and the Middle East. It is further divided between secular and orthodox populations. Although these communities share a Jewish heritage, the fact that their ancestors lived in dramatically different places for thousands of years resulted in substantial differences in views and traditions. In India, the diversity of the population has less to do with the flood of refugees after the 1947 partition and more to do with the enormous variety of languages and cultural practices that are represented in its population of over one billion people. Twenty-nine languages are spoken by at least one million people

borders and the war on terror  |  21 and 122 different languages are spoken by at least ten thousand people (Census of India 2001). In all three countries, a discourse of exceptionalism developed to overcome the undeniable diversity and lack of an ethnic justification for being a nation-state. In the United States, the notion that America stands above other states is a pillar of the political discourse, and has been for two centuries. As former speaker of the US House of Representatives and 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich put it, ‘American exceptionalism refers directly to the grant of rights asserted in the Declaration of Independence,’ and ‘which relates directly to our unique assertion of an unprecedented set of rights granted by God.’ A 2010 public opinion poll indicated that 58 percent of Americans agree with the statement ‘God has granted America a special role in human history’ (Tumulty 2010). In India, the Hindu right pursues a chauvinistic version of history that positions Hinduism as a pure religion superior to all others (Oza 2007b). The idea of Hindu exceptionalism played an important role in Indian politics with the rise of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (Nanda 2009). In Israel, the notion that the population is the chosen people of God imbues many decisions. As Alam (2009: 4–5) argues, Zionist leaders: constantly remind the Jews that they are an ancient people, divinely favored, uniquely talented, racially superior, and undefeatable, who deserve more than any other people to make history as a great nation. The Zionists would have to construct an ideology of Jewish Exceptionalism. … These exceptionalist claims now form an integral part of the self-image of most Israelis and Jews.

These histories and demographics result in anxiety in all three countries about precisely who is a member of the nation and about precisely where the territory of the state is located (Krishna 1994). The boundary-making practices of the state continue to institutionalize the state’s sovereign authority to make decisions within that territory and to administer the lives of those particular people. They also exclude other people from participating in the modern democratic practices of the state. The view of the population as exceptional stands in for other ethnic markers of identity and comes to be seen as the quality that sets each country apart. Furthermore, as part of the iterative discourse, the exceptional qualities are held up as both the strength of the state and the cause of antipathy towards it. Because they are

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exceptional, they are a target for attacks (Bush 2001a). Consequently, any measures necessary to protect that special quality, even exceptional measures that contradict the human rights protections of their constitutions, are justified. Borders and exceptional enforcement practices The new barriers in the United States, India, and Israel are each part of a set of aggressive enforcement practices at the border that attempt to create the order of a civilized society by sorting out who belongs in the state’s territory. However, the disorder of the borderlands, just beyond which the unknown people of another sovereign state live, often requires enforcement techniques that are beyond the normal laws of the state. In order to understand the role these exception practices play in the modern sovereign-state system many scholars turned to the writings of Giorgio Agamben (Agamben 1998, 2005; Edkins and Pin-Fat 2004; Ek 2006; Gregory 2004, 2006, 2007; Long 2006; Minca 2005, 2006, 2007; Neocleous 2008; Pratt 2005; Salter 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008). Agamben analyzes ancient Roman law in order to introduce the concepts of the Homo sacer and the state of exception, which he argues are the foundations of both democratic and authoritarian governments in the contemporary era. Agamben draws on Benjamin (1968) and Schmitt (1985, 1996) to argue that the power of sovereignty comes not just from the ability to make and enforce laws in a defined territory, but specifically from the ability to decide when those laws can be suspended. The legal systems of all sovereign states include a provision of some kind that allows a declaration of a state of emergency when there is an imminent threat to the continued existence of the state (Hussain 2003; Neocleous 2008). In a state of emergency, the laws of the state remain in place, and most people are still required to follow them; however, the sovereign itself is able to operate aggressively both inside and outside the legal system simultaneously in order to impose order and authority (Calarco and DeCaroli 2007). States of emergency were originally intended for military threats posed by invading armies, but were frequently used in other situations, such as during periods of labor unrest, economic crisis, or environmental disaster. Mark Neocleous (2008) argues that the declaration of an emergency is not a rare event, but rather a normal part of the practice of sovereignty in the modern era. The discourse of the global war on

borders and the war on terror  |  23 terror created the necessary environment where uncertainty justifies indefinitely extending these emergency powers, which reordered the status quo (Bigo and Tsoukala 2008; Davis 2001; Klein 2007; Ó Tuathail 2003). This expansion of sovereign power has led some theorists to suggest that the state of exception is a global environment in which everyone could potentially be taken outside the normal laws of the state at any moment (Edkins and Pin-Fat 2004). It is evident that many sovereign states expanded their ability to conduct surveillance and security operations within their territory while simultaneously decreasing oversight by the public and the courts (Bigo and Tsoukala 2008; Gregory and Pred 2007; Singh 2006). However, the claim of an all-encompassing state of exception is not helpful for theorizing sovereign power because it creates an impasse (Connolly 2004). An all-encompassing sovereign power is potentially everywhere; but also at any given moment nowhere. Beyond the unique space of the camp – Agamben’s work describes Nazi camps during WWII and other scholars applied his theory to the US camp at Guantánamo Bay, where people are held indefinitely without charges and with limited or no access to lawyers or courts – the places where sovereign power actually operates are indistinct and unpredictable. Without being able to locate where sovereign power is, who is carrying it out, and what actions are triggering the decision on violence, it is impossible to properly analyze its practice. The state is not a monolithic entity that operates uniformly everywhere. Instead, particular individuals in particular places make the decisions on imposing sovereign authority every day (Butler 2004; Jones 2012). Furthermore, the claim that we are all already living in an all-encompassing state of exception seems to overlook the reality that there is not a single sovereign in the world. Rather the territory of the world is partitioned between many sovereign authorities who employ differential tactics to manage particular populations. Therefore, political borders are key sites to locate these exceptional practices of sovereign power and to analyze how, why, and by whom they are deployed. All three countries have promulgated special rules for the conduct of the global war on terror generally and in border areas specifically. In the United States, President Bill Clinton first declared a state of emergency to combat terrorism in 1995, which was renewed and expanded every subsequent year

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by President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama (Bush 2007a, 2007b; Obama 2010a). Additionally, several US border states declared states of emergency in 2005 owing to violence in Mexico (Blumenthal 2005). The US Secretary of Homeland Security has the authority to waive any law in order to facilitate the construction of the US barrier and the US Border Patrol has broad authority to stop and search individuals and vehicles within 100 miles (160km) of the border or coastline (Haddal et al. 2009). In India, the 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act gave the government expansive authority to investigate suspected terrorists within and beyond Indian territory. The law was rescinded in 2004, but many of the provisions were transferred into the permanent legal code (Singh 2006). The Indian Border Security Force also has special guidelines that give it wide latitude to operate in border areas to protect the national security of India (Indian Border Security Force 2004). In Israel, emergency laws have been in place since it became a state, in the West Bank there are many overlapping legal regimes owing to the territory’s stillundefined status, and all of the land between the barrier and the Green Line is a ‘seam zone’ under special military jurisdiction (Braverman 2009). The combination of new emergency powers from the war on terror and special rules for border areas creates an ambiguous, and dangerous, space near political borders. Unsurprisingly, in all three countries the violence and dehumanization of borderland residents increased with the construction of the barrier as simply being in the exceptional space of the borderlands made the residents appear to be a potential danger to the state. Conclusion Territorial and identity categories are not preexisting ‘things’ in the world, but rather are a set of ideas and practices that were institutionalized through various technologies of communication and governance over the past several hundred years (Anderson 1991; Brubaker 1996, 2002). While all nations are equally invented, they nevertheless are very real – but only to the extent that people believe that they are. Maps depict the borders of states as facts and establish these lines in our consciousness as natural parts of the landscape. From childhood, people are taught that they belong to one of these groups and they adhere to the behaviors and practices expected of that particular identity. As the boundaries between these categories

borders and the war on terror  |  25 are hardened, the other on the outside becomes more different and potentially threatening. The barrier on the border contributes to both the narrative of security and to the narrative of the nation by further inscribing the edges of these categories into the earth and our imaginations. While the emergence of the security state blurs internal–external distinctions by simultaneously pursuing state objectives abroad while monitoring and patrolling for threats within the state, it also requires a clear definition of the inside and outside of state space. Political borders are crucially important symbolic spaces because the narratives that legitimize sovereign power are predicated on claiming tight linkages between the territory, the people, and the state. In the United States, India, and Israel the construction of the barriers was accompanied by a sharpening of discursive distinctions between the people and places on the inside and the evil, dehumanized, and disorderly others who are kept out. They materially and symbolically mark the margins of the exceptional, civilized world and protect it from the perceived anomie on the outside. The next three chapters describe how the construction of the barriers was justified in the United States, India, and Israel. Chapters Five, Six, and Seven analyze the consequences the barriers have on the lives of people in the borderlands and on the political discourse in each country. Chapter Eight argues for the enduring significance of borders and barriers as performative sites where political claims are substantiated and contested.

2  |  Securing the ‘Homeland’ in the United States

Introduction In 2007 the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency began publishing a biannual glossy magazine entitled Frontline, which touts the accomplishments of the agency in glowing profiles and full-color action photos. The cover of the summer 2009 issue features a close-up shot of a CBP special response team agent directly facing the camera dressed in black body armor, helmet, and wraparound sunglasses. The intimidating agent has his machine gun pointed down, but his finger is on the trigger, ready to engage at any moment. The headline, in slightly faded bold letters, reads ‘No Softening of CBP’s Anti-Terrorism Focus.’ The accompanying article explains: Until that day it was business as usual. At the nation’s ports of entry, inspectors met travelers and shipments. Along our borders, agents intercepted illegal crossers, many drawn by the lure of a better salary. As they had for decades these agency officials identified the enemy as drug and human traffickers, import-duty violators, and pest-laden produce. And then there was September 11. While terrorism prevention was part of border enforcement before the fall of 2001, it was not a national imperative. All of that changed with the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security after the attacks. Its charge: Manage all aspects of the terrorist threat, from prevention to recovery. With the creation of DHS came a shift in the perception of border enforcement. Suddenly, the border was the center of domestic anti-terrorism efforts. (US Department of Homeland Security 2009a)

This shift resulted in a profound rethinking of borders in the United States, particularly the US–Mexico border. Although the US–Mexico border was the focus of several aggressive operations in the 1990s that sought to control the flow of drugs and immigrants across the border, in practice these enforcement efforts simply shifted the trafficking to more remote locations far from the gaze of urban populations. There were more expansive security ideas on the table, including doubling

securing the 'homeland' in the Us  |  27 the number of Border Patrol agents, building a barrier along the entire border, or implementing a virtual border through high-technology sensing devices; however, these ideas had not gained widespread popular support owing to their cost. Furthermore, a mutually beneficial relationship had developed between undocumented workers from Mexico and agricultural, construction, and manufacturing industries in the United States, which also lessened the desire in some quarters for a completely secure border. As the Frontline article suggests, after 9/11 much of this changed. The new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created in 2003 to coordinate all efforts to protect the United States from disasters and attacks. In its 2009 annual review, the DHS developed a list of five goals for the organization and seventeen objectives to meet those goals. Rather than a secondary concern, border security is the primary focus of the agency. The Department of Homeland Security’s (2009b: 4) first goal is the incredibly broad and ambitious ‘Protect our nation from dangerous people’ and the first objective to meet this goal is to ‘achieve effective control of our borders’ by ‘reducing the risk of potential terrorists, instruments of terrorism or other unlawful activities from entering the United States through our borders.’ In order to meet this objective, the old proposals designed to slow immigration and smuggling were repackaged as crucial measures that could prevent a future terrorist attack. Following 9/11, states of emergency were declared, the National Guard was deployed to the border, the number of agents on the border was doubled, smart border technology was installed, and a new border barrier was built along approximately 1,075km (670 miles) of the border (Haddal et al. 2009). This chapter analyzes the representations of the border, and the threatening ‘other’ on the other side, that justified the rapid expansion of border security on the US–Mexico border. History of the US–Mexico border There is a tendency to assume that at some previous point in history all borders were secure. The contemporary porous border, then, can be attributed to increasing crime, recent technological advances that aid smugglers, or a weakening of the desire of officials to enforce order (Andreas 2009). The idea of a past golden age of security is not true for the US–Mexico border, or most other borders for that matter. States claim absolute authority over their territory, states draw

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maps that illustrate divisions between their authority and another state’s sovereignty, and states try to obscure anything that contradicts this representation. Nevertheless, even the oldest territorial states are only a few hundred years old, and most are only a few decades old. Therefore their borders are also new; borders are socially imagined distinctions that were not inscribed onto the land until the very recent past. The US–Mexico border is no different. The US–Mexico border was demarcated in the middle of the nineteenth century as formerly peripheral western areas of North America were settled by colonists and contested (Werne 2007). Prior to the arrival of the Mexican and American states, Native Americans were living in these areas. However, these societies did not exhibit the territorial state structures of sovereignty, and their lands were consequently treated as terra nullius by European powers and later by the newly independent US and Mexican states. In the early nineteenth century, the United States was primarily based on the eastern Atlantic coast, but was rapidly expanding westward. Mexico’s power was primarily around Mexico City. At the time, based on Spanish exploration in the previous century, Mexico had nominal authority over most of the land that constitutes the contemporary US states of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. As Anglo immigrants moved into these territories and Texas declared its independence from Mexico, the authority over these lands was disputed and resulted in the Mexican–American War. The United States, after provoking the war by invading Mexican territory, was victorious, and the majority of the current border was set in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 (ibid.). The final changes were made in the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, which moved the border farther south to allow a southern railway line to California. These two annexations transferred about half of the territory of Mexico to the United States, albeit territory that was largely unadministered. It left approximately one hundred thousand former Mexican citizens and two hundred thousand Native Americans in the new US territories. After these treaties, the border existed on maps, but not necessarily on the ground. Nevins (2010: 27) describes the enclosure and reimagining of the territory as American that occurred in the second half of the nineteenth century: Southern Texas was the site of the bloodiest fights as US officials

securing the 'homeland' in the Us  |  29 and Anglo settlers clashed with the area’s Mexican inhabitants who were resisting the destruction of their livelihoods brought about by the large-scale influx of Anglo settlers and the encroaching American political-economic order, the establishment of which involved not only seemingly pacific commercial transactions but also the enclosure of previously open lands, the reduction of many Tejanos to landless workers, swindles, intimidation, outright theft, legal chicanery, and judicial misbehavior.

By the beginning of the twentieth century, the initial reordering process was largely complete and the risk of a Mexican invasion was waning. Globally, territorial boundaries were formalized and the system of mutually recognized sovereignty was taking hold. However, the management of the US–Mexican border was only beginning as crossing points were established and railroads connecting the two countries were built. The long sections of the border between these crossing points, which passed through predominantly arid and sparsely populated terrain, were open, unmarked, and unguarded. The US–Mexican border has a long history of smuggling and cross-border population movements (Andreas 2009). During the US Civil War (1861–65), the Confederacy smuggled cotton to Europe through Mexico. A substantial smuggling infrastructure was established during the prohibition period (1920–33) in the United States and, after alcohol was legalized, simply shifted to different products. Drug smuggling accelerated across the border in the 1980s as cocaine shipments through the Caribbean were interdicted by the US Coast Guard and US Drug Enforcement Administration (ibid.). Although media reports often represent smuggling as a one-way flow into the United States, there are many items going in both directions. Mexico had a protectionist economy with high tariffs through much of the first half of the twentieth century and many luxury goods were  smuggled into Mexico from the United States. The majority of the smuggling  into Mexico in the twenty-first century consists of weapons and cash profits from drug sales. One in eight gun dealers in the United States is located along the border (Rice 2011). People also regularly moved across the border. Prior to the creation of the US Border Patrol in 1924, there was relatively free movement in both directions. Even after its creation, the vast and rugged conditions along the border meant that the poorly funded new agency

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could effectively patrol only a fraction of the border, often near border crossing points. During WWII, with many American men at war, there was an immediate need for farm workers in the United States and the Bracero program (1942–64) established a system for Mexican guest workers to come legally for work. Although the offi­ cial system was ended in the 1960s, and immigration quotas from Mexico were reduced, the employment networks were in place and the jobs were  still available. Consequently, many people who previously came legally through the guest worker program in the 1950s began to cross the border illegally in the 1970s (ibid.). In addition to the growth of border towns as transit points for people and goods – both legal and illegal – the establishment of maquiladoras (literally sister factories) along the border beginning in the 1960s led to further economic development and population growth in the border areas (Wright 2006). These early export processing zones could be built within 19km of the border and were given duty-free access to the US market. These factories expanded rapidly because they provided jobs to Mexican workers and provided cheaper labor to American companies. Although the border-specific model of maquiladoras was damaged by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which gave similar access to factories throughout Mexico, the increased flow of goods across the border strengthened the connections at the border. By the 1980s, with the shifting drug smuggling, the increase in undocumented immigration, and the growth of urban areas along the border, enforcement at the Mexican border entered the political debate in the United States (Andreas 2009). Politicians in the United States recognized that border enforcement symbolically demonstrated their commitment to law and order, to protecting American jobs, and to addressing the drug problem. This resulted in an increase in funding for the Border Patrol and a series of high-tech and militarized operations to secure the border. In El Paso, Texas, Operation Holdthe-Line set the precedent for future operations by demonstrating that a significant deployment of agents to a particular area could dramatically reduce the number of people crossing in that area (Nevins 2010). In the mid-1990s, Operation Gatekeeper in the San Diego area followed the same model by deploying many agents to reduce the flow across the border in that sector (ibid.). These operations represented a fundamental shift in the tactics of the Border Patrol

securing the 'homeland' in the Us  |  31 (Coleman 2007). Previously, they would position themselves away from the border line and then wait to apprehend people after they crossed into the United States (Heyman and Ackelson 2009). This new method positioned the agents directly on the line at close intervals in order to deter crossings, which required a much larger deployment. These programs produced mixed results. In practical terms they were failures because they were expensive, had detrimental effects on sensitive environmental areas, and had a negligible impact on the total number of people crossing the border. Rather than reducing crossings, these operations directed immigrants to less visible places, primarily in Arizona and New Mexico, away from official crossing points and large population centers like San Diego and El Paso (Haddal et al. 2009). However, in terms of the performance of security, they were extremely successful for both politicians and the Border Patrol (Andreas 2009). They allowed these proponents of increased border security to claim success by pointing to the dramatic decline in crossings where the operations were carried out, while simultaneously being able to lobby for additional funding in order to deploy agents in the remote areas where crossings increased. The emergence of the issue of border security in the late 1980s also resulted in the construction of the first barrier on any section of the border. In 1993, a 23km fence was completed in San Diego to complement the increased policing of that sector. Additional fencing was authorized at the crossing points in Campo, CA, Yuma, AZ, Nogales, AZ, Naco, AZ, Douglas, AZ, and El Paso, TX, which by 2006 amounted to a total of about 100km of fencing on the 3,169km border (Heyman and Ackelson 2009). The Congressional Research Service report on this initial border fencing concludes, ‘The primary fence, by itself, did not have a discernible impact on the influx of unauthorized aliens coming across the border in San Diego’ (Haddal et al. 2009: 2). Changing narratives after 9/11 Despite the failure of the barriers or increased policing to have any discernible impact on the total number of immigrants crossing the border, immigration and border security had a growing profile in the summer of 2001. It was in this context that the attacks of 9/11 occurred. Not only were they terrorist attacks that killed thousands of people, but they also occurred inside the United States. Americans

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are unusually insulated from global political violence. The simple geography of the country, occupying an isolated continent away from the major population centers in Africa, Asia, and Europe, prevented many potential threats from reaching US territory. Consequently, the sudden feeling of vulnerability was extremely disorienting for many people. Border fencing did not rise to the top of the global war on terror agenda immediately after the attacks. Instead, the fall of 2001 was occupied with mourning the dead, anthrax panics, and the invasion of Afghanistan in search of the al-Qaeda leadership. As the initial feelings of grief and desire for revenge began to fade, the focus shifted from responding to the 9/11 attacks to preventing future terrorism. As the narratives of good and evil from the global war on terror converged with representations of Mexico as a weak and disorderly state, increased border security became a primary method of preventing a future attack. This section analyzes the discourse of the war on terror that emerged in the fall of 2001, which represented the world in binary terms of civilization and barbarity. Then the following section demonstrates how these feelings of vulnerability were oriented towards Mexico and the Mexican border. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, US president George W. Bush’s speeches laid the foundation for what would come to be known as the Bush Doctrine of the global war on terror (Kaufman 2007). The narratives of the global war on terror used stark black-and-white terms in which there was good and evil, right and wrong, and in which the rest of the world was either with the United States or with the terrorists. In this binary worldview, one side was modern, civilized, and the defender of freedom. The other side was pre-modern, violent, irrational, and full of hate. The conflict was not simply between the United States and al-Qaeda, but also between civilization and evil. This results in the perception that all of the modern democracies are essentially the same, and are equally under threat from a unified global terrorist network that is attempting to destroy civilization. In the United States, the description of the people who carried out the attacks as irrational and evil resulted in two primary responses. First, the Bush Doctrine shifted the United States to a position of preemption (Bush 2002). It was no longer acceptable to wait for the next attack; instead military action abroad was necessary to find and eliminate the ‘evildoers.’ Secondly, while evil was rooted out abroad,

securing the 'homeland' in the Us  |  33 more aggressive security at home was necessary to identify and prevent a potential future attack. All of these key themes of the global war on terror were already taking shape in Bush’s speech to a joint session of Congress on 20 September 2001.1 At the beginning of the speech he emphasized how free and democratic people around the world demonstrated their support and solidarity with the United States: And on behalf of the American people, I thank the world for its outpouring of support. America will never forget the sounds of our National Anthem playing at Buckingham Palace, on the streets of Paris, and at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. … We will not forget South Korean children gathering to pray outside our embassy in Seoul, or the prayers of sympathy offered at a mosque in Cairo. We will not forget moments of silence and days of mourning in Australia and Africa and Latin America.

After connecting the events in the United States to other people and places, the speech reframes the attacks as an attack on the shared values of the people in those places. The shared values are not des­ cribed as foreign policy positions, military strategies, or development packages; instead, the wording is much more visceral. The attack was against the basic human desire for freedom: On September the 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country. … All of this was brought upon us in a single day – and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack.

These statements define not only the purpose of the attacks, but also who was attacked. It scales the conflict up to include the whole world: This is not, however, just America’s fight. And what is at stake is not just America’s freedom. This is the world’s fight. This is civilization’s fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom. … The civilized world is rallying to America’s side. They understand that if this terror goes unpunished, their own cities, their own citizens may be next. Terror, unanswered, can not only bring down buildings, it can threaten the stability of legitimate governments. And you know what – we’re not going to allow it. (Applause)

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These simple statements do a lot of work. They raise the conflict to the level of humanity itself by arguing that the violence of terrorism has the potential to end civilization. Secondly, they equate bringing down buildings with ‘threatening the stability of legitimate governments.’ In the context of the speech this seems to fit; however, after some reflection it is unclear whether there is any connection at all. If anything, the 9/11 attacks strengthened the US government by rallying people to the cause and convincing them they needed to support expanded government military and security operations. Consequently, these statements are powerfully normative, in that they create a new reality, rather than being simple statements of fact. The speech also redefines who the attackers were. It does single out al-Qaeda as the source of the violence, but Bush argues that just as the victim must not be understood in the limited context of the United States, the attackers must not be understood in the limited context of al-Qaeda: Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated. (Applause) Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber – a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms – our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other. They want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. They want to drive Israel out of the Middle East. They want to drive Christians and Jews out of vast regions of Asia and Africa. These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us, because we stand in their way.

In this reframing, the more limited conflict between al-Qaeda and the United States becomes a global war on terror that will be fought between civilized democracies and anyone who threatens that system. Therefore, Bush argues, the US response cannot be limited to only those directly involved in these attacks. Instead: Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated

securing the 'homeland' in the Us  |  35 strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. … And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause) From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

The greater part of this speech captured the feeling of the moment, the shared sense of loss and the need to quickly retaliate. Nevertheless, the speech also identifies the new sense of vulnerability after the attacks and lays the foundation for the changes to security that will come with the Department of Homeland Security: Our nation has been put on notice: We are not immune from attack. We will take defensive measures against terrorism to protect Americans … But the only way to defeat terrorism as a threat to our way of life is to stop it, eliminate it, and destroy it where it grows. … We will come together to give law enforcement the additional tools it needs to track down terror here at home. (Applause) We will come together to strengthen our intelligence capabilities to know the plans of terrorists before they act, and find them before they strike. (Applause)

By 20 September the key positions of the global war on terror were in place, but the broader implications for border security and the US–Mexico border were not yet clear. President Bush’s speech opens up the space for rethinking security by taking ‘defensive measures against terrorism to protect Americans,’ but decisions about the exact form those would take are left for another day. The speech was broadly popular with the American public, with one opinion poll showing that 91 percent supported the handling of the US response and 80 percent who were aware of the speech were ‘more confident about the country’s ability to deal with the sudden crisis’ (Knowlton 2001: 1). The fact that the dramatic event occurred inside the United States also evoked feelings of vulnerability that focused attention on other potential threats lurking inside the state’s territory. An op-ed in the Dallas Morning News on 20 September 2001, the same day as Bush’s address to the joint session of Congress, articulated these fears: We have lulled ourselves into a false sense of security in an

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i­ncreasingly vicious and dangerous world. Those who would bring harm to our institutions and people freely roam at their pleasure within our borders. And these lawless rogues have been in our midst for several years. Why? … Early investigations into the recent terrorist attacks are revealing that our immigration laws are too lax, the fraudulent-document business is thriving and our national borders are not secure. … So, what should the United States do about the potentially lethal immigration problem? … As a people, we need to become alert and proactive. In my neighborhood, when a suspicious person is lurking around the streets after dark, most folks call the police. A similar approach needs to be applied to those suspected of being here illegally. … As the president said, this is a matter of national security. If the United States isn’t around, can anyone think of another nation capable of taking our place? (McElwee 2001: 5)

This op-ed is striking because it already begins the process of mapping the events of 9/11 onto the Mexican border and undocumented immigrants. It draws on the same civilizational themes Bush used in his speech, ending with the implication that if the ‘lethal immigration problem’ is not solved then the United States might not be around. The op-ed is prescient in that it predicts the expansion of immigration policing, the construction of the border barrier, and the new aggressive immigration law in Arizona that encourages immigration status checks when police come into contact with people ‘suspected of being here illegally.’ As the pressure on the Taliban in Afghanistan was ratcheting up, the administration also began to establish the framework for rethinking security in the United States. In an Executive Order on 8 October 2001, President Bush established the Office of Homeland Security, whose tasks include a wide range of efforts to coordinate the American response to terrorism. Border security is on the list of areas to be investigated, but is not at the top. At the announcement, Tom Ridge, the first director of the Office of Homeland Security, who would also later become the first Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, did not even mention the border. However, he explained that his primary job would be to reassess the US security system broadly: There may be gaps in the system. The job of the Office of Homeland Security will be to identify those gaps and work to close them.

securing the 'homeland' in the Us  |  37 The size and scope of this challenge are immense. The President’s executive order states that we must detect, prepare for, prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks, an extraordinary mission. But we will carry it out. (Bush 2001b)

Although he was not referring to the border in this passage, the problem the border would pose is already clear. When officials set out to look for gaps, a 3,169km border with only 100km of fencing appears as a gaping hole. The first gap that was identified, however, was the visa-monitoring system, because all of the hijackers had entered the United States with valid visas, but some had overstayed them. On 29 October Bush (2001c) announced new immigration policies that were designed to better track people who enter the United States legally to go to school or work. In his remarks he continued to emphasize the dual nature of the conflict against terrorism that needed to be waged at home and abroad: The American people are beginning to understand that we fight a two-front war against terror. We fight in Afghanistan, and I appreciate so very much the efforts of our men and women who wear the uniform. And we fight it at home here, to make sure America is as safe is possible.

The emerging themes of preemption abroad and securitization at home to prevent evildoers from entering the United States in the Bush Doctrine are on display. In the remarks, he transitions smoothly from the military fighting in Afghanistan to the ‘fight’ at home to make America as safe as possible. In speech after speech in the fall of 2001, Bush continued to use the same themes of good and evil, threat and security, and war abroad and at home. Rather than quote these speeches extensively, a final example from an 8 November speech in Atlanta will suffice. As in all of his speeches, Bush (2001d) continued to lay out his position, reiterating that the war on terror was a fight between the civilized world and all those people and places on the outside: This new enemy seeks to destroy our freedom and impose its views. We value life; the terrorists ruthlessly destroy it. We value education; the terrorists do not believe women should be educated or should have health care, or should leave their homes. We value

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the right to speak our minds; for the terrorists, free expression can be grounds for execution. We respect people of all faiths and welcome the free practice of religion; our enemy wants to dictate how to think and how to worship even to their fellow Muslims. … We wage a war to save civilization, itself.

By January 2002, the Taliban was routed in Afghanistan, and although the al-Qaeda leadership escaped, the need for immediate retaliation was sated. The attention then shifted towards preventing a future attack inside the United States. As the US administration began to assess what steps needed to be taken to prevent a future attack, the border came into focus as the largest gap in the system that needed to be closed. Although the impetus for rethinking border security practices was the risk posed by potential terrorist attacks, the language of the reform mirrors the long-term struggle between state knowledge and people and places that are unknown (Scott 1998, 2009). These themes are evident in the border security fact sheet that accompanied the release of the Bush administration’s 2002 budget. The fact sheet lays out both the possibilities and challenges presented by the border: America’s borders – land, air or sea – are the boundaries between the United States and the rest of the world. The massive flow of people and goods across our borders helps drive our economy, but can also serve as a conduit for terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, illegal migrants, contraband, and other unlawful commodities. The new threats and opportunities of the 21st century demand a new approach to border management. (US Department of Homeland Security 2002)

Although the United States has land borders only with Canada and Mexico, they are described here as the boundary with ‘the rest of the world.’ This emphasizes the global and interconnected nature  of the  threat, which drives the need to bring order to the border. By the time the law creating the Department of Homeland ­Security was passed and signed, border security had moved from a poss­ ible area of interest to the number-one priority of the new agency. In  the Homeland Security Act (2002: 44), the first responsibility for the Under­secretary of Border and Transportation Security is ‘Preventing the entry of terrorists and the instruments of terrorism into the

securing the 'homeland' in the Us  |  39 United States.’ The second is securing the border and the third is enforcing immigration laws. Immigration enforcement, which had previously been the primary duty of the Border Patrol, was relegated to a third-tier priority. With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, according to CBP Commissioner Robert Bonner, ‘US Customs and Border Protection became the nation’s first line of defense against terrorist threats’ (US Customs and Border Protection 2004). Between 2002 and 2005, DHS streamlined the multiple and overlapping agencies that were involved in border security; it created the Transportation Safety Administration to handle security checks at airports, and it strengthened the visa-monitoring system through the US VISIT program. During this period, no new border barriers were built and the number of Border Patrol agents increased only slightly (Heyman and Ackelson 2009). However, once these other changes to airport security were complete, and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq had been carried out, attention returned to the Mexican border as concerns about terrorist infiltrations was overlaid with representations of Mexico as an ungoverned and uncivilized place. Representations of Mexico and the American homeland Although none of the 9/11 hijackers entered the United States via the Mexican border, and the only suspected terrorist detained at a land crossing was coming from Canada, the Mexican border became the focus of border security expenditures.2 The war on terror narratives about civilization and order highlighted the perception that Mexico did not have complete sovereignty over its territory. The territory was described as a place where the practices of modern civilization had not completely taken hold and the state lacked control. Similarly, the residents of Mexico were described in dehumanizing ways that made them appear to be undeserving of civilized treatment. Of course, for many years Mexico played the lawless, less-than-modern ‘other’ in the popular imaginary of the United States. Images of wild spring breaks in Cancún, tequila, sombreros, and the anything-goes ethos of Tijuana imbued representations of Mexico. It was a wild place, but benign – more fun than threatening. In the years after 9/11, these representations continued but the lawlessness took on a more sinister air; rather than an anything-goes party place, it was transformed into an anything-goes violent cartel place. Since at least the 1970s there were growing anxieties in some

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segments of the US population about the potential for irreversible cultural and societal changes if immigration from Mexico was not controlled (Heyman 1998). These racialized narratives were prevalent in the 1990s as immigrants were blamed for a wide range of societal ills from unemployment to increased crime rates. In addition to building the first barriers on the border and doubling of the number of Border Patrol agents in the 1990s, there was a range of anti-immigrant legislation that attempted to restrict immigrant access to social services or limit which languages were spoken in schools and public buildings. These issues did not disappear after 9/11. Instead, public attention was briefly directed elsewhere as the perceived threat of Islam was elevated (Heyman and Ackelson 2009). Nevertheless, newspaper reports on Mexico from 2001 to 2005 emphasized the growing violence in Mexico and the potential danger it posed to the United States. For example, a 2002 New York Times article about the arrest of a cartel leader begins: ‘The legend of the Arellano Felix drug gang is written in blood all over Mexico. They killed for business and pleasure, often taking lives at random. Their bullets killed the Roman Catholic cardinal in 1993. They killed eight infants and children to settle a score in 1998’ (Wiener 2002). These representations of the violence emphasize that much of the killing was irrational: ‘for pleasure,’ ‘random,’ and even targeted ‘infants.’ Then the article shifts to the consequences for the United States: ‘They pierced the border with ships, airplanes, trucks and tunnels, including a 1,200foot underground railroad.’ The description of the border as ‘pierced’ emphasizes the notion that the border is a hard boundary, and then it implies that the cartels break through it like a military invasion with ships and airplanes. After the arrest of the leader, the article suggests that, rather than bringing more law and order to Mexico, it will instead produce more lawlessness: ‘officials are bracing for a war among the remnants of the gang and their rivals … There are bloody battles, and another one rises in his place.’ ­Quoting a Mexican official, the article cautions that despite the ­apparent successful arrest: ‘We should not lose sight of the fact that Mexican law enforcement agencies are infiltrated with corruption.’ The last words of the article remind the reader that Mexico is ‘a long-lawless land’ (ibid.). These types of representations continued through 2005 when the dismay about lawlessness in border areas reached new levels. Articles in the summer of 2005 described the Mexican side of the border as ‘a

securing the 'homeland' in the Us  |  41 lawless area’ with ‘border bandits’ (New York Times 2005); as a place where diplomats are not safe: ‘Mexico: US Shuts Consulate in Lawless City’ (Betancourt 2005); and as a place where the p ­ olice chief’s strategy is to not enforce laws: ‘In a Lawless Town, the Top Lawman Avoids Trouble’ (Thompson 2005a). These concerns culminated when two US border states, New Mexico and Arizona, declared states of emergency to combat the ‘growing violence’ across the border in August 2005. Janet Napolitano, then the governor of Arizona and now the Secretary of Homeland Security, said, ‘Both federal governments let us down – there doesn’t seem to be any sense of urgency.’ Bill Richardson, then the governor of New Mexico, said: ‘This is an act of desperation … until Congress and the feds deal with this issue’ (Blumenthal 2005). Throughout the fall the Mexican border was described as ‘in-crisis’ and ‘dangerous’ (Thompson 2005b). US government documents also described the Mexican state as not having sovereignty over its territory. These areas of disorder are seen as threats to modern democracies because without a sovereign authority to enforce order, other non-state actors can operate undetected. A US Department of Defense analysis considered the possibility that Mexico could become a failed state: In terms of worst-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico. … The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police, and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and pressure by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone. (US Department of Defense 2008: 36)

Consequently, if the Mexican government is unable to gain sovereignty over its territory, the only option is for the United States to militarize the border and bring complete order to its side of the line. Just as the territory of Mexico was represented as lawless and ungoverned, immigrants were dehumanized in US media and popular culture. One example is the use of the term ‘illegals’ to describe undocumented immigrants (Nevins 2010). Once a person is defined

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only by their legal status, they are no longer a human being but rather an object that must be captured. Another example of dehumanizing language is ‘catch and release,’ the phrase that official US government documents use to refer to the policy of apprehending people in border areas and deporting them without prosecution. This language transforms human beings risking their lives to come and work in the United States into animals, like the fish you catch and release on a weekend trip to the lake. An article in the New York Times about drug violence in Mexico uses another dehumanizing metaphor quoting a political scientist in Mexico: ‘You hit the bees in the beehive you might kill 100 but a thousand or two thousand will sting you and more will emerge’ (Thompson and Lacey 2010). Consequently, if Mexicans are ‘illegals’ or ‘fish’ or ‘bees,’ it becomes much easier to violently exclude them and treat them as something less than human. The dehumanization of immigrants generally, and Mexicans specifically, is also evident in three recurring ‘characters’ that were described by residents of El Paso and surrounding areas during fieldwork.3 These characters were the ‘dirty and diseased immigrant,’ the ‘criminal immigrant,’ and the ‘uncivilized immigrant.’ Each of these stereotyped descriptions of immigrants is used as a justification for why immigration controls and a barrier are necessary on the border. They embody the perceived danger posed by immigrants – predominantly people from Mexico – to the safety of American citizens and to the American way of life. The first character is the ‘dirty and diseased immigrant.’ A sixtyyear-old female spouse of a former Border Patrol agent in El Paso draws on this theme in her description of the consequences of past periods when the US–Mexico border was open: When the ports were open, people could just go back and forth. What would happen is they would stay, then the Border Patrol had this big job of tracking down the people who didn’t go home. It was just a daily battle to keep the trash picked up, because they would come over here with empty suitcases, buy everything they could see, throw the trash on the ground, put the clothes in a suitcase, get on a bus, and hook it. One of the other things that was very hard for us to bear as citizens and parents was that for about two months, after every open port, at our schools the attendance would be, maybe, 60% down for the longest time because of

securing the 'homeland' in the Us  |  43 the different types of diseases, parasites, and other things that were coming in. Things like scarlet fever, measles, mumps, active TB, scabies, head lice, children with fever.

In her view, ‘the other’ across the border takes advantage of the freedoms of American society and then leaves behind dirt and disease. Here the body is used at two different registers. First, in terms of the threat immigrant bodies pose to individual children, but also the threat these diseases pose to the body politic, which symbolizes the nation as a whole (Rasmussen and Brown 2005). The uncivilized behavior of the other is manifested in the form of their dirty and diseased bodies and the only option is to close the border and contain these threats on the other side. A second character is the ‘criminal immigrant’ who crosses the border simply to commit crimes. A female resident of Fort Hancock, Texas, explains her view of people who cross the border: They’ll say the people coming across just want to work. They are honest good people who just want a job. And some are, but how do you know? And 30% of them are not. That is a pretty high percent. I could understand if it was 1, 2 or 5; but 30% are coming here to rape, murder, steal, kill, traffic drugs. Come on, you want to deal with that? If the border was closed Katie would still be alive.4

The referencing of a specific example of violence perpetrated by an individual provides a powerful image for anti-immigrant arguments. In her story ‘Katie’ is Kathryn Sepich, a New Mexico State University student who was raped and murdered in 2003 by an undocumented immigrant. Rather than dwelling on the fact that millions of undocumented workers do not commit crimes, the emphasis is placed on the few who do, and whose crimes could have been prevented if the border were sealed. However, studies about immigrant crime find the opposite pattern. A 2008 analysis found that immigrants were underrepresented per capita in prison populations in California.5 Nevertheless, the threat posed by the ‘criminal immigrant’ is similar to that of the ‘dirty and diseased immigrant’ in that there is both a direct threat to individuals who could be robbed, raped, or killed and also a threat to the larger US system of law and order. If too many of these criminal others are able to enter the territory of the United States, it could undermine the entire order of civilization.

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Another, male, resident of Fort Hancock, Texas, describes the last character, the ‘uncivilized immigrant’: That cultural blend has tainted this part of the state because there is no United States history taught in the schools, people that come here for education bring their own culture, history, and traditions with them. They have no appreciation for US history and Texas history. It is a contamination of education. And they are going to be on a criminal jury and they are going to judge you by their standards. And that’s the danger of this. It is an erosion of the American principles.

This narrative draws on the idea that immigrants do not want to assimilate into American culture and instead cling to traditional beliefs that are a threat to the modern American way of life. As this quotation demonstrates, these othering narratives are inherently territorial. They focus on who should be allowed into the United States and what consequences unregulated movement of ‘the other’ might have for the traditions and way of life inside what was now being called ‘the homeland.’ Prior to 9/11, it would have seemed strange to call the United States a homeland or to have a Department of Homeland Security. The United States is a country of immigrants and the overwhelming majority of residents have ancestors from another part of the world. If homeland was used at all, it was often to refer to US citizens’ lingering connections to these other foreign places. Homeland, and the related motherland or fatherland, are terms of nationalism, which represent a longstanding connection between a certain group of people, ‘the nation,’ and a particular territory (Kaiser 2002, 2009). Homeland implies an eternal connection to a particular land that can be traced through generations. In nationalist narratives, the homeland must be controlled by a particular group of people in order to preserve this connection to the land and ensure that the unique cultural and ethnic characteristics of the people are perpetuated in that territory. The purpose is to create a feeling of shared group membership and link that feeling to a particular territory. As such, the term was rarely applied to settler colonies in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa. Some scholars suggested these places were better understood through notions of patriotism and civic nationalism, in which group membership is less about birthplace and ethnicity

securing the 'homeland' in the Us  |  45 and more about citizenship and loyalty to a state (Brubaker 1999). However, Rogers Brubaker (2002: 171) argues that ‘Certain dramatic events, in particular, can serve to galvanize and crystallize a potential group, or to ratchet up pre-existing levels of groupness.’ This was certainly evident after 9/11, when there was a groundswell of patriotic acts that ranged from buying flags to supporting new wars.6 For many people, this also elevated the United States to a homeland that needed to be secured to protect a particular way of life. The narratives of threat from the war on terror and the dehumanization of non-citizens transformed the securitization of the border from an expensive and exclusionary project advocated only by the far right of American politics into an essential step to protect the American people and their ‘homeland.’ As the situation in Mexico was described in ominous terms like war, lawless, crisis, and emergency, sealing the border became an urgent political priority. The uncivilized and violent actions of the people and the lack of government control on the other side of the border resulted in the perception that a barrier was the only option to protect the American people and way of life from a wide range of threats. The Secure Fence Act of 2006 The global and deterritorialized threat of terrorism was reterritorialized in the form of the ungoverned and uncivilized territory of Mexico. By 2006, when a barrier project was under discussion in the US Congress, it had gained bipartisan support. The bill that became the Secure Fence Act of 2006 was originally introduced by Representative Peter King of New York as H.R. 6061 ‘Title: To Establish Operational Control over the International Land and Maritime Borders of the United States.’ Although there were members of Congress who argued immigration reform should be addressed first, for the most part the debate was less about whether to fence the border but rather how much to do and what type of barrier to build. Prior to final passage of the bill in the US House of Representatives, speakers in support of the barrier emphasized the disorder in Mexico generally – and the states of emergency declared in Arizona and New Mexico specifically – as well as the danger of terrorists crossing the border. The sponsor of the bill, Representative King, stated that ‘as far as the references made to terrorists coming across the southern border, there is no doubt that there have been captured

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al Qaeda documents, which indicate the desire of al Qaeda to bring people across the southern border’ (US Congressional Record 2006: H6587). A series of other speakers reiterated the point. Representative David Dreier of California said: ‘I hate the idea of our having to put up a fence. The fact of the matter is we have no choice. We have no choice because this week, as we marked the fifth anniversary of September 11, we are in the midst of a global war on terror. We face the threat of someone who would like to do us in coming across our border’ (ibid.: H6583). Other representatives argued that the possibility of terrorists crossing the border was not hypothetical, but rather that ‘terrorists’ had already been caught at the Mexican border. Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas noted: ‘Mr. Speaker, Iraqis have been caught trying to infiltrate our southern border. Iranians have been detained trying to cross our southern border, Jordanians and people from countries where al Qaeda recruits. Border security is national security’ (ibid.: H6586). Representative David Weldon of Florida summed up the fear that was driving the passage of the bill: H.R. 6061 places security first. Border security is national security. According to Customs and Border Patrol, 644 illegal immigrants from countries that sponsor terrorism were apprehended by the Border Patrol in 2005. The fact that these individuals were caught illegally crossing into the U.S. should concern us all. These illegal aliens were from terrorist-sponsoring nations such as Somalia, Iran, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, as well as from other nations, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, where Islamic militants, such as al Qaeda, operate. We do not know how many succeeded in entering illegally, nor do we know whether they entered with plans to harm Americans. As further proof that terrorists are attempting to enter our country, the Sheriff of Zapata County, Texas indicated recently that Iranian currency, Arabic military badges, jackets and other clothing are among items that have been discovered along the banks of the Rio Grande River. Some of these attempting to cross the border illegally are from militant Islamic groups that have conducted terrorism on the U.S. … It is clear that Congress and the Administration need to do everything possible to secure the border. Anything less leaves our country more vulnerable to terrorist attack and leaves our citizens and legal immigrants paying

securing the 'homeland' in the Us  |  47 the welfare, education, healthcare and other costs associated with illegal immigration. (Ibid.: H6590)

Facts do not seem to get in Representative Weldon’s way. Although he is able to identify many Muslim majority countries, only Iran was actually on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism (in 2006 Cuba, North Korea, Syria and Sudan were also on the list). The leaders of US-allied countries such as Indonesia and Bangladesh would be furious that they were described as ‘terrorist-sponsoring nations.’ Nevertheless, what is evident in these statements is that the fear generated by the 9/11 attacks was repackaged and directed toward both Muslims and the US–Mexico border. As speaker after speaker mentioned, ‘border security is national security.’ With the US population in support of a barrier and the feelings of foreboding generated by the 9/11 attacks still lingering, the Secure Fence Act of 2006 passed both the House and the Senate with bipartisan support. In the House of Representatives the vote was 283 to 138, and in the Senate it was 80 to 19, with then-Senators Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama all voting yes. At the signing ceremony, President Bush emphasized that the fence was a legal matter and that those crossing the border were breaking that law. He also pointed to the role the fence will play in improving security: Ours is a nation of immigrants. We’re also a nation of law. Unfortunately, the United States has not been in complete control of its borders for decades and, therefore, illegal immigration has been on the rise. We have a responsibility to address these challenges. We have a responsibility to enforce our laws. We have a responsibility to secure our borders. We take this responsibility seriously. … The bill authorizes the construction of hundreds of miles of additional fencing along our southern border. The bill authorizes more vehicle barriers, checkpoints and lighting to help prevent people from entering our country illegally. The bill authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to increase the use of advanced technology, like cameras and satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles to reinforce our infrastructure at the border. We’re modernizing the southern border of the United States so we can assure the American people we’re doing our job of securing the border. By making wise use of physical barriers and deploying 21st century technology we’re helping our Border Patrol agents do their job. (Bush 2006a)


ja Ba


j Ba








Rio Gr an



United States



Ciudad Juárez

El Paso

New Mexico

Note: The map depicts the route of the completed barrier and the location of permanent Border Patrol checkpoints. There are many more temporary Border Patrol checkpoints that are not included here.



Permanent checkpoints

Gulf of California

Bor der fen ce


r lifo

a aC

map 2.1 US–Mexico border

Pacific Ocean


r fo ali



Nuevo Leon


Gulf of Mexico


securing the 'homeland' in the Us  |  49 With the stroke of the pen, the landscape of the US–Mexico border was profoundly reordered. The border that was first created in 1848, and first fenced in the 1990s, was now going to have a barrier of up to 1,125km. Bush’s statement continues to draw on the same themes about bringing law and order to the wild border. He states plainly that the United States was not in control of its border for decades, which implies that it once was in control. The statement also appears to admit that the construction of the barrier is mostly a performance of security, saying that ‘we’re modernizing the southern border … so we can assure the American people we’re doing our job.’ In order to make sure it was clear that they were doing their job, the administration also released the same day a fact sheet about border security that listed all of the new security measures the president had already implemented: Since President Bush took office, we have: more than doubled funding for border security – from $4.6 billion in 2001 to $10.4 billion this year; increased the number of Border Patrol agents from about 9,000 to more than 12,000 – and by the end of 2008 we will have doubled the number of Border Patrol agents since the President took office; [we have] deployed thousands of National Guard members to assist the Border Patrol; upgraded technology at our borders and added infrastructure, including new fencing and vehicle barriers; apprehended and sent home more than 6 million people entering America illegally; and we are adding thousands of new beds in our detention facilities, so we can continue working to end ‘catch and release’ at our Southern border. (Bush 2006b)

The construction of the barrier began soon after it was signed into law and funding for border fencing was increased from a minuscule 3 million USD in fiscal year 2001 to 647 million USD in fiscal year 2007 (Haddal et al. 2009: 18). Owing to the length of the border and the many different landscapes it passes through, there is not a single type of barrier. In some places it consists of sheet metal and in other places there are simply posts designed to prevent vehicle traffic. The majority of the new barrier consists of a sturdy mesh fence that is over six meters tall. The ­barrier also includes access roads along its entire length to allow the Border Patrol officers easier movement. In addition to constructing the physical barrier on the border, over a billion USD was budgeted

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for a high-tech virtual fence, which included various systems that are designed to detect movement along the border through cameras, motion detectors, and satellites. The virtual fence epitomizes the goal of complete knowledge of the border, as a fact sheet explains: ‘The goal of the SBInet [Secure Borders Initiative] program is to integrate new and existing border technology into a networked system that will enable CBP personnel to more effectively detect, identify, classify, and respond to incursions at the border’ (US Customs and Border Protection 2009). The virtual fence attempts to move even farther toward the idealized vision of the state when all movements are immediately detected and monitored (Heyman 2012). Despite the potential of the system, it was an expensive failure. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the funding for the project would be cut in 2010 (Archibald 2010). It was cancelled in early 2011. Initially, the election of President Barack Obama in 2008 appeared to mark a turning point for many of the most aggressive security measures of the global war on terror. Indeed, in his first year in office Obama refrained from even using the phrase ‘war on terror’ as he attempted to rein in aggressive interrogation tactics, close the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, and draw down forces in Iraq. In practice, these changes were much less dramatic than promised, and in 2012 the war in Afghanistan was ongoing, the camp at Guantánamo Bay was still open, and the administration continued to aggressively pursue suspected terrorists outside the normal system of laws, as the assassinations in 2011 of Osama bin Laden and US citizen Anwar alAwlaki demonstrated. Many of the Bush administration policies were maintained with only minor alterations, and border security, particularly, is an area of continuity. The White House website (Obama 2011: 5) indicates border security is an ongoing priority for the president, stating: ‘The Obama Administration has dedicated unprecedented resources to securing our borders, which is important for the safety and security of our nation as well as legitimate trade and tourism.’ Conclusion The decision to build the barrier on the US–Mexico border is a direct result of the discourse of the global war on terror that described the events of 9/11 as an attack on not just New York City and Washington, DC, or the United States, but the entire idea of a civilized orderly society. This scaling up of the conflict meant that it

securing the 'homeland' in the Us  |  51 was a confrontation between good and evil, with the future of humanity held in the balance. The result was aggressive military actions abroad to locate and defeat evil wherever it existed and the securitization of the home through new immigration policies, a stronger security presence in public places, and the construction of barriers on the borders of the state to prevent unauthorized movement. The apprehensions about a threatening ‘other’ were channeled toward the issue of border security by representing the border as an enormous gaping hole in the security apparatus and by describing Mexico as a lawless place inhabited by dangerous and violent people. The combination of a global and interconnected threat and an ungoverned territory next door made the barrier appear to be an essential measure to protect the United States. Despite the constant rhetoric about terrorism being priority number one, most Border Patrol agents spend their days as they did before, checking cars for drugs and chasing undocumented workers in the desert. Despite the construction of the barrier on almost 1,100km of the border, and the substantial expansion of the Border Patrol over the past two decades from approximately 3,000 agents at the US–Mexican border in 1990 to over 20,000 in 2011, the utopian vision of absolute control is still far from realized. In congressional testimony in July 2009, a Border Patrol official reported that the agency had ‘effective control’ only over 1,120km of the 3,169km Mexican border (approximately 35 percent).7 On the border with Canada, the Border Patrol had effective control only over 51km of the 8,891km­, less than 1 percent. In 2010, the Pew Hispanic Trust estimated there were 11.2 million undocumented immigrants inside the United States, which represents a 33 percent increase over the 2000 estimate of 8.4 million and a 300 percent increase over the 1990 estimate of 3.5 million (Haddal 2010; Passel and Cohn 2011). Michael Chertoff (2007), then the Secretary of Homeland Security, acknowledged this reality in an interview, stating, ‘I think the fence has come to assume a certain kind of symbolic significance which should not obscure the fact that it is a much more complicated problem than putting up a fence which someone can climb over with a ladder or tunnel under with a shovel.’ The current DHS Secretary, Janet Napolitano, made a similar observation in 2005 when she was the governor of Arizona: ‘You show me a 50-foot wall and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder at the border. That’s the way the

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border works’ (Greenhouse 2011). Indeed, the US–Mexico border remains the most crossed border in the world in terms of both legal and illegal ­movements. Although the perception remains that the border between the United States and Mexico was secure in previous eras, in reality the 35 percent effective control that the CBP achieved is certainly the most expansive government presence ever. The boundary line was established only a little over 160 years ago, and for many years after that it was not enforced or observed in any meaningful way. Furthermore, the boundary did not represent a previous historical or political reality; rather it was gained through military expansion and included Native Americans and former Mexican subjects on both sides. The justifications for the barrier are about external terrorist and immigrant threats; nevertheless, the symbolic consequences of these bordering practices are internal and affect the territorial and national imaginaries of the United States. This is evident in the growing nativist perspective in the popular and political discourse and in the emergence of the term ‘homeland’ to describe the state’s territory. The barrier on the border furthers this process of symbolically and materially establishing the edges of the territorial geo-body of the state as a container for a single, homogeneous population (Winichakul 1994). In the process, the boundaries of the categories of the modern civilized state and ‘the other’ on the outside become distinct through the building of the physical barrier.

3  |  Border Fencing and the Global War on Terror in India Righteousness Where there is righteousness in the heart, There is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, There is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, There is an order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, There is peace in the world.1

Introduction: order in the nation The former president of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, began his annual address to the joint session of parliament on 23 February 2007 with this short, elegant poem. He read it first in Hindi and then again in English, just to make sure everyone in the audience understood. Indeed, during his term as president he regularly recited this poem in his public appearances dating back to 2003, whether meeting technology executives, sanitation workers, or university graduates (Kalam 2007). The poem is attractive because it integrates many of the enduring dreams of humanity: beauty in the character, harmony in the home, and peace in the world. It also symbolizes the popularly imagined duality of India because it is concomitantly spiritual and modern, succinctly linking the feelings of the heart with a linear modern march toward order in the nation and peace in the world. The poem, this chapter argues, is also symbolic of India’s emergent position as an important frontier in the ‘global war on terror,’ which is described as a battle between the modern, civilized world and the terrorists that seek to destroy that system. From the outset, the war on terror was presented as not simply a conflict between the United States and the terrorist network that attacked it. Instead, it was depicted as a global fight of the righteous, civilized people versus the evil, barbaric people of the world (Dalby 2003; Gregory 2004). On 12 September British prime minister Tony

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Blair (2001) declared that ‘the terrorists responsible have no sense of humanity, of mercy, or of justice’ and it ‘was an attack on the free and democratic world everywhere,’ not just America. The global framing of the war on terror encouraged like-minded governments to position their internal and external conflicts as part of the fight. Rupal Oza (2007a) argues that Israel and India in particular adopted this rhetoric of threat and security to justify, and expand, their own exclusionary practices. Just as the United States characterized terrorists as fanatical evildoers, Israel positioned itself as the lone outpost of civilization in the Middle East, while the Hindu right in India described Muslims as uncivilized invaders who threaten the secular stability of the Indian state (Gregory 2004; Oza 2007a, 2007b). Indian politicians often describe India as ‘the worst victim of terrorist violence in the world,’ a claim that was supported by the multiple targets and long duration of the siege in Mumbai in November 2008 (Advani 2008). Although the attack in Mumbai captured the world’s attention, it was only the latest example of violence in India, which in 2008 alone endured ten attacks that killed over four hundred people. Indeed, in the years after India allied itself with the United States in its global war on terror, India suffered at least one major attack every year. This chapter, while denouncing the recent violence in India in the strongest terms, is primarily concerned with how terrorism is represented in India and how the aftermath of these events reshaped the security practices of the Indian state, particularly at India’s political borders. In addition to expanding its barrier along the border with Pakistan, India fenced large sections of its 4,096km border with Bangladesh, which was open and relatively lightly guarded for most of the previous sixty years (Kabir 2005). The securitization of the border with Pakistan is understandable; the two countries have had four wars in the past sixty years, and India routinely accuses Pakistan of supporting anti-state movements in Kashmir and other parts of India. However, the fencing of the border with Bangladesh deserves further scrutiny because India and Bangladesh have had peaceful relations since India helped liberate Bangladesh in 1971, and the population of Bangladesh shares a linguistic and cultural heritage with the Indian state of West Bengal. Indeed, although the federal government authorized a barrier on the Bangladesh border in 1986, it was resisted in West Bengal, and only 5 percent was completed by 2000 (van Schendel 2005). Nevertheless,

border fencing in india  |   55 in subsequent years the resistance disappeared and the barrier was rapidly constructed. This chapter explores how this massive security project on the border between India and Bangladesh gained both legitimacy and immediacy as part of the global war on terror. As argued previously, the discourse of the global war on terror relies on two crucial shifts in how the ‘enemy-other’ is represented. The first shift is the simultaneous territorialization of the enemy-other as being from particular places that foster terrorism and deterritorialization as anomie that is outside the boundaries of modernity. The second shift is the framing of the terrorist threat as global and interconnected. Somewhat paradoxically, the global framing allows sovereign states to substantially consolidate power and move closer to the territorial ideal of a fixed, bounded, and closed container of a homogeneous, orderly, and controlled population by attempting to lock down political borders. In India, these two shifts in geopolitical boundary narratives ­resulted in the mapping of the global threat of terrorism onto communal religious conflicts within India and onto external disputes with Pakistan and Bangladesh. This chapter examines this process by first depicting the state-scale narratives that represent Bangladeshi Muslims as evil and Bangladesh itself as a pre-modern space that is outside the modern system. Then, by drawing on interviews and focus groups conducted in the borderlands between the Indian state of West Bengal and Bangladesh as the border barrier was built, it demonstrates how these exclusionary narratives were used to reanimate local communal disagreements as examples of the evil nature of Bangladeshi Muslims. This reimagining of historical conflicts and contemporary practices in Bangladesh as outside the boundaries of modernity justified the immediate completion of the controversial border fencing project. The state of security in India In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the United States, the government of India, then led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), expressed outrage at the violence and gave its full support to the United States in its effort to fight extremism (Vajpayee 2001). The Indian prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in a televised address on 14 September 2001, linked India to the global fight:

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As you know, terrorists have struck yet another blow – at the United States of America, at humanity, at the civilized way of life. … More than that, at least fifty-three thousand families in India know exactly the pain they are going through at the moment: for terrorists have mowed down and blown up that number here in India over the last two decades. For years we in India have been alerting others to the fact that terrorism is a scourge for all of ­humanity, that what happens in Mumbai one day is bound to happen elsewhere tomorrow, that the poison that propels mercenaries and terrorists to kill and maim in Jammu and Kashmir will impel the same sort to blow up people elsewhere.

In subsquent years, even after a change in leadership in the 2004 election, India expanded its internal security measures, substantially strengthened its security ties to the United States, and sped up fencing projects at its political borders. On 21 October 2001, just over a month after the attacks in the United States, the governments of India and the United States signed the Mutual Assistance on Criminal Matters Treaty, after which ‘both sides expressed their determination to redouble efforts to eradicate the scourge of terrorism and to use this Treaty as an instrument to that end’ (Indian Ministry of External Affairs 2001). In early 2002, the Parliament of India passed the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), which was modeled on the USA PATRIOT Act and granted Indian security services emergency powers to combat terrorism. Although the expansive security measures granted through POTA were rescinded after the surprise victory of the Congress Party of India in the 2004 election, many of the most questionable security measures, which were temporary and under court review in POTA, were shifted into the permanent criminal code through the revision of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) of 2004. Singh (2006: 127) argues that ‘it has confirmed the dangerous trend of making temporary and extraordinary measures part of the ordinary legal system.’ In addition to these permanent changes to security laws, the Congress Party staked its leadership position in parliament on further strengthening its security ties with the United States through the controversial United States–India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Non-proliferation Enhancement Act, which was ratified and signed by both countries in October 2008 (Holmes 2007; Rajghatta 2008).

border fencing in india  |   57 Robert Kaufman (2007) calls the expanded security relationship between the United States and India the most significant, but often overlooked, foreign policy success by the Bush administration. He goes so far as to argue that ‘With the possible exception of Israel, no other country in the world is as pro-American as India’ (ibid.: 151). The deal reversed a thirty-four-year-old ban on trade in nuclear materials with India, which cemented the defense, security, and commercial relationships between the countries. Finally, the Congress Party expanded border fencing projects along the Pakistan and Bangladesh borders; both of which had been under consideration for several decades but were begun in earnest by the BJP only in 2002 (Kabir 2005). In practice, then, despite the Congress Party’s public opposition to the BJP’s position on terrorism, it maintained or expanded most of the BJP’s security measures. In January 2004 the Department of Border Management was created within the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs to coordinate the oversight of border areas and to facilitate the construction of barriers, roads, and floodlights along India’s borders. Although the often repeated claim that the Great Wall of China is visible from the moon is not true, the floodlit Indian border with Pakistan is clearly visible at night from the International Space Station (Parsons 2011). More unexpected was the decision to fence nearly the entire border with Bangladesh, which is India’s longest section of border at 4,096km (Indian Ministry of Home Affairs 2011). Despite the history of an open and relatively peaceful border,2 by the end of 2011, 2,734km of barbed-wire fencing were completed along the Bangladesh border and 3,528km of roads were constructed to facilitate the movement of Indian Border Security Force (BSF). Additionally, floodlights, which are switched on all night long, were installed on 400km of the most frequently crossed sections (ibid.). The floodlight project was expanded in 2008 with a goal of lighting a total of 2,840km of the border with Bangladesh by 2012, at an additional cost of 275 million USD (Rs1,327 crore) (ibid.). The panopticon of the Indian state need not be imagined; it shines bright all night long for many of the Bangladeshi borderland residents just as it does on the Pakistan border (Foucault 1977). Despite the extensive security measures and expanded border fencing projects carried out by the Indian government, the number of attacks inside India increased. In 2008 alone, in addition to the Mumbai siege, which killed 173 people, there were major bombings

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in Guwahati in October, which killed fifty-five people, in Delhi in September, which killed thirty people, and in Ahmedabad in July, which killed forty-nine people (Sengupta 2008; Shankar 2008). Previously, large bombings had occurred in Delhi in 2005, killing 59 people; in Mumbai in 2006, killing 209 people; and in Hyderabad in 2007, killing 42 people (Buncombe 2007; H. Kumar 2005; Rai and Sengupta 2006). In July 2011, a series of bombs exploded in Mumbai that killed 26 people and injured 130 more (Bedi 2011). In September 2011, a bomb exploded outside the High Court in Delhi, killing 13 and injuring over 60 people (Swami 2011). Most of these attacks were linked in media reports and Indian government statements to extremist organizations from both Pakistan and Bangladesh, although arrests and definitive connections were not made publicly (Daily Star 2008; Makkar 2008; Nag 2008). The 2006 Mumbai train bombers, although reportedly from Pakistan, were said to have crossed into India via the Bangladesh border. In the 2007 Hyderabad bombing, the chief minister of the state of Andhra Pradesh said that ‘available information points to the involvement of terrorist organizations based in Bangladesh and Pakistan’ (Buncombe 2007). The Indian media widely reported that the same group that was suspected in the Hyderabad attack, ‘Harkatul Jihad, Bangladesh,’ was also responsible for the Ahmedabad violence in 2008. Reports from Pakistan also suggested that the November 2008 Mumbai siege was planned in Bangladesh and supplies were bought in India near the Bangladesh border (Bokhari 2009). The Indian Union home minister, P. Chidambaram, denied that Bangladesh was connected to the Mumbai siege (The Hindu 2009), but nevertheless continued to link Bangladesh with terrorist activity, saying in December 2008, ‘but the regrettable fact is that many groups still use Bangladeshi territory and we hope that they will not give sanctuary to such groups’ (The Hindu 2008). Just days after the September 2008 Delhi serial bombings, Manmohan Singh (2008), the prime minister of India, outlined the Indian response: Terrorism today is an ubiquitous global phenomenon and we are among its major victims … We have increased vigilance on our borders. Coastal security is being tightened … Several steps have been taken to improve both policing and intelligence, but a far greater

border fencing in india  |   59 effort is called for … Use of Closed Circuit TVs in areas where there are large congregations of people will need to be mandated. Greater use of technology, particularly relating to the detection of explosives and interception of Internet traffic will be required … We are actively considering legislation to further strengthen the substantive anti-terrorism law in line with the global consensus on the fight against terrorism.

The opposition BJP party, and many newspaper editorial boards, called for reinstituting POTA and expanding the powers granted to security forces in response to the growing internal terrorist threat in India (Prakash 2008). An editorial in the Times of India (2008) argued that ‘We are at war … At this moment of crisis, some of the liberties that we take for granted might have to be curbed to ensure that terrorists, who follow no norms and rules, are effectively restrained.’ These sentiments were further reinforced by the Mumbai violence in November 2008. L. K. Advani, the leader of the opposition BJP party in parliament, argued in a widely covered speech in October 2008, before the Mumbai siege: POTA remained in existence from September 2001 till December 2004. During this period, only eight incidents of terrorist violence, including the attack on Parliament and on Akshardham Temple in Gandhingar, took place in India’s hinterland, leading to 119 deaths. Contrast it with what happened after POTA was repealed: The footprint of terrorism has grown alarmingly larger in the past four years. Jammu, Ayodhya, Varanasi, Samjhauta Express in Haryana, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Malegaon, Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Delhi and, in the latest attack, serial blasts rocked Agartala in Tripura just two days ago. During this period, 625 persons have been killed and 2,011 injured, depicting a five fold [sic] increase in those killed and injured. It is the same country, same people, same police and same intelligence agencies; what then explains this unprecedented increase? The answer is very simple: Weak laws have emboldened the terrorists and appeasement has failed to change their intentions. (Advani 2008)

Advani’s speech also explicitly linked the people and territory of Bangladesh to terrorism in India. He (ibid.) continues:

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We can see this clearly from what both Pakistan and Bangladesh have been doing to us. Neither can match India’s military strength. Yet, both have been threatening India with cross-border terrorism. This warfare is waged by an invisible enemy, for whom the civil society is both a source of sustenance and the target. The enemy exploits the liberties, freedom, technological facilities and infrastructure to his advantage, making even the more powerful, better equipped security agencies feel helpless.

The inclusion of Bangladesh as an equal partner with Pakistan in supporting terrorist activities in India marks a fundamental shift in the framing of Bangladesh in the public discourse in India and in the relations between the two governments. Pre-modernizing Bangladesh It was by no means a foregone conclusion that the secular, moderate country that gained its independence in 1971 would become, or at least be perceived to be, a haven for terrorists and an imminent threat to the security of India that required a massive fencing project on the border. Despite the political border that divides the Indian state of West Bengal and Bangladesh, and the anti-Bangladesh narratives in the contemporary public discourse in India, the two Bengals have a long history of cultural, political, and economic connections. In addition to the common Bengali language spoken on both sides, they share many cultural traditions based in literature, food, and dress; practices that often emerged from the city of Calcutta (contemporary Kolkata in West Bengal). In an interview, a sixty-three-year-old Muslim male middle school headmaster in Bangladesh explained the connections prominent cultural and political figures in Bangladesh’s history had to Calcutta prior to the 1947 partition: ‘Artists, writers, educators, politicians, they all lived in Calcutta. Literary leaders such as Rabrindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam, politicians like Huseyn Suharwardy. They were born there, they started their lives there, they studied there, and they started their political movements from there.’ The people of the two halves of Bengal also historically resisted efforts to divide them politically, as is demonstrated by the 1905 Swadeshi (self-rule) movement that protested against a British colonial political reorganization that involved dividing the province of Bengal. The province of Bengal was nevertheless eventually divided on

border fencing in india  |   61 Brahmaputra





Me gh a l aya






Ir raw


Kolkata (Calcutta)




We s t Be n gal





B i h a r


ge s


Ga n





Brahm apu t r






l ha



Sik kim


O r i s s a

Bay of Bengal

map 3.1 Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal

religious lines in the 1947 partition, which carved Pakistan out of Muslim-majority areas in the northwest of British India and in the eastern districts of Bengal (Chatterji 1994, 1999; Tan and Kudaisya 2000). However, in the years after that event, the political climate in East Pakistan (East Bengal) shifted away from its religious alliance with West Pakistan towards a secular nationalism that emphasized the shared Bengali culture of the population. One of the slogans of the Bangladeshi independence movement in the early 1970s was ‘Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims of Bengal; we are all Bengali.’ After its independence, many of the Islamist leaders of the erstwhile East Pakistan, who had not supported independence for

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Bangladesh but rather sided with the Pakistani army, were sent into exile and banned from politics (Murshid 2001). The original constitution of Bangladesh downplayed Islam while emphasizing nationalism, d ­ emocracy, socialism, and secularism (Murshid 1997, 2001; Huq 1984). Therefore, despite the 1947 partition that divided the province of Bengal based on religion, there are many other factors that indicate lingering cultural, economic, and social connections between West Bengal and Bangladesh (Chatterjee 1997). These connections explain the decades-long resistance of the state government in West Bengal to the fencing project on the Bangladesh border. Although the official decision to build a barrier was made by the Indian parliament in 1986, ostensibly to slow the flow of undocumented immigrants from Bangladesh, only 5 percent of the border had actually been fenced by 2000 (Kabir 2005; Samaddar 1999; van Schendel 2005). Most of the completed sections were where the border divides Bangladesh from the Indian state of Assam. In West Bengal only a few kilometers were completed near border crossings (van Schendel 2005). However, after 2002 the Left Front government in West Bengal,3 which traditionally turned a blind eye to cross-border movement, relaxed its opposition to the border barrier (V. Kumar 2005). Furthermore, the chief minister of West Bengal at the time, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, repeatedly warned of the danger posed by terrorism, controversially suggesting in 2002 that madrasas (Islamic schools) in West Bengal were supporting terrorism and in 2005 arguing that the Pakistani security service, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was setting up operations in West Bengal by crossing the border from Bangladesh (Chatterjee 2006; Times of India 2002). The shift in West Bengal occurred as the public discourse in India emphasized the connections between Islamization in Bangladesh and terrorism in India. The secular orientation of Bangladesh began to change in the mid-1970s as the political necessity of unifying the entire population against Pakistan waned and internal political considerations gained importance (Huq 1984). From the late 1970s, the various governments that came to power integrated Islam into the affairs of the state through changes to the constitution and the removal of restrictions on the Islamist parties (Murshid 1997, 2001; van Schendel 2001). The rehabilitation of the formerly banned Islamist parties was complete by the 2001 election in which the Jamaat-e-Islami and

border fencing in india  |   63 Islami Oikya Jote were members of the winning coalition and were given seats in the cabinet. In India, the revival of Islamist politics in Bangladesh is not understood as a spiritual awakening, or simply a populist political strategy. Instead it is described as a fundamental shift in the mentality of the residents of Bangladesh that radically reconfigured the connections between West Bengal and Bangladesh (Saikia 2003). Datta (2007: 145) argues that ‘religious extremism is on the rise in Bangladesh and the groups identified with or espousing the cause of radical Islamic trends have brought havoc to the country.’ In the borderlands of West Bengal, the Islamic shift in Bangladesh is perceived as making the people susceptible to the lure of terrorism and therefore a risk to the security of India. Jaideep Saikia (2003: 2) writes that ‘The slogan Amra hobo Taliban, Bangla hobe Afghan (we will be the Taliban, Bangladesh will become Afghanistan) has been carried into rural Bangladesh. The growing Islamization of Bangladesh has direct consequences for the secular space of North East India that it strategically borders.’ In an interview, a forty-six-year-old Hindu male shopkeeper in India explained how the change is understood: Everywhere in the world where there is terrorism, Muslims are doing it. They are doing terrorism. Now America’s President Bush is doing something about it. We support America because we are in the same situation. We realize now that terrorism is beginning here and it is coming from Bangladesh. Please don’t mind me saying it, I was born there, but now that is a Muslim country. It is becoming like Laden.

The result is the perception that Bangladesh is a place that is organized by pre-modern social codes that do not mesh with the modern state of India. Rather than modernizing, many in the West Bengal borderlands feel that Bangladesh went in the opposite direction following its independence and became increasingly pre-modern in its orientation. Boundary narratives at the border Throughout the history of the sovereign-state system there has been a fear of the enemy-other across the border (Neocleous 2008). As Carl Schmitt (1996) famously argued, one of the fundamental roles of the state is to distinguish friend from enemy; that is, to create the boundaries of the categories of those who are represented

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by the state and those who are not. These representations of the enemy-other are created through geopolitical boundary narratives, which describe distinctions between categories of people and reify those distinctions by symbolically inscribing them onto the space of the earth (Abbott 1995; Paasi 1996). The categories used to classify people, places, and things are not preexisting realities in the world but rather are socially constructed perspectives on the world (Brubaker 1996, 2002; Jones 2009a). Power lies in the ability to define the boundaries of the categories that are used to understand the world, which establishes what is and is not (Bourdieu 1991; Foucault 1971, 1977). As geographical imaginaries are reshaped, material processes on the ground are reordered, and the discourse performatively creates the materiality that it names (Butler 1990, 1993). The most telling part of L. K. Advani’s October 2008 speech on terrorism in India was the conclusion in which he explicitly linked terrorism – always with the adjective Islamic implied if left unsaid – to the symbolism of a Hindu religious ceremony that celebrates the victory of good over evil: One last point. The Navaratri festival has begun. It will conclude on Vijaya Dashami, which symbolizes the victory of Good over Evil. I suggest that, in addition to Ravan Dahan [burning of the effigy of Ravan], let Navaratri pandals all over the country also do Atankvaad Dahan [burning the effigy of the Demon of Terrorism]. Let it symbolize our collective resolve to make India terror-free.

By presenting the enemy-other as pre-modern and irrational, it follows that they cannot be reasoned with. Instead of a global dialogue about the causes of terrorist violence, a preemptive foreign policy is necessary to kill them before they can kill us. Instead of reaching out to develop a broader understanding of the world, righteousness and a binary worldview result in a security state at home to prevent evil from ever entering ‘our land.’ In the borderlands of West Bengal, despite the previously discussed economic, cultural, and social connections with Bangladesh that e­ xist across the border, these narratives about evil terrorists gained substantial traction. Bangladesh is represented as a danger to the stability of India by overlaying terrorism onto communal distinctions. As Bangladeshi Muslims are described as historically evil and presently irrational, Bangladesh is perceived to be a pre-modern place that could

border fencing in india  |   65 foster the growth of terrorism, which therefore must be prevented from entering the modern state of India. Oza (2007a: 17) argues that the narrative that labels Muslims as a barbaric enemy-other ‘was a deliberate political and geographical maneuver that served the Hindu Right’s agenda of crafting a pure Hindu nation by dismantling the place of Pakistan and Muslim minorities in the subcontinent.’ Of course, over the past 150 years there has been an ongoing effort by Hindu leaders to weaken the place of Islam in South Asia by arguing it is a religion with foreign origins that is illegitimate in the homeland of Hinduism (Chatterjee 1993; Jones 2006, 2007). This version of Indian history was originally expressed in the late nineteenth century by prominent cultural and religious leaders such as Bankim Chandra Chatterji (1992 [1882]) and Swami Vivekananda (1900) and it continues to be employed in contemporary debates. A forty-four-year-old Hindu male teacher in India describes the perceived connection between the spread of Islam in South Asia and the decline of Hindu India (in English): At one time our area was enriched in every way, in every aspect like fruits, breads, water, beasts, cattle head, poultry, and fish. … There is no parallel country. But the Muslim suppressors did much harm to India. They were cruel beyond any civic sense. They only killed and cut the Indian people. They pierced their religion. They threatened them with knives and swords. That was the dark period of India and that is why our economic and social condition is so deteriorated. Okay? Only the Muslims were the most dangerous elements who did harm to India.

The affective fear created by the attacks of 9/11 (Ó Tuathail 2003), and the subsequent violent events in India, allowed these longstanding grievances between Hindus and Muslims to be linked to the contemporary narratives of good and evil in the discourse of the global war on terror, narratives that argue that the evil terrorists must be completely eliminated from the world. In the borderlands, this connection was made by reframing collective memories of both historical and contemporary violence against minorities in Bangladesh. In these narratives, the violence is described in a way that removes it from the context of communal animosity on both sides of the border and instead lays the blame squarely on the troubling behavior of Muslims. The actions of Muslims are

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not described as those of reasonable people who were temporarily overcome with rage during a time of unrest, or who were retaliating for violence committed against their families. Instead, their actions are presented as symptomatic of the cruel and evil nature of Muslims. The atrocities committed by Hindus during and after partition, and for which many acts by Muslims were tit-for-tat reprisals, are almost completely erased from the collective memory in West Bengal. The result is a hardening of the boundary between the perceived evil Muslim aggressors and the innocent Hindu victims (Kamra 2000). A fifty-two-year-old Hindu female homemaker, who was born in East Pakistan but migrated to India as a child, graphically describes an attack she witnessed just before her family left: In another family, they had six cute girls and five sons. The type of persecution they suffered you cannot hear with your ears or see with your eyes. They were an educated family. He was a high school teacher and all of the girls had degrees. The boys were also educated. … The Muslims tortured them in so many ways. So why would I call Muslims good? I will not feel right if I say that. They brought them out one by one, these girls were educated in Calcutta, and raped them. You would also be shocked by what happened to their father. In front of his elderly wife they bound his arms and shot him. Is it possible that people who engage in this type of oppression can be called good?

By recounting her story, I am not suggesting that the violence she describes was acceptable or that it did not occur. Indeed, the intensity with which she told the story left no doubt in my mind that she witnessed these attacks. What I want to emphasize is the manner in which the violence is recounted. In the years after partition, there was violence on both sides of the border and many Muslims were harassed and killed by Hindus. However, in her recollection of the events, the Hindus are presented as peaceful modern people. She describes them as an educated, civilized family, even pausing to add the qualification ‘these girls were educated in Calcutta’ to the critical sentence about the violent acts. She also emphasizes that these actions of a few Muslims make it impossible for her to say that Muslims, generally, are good. In the process, the violent, deplorable actions during a particular event result in mapping the boundary between good and evil onto the categories Hindu and Muslim.

border fencing in india  |   67 The erasure of violence in India furthers the fear of an evil enemy-other across the border in Bangladesh. In narratives about contemporary violence, India is represented as a civil and just place where modern people reside. Bangladesh, conversely, is described as a place where barbaric actions are commonplace and accepted by the people. A fifty-two-year-old Hindu male businessperson, who was born in East Pakistan, but immigrated to an Indian town near the border, explains: When the Babri mosque was destroyed [in 1992 in India] there was substantial violence in Bangladesh. You have no idea how ferocious the Mohamadans [Muslims] are. In a civil society this sort of behavior will not occur. They would throw children in the air and spear them when they came down. Sometimes they would light a house full of people on fire.

Without dwelling on how or why the Babri mosque was destroyed in India, which in fact was done by a mob of the Hindu right, he shifts the blame onto the ‘ferocious’ Muslims in Bangladesh. The violent destruction of the mosque in India that initiated the events in Bangladesh is elided and instead the even more violent and more uncivilized actions of the enemy-other are recounted. The ‘sort of behavior’ that actually occurs ‘in a civil society’ is not discussed, but the behavior of Muslims is narrated out of it, excluded as the uncivilized other (Said 1979). It is not particularly surprising that this sort of violence is described as outside the boundaries of civilized behavior. However, the same boundaries between modern and pre-modern appear in stories about the quotidian experiences of populations on both sides of the border. These stories describe the expansion of traditional Islamic social institutions that subjugate women in Bangladesh, the replacement of a modern education system in Bangladesh with religious schools, and even the irrational choices made by Bangladeshi Muslims in the markets and in their homes. A thirty-four-year-old Hindu female primary school teacher in India describes how the social norms in each place differ: I have never been to Bangladesh but it is a Muslim-majority country. Because of that there is more conservatism there. That means they are strict in terms of honor, culture and religion. They are

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very strict. Compared to that, India is very liberal. There women have to wear purdah [veil] and they are not able to get a good education. Here at night you see many women out in town. Did you ever see that in Bangladesh? Very little. Here there are many more freedoms.

In West Bengal, the treatment of women in Bangladesh is consistently cited as a critical distinction between the two places that signifies the boundary between a modern India and a traditional Bangladesh. As Chatterjee (1993) and Oza (2007a) argue, the female body is often described as the site where the conflict between the traditional and the modern is contested. The reality of life in Bangladesh is less important than the perception that it is a violent and pre-modern place where women are subjugated. The most troubling aspect for some residents of the West Bengal borderlands is the feeling that irrational behavior is not limited to times of uncertainty, but rather is pervasive. An exchange from a focus group involving two Hindu male college-educated telecommunications workers in India, aged thirty-six and twenty-seven, demonstrates this view: Thirty-six-year-old: Here we think that our next generation needs to be able to feed themselves. [The Muslims] do not think about this. They irrationally have ten or twelve children and think Allah will take care of them. Allah will save them. When we consider what science says, they just say Allah. Just imagine it, if one family has ten members, how many members those children’s families will have. But their country has no land, it has three big rivers. Twenty-seven-year-old: Muslims naturally have a different mentality. If you help them their eyes will change and they will not acknowledge it. They are laughing this minute but they could stab you with a knife the next. Thirty-six-year-old: They are very different. They do not understand what friendship means. All over the world terrorism is carried out by Muslims: Laden, Saddam Hussein, Taliban.

The thirty-six-year-old begins by making a clear distinction between Indian society, which he characterizes as modern and scientific, and Bangladesh, which he feels is a place where people have irrational beliefs. Crucially, the banal everyday irrationality of the population in

border fencing in india  |   69 Bangladesh is seen as the link to the prevalence of terrorism in the Muslim community. Although it is recognized that most Muslims are not terrorists, the idea of generalized Muslim irrationality provides the fear that at any moment any Muslim could become a terrorist. When taken together, these narratives frame India as a place populated by good people and Bangladesh becomes a place that is populated by irrational and violent people, who ‘naturally have a different mentality’ and are potentially a threat to the peace and stability of India. The events of 9/11, and the subsequent terrorist attacks in India, allowed the rhetoric of the global war on terror, which frames the fight against terrorism as an effort to eliminate evil from the world, to be mapped onto these perceptions of Bangladesh as a traditional, irrational, barbaric, and evil place. In the West Bengal borderlands, there is a desire to link the local situation to the larger effort to eliminate terrorism in the world. The conversation between the twenty-seven-year-old and the thirty-sixyear-old telecommunications workers continues: Twenty-seven-year-old: We read the paper, we know what America is saying, what they want, what they want to do. We understand it … The most important thing is that Bangladesh has become a refuge for terrorists. Terrorists are in every part of Bangladesh. We are telling America the news about where they are … They have lots of madrasas and that is where the terrorists are. They are in every district. We possess this information. Thirty-six-year-old: Presently the problem is terrorists coming to India. Now because of this problem with terrorists we have to view Bangladesh with suspicion. At first this was not the case, but now terrorism is increasing. Bangladesh is now a refuge for terrorism. It is increasing and it is coming here across the border from Bangladesh.

The realization that these local communal distinctions between the populations on each side of the border match the global threat posed by terrorism resulted in a rapid reappraisal of an open and unguarded border with Bangladesh. Rather than understanding the distinctions between the two populations as merely examples of divergent cultural and religious practices, the perceived barbaric and irrational behavior of Bangladeshi Muslims is understood as an existential threat to India and other sovereign states. A sixty-six-year-old Hindu male retired

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headmaster and local politician in India sums up the concerns of borderland residents: Q: Why is India building the fence? A: The terrorists. They are making passage through Bangladesh to India. The western part of India is very secure with desert and troops but this portion is open. It is open. There is not very strong restriction against movement. They are coming to the border and crossing it. There is no natural barrier there so they are crossing the border like it is a highway.

There is a resigned acceptance that the situation changed in Bangladesh, which forced the residents of West Bengal to support the construction of the barrier and the securitization of the borderlands. The concerns about the enemy-other across the border resulted in the feeling that not only is a barrier necessary, but that it must be constructed rapidly to prevent further infiltrations inside India. The accelerated project began in 2002 and by 2011 the greater part of the border between West Bengal and Bangladesh was fenced, except in the Sundarbans, a large mangrove forest where rivers mark the border (Indian Ministry of Home Affairs 2011). A twenty-four-yearold male contractor whose company was working on long sections of the security project in West Bengal reported that his company was instructed to do whatever it took to complete the fencing project. In an interview in a border town he explains: Q: [In English] Why is the fence being built? A: The president has demanded it no matter what the cost. The fence must be finished by 2007. The main reason is terrorism. Bangladesh is the only way terrorists can enter India. If you look at Assam, ULFA get their weapons from Bangladesh. If you look at Tripura, the rebels there get their weapons from Bangladesh. If you look at West Bengal, the Naxalites get their weapons from Bangladesh. And it is not just the border areas, once a terrorist is in India they can go everywhere. Q: What religion are you? A: I am a Muslim but I am not a terrorist. India has been good for me and I am happy here.

The pervasiveness of the ‘Muslim as terrorist threat’ narrative in the daily discourse in India is evident from his need to follow up his

border fencing in india  |   71 r­ eligion with a declaration that he, himself, is not a terrorist. Although he is happy with the situation in India, many other borderland resid­ ents felt the shift in attitudes toward Muslims and worry that they are no longer seen as equal citizens of India. A forty-five-year-old Muslim male businessman in India describes the changes he experienced: ‘One type of separation already happened in the attitudes of my Hindu neighbors. Now, by making this fence, they are reinforcing it.’ Borderland residents in Bangladesh, on the other side of the previously open border, also feel this change in West Bengal. According to a sixty-year-old Muslim male local politician in Bangladesh: Q: Do you still have relationships with people in India? A: I do have connections with people there. Still when I go to India they love me. But now the situation has become bad. The problems and fears created by Laden [pointing to his long beard] keeps me from going there now. I used to go but I have not been for several years. The Taliban movement began and all these sorts of things have happened. The people of this country keep a long beard which makes them stand out in India. They may be suspicious of me and shoot me. BSF [Indian Border Security Force] is killing many people on the Bangladesh border. Because of this fear I do not go there.

The change in the atmosphere in West Bengal results in many Bangladeshis reconsidering their plans to travel to India to visit family or to look for work. The result is a hardening of the distinctions between the two places as the imagined line of the 1947 partition is practiced in the borderlands every day. Conclusion When former Indian president Abdul Kalam’s vision for a righteous India is considered in the light of the exclusionary narratives and practices that underpin the global war on terror, it appears more ominous than elegant. Although the securitization process at the Bangladesh border is substantially undermined by the many gates in the barrier and the corrupt practices of border security guards, it is still important to consider what it might mean if the barrier does eventually succeed in preventing, or greatly reducing, the number of Bangladeshi Muslims entering India. Would that alone result in the civilized and ordered society that is desired? The answer is an

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unequivocal ‘no.’ The problem is that by representing Bangladesh and Pakistan, which have Muslim-majority populations, as dangers that must be sealed off, it is inevitable that Muslims in general become marked as potential threats to the security of the state. In India, this is troubling because Muslims make up an enormous minority population of over 150 million people. The state of West Bengal alone has a population of 20 million Muslims, who are legal citizens of India. These Bengali-speaking Muslims look, dress, and speak like the Muslim residents of Bangladesh. If Bangladeshi Muslims are irrational, pre-modern, violent, and potentially evil terrorists, what does that make Bengali-speaking Muslim citizens of India? For some in India these ambiguities mean that the final solution is to eliminate Muslims completely (Simpson 2004). The forty-six-year-old Hindu male shopkeeper in India suggests this possibility: ‘I do not like terrorists. If I hear that someone is a terrorist, I think they should be shot immediately. All Muslims are not bad but many Muslims are evil. If they were all finished off it would be good.’ As communalism was subsumed into terrorism in the popular discourse in India, the internal exclusionary practices directed toward Muslims, which had been ongoing for many decades, were transformed into important security measures in the global fight against terrorism. The rapid change in sentiment about the border barrier in the West Bengal borderlands occurred with two important shifts in the  discourse of the global war on terror. The first shift was the representation of the enemy-other as not only violent but also evil and outside the boundaries of modernity. It concomitantly identified threatening places and removed their legitimacy in the modern sovereign-state system. The second shift was to reframe the threat of the enemy-other as one that is global and interconnected, rather than constrained by geo­ graphy. The framing of terrorism as a global security concern means that all modern citizens are potential targets and all sovereign states need to secure their territory to protect their citizens, regardless of their proximity to the source. In the West Bengal borderlands, these concerns are exacerbated because there is the perception that they are indeed near the source of the threat. In India, the discourse of the global war on terror was invoked to implement legislation that allows extensive surveillance of individuals suspected of terrorism, to expand security relationships with the United States, and to fence off the borders of the country. All of

border fencing in india  |   73 these contentious measures were rapidly enacted by drawing on the affective fear of a violent, irrational enemy-other (Ó Tuathail 2003; Singh 2006). It represents the consolidation of power by the state specifically through bordering practices. The incorporation of previously marginal areas into the sovereign space of the state brings it substantially closer to the nationalist vision of a coterminous nation, state, and territory. In line with Abdul Kalam’s modernist philosophy, the anomie outside India’s borders must be prevented from entering, and that which is present in India must be eliminated and replaced with a righteous, orderly, and compliant population. However, if Muslims continue to be marked as a threat to the security of the Indian state, the goal of a homogeneous, modern space is still far from being realized, which raises many disturbing questions about what sort of ‘ordering’ could happen next.

4  |  ‘Arafat is our bin Laden’: Territory and Terrorism in Israel and Palestine

Introduction On 9 August 2001 Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri, a twenty-two-yearold resident of the West Bank town of Aqaba, met Ahlam Tamimi, a twenty-year-old university student, to go to Jerusalem/al-Quds. At the Israeli checkpoint, they chatted in English. He carried a guitar case over his shoulder and she was dressed in the fashionable attire typical of a young Israeli woman. After the guards let them through, they went to a bustling neighborhood that Ahlam had scouted over the previous weeks. She had noticed specifically that the Sbarro pizzeria was always overflowing with lunch patrons and did not have a private guard at the entrance. They said goodbye and Ahlam continued on her way down the street. Izz walked inside the Sbarro, got in line, surveyed the room filled with families to make sure there were enough people, and then detonated the 5kg bomb in his guitar case. The case was also filled with nails and screws in order to inflict the most damage. The blast killed fifteen people, including seven children. The dead included five members of the Schijveschuurder family of Neria, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank: Mordechai, 43, Tzira, 41, Ra’aya, 14, Avraham Yitzhak, 4, and Hemda, 2. It injured an additional 130 people. The Sbarro attack came at the end of the summer of 2001 at the height of the Second Intifada. The intifada began in September 2000 after the failure to reach a final agreement on statehood for Pales­ tine after the Camp David meetings brokered by then US president Bill Clinton. By the summer of 2001, the intifada was almost a year old, and it was clear that it could last a long time. The Sbarro attack, specifically, came to symbolize the trepidation and hopeless despair that had settled over Israel. In the Israeli view, the attacks carried out by Islamic Jihad and Hamas – but not prevented by Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority (PA) – demonstrated why a negotiated solution with the Palestinians was impossible. From this perspective, the grisly violence was unjustified irrespective of the causes and it confirmed that the Palestinians were unpredictable and barbaric. How

israel and palestine  |   75 could Israel possibly trust Palestinians to control a government in a neighboring state? Consequently, any actions that could prevent this irrational violence were not only justified, but had to be immediately implemented. While many people in Israel object in principle to the humiliating security checkpoints and barriers in the West Bank, they nevertheless think that they bring security to Israel. In the Palestinian view, the Second Intifada exposed the violence and exclusionary practices of the Israeli state and disrupted the perception of stability in Israeli cities. A thirty-five-year-old Christian male NGO worker in Bethlehem explained his perspective [in English]: The cause of the uprising was injustice. If the Palestinians feel they are treated equally, things will change. But always the Israelis like to remind us we are under their occupation. We are not human beings. We are not equal. This is why there was an uprising. Through the negotiation between the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] and the Israelis, we did not achieve anything. We achieved more settlements, more closures, more checkpoints.

Palestinians call the creation of Israel in 1948 al-Nakba, the catastrophe. Despite the claims of many Zionists that Palestine was ‘a land without a people for a people without a land,’ the land of historic Palestine had a population that was 4 percent Jewish, 10 percent Arab Christian and 86 percent Arab Muslim in 1900 (McCarthy 1990). What it did not have was any history of being an independent, modern state. It had been part of the Ottoman Empire since the 1500s, and after World War I it was a British protectorate. This lack of status allowed for a process of dispossession as it was incorporated into the sovereign state system. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, the UN proposed a partition plan in 1947 that would give the new state of Israel 56 percent of the land and Palestine 43 percent.1 Zionist militias began to move Palestinians off the land and Palestinians took up arms in resistance (Morris 2004). Through this conflict, the Zionist militias (still not officially Israeli) were able to claim 78 percent of the land of Palestine while Jordan and Egypt were able to hold on to 22 percent in the West Bank and Gaza. In addition to this massive loss of land and the destruction of many villages, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. In the Palestinian view, however, the catastrophe

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of 1948 was only the beginning of their suffering. In 1967 Israel occupied the rest of the land in the West Bank and Gaza. In the intervening years they built over 121 official settlements in the West Bank, 100 more unofficial outposts, and twelve settlements on annexed land in East Jerusalem. Together these settlements now house almost half a million Israeli citizens (B’Tselem 2011; Halper 2009). In October 2010, there were 232km of restricted-use highways in the West Bank and ninety-nine IDF checkpoints, of which thirty-six are permanently manned. Sixty-two of the checkpoints are completely inside the West Bank between Palestinian towns (B’Tselem 2011; Halper 2009). The sixty-three unmanned checkpoints are equally insidious to the Palestinians because they are unpredictable. A trip that takes only ten minutes one day could take several hours the next. The Israeli authorities rezoned most of the land in the West Bank into forest reserves, which prevents the construction of any new homes (Braverman 2009). Twenty-four thousand landowners who defied these bans had their houses demolished by bulldozers (Halper 2009). While many people in Palestine object to the use of violence, they nevertheless accept that it is one way to bring attention to the suffering they have endured for decades. Many Palestinians supported the Second Intifada because they had lived with a sense of impending, capricious violence for over fifty years. The Sbarro bombing became a key event that is referenced in order to justify the Israeli barrier in the West Bank. Indeed, a wide shot of the aftermath of the Sbarro bombing is the first photograph on an Israeli Ministry of Defense page that explains the purpose of the ‘security fence.’ The text beside the photograph explains: The sole purpose of the Security Fence, as stated in the Israeli Government decision of July 23rd 2001, is to provide security. The Security Fence is a central component in Israel’s response to the horrific wave of terrorism emanating from the West Bank, resulting in suicide bombers who enter into Israel with the sole intention of killing innocent people. Sadly, this abhorrent phenomenon has become common practice since September 2000.

Under the Q & A section of the website it states: It should be noted that terrorism has been defined throughout the international community as a crime against humanity. As such, the State of Israel not only has the right but also the obligation to do

israel and palestine  |   77 everything in its power to lessen the impact and scope of terrorism on the citizens of Israel.2

A fact sheet on the ‘Apartheid Wall’ compiled by the Palestine Monitor (2011) paints a different picture: The 80% of the Wall is being built in the West Bank on land confiscated from Palestinians by the Israeli military … 230 km2 of the West Bank’s most fertile land … The Wall will isolate some 60,500 Palestinians living in 42 villages and towns in a closed military zone between the Wall and the Green Line. 12 villages with a total population of 31,400 Palestinians will be completely surrounded by the Wall. … The wall consolidates existing inequalities in access to water resources between Israelis and Palestinians by annexing 70 percent of the total recharge area of the Western Aquifer … [and it will] annex Israeli settlement blocs to Israel and determine the permanent borders in a way that the creation of any future, contiguous, viable Palestinian state with 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital will be irreversibly undermined.3

This chapter examines the series of events that led to the construction of the Israeli barrier in the West Bank, which began on 16 June 2002. The global discourse about terrorism allowed Israeli leaders to argue, as the Ministry of Defense website puts it, Israel ‘not only has the right but also the obligation to do everything in its power to lessen the impact and scope of terrorism’ (emphasis added). In the ten months between the 9/11 attacks in the United States and the beginning of the construction of the barrier, Israeli leaders repositioned their conflict as not simply a local territorial dispute, but also as a key front in the global conflict between evil terrorists and modern, civilized democracies. In the narrative, Arafat is the same as bin Laden, attacks in Israel are the same as attacks in America, and crucially, as a democratic member of the international community, Israel has an obligation to do everything in its power to prevent the spread of terrorism. In the process, the exclusionary and violent actions of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank were transformed into the actions of a valiant protector of freedom and democracy. Imagining state spaces Despite the official Israeli position that the security barrier should be understood only in the immediate context of terrorist attacks

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in Israel, the roots of the barrier go back to the beginnings of the Zionist movement. The nineteenth century was a period of social transformation in Europe, as sovereign states began to justify their legitimacy as the representative of a single people in a territory, instead of through the divine sovereignty of the monarch. The idea of using bounded territories to define separate areas of sovereign authority emerged in Europe in the middle of the seventeenth century, which, over time, allowed each state to gain firmer control over its territory. In the centuries that followed, languages were standardized, education systems were expanded, and state histories were written that illustrated the connections between the emergent state, its bounded territory, and its people (Anderson 1991; Brubaker 1996; Murphy 1996). The emergence of a national identity was not the expression of a long-existing ethnic reality in each territory. Instead, a series of technological, economic, and political changes came together to make it possible and desirable to identify with larger groups of people. These new citizens were often defined as ‘nations’ that shared a historical bond to a particular territory. The distinctions between former city-states were flattened out and the new state territory was represented as a homeland for the nation. Although people of Jewish heritage had often lived in these places for hundreds of years, they did not fit neatly into these newly imagined place-based categories of belonging because they traced their roots to biblical Israel, where they had only a marginal presence in the nineteenth century. The Zionist movement emerged to address this problem (Gorny 1987; Herzl 1896; Schlaim 2000). The original leaders of the movement were predominantly secular and framed ‘Jew’ as an ethnic category like the other nations that were being imagined across Europe at the time. As people of Jewish heritage felt excluded from the nations of Europe, many possible sites for a new Jewish state were discussed, including parts of Argentina and Uganda. Palestine was eventually chosen as the preferred site because it was the land where Judaism was founded and it has the majority of the religion’s holy sites. Zionist activists began laying the groundwork for establishing a Jewish state by settling people there and by pursing the diplomatic support of the great powers. Prior to World War I there were two periods of Zionist settlement in Palestine. The first Aliyah (literally the movement of Jews to biblical Israel) from 1881 to 1900 of approximately

israel and palestine  |   79 twenty thousand people corresponded with periods of emigration from eastern Europe due to a growing population and limited economic opportunities (Shafir 1989). The second Aliyah from 1904 to 1914 consisted of approximately forty thousand people, mostly from Russia, and founded the kibbutz movement that acquired larger areas of farmland and brought it under Jewish ownership (ibid.). In addition to moving people to Palestine to increase the Jewish presence, the early Zionist leaders also recognized the importance of enlisting the great powers of the time to support their cause (Schlaim 2000). After the end of World War I, Britain formally gained control of the colony of Palestine in 1923 after the Ottoman Empire was dismantled. This was a fortuitous turn of events for the Zionist movement because only a few years before, after substantial lobbying from Zionist leaders, the British government had endorsed the idea  of a Jewish homeland in Palestine in the 1917 Balfour Declaration: His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

The Zionist movement began to organize the necessary apparatus to begin a new government and accelerated the process of moving people to Palestine to buy land and establish a presence there. Although the Balfour Declaration recognizes the ‘civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine,’ even at these earliest stages the territory of Palestine was represented as essentially empty and devoid of any modern civilization. Consequently, the early Zionist settlers justified their movement to Palestine as not only an effort to establish a new homeland for Jews but also as a noble pursuit that brought civilization to the backward peoples who lived in the desert (Gregory 2004). The land was, and still is, described as not being utilized in a modern way. This meant that it was not only available, but also needed to be properly developed. As Ze’ev Jabotinsky, a leader of the right-wing faction of Zionism, put it, ‘We Jews have nothing in common with what is denoted “the East” and we thank God for that’ (quoted in Schlaim 2000: 12).

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Jabotinsky was an early critic of mainstream Zionism’s methods of diplomacy and land acquisition in Palestine. Instead, he argued in 1923 that separation through force was the only way to completely secure a Jewish homeland: Thus we conclude that we cannot promise anything to the Arabs of the Land of Israel or the Arab countries. Their voluntary agreement is out of the question. Hence those who hold that an agreement with the natives is an essential condition for Zionism can now say ‘no’ and depart from Zionism. Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. This colonization can, therefore, continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population – an iron wall which the native population cannot break through. This is, in toto, our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would only be hypocrisy. ( Jabotinsky 1923, emphasis added)

Although this was not the official policy of the Zionist movement at the time, it illustrates the early roots of the current policy of separation by force, literally with an iron wall. The exclusion of Jews in Europe only expanded through the 1920s and 1930s. The violence culminated with the ghastly events of World War II and the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were killed and millions more fled to wherever they could find refuge. The terrible events of WWII settled the question of whether there should be a separate homeland for Jewish populations and the preparations for a Jewish state in Palestine were intensified. The only thing left to decide was the size and demographics of the new Jewish state. In the aftermath of WWII, the newly established United Nations, which included only fifty-seven countries at the time,4 proposed a partition plan for Palestine in order to create a homeland for Jews. Although the Jewish population in Palestine by then made up only about one third of the population, the partition plan counted expected refugees from Europe and proposed 56 percent of the territory for the new Israeli state. The final tally for the plan was thirty-three votes for; thirteen votes against; ten abstentions; and one absence. All ten predominantly Muslim countries voted against the partition along with Cuba, Greece, and India. The Arab League and many people in Palestine opposed the decision, took up arms to prevent it, and


Red Sea




Mediterranean Sea


UN Admin. km 160

Red Sea

Hebron Be’er Sheva

The West Bank and Gaza


Dead Sea

Arab State


Be’er Sheva




Lebanon Haifa

Tel Aviv

map 4.1b 1949 armistice boundaries (Green Line)






Jewish State


Mediterranean Sea

Tel Aviv

map 4.1a 1947 UN partition plan for Palestine




Dead Sea


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al-Nakba followed. The new state of Israel, on 78 percent of Palestine, was recognized by many governments around the world and became a member of the United Nations in 1949. Enclosing a Jewish space … The themes of modernization and development that imbued the early Zionist movement hid the dramatic reimagining and repurposing of the land that began with early Aliyahs, accelerated after the Balfour Declaration, and continue through the present day. Fields (2010), whose work focuses on the post-1967 occupation of the West Bank, argues that the goal is to reimagine the land as something completely different from its current use. He views the Israeli practices in Palestine as following the model of the enclosure movement in England in the 1700s and the western expansion of the United States in the late 1800s. In all three cases, dominant groups encounter other people when they move into a new area but the former eventually succeed in dispossessing these other people and installing themselves as owners and stewards of the land. In addition to overt force, the practices of dispossession and taking control of the land consist of two elements: a legal element that redefines property rights and imposes a different structure of sovereignty on territory by reorganizing systems of ownership, use, and circulation on the land; and architectural elements that communicate and reinforce the new legalities of property while recasting the land’s physical contours. Enclosure is thus the application of force to land by groups with territorial ambitions who mobilize the institutional power of law and the material power of architecture to reorder patterns of land ownership, use, and circulation and reorganize socioeconomic life and demography in a place. (Fields 2010: 66, emphasis in original)

Not only do these practices attempt to redefine who belongs in the landscape, the coercive force is often couched in a language of development, of improving the land and making it modern, civilized and productive, mirroring the language of colonialism and the early period of the Zionist movement (ibid.). The modernization narrative is still powerful in the present day and played a decisive role in the justifications for the West Bank barrier as part of the global war on terror. As a fifty-year-old Jewish male tour guide in Israel explained

israel and palestine  |   83 in an interview: ‘Technically, Israel is in Asia, but we think of it as really being part of Europe. We see ourselves as part of the West.’ After the creation of the Israeli state, there was a large influx of immigrants from Europe with over two million people arriving by 1958. The Israeli government worked quickly to create the necessary state apparatus to govern the territory, as well as the military apparatus to prevent the anticipated attack from neighboring states. The territory of Israel was, and continues to be, transformed into a Jewish space as roads were renamed, towns established, crops planted, and, in the process, most traces of Palestinian Arab life removed from the landscape (Braverman 2009; Falah 1996). During the 1948 war, hundreds of thousands of people were forced from their villages, almost completely emptying the land of its former inhabitants. ‘Yet the 1948 war did not end this process,’ as Falah (1996: 257–8) argues: ‘Mindful of the centrality of control of the land, landscape and its meaning for political hegemony, Israeli authorities pursued a strategy which, by removing the past cultural traces of other peoples from the landscape, undercut and weakened Palestinian claims to this territory, i.e., a strategy of “de-signification.”’ Walid Khalidi (1992) and Salman abu-Sitta (1998) documented hundreds of villages that disappeared in the years after the war. Many were totally destroyed, while in others the rubble was still visible. Falah (1996) also demonstrates that many religious sites were also destroyed or damaged both during the war and in the years after, as the landscape was reimagined as an Israeli Jewish space. During this era between 1948 and 1967, the religious and secular justifications of Zionism continued to compete to define the purpose and future of the state of Israel. The Six-Day War in 1967 proved a decisive moment in two registers. First, in less than a week Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, gaining full control over the entire biblical land of Israel, as well as the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt and the Golan Heights from Syria. This military success signaled that Israel was the dominant state in the region, and it gave Israel complete control over the city of Jerusalem. Secondly, this success shifted Zionism towards the religious connotation as the discourse was imbued with the notion that God wanted Israel to control all of the land (Halper 2009; Newman 2010). When seen in this light, the actions of the Israeli government from the early 1970s are understandable. There was internal pressure to



Jordan Egypt

Tulkarem Nablus

Qalqilya Alfei Menashe



Modi’in Illit


Israeli settlements Area A Area B Area C Planned barrier route Completed barrier

Ma’ale Adumim

Jerusalem Gush Etzion


1949 Armistice Line (Green Line)

map 4.2 The West Bank

Hebron Dead Sea





Note: The map depicts the West Bank, including Areas A, B, and C of the 1994 Oslo Accords, larger Israeli settlements, and the completed and planned route of the barrier

israel and palestine  |   85 hold onto as much of this newly acquired land as possible and the government came to believe that its neighboring states did not want to recognize Israel, regardless of what territory it possessed. While maintaining a public position of a negotiated peace – as democracies and United Nations members are obligated to do – the government pursued an aggressive territorial strategy of control that aimed to fragment and displace the remaining Arab populations in Palestine by systematically ‘Judaizing’ the land (Yiftachel 2006). Once the West Bank was under the military control of Israel, the Judaizing practices were delegated to civilian agencies whose bureaucratic decisions facilitated the process of reimagining it as a Jewish space (Fields 2010; Weizman 2007). Over time, large sections of the West Bank were enclosed through legal and architectural mechanisms as Israeli territorialization occurred through a simultaneous Palestinian deterritorialization (Gregory 2004). This process included the settlement movement, the construction of Israeli-only roads, the establishment of checkpoints, the creation of nature reserves that prevented Palestinian construction, and the demolition of houses when people defied these regulations. The 1993 Oslo Accords were hailed at the time as recognizing the Palestinian right to some of the land in the West Bank and as establishing Palestinian control and administration. However, in practice the accords further institutionalized the fragmentation of the West Bank. The accords divided the West Bank into three zones of administration. Area A is administered and controlled by the Palestinian Authority and consists of the West Bank cities (18 percent of land, 55 percent of the population). In Area B security is controlled by Israel but it is administered by the Palestinian Authority and consists of less densely populated rural areas (21 percent of land, 41 percent of the population). Area C is the remaining rural areas, the Israeli settlements, East Jerusalem, corridors around the new road networks, and the nature reserves (61 percent of land, 4 percent of the population) (United Nations 2010). In Area C, Israel controls both security and administration and prevents Palestinian construction while simultaneously building its own settlements and roads. In order to further demonstrate that the West Bank is the historical territory of Jews, archeological and cultural sites were located, recognized, and protected by the Israeli government (El-Haj 2004). In February 2010, the Israeli government added two prominent sites

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in the West Bank, the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, known in the West Bank as the Ibrahimi mosque, and Rachel’s Tomb, near Bethlehem, to its list of protected heritage sites. The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, announced the decision at a cabinet meeting: Our existence here in our country depends not only on the strength of the IDF and our economic and technological might. It is anchored, first and foremost, in our national and emotional legacy, which we instill in our youth and in the coming generations. It depends on cultural heroes and national symbols. It depends on our ability to recognize and explain the justice of our cause, and to underscore our links to the Land, first and foremost, to ourselves as well as to others. (Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2010a, emphasis added)

A few days later, after there was Palestinian and international criticism of the decision, Netanyahu explained his position more thoroughly: It could be that some elements in the international system mistakenly think that this is a diplomatic decision, a political decision. In fact, it is neither a diplomatic decision nor a political decision. It will not change anything in this sense. It seeks to preserve heritage and this heritage has existed with us for close to 4,000 years. We are not determining anything new. The patriarchs of the Jewish people, our forefathers, are buried there. This is an existing fact. We will not decide otherwise and it is absurd to think so. (Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2010b)

The apparent purpose of all of these tactics in the West Bank is to create new facts on the ground that Judaize the land and change the parameters of the final negotiations. Each different site – the settlements, the roads, the zoning laws, the checkpoints, and the heritage sites – becomes a node on the map that marks a Jewish presence and resignifies the landscape. Nevertheless, they are still disconnected. Without a line marking the edges of each territory, the various nodes result in multiple, fragmented, and disparate claims to authority. … with an iron wall The most efficient way to claim territory is to establish a boundary between two separate areas (Sack 1986). By marking a line on a map

israel and palestine  |   87 and then building a barrier, the abstract claim is territorialized and becomes an unambiguous fact on the ground. In Israel, the mental map of the nation was still inchoate and it was not clear how or whether the West Bank would be part of the territorial imaginary (Winichakul 1994). The idea of building a barrier to provide security was first broached in the 1990s. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was an advocate of the separation of Israelis and Palestinians based on clear borders, formally proposed the idea of a barrier in a nationally televised speech in January 1995. Rabin’s idea was that the only way to ensure peace was to disengage from the Palestinians and create separate territories, as was already occurring in Gaza based on the Oslo Accords (Kacowicz 2004). Part of this plan included a few short barriers to prevent movement in particularly sensitive areas of the West Bank, but he did not envision, at least publicly, a complete enclosure. Nevertheless, even these proposals were opposed by many different groups with divergent interests in both the West Bank and Israel. The PLO, and later the Palestinian Authority, opposed constructing a barrier because it was seen as an attempt to formalize territorial claims. Ariel Sharon and ‘greater Israel groups’ opposed the barrier because they argued Israel should include all of the West Bank (Fletcher 1995). These organizations saw a barrier as the formal recognition of the right of Palestinians to some of the territory, a step they vehemently resisted. Owing to the exclusionary stigmas associated with fences and walls at the time, it was also opposed by Shimon Peres, then the leader of the Labor Party, and other liberal groups that were in favor of integration. Rabin was assassinated in 1995 and the plans for even a few fences in the West Bank were shelved by the Likud party because it favored the expansion of settlements based on the greater Israel idea. Ehud Barak, who pursued a resolution to the conflict based on separation, revived the idea of a barrier prior to the  Camp David meetings in the summer of 2000, but he was in power only for eighteen months and was severely weakened politically by the failure of the Camp David talks. The violence of the Second Intifada, however, put the idea of a barrier at the center of the agenda. The current barrier project was first approved by the Defense Cabinet on 16 July 2001, ten months after the beginning of the intifada. The initial proposal was similar to Rabin’s idea of short sections of fencing that totaled 80km in

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three strategic areas near Um el Fahem, Tulkarem, and Jerusalem/ al-Quds. Nevertheless, this initial plan was resisted and did not result in the construction of any barriers. Furthermore, Ariel Sharon, who was prime minister at the time and whose career was devoted to supporting the settlement movement, was still reluctant to consider a barrier (Kershner 2005). Terrorism is terrorism. Period Despite his continuing doubts about the barrier project in the summer of 2001, Ariel Sharon was not reluctant to paint Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority as motivated by terrorism. In a July 2001 speech Sharon described Arafat as ‘our bin Laden,’ a phrase he would repeat many times over the following months, including in a face-to-face meeting with US Secretary of State Colin Powell (Sheehy 2001). He continuously made the point that although the attacks of the Second Intifada were carried out by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, they were allowed by Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. Foreshadowing the language of George W. Bush only a few months later, Sharon was eager to remove any distinction between terrorists and the people who harbor them. During the critical eleven-month period between the initial barrier proposal in July 2001 until the actual barrier was begun in June 2002, the government of Ariel Sharon used the global reaction to the 9/11 attacks in the United States to reposition Israeli policies towards the Palestinians as the actions of a civilized country protecting itself against violent and uncivilized terrorists. On 10 August 2001, the day after the Sbarro bombing, the I­sraeli Defense Force (IDF) occupied and shut down the Palestinian Authority (PA) police headquarters. The Israeli government press release stated that ‘Due to the fact that the PA utilizes its security apparatus to dispatch militants to conduct terrorist operations, and is doing nothing to prevent the continued terrorism, it was decided to take control of the compound and to remove the PA security apparatus offices’ (Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2001). In late August 2001, the IDF made its first formal incursion into Palestinian Authoritycontrolled territories in Area A and stayed there for two days. The Israeli population was alarmed by the continued attacks within Israel and the government expanded its response by seizing Palestinian Authority buildings and assets – but with increased skepticism around the world.

israel and palestine  |   89 It was against this backdrop that the events of 9/11 occurred in the United States. The Israeli government response was immediate. In his first public statement only hours after the attacks, Sharon (2001a) said: On behalf of the people of Israel, I wish to send our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathy to the American people, President Bush and the entire United States government, following the terrorist attacks against the United States and against our common values. The fight against terror is an international struggle of the free world against the forces of darkness who seek to destroy our liberty and our way of life.

While the statement makes the obligatory expressions of condolences and support for the United States and its people, it also simultaneously scales up the events in the United States to an attack on ‘our common values.’ Not only was it an attack on the United States, but also an example of the attempt by ‘the forces of darkness’ to ‘destroy our liberty and our way of life.’ The use of the word ‘our’ in these sentences is crucial, because it already begins to equate the experiences of Israelis and Americans. By 16 September 2001, when Sharon (2001b) delivered a speech to the Knesset, these themes were honed: Last week, the empire of terrorism struck at the heart of our courageous friend, the greatest democracy on earth – the United States of America. We have assembled here today in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, the capital of the only democracy in the Middle East, in order to bow our heads in sorrow and deep mourning over the deaths of innocent citizens in New York and Washington, of the innocent passengers whose lives were cut short for no reason on their part – by criminal terrorists of the worst kind that the world has known since World War II, and even beyond.

­ his first paragraph of the speech quickly establishes the black-andT white clarity of the war on terror. It is a conflict between the ‘empire of terror’ – a phrase that emphasizes the connections between different terrorist organizations as well as their strength – and the free and democratic world. The United States is ‘the greatest democracy on earth’ and Israel is the ‘only democracy in the Middle East.’ Finally, the terrorist attack is given the historical comparison of World War II, the last time evil was visible in the world.

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The speech continues: The issue of terrorism – to my regret – is not new to us. The State of Israel has been fighting Arab, Palestinian and Islamic fundamentalist terrorism for over 120 years.5 Thousands of Jews have been murdered in terrorist attacks; Arab terrorism has left thousands of widows and tens of thousands of orphans. The pain of the bereaved American people is familiar to us – very familiar to us. The war against terrorism must be an international war, a war by a coalition of the free world against the forces of terrorism and all those who believe that they can threaten freedom and our values. This is a war between good and evil – between humanity and those who thirst for blood. The way of the wicked will be defeated, the way of those who profess evil will not prosper. The way of the righteous, the humane and the free, will be victorious. (Ibid.)

This paragraph begins to link the Palestinians to Islamic terrorism and situate Israel in the ‘coalition of the free world.’ The second sentence links ‘Arab, Palestinian, and Islamic fundamentalist terrorism’ as a single threat that must be countered by an ‘international war’ against terrorism because it puts ‘freedom and our values’ at risk. Then the binary of good and evil, wicked and righteous, humanity and the bloodthirsty, is reiterated. Israel is described as the lone outpost in the Middle East of the ideals of democracy and freedom that are at risk. In the remainder of the speech, Sharon (ibid.) solidifies the connection of Israel to the side of civilization and the Palestinians to the evil terrorists: We know this. We have been in this war for many years. We were not surprised by Arab, Palestinian and radical Islamic terrorism. Arafat chose a strategy of terrorism and established a coalition of terrorism. Terrorist actions against Israeli citizens are no different from Bin-Laden’s terrorism against American citizens. Terrorism is terrorism and murder is murder. … I congratulate President George W. Bush on his decision to create a coalition against terrorism. This coalition must fight against all terrorist organizations, including those belonging to Arafat: the Presidential Guard, Force 17, parts of Arafat’s security services that are collaborating in terrorism, the Tanzim and Fatah, who are causing a great part of our losses, as well as their partners to Arafat’s coalition of terrorists

israel and palestine  |   91 – the Islamic Jihad and Hamas, Hizbullah and the PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine]. … I – the Prime Minister of Israel, a free and democratic state – stand here, and in the name of all the decent and free people of the world I stand here and oppose all the forces of evil that have brought about the rising wave of terrorism that threatens the foundations of human society.

Sharon’s concluding passages validate the claim he made throughout the summer of 2001, that terrorism is the same everywhere and Arafat is the same as bin Laden. Sharon supports the American-led coalition against terrorism, but emphasizes that it ‘must fight against all terrorist organizations,’ including Arafat’s Palestinian Authority and the other Palestinian groups. The purpose of the speech is to demonstrate that the conflict in Palestine should be a front line in the global fight of the free and democratic world against the forces of darkness, not simply a local territorial dispute. These remarks remove the local context of the conflict about dispossession, occupation, and territory, and place the focus only on the violence directed against Israel. For Sharon, the only issue is terrorism. In the fall of 2001, while international attention was on the United States after 9/11 and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan, the Israeli government worked extensively to link most Palestinian groups to the emerging global war on terror. The Israeli government wanted to have Palestinian groups included on these lists because it would give them the moral justification for a violent crackdown, or whatever other means were necessary to protect democracy from the scourge of terrorism. From the outset, Sharon emphasized that Israel was committed to the peace process and eventually finding a two-state solution with the Palestinian people, thus maintaining the position that Israel is a peaceful and democratic state. On 24 September, he reiterated that ‘We are not fighting the Palestinians, we are fighting terror’ (Doughty 2001: 6). On 3 October the Israeli cabinet released a communiqué (Israeli Cabinet Secretariat 2001b) that urged the United States government, and the international community, to include Palestinian groups as terrorist organizations in the global war on terror. The document states that ‘The government calls on the US and the international community to declare Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah as terrorist organizations against which immediate action must be taken.’ These overtures publicly received a cold response

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from the United States, at least initially. The Bush administration was building a coalition against al-Qaeda with as many Arab governments as possible and the aggressive Israeli tactics were perceived as hindering that effort (Gregory 2004). However, once the Taliban was defeated by late 2001, the tone shifted. In November 2001, the US government acquiesced to these requests by freezing the assets of Hamas and Islamic Jihad (Zacharia 2001). David Satterfield, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, went even further in his comments after the announcement by explicitly endorsing the Israeli position that those who harbor terrorists are no different than terrorists. He stated that ‘Israelis, because of Arafat’s failure to act against such organizations, no longer perceive Arafat as a peace partner, but as a terrorist’ (ibid.). In December 2001, after their success in adding Hamas and Islamic Jihad to the list of terrorist organizations, and building on Satterfield’s statements, the Israeli cabinet released another communiqué (Israeli Cabinet Secretariat 2001c) that labeled the Palestinian Authority itself a ‘terrorist organization.’ The communiqué stated that ‘the Government has determined that the Palestinian Authority is an entity that supports terrorism, and must be dealt with accordingly … the government hereby declares that the Tanzim and Force 17 [Presidential Guard] are terrorist organizations, and will be acted against accordingly … in the framework of the war on terrorism.’ By the three-month anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the United States, the reframing of the Palestinians as terrorists who are no different from bin Laden – which Sharon had been attempting to do well before 9/11, but without success – was finally complete. Sharon marked the three-month anniversary with a unity rally that was ­attended by the US ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer, and US Special Envoy Anthony Zinni, whose job was to negotiate a solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. Sharon’s speech continues to draw on the theme of a united war of the free and democratic world against the forces of darkness that attempt to disrupt that system: Today, at this hour three months ago on September 11th the clock of history came to a standstill at the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. The forces of terror and evil have taken the lives of thousands of innocent people, through mass

israel and palestine  |   93 destruction on an unprecedented scale. But they will fail to break the spirit of freedom, life and democracy which America has always projected to the world, and which will continue to shine even in hours of darkness. During those moments, the people of Israel, indeed the entire civilized world, felt these attacks were directed at every human being who believes in freedom and democracy. (Sharon 2001c)

The speech begins by reiterating that the violence on 9/11 was not just an attack on America, but on ‘the people of Israel’ and ‘the entire civilized world.’ The speech argues that the attacks will be scaled up to an attack on the concepts of freedom and democracy, not the country of the United States: Three months have passed. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are no longer evident – now we all have to fight for these values and defend them – in the United States, in Israel, in every corner of the globe where the forces of terrorism launch death and destruction. […] We stand with you America, and we applaud President George W. Bush whose leadership, courage and determination in leading this struggle against terrorism has inspired us all. After September 11th President Bush has indeed become the President of the Free World, and the leader of the forces of freedom and democracy everywhere. We are all grateful for that. America, we are with you, because the struggle against terrorism is also our struggle. We have been facing it for many years. (Ibid.)

The speech describes Israel as a member of the free and democratic world and an equal target of the ‘forces of terrorism.’ America’s struggle against terrorism is, according to Sharon, ‘our struggle.’ By the beginning of 2002, the discursive work was complete. Terrorism was terrorism, no matter where it was occurring. Hamas and Islamic Jihad were recognized as terrorist groups and the Palestinian Authority was equally culpable for harboring them. Israel, as a free and democratic society and a member of the international community, had the obligation as part of the global war on terrorism to aggressively prevent terrorist activity in its territory. Building the barrier In the West Bank, many people believe that the barrier was planned all along. As a forty-seven-year-old Christian male program officer at

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an NGO in Bethlehem explains: ‘The wall is about taking as much land as possible. They have planned it for many years and they saw their chance. It was the best time for them to take as much as they could.’ Although in hindsight it does appear that these various steps led inexorably towards the separation barrier, this view is teleological. Instead, building the barrier is the logical outcome of the effort to connect Israeli policies in the West Bank to the global war on terror and there were some crucial shifts in the Israeli government position in the first few months of 2002 that led to its rapid construction. The first was the recognition that there would never be a better time to act aggressively against the Palestinians. Sharon and his government had successfully linked the Palestinians to the global war on terror and there was now at least tacit acceptance, if not outright support, for Israel defending itself against Palestinian ‘terrorism.’ Secondly, Sharon, a lifelong supporter of settlements in the West Bank and the greater Israel position, came to the realization that demographic and international political problems would never allow that dream to come into being. In 2010, in the entire territory of former British Mandate Palestine, there were approximately 5.8 million Jewish Israelis and 5.6 million Arab Palestinians (1.5 million are Israeli citizens) (Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics 2010; US Census Bureau 2011). There were also an additional 3 million registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon (United Nations 2007). The substantial differences in fertility rates between Palestinian and Israeli populations suggest that in the future the Jewish percentage of the population will decline. Therefore, even if Israel could maintain control over all of the West Bank, it would not be a Jewish state, particularly if refugees are given the right to return. In a speech in 2005, Sharon explained the logic behind his disengagement policies: ‘The future of the Jewish people depends on the nature of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state … In this spirit we initiated the disengagement plan … That would secure the Jewish majority in the land of Israel’ (quoted in Benn 2005). With hundreds of thousands of settlers already living in the West Bank on some of the prime agricultural land and watersheds, and with a ring of settlements around Jerusalem/al-Quds, it was time to finalize the claims to these places. When 142 people were killed in attacks inside Israel during the month of March 2002, the stage was set. Israeli citizens were still living under a feeling of foreboding generated by the Second Intifada.

israel and palestine  |   95 The Israeli government had weakened and isolated Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to the point that they could claim there was no partner for peace negotiations. The international community recognized the need to prevent terrorism, and the precedent for aggressive intervention was set by the American invasion in Afghanistan. In April, the stalled July 2001 plan for three limited barriers was scrapped and the project was transferred to the Israeli Ministry of Defense, which was tasked with devising a route that included as many Israeli citizens as possible, with improving security as the primary objective. Unencumbered by domestic or international resistance, the new plan included a 700km continuous barrier with 80 percent to be built inside the West Bank. By May 2002 the violence had taken its toll and polls showed that 70 percent of Israeli Jews supported a separation barrier (Goodspeed 2002). The new expanded plan for the enclosure of the West Bank was approved by the cabinet in June 2002 and construction began that same month. By November 2007, 510km were completed despite multiple UN resolutions that condemned the barrier, a 2004 International Court of Justice advisory opinion that declared the barrier illegal, and many petitions to the Israeli High Court. In 2009, the only remaining gaps were where the barrier goes deep into the West Bank in order to include large Israeli settlements in Ma’ale Adumim, Gush Etzion, and Ariel/Kedumim (Lazaroff 2009). The barrier itself is a mix of concrete walls in urban areas and barbed-wire fences in rural areas. The concrete walls are 8 meters tall – or more than double the height of the Berlin Wall – and make up 6 percent of the total length. The remainder consists of a complex of barbed wire stacked in pyramids, smoothed dirt to capture footprints, patrol roads, and a high-tech intrusion-detection fence (Israeli Ministry of Defense 2007). The barrier costs 2 million USD per kilometer to build (Kershner 2005). The greater part of the route mirrors the Green Line of the pre-1967 armistice between Israel and Jordan, but predominantly runs on the West Bank side of the line. All of the land between the barrier and the Green Line is a special military zone called the seam zone and is accessible only by permit. The barrier also regularly loops farther into the West Bank to incorporate Israeli settlements that were built over the past thirty-five years. In the areas where the route does go deeper into the West Bank, the Israeli government argues it is necessary for security. This

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is a circular argument, however, because if these settlements had not been built there, they would not be vulnerable to attack. In practice, then, the route of the barrier formalizes these settlements as part of Israel proper and annexes them into the Israeli state. The route of the barrier devastated farmers whose land lies on the other side. A Muslim male landowner and former political leader in Jayyous describes his frustration: At first they told us the wall was only for protection – a security wall. But how? The rockets can come from country to country over a wall. There is no way it will protect them. How can this wall protect either the Palestinians or the Israelis? We are together. We are on the same land. After they established the wall, they started to say it was a separation wall not a security wall. After they complete it. When they say, a separation wall, it is just to separate part from part. We have the documents for all the lands, for us from our grandfathers. I say to the Israelis, if you have a document that says the land is for you, then you can take it. But we have the documents, so it should go to us. I have told the soldiers many times, if you want to take my land, to just take my soul too. I told them, just shoot me because taking my land is like taking my soul. It is the same thing. At least then my blood would flow into the land where it belongs.

Although the Israeli government succeeded in getting the United States to include Palestinian groups in the global war on terror, they were less successful in the broader international community, as is evidenced by multiple resolutions condemning the barrier at the United Nations. These resolutions in the General Assembly have few consequences because the United States vetoes any binding resolutions regarding Israel in the Security Council, as it has done over forty times since the 1970s. The United States vetoed the Security Council resolution condemning the security barrier on 15 October 2003 (United Nations 2003a). Nevertheless, votes in the UN General Assembly, where there is no veto power, illustrate the broad-based criticism of the barrier. After the failure of the Security Council to act, the General Assembly passed a non-binding resolution in October 2003 demanding that Israel ‘stop and reverse’ the construction of the barrier. The vote was 144 in favor and 4 opposed (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, and the

israel and palestine  |   97 United States) with 12 abstentions. The text was introduced by Italy with the backing of the European Union. It expressed concern that ‘the route marked out for the wall under construction by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, could prejudice future negotiations and make the twoState solution physically impossible to implement and would cause further humanitarian hardship to the Palestinians’ (United Nations 2003b). The Israeli representative to the UN called it a ‘humiliating farce’ and reiterated the position that security against terrorism was the first priority of Israel. With the UN itself a dead end owing to the United States’ veto power, opponents of the barrier in the General Assembly requested an advisory opinion on the security barrier from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in December 2003. The ICJ was established by the Charter of the UN in 1945 to settle disputes between states according to international law and to provide advisory opinions to other parts of the United Nations. In July 2004, the ICJ concluded by a vote of 14–1 that the construction of the barrier was contrary to international law, that Israel was obligated to stop building the barrier and to begin dismantling it, and that it was obligated to make reparations to those affected by the construction. The ICJ press release (International Court of Justice 2004) explains what the court sees as the consequences of Israel’s actions: Recalling that the Security Council described Israel’s policy of establishing settlements in that territory as a ‘flagrant violation’ of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Court finds that those settlements have been established in breach of international law. It further considers certain fears expressed to it that the route of the wall will prejudge the future frontier between Israel and Palestine; it considers that the construction of the wall and its associated régime ‘create a “fait accompli” on the ground that could well become permanent, in which case, … [the construction of the wall] would be tantamount to de facto annexation.’

The Israeli response to the opinion was to dismiss it completely. A report on the ‘anti-terror fence’ by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2004b: 1) calls the ruling ‘regrettable’ and says that it was ‘initiated by those who support terrorism.’ Binyamin Netanyahu (2004) wrote in an op-ed in the New York Times that while the ruling ‘may

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be cheered by the terrorists who would kill Israeli civilians, it does not change the fact that none of the arguments against the security fence have any merit.’ Despite these critiques of the barrier that point to a long-term process of claiming land and displacing people, the Israeli government makes three central arguments to justify the construction of the barrier (Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2004a). First, it argues that it is a fundamental right of a state to protect its citizens by providing security and any actions that further these goals are justified. Article 51 of the United Nations Charter (1985) recognizes the right of self-defense, stating that ‘Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.’ Article 2 recognizes the sovereign equality of members and their territorial integrity, which means that the UN should not ‘intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.’ Therefore, Israel has the right as a recognized sovereign state to do whatever is necessary within its recognized territory to protect its citizens from an armed attack. If the barrier were built only on the Israeli side of the 1948 borders, as was the case around the Gaza Strip, then the barrier would be completely legal. The problem with the security barrier is that over 80 percent of it is not built within Israel’s territory, but rather in occupied land (International Court of Justice 2004). Secondly, the Israeli government argues that terrorism alone created the barrier and the route is designed to optimize security, not to claim territory, irrespective of the broader impacts on the lives of civilians. This is based on the dehumanizing themes of the discourse of the war on terror that represent the enemy as evil, violent, and not part of the modern world. In this logic, the Palestinians can endure hardships because in their midst are evil, irrational people that want only to kill. In his 2004 op-ed Netanyahu dwells on this point to justify the barrier: ‘Quality of life is always amenable to improvement. Death is permanent. The Palestinians complain that their children are late to school because of the fence. But too many of our children never get to school – they are blown to pieces by terrorists who pass into Israel where there is still no fence.’ This framing is powerful in its imagery, but in terms of sheer numbers, inaccurate. By any measure, more Palestinians have been killed by Israelis than Israelis killed by

israel and palestine  |   99 Palestinians (B’Tselem 2011). Furthermore, even the Israeli Supreme Court recognized that proportionality has to be considered even as security is the primary factor (Israeli High Court of Justice 2004). The final argument is that the barrier is a temporary measure that was necessary only because of the immediate risk of terrorism, and that it can be removed as soon as there is a peaceful, negotiated solution to the conflict. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs report on the barrier explains this position: Since the fence is being built as a security response to terrorism, it will serve no further purpose when the terrorism ceases. The anti-terrorist fence is not meant to be a border. The border will be determined in the future, through political negotiations between the sides, which can only reconvene after the terrorism has ceased. (Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2004b: 3)

In his 2004 op-ed, Netanyahu argues that the temporary nature of the barrier was demonstrated after several sections were rerouted based on rulings by the Israeli High Court. Furthermore, he argues that ‘if that peace proves genuine and lasting, there will be no reason for a fence at all.’ Netanyahu became the prime minister of Israel in early 2009 and moved away from this promise. In a speech to the Knesset he argued for maintaining the barrier despite the current stability: ‘I hear they are saying today that because it’s quiet, it’s possible to take down the fence. My friends, the opposite is true … It’s quiet because a fence exists’ (Haaretz 2009). Consequently, the temporary barrier is becoming the permanent border between Israel and the still-unrecognized fragments of Palestine.6 Conclusion By 2004, despite the growing international pressure on Israel, domestic public opinion had swung dramatically in favor of the barrier, mostly based on the obvious decline in attacks inside Israel. A 2004 poll indicated that 84 percent of Israeli Jews favored its continued construction (Halper 2009). Additionally, although the United States was initially wary of the barrier because it favored a negotiated solution with the new Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, by early 2004 the Bush administration publicly supported the construction of the barrier. In a letter to Ariel Sharon, George W. Bush wrote:

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The Palestinian leadership must act decisively against terror, including sustained, targeted, and effective operations to stop terrorism and dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. … Israel will retain its right to defend itself against terrorism, including to take actions against terrorist organizations. … The United States is strongly committed to Israel’s security and wellbeing as a Jewish state. … In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations [sic] centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949. … your government has stated that the barrier being erected by Israel should be a security rather than political barrier, should be temporary rather than permanent, and therefore not prejudice any final status issues including final borders, and its route should take into account, consistent with security needs, its impact on Palestinians not engaged in terrorist activities. (Bush 2004)

With this letter, the United States formally endorsed all of the key arguments the Israelis had made to justify constructing the barrier. Additionally, the mention of ‘new realities on the ground’ and ‘existing population centers’ provides unambiguous support for the eventual incorporation of the major Israeli settlements into the finalized Israeli state. Israel used this to justify expanding settlement construction in these specific zones (Kessler 2008). Ehud Olmert, who followed Sharon as prime minister, explained the consequences of this letter in a 2008 interview with the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth: It was clear from day one to Abbas, Rice and Bush that construction would continue in population concentrations – the areas mentioned in Bush’s 2004 letter. I say this again today: Beitar Illit will be built, Gush Etzion will be built; there will be construction in Pisgat Ze’ev and in the Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem. It’s clear that these areas will remain under Israeli control in any future settlement. (Quoted in ibid.)

With two-thirds of the barrier already completed, the US government supporting the ‘temporary’ barrier and providing veto protection at the UN, and broad support in Israeli society, the barrier was a fait accompli by 2004, as the ICJ advisory opinion suggested. The barrier is a compelling example of the use of boundaries to

israel and palestine  |   101 claim authority over territory, which formalizes the Judaization of the land by defining the geo-body of the Israeli ‘nation.’ The construction of the barrier is also tied to the discourse of the global war on terror. The idea of a limited barrier was discussed and even approved prior to the emergence of the global war on terror in the fall of 2001. However, construction did not begin and the project did not have broad support. After 9/11, the Israeli government repositioned the territorial conflict over occupied land in the West Bank as part of the global war on terror by removing any context from Palestinian actions and suggesting that Palestinians were terrorists who were no different from terrorists in other places in the world. As a result, if terrorism is evil regardless of the cause, any actions that prevent it are justifiable regardless of the cost. Ariel Sharon and the Israeli government recognized that the political winds would never be as favorable as they were after 9/11. After decades of constructing settlements in the West Bank, it was the moment to formalize as many of those claims as possible. Despite the rhetoric that describes it as a temporary barrier that was necessary only to protect Israeli citizens from terrorism during the Second Intifada, the barrier is better understood as the culmination of a century-long process of reimagining the territory of Palestine as a Jewish space. The barrier formalizes a new set of facts on the ground that will shape any future negotiations regarding the boundaries of Israel and Palestine.

5 | Building Up, Rippling Out: Enforcement Practices at the US–Mexican Border

Introduction: commutations In the waning days of his presidency, George W. Bush was under pressure to provide blanket pardons to a range of people who were involved in the harsh tactics of the global war on terror. Some pundits theorized that he would pardon CIA interrogators; others thought he might pardon the lawyers who wrote memos justifying expanded presidential authority. Nevertheless, in his final days in office, he granted commutations only to two Border Patrol agents who shot an unarmed drug smuggler in broad daylight while he was fleeing into Mexico near El Paso, Texas, in 2005. For many people who did not frequently watch cable news in the United States in 2007 and 2008, the agents were unknown. However, anyone who tuned in to Lou Dobbs’ show on CNN or several programs on Fox News knew José Compeán and Ignacio Ramos well. Lou Dobbs alone had presented over one hundred segments about the two agents. In Dobbs’ version, the men were outstanding agents who were doing their duty to protect America from illegal immigrants, drug smugglers, and terrorists. During a high-speed chase, the suspect, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, crashed a van with over 315 kilograms (700 pounds) of marijuana. He fought with the agents, and then ran for the border brandishing a gun. The agents shot him in self-defense, then were prosecuted based on false testimony by soft-on-crime officials, who perhaps had a secret deal with the Mexican government (Collof 2007). The cable news coverage, which began over a year after the incident and after the two agents were tried and convicted by a jury, prompted hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007. The theme of these hearings was that the agents were dealing with a bad man and they were simply doing their job. Indeed, Aldrete-Davila was later arrested again for drug smuggling. Furthermore, the border is perceived as a dangerous place where force is necessary to protect US citizens from a wide range of threats. During the hearing, Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein asked: ‘Any drug dealer on the border who doesn’t obey a command and runs cannot be shot?’ The former Chief

the us–mexican border  |   103 Patrol Agent from the El Paso sector indicated they could not. She responded incredulously, ‘No wonder so [many] drugs are coming across the border. It is amazing to me’ (US Senate Committee on the Judiciary 2007: 20). The implication of these hearings and the media storm is that these politicians and commentators believe the Border Patrol should already have the authority to shoot anyone in the border areas whom they determine to be a threat, regardless of the reason for the suspicion. That sentiment alone deserves to be questioned, but it turns out that it is not even based on the established facts of the case. AldreteDavila was indeed transporting over 315kgs of marijuana and did crash his van near the border with Mexico during a high-speed chase. However, at that point he surrendered and put his arms in the air. Agent Compeán, instead of detaining Aldrete-Davila, swung the butt of his rifle at him, but missed. The momentum of the missed swing caused agent Compeán to fall into a deep ditch. Given the opportunity – or perhaps afraid of the beating he would receive – Aldrete-Davila fled towards the Mexican border, 50 meters away. He did ignore orders to stop, but did not have a weapon. Agent Compeán shot fourteen times at the unarmed fleeing suspect, but missed. Agent Ramos fired one shot into Aldrete-Davila’s buttocks, but he was nevertheless able to get across the border into Mexico. The two agents did not report the incident. Instead, they picked up their spent shell casings and hid them. They also asked another agent to go back to the scene later to ensure the casings were hidden. The incident would have remained hidden except that about a month later Aldrete-Davila’s mother in Mexico mentioned the shooting to a friend who lived in Texas. The friend’s son-in-law happened to be a Border Patrol agent and he filed a report. The ensuing investigation corroborated Aldrete-Davila’s version of events and several other Border Patrol agents, who were at the site of the shooting, testified under oath against Compeán and Ramos at the trial. Compeán and Ramos were convicted of six counts each and sentenced to twelve and eleven years in prison, respectively. Prior to the cable news coverage, the local news in El Paso had portrayed it as what it was, two rogue agents who shot an unarmed fleeing man in the back and then covered it up. The contrasting representations of the incident and the eventual commutation by George W. Bush illustrate the arguments of this chapter. First, they demonstrate the disjuncture between ­representations

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of the US–Mexico border in borderland communities, on the one hand, and in the news media, in the national political discourse, and in US public opinion on the other. In El Paso, much of the population was against the construction of the barrier on the US–Mexico border, and continues to propose alternative approaches to immigration that emphasize shared connections between the United States and Mexico.1 In ‘the interior’ of the United States, as it is referred to in El Paso, the border is perceived by many people as a potential highway for drug smugglers and terrorists to enter the country. In July 2010, a public opinion poll indicated that 68 percent of the US population supports the border barrier while only 21 percent are against it (Rasmussen 2010). Secondly, the congressional hearings and commutations illustrate the extent to which the border is understood as an exceptional space where any actions, regardless of their severity, are acceptable to maintain order and control. The hardening of the entire US–Mexico border resulted in more aggressive strategies for locating and interdicting unauthorized movement at the border. This chapter describes a series of exceptional practices at the border, including the ability of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to waive any laws to build the barrier, the establishment of fixed Border Patrol checkpoints dozens of kilometers away from the border, and the practice of frequently stopping and checking vehicles on public roads near the border. The result is a border zone that is part of the United States, but only partially protected by its laws. The commutation of the Border Patrol agents only reinforces this view by acknowledging that the agents of the state might need to act outside of the law to protect the ‘homeland.’ Dividing El Paso and Juárez Well before the existence of Mexico and the United States, the identity of the area that became the cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez was defined by its location as both a point of connection and division. For early Spanish explorers, the Rio Grande Valley provided a point of connection – El Paso del Norte, the passage to the north – between lands that were physically divided by the Southern Rocky Mountains. The river also served as a gathering point for people, flora, and fauna in the otherwise parched desert landscape. After the Rio Grande was chosen as the boundary line for long sections of the

the us–mexican border  |   105 US–Mexico border, the meaning of El Paso del Norte transformed into something altogether different as the city became a transit point between the two countries. The two cities themselves, however, were always closely linked together by the river and their isolation in the arid region. Many longtime residents of the two cities recall times in the not so distant past when they functioned as one entity. Twenty or thirty years ago, people from El Paso would go to Juárez for shopping, particularly to get things like tortillas and haircuts, which were said to be better and cheaper in Juárez. People from Juárez would come to El Paso to work because wages were higher. In the 1970s and 1980s, the two cities found themselves at the epicenter of the shifting mode of production in the United States as many manufacturing facilities were established in Juárez. These maquilas provided jobs on both sides of the border and helped fuel the rapid growth of Juárez in the late twentieth century (Wright 2006). John Cook, the mayor of El Paso, recalls his experiences: When I was a kid, my dad was stationed here and I remember crossing over to Juárez on an old wooden bridge. It was nothing then to go, it was normal. For some reason I remember my parents buying me one of those wooden snake toys that wiggles around. Then, when I was in the military, I was stationed here again in the 1970s and you could still go very easily, all you needed was a driver’s license. Then after September 11, the whole entire philosophy basically changed. You could see the difference. I was coming back from a meeting in Juárez – this was before the drug wars. … El Paso is a small town, even though it is 750,000 everybody knows who I am. Even when I go to Juárez everyone knows who I am. They call me Alcalde [mayor]. Coming back across they said, ‘Mayor, can we please see your passport?’ You know who I am, you know I am the mayor, and you still have to ask for [my] passport in order [for me] to get back into the country? I almost felt like not having a passport and forcing Mexico to deport me to show what a silly rule this is.

Despite the mayor’s indignation, the separation of the two communities continued as the barrier prevents any casual movements across the border and channels all flows to the bridges (Heyman 2009b). However, the immigration checkpoints at the bridges were not updated

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to accommodate the increased traffic, which results in routine waits of two or three hours. The long delays after 9/11, followed by the violence of the drug wars in Juárez, mean that the vast majority of the residents of El Paso, who used to regularly travel between the cities, have not been to Juárez in years. Despite the history of connections between the two cities, violence divides them. In 2008, a war, literally, began between the Juárez cartel and the Sinaloa cartel for control of the city. In 2008 there were 1,600 murders, in 2009, 2,600 murders, and in 2010, over 3,000 murders, which makes Juárez one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Despite its proximity to the violence, El Paso experienced only five murders in 2010, its lowest total in forty-seven years. In terms of overall crime rate, El Paso, with a population of over 500,000 people, was the safest city in the United States in 2010 (El Paso 2011). Nevertheless, in El Paso the community was broadly against the construction of the barrier. Mayor Cook opposed it, as did the El Paso County government, which was one of the few municipalities along the border to legally challenge the right of the federal government to build the barrier. Veronica Escobar, currently the El Paso county judge, the elected head of the county government, expressed her perspective on the barrier: Many of our Washington Republicans are willing to use the border as a prop to fuel the xenophobia, fuel the hatred of others, of people who are different. But if they really cared about security and immigration, there are policies they could enact and investments they could make that have nothing to do with walls; nothing to do with littering my community with this scrap metal. So I feel very strongly about it and I know there are a lot of people that feel strongly about it like me. For many of us who grew up going back and forth, it’s an affront to the place we call home. It is offensive. The other thing it represents to me is an incredible waste of resources. It is a new obstacle for those of us who want to improve the community. The biggest challenge is that unsightly metal wall that is a symbol of xenophobia, hatred, bad policy, and bad investment.

Of course, there are other borderland residents who support the construction of the barrier; however, the views of Mayor Cook and County Judge Escobar are indicative of the broad sentiment in El Paso.

the us–mexican border  |   107 The dramatically different perspectives on the border barrier in El Paso and the interior of the United States indicate that there is a correlation between distance from the border and the perception that it represents a threat (Chapin 2003). In El Paso, the closer people live to the border the more likely they are to see the border as a resource, not a threat. People who are part of the border community are more likely to perceive people who cross the border as individuals and workers rather than ‘illegals’ and criminals. The less people know about ‘the other’ the more likely they are to accept stereotypes and caricatures. If you know someone in face-to-face interactions, it is hard to ignore their humanity. However, if those connections are severed, the uncertainty about the other fosters feelings of insecurity. Mayor Cook suggests that, in the end, the barrier and the drug violence may create the divisions between the two communities that the barrier was supposed to represent in the first place: If the violence continues for many more years I think you are going to have people on this side of the border who stop having relationships with people on the other side of the border. They will grow in isolation. That is a definite possibility. That could happen. When the communities grow apart, their cultures start changing, I think. It has always been difficult for people on the other side of the border to see we live in such luxury and they live in such poverty. When you only get to look at that luxury through a wall or fence, it is going to change your philosophy about your neighbor next door. It will only make it get worse; that relationship will start to decay. Fortunately this generation remembers how it was and lament that it is not that way anymore. We wish we could just travel over there on a Sunday afternoon like we used to, have dinner and a couple of drinks and come back home. What about the next generation that grows up and has never done that? They just look at the people on the other side of the wall as being bad guys, being the drug dealers. They start stereotyping all the people over there on the other side of the border.

Vision and the other across the border Representations and narratives play a critical role in shaping perceptions of chaotic and distant events. We cannot be everywhere at once and we cannot know what is occurring over a vast area. Anderson

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(1991) argues that the ability of newspapers to standardize experiences and knowledge over large areas made it possible to imagine the idea of a nation of people. Before newspapers, limited first-hand experience and unreliable word-of-mouth produced fragmented and varied accounts of events. Newspapers standardized the account across a wide readership and allowed people to share in the knowledge of events in places far distant from their daily life. Erving Goffman (1979: 27) suggests that visual media can be even more powerful than text in shaping our understanding of events because images ‘transform otherwise opaque goings-on into easily readable form.’ This transformation of the opaque into perceivable knowledge is very powerful and consequently, as Castells (2010: xxxii) argues, ‘power struggles have always been decided by the battle over people’s minds, this is to say, by the management of processes of information and communication that shape the human mind.’ The narratives of the global war on terror repositioned open borders as a threat to the way of life of Americans and represented Mexico as an ungoverned space with a violent and unpredictable population. In the El Paso borderlands, however, the dehumanization of Mexicans did not ring true. Indeed, most people had relatives across the border and virtually everyone used to cross the border regularly for quotidian tasks. This intimacy allowed El Paso residents to see ‘the other’ across the border as a person, not a drug dealer or murderer. Nevertheless, the restrictions at the crossing points, the barrier on the border, and the cartel-related violence in Juárez dramatically increased the symbolic distance between the two communities at the border line. Now, instead of face-to-face interactions with people in Juárez, the residents of El Paso get the same media images of drug wars and murders that the interior of the United States receives. In the interior of the United States, as there is increased coverage of violence in Mexico, people see more images and become more aware  of the place, but in an impersonal way that strips away the humanity of the people enduring the suffering. Similarly, in El Paso, as the face-to-face interactions are replaced by media images, the intimacy is lost and feelings of uncertainty are increased. Residents of Juárez already perceive this shift in El Paso. The broader political narrative about good and evil, about friend and enemy, that marks non-native people as a threat also shapes the perceptions of local residents. A thirty-eight-year-old female resident

the us–mexican border  |   109 of Juárez who frequently travels between the cities for work and school says: ‘In general, I think we create enemies. People [in El Paso] think Mexicans are coming to take their jobs away. And now they believe we all are drug dealers and killing people.’ The hardening of the border and the division of the communities on both sides allows more control over the images that shape the discourse about what is occurring in Mexico and how it affects the United States. This shift in representations of the border is evident in the changing perception of the people who cross it. Throughout the twentieth century, the United States consistently needed migrant labor to work in the agricultural sector. In the earliest terminology of the Border Patrol, people who crossed the border were referred to as visitors. In the 1940s to 1960s, the Bracero program was established as a legal system for these farm workers to enter the United States. By the 1980s, border-crossing was represented as an illegal activity; however, it was one that was not prosecuted. Instead, the vast majority of people detained at the border were voluntarily returned to Mexico without any additional consequences in what came to be called ‘catch and release.’ In the 1990s, and particularly after 9/11, border crossers became a potential danger. In many sectors of the border, the dramatic increase in agents allowed the Border Patrol to end catch and release and instead charge people with a misdemeanor the first time they were apprehended and a felony the second. The result of these changes is the criminalization of movement. A male community organization director in El Paso explains: So that worker went from a visitor, to a guest worker, to an illegal, to potential threat. That same worker; nothing changed with the worker. What changed was the conceptualization of that worker. So then you get to 9/11, which formalized it. From then on everyone who crossed the border was a potential threat. Even though, in border patrol’s numbers, 96% that they actually stop are just workers. Only 4% are a threat. But the 96% are labeled as if they represent a threat to the United States. So I think we went through a scaling process of how to regulate our borders but also how we label people.2

In the El Paso–Juárez borderlands, a series of changes in how the US government regulates the border and how the US population perceives the border, and the people who cross it, dramatically altered

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the everyday experience of the residents. Rather than a connected community joined by a border and a river, the two cities are divided by economic inequality, cartel violence, militarized border enforcement, and the barrier that limits the vision of the other side. Creeping exception Borders are always treated as sensitive spaces for sovereign states (Cons 2007). They mark the edge of their authority and the beginning of the unknown space beyond, belonging to another sovereign state. A key goal of the state is to make its people and territory legible, which allows it to regulate and control the activities in that space (Scott 1998). The territory of another sovereign state is illegible to the state because, in theory at least, it is unable to interfere with the other sovereign state by operating in that territory. Consequently, the border zone becomes a place of hyper-sovereignty where the state and its agents work to quickly make legible the people and things that come into its territory. All sovereign states have laws in place that allow the state to act aggressively when the existence of the state is threatened, a concern that initially centered on the possibility of invading armies (Neocleous 2008). However, even as the risk of invasion declined over the years, the use of exceptional practices increased, and this is often most evident at the border. The hardening of the boundary line through the construction of the barrier was accompanied by a rippling out of enforcement practices into both Mexico and the United States. Despite the exercise of sovereignty and territorial integrity at the border, which is supposed to contain each state’s absolute authority within its boundaries, in practice all sovereign states operate across and through borders (­Agnew 2009). The concern that Mexico cannot control its territory has resulted in an increased US presence on, and above, Mexican terri­tory over the past few years. United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents assist the Mexican federal authorities with major investigations into smuggling. In February 2011, the mayor of Juárez announced that he would welcome ICE agents in the city to help the local police (Licón 2011). The US CIA began working with the Mexican military in 2011 to gather information on drug cartels and plan operations against them (Thompson 2011). The United States also began using unmanned military aircraft over Mexico, in collaboration with the Mexican authorities, to locate and track ­smuggling networks

the us–mexican border  |   111 in Mexico (Thompson and Mazzetti 2011). Although these Predator drones are unarmed, they are the same aircraft used to drop bombs on suspected militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The rippling out of exceptional border practices also affects the US side of the border line. One factor that contributes to the exceptional nature of the border is the multiple and overlapping jurisdictions in that space. At the US–Mexican border, there is Border Patrol authority; federal law enforcement such as the FBI; Texas State authority; local municipalities such as El Paso County; and, particularly under Texas law, the rights of property owners. Furthermore, the allocation of water resources in the river is governed by the binational International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC). This uncertainty about jurisdiction became evident in December 2008 when a local environmental activist stopped construction of the barrier along the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park south of El Paso. Officers from the El Paso city police, the El Paso county police, the Border Patrol, and the Texas Rangers arrived to speak with her and encourage her to stop her protest. Eventually, after seven hours, it was determined that the federal government had jurisdiction, but federal agents were not nearby, so the Texas Rangers took the activist into custody then transferred her to the county police at the El Paso County jail. A male landowner near Fort Hancock expressed his frustration with the lack of clear authority in the borderlands because it allowed many officials to evade accountability: Cross-border crime is increasing. The issues are getting more serious and our government is disavowing any responsibility. … I guess it is a free-for-all. It’s a no man’s land. … The total lack of a fence [in this area] has some security issues in Texas. We are under Texas state law, the ribbon out there is federal, but once they get here it is Texas law. … But who is in charge? The feds? Or the state? Where does that come into being? Where does Texas begin?

The gray space of the border encourages individuals like this landowner to draw on Western frontier tropes and to see vigilantism as the only option to bring order to the borderlands (Doty 2007, 2009). Governments also perceive border spaces as unique and reserve a broad range of expanded authority in these areas. Just as it is widely accepted that governments may need to operate quickly in an emergency, it is also widely accepted that border areas should have

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special laws. However, just as there are questions about how often governments need to invoke their emergency powers, there are also questions about how large the special border zone should be and to what extent the Department of Homeland Security should be able to operate outside normal US laws in the border zone. Although the Secure Fence Act of 2006 initiated the construction of the barrier, it was facilitated by a provision in a previous law, the REAL ID Act of 2005. Section 102 of the Act stated that ‘the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive all legal requirements such Secretary, in such Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads under this section.’ The Act also restricted the ability of the courts to rule on the matter and required any lawsuits be filed within sixty days of the waiver (Bowers 2010). By 2011, the Secretary of Homeland Security had already exercised this right to waive a total of thirty-seven different federal laws. A Congressional Research Service report explains: The scope of this waiver authority is substantial. Whereas IIRIRA [Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996] had previously authorized the waiver of NEPA [National Environmental Protection Act] and ESA [Endangered Species Act] requirements, the REAL ID Act authorizes the waiver of all legal requirements determined necessary by the Secretary for the expeditious construction of authorized barriers, and only allows judicial review for constitutional claims. This waiver authority appears to apply to all barriers that may be constructed under IIRIRA – that is, both to barriers constructed in the vicinity of the border in areas of high illegal entry and to the barrier that is to be constructed near the San Diego area. Furthermore, these claims can only be appealed to the Supreme Court (i.e., there is no intermediate appellate review), whose review is discretionary. (Haddal et al. 2009: 6)

The waiver raises questions about how far a democratic and free government should go to protect the rights of its citizens. If the goal is to protect ‘a nation of laws,’ as George W. Bush (2006a) indicated when he signed the Secure Fence Act, then it seems incongruous to waive all laws to build the barrier. In El Paso, the county government joined a lawsuit against the

the us–mexican border  |   113 use of the waiver to construct the barrier. However, on 11 September 2008 – a date that is probably coincidental, but also perhaps telling – Federal District Judge Frank Montalvo dismissed the lawsuit stating that the DHS was allowed to build the barrier because ‘Congress constitutionally delegated its authority in the Waiver Legislation’ (quoted in Rodríquez 2008). The plaintiffs filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, which was denied on 15 June 2009. Despite the decision by the federal courts, the waiver of laws does not sit well with many residents. Bill Addington, a rancher and environmental activist from Sierra Blanca, explains: Our country is founded on laws. And not just from a Sierra Club view. As an American, we are founded as a nation of laws. I do not think any government agency should be able to pick and choose which laws are to be enforced. That’s up to the courts. Of course the Supreme Court said they could do it. To me saying eighty [sic] different federal laws mean nothing, and we don’t have to listen to any state or local laws or concerns, is just wrong. It is something our Congress should not be able to do, under our constitution, to make a blanket waiver. If they want to do that, they should repeal the Clean Water Act, repeal the Clean Air Act, the Antiquities Act, the Indian Reparations Act, and all those other federal acts that are laws in this country and have been enforced for years. I think that this whole thing after 9/11 has gotten out of control.

The barrier has unknown environmental consequences because in most critical habitats DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff used his waiver ability to forgo environmental impact statements or mitigating strategies that would have been required by the Endangered Species Act. Placing a barrier to movement across an enormous landscape undoubtedly affects the ability of animals to migrate. In some places small holes were left at the bottom to allow some animals to pass through, but it is difficult to accommodate larger animals because holes large enough for them could also be used by people. Furthermore, the barrier is built directly beside the river in most of the Rio Grande Valley south of El Paso, completely blocking the view of the river from the US side. Rivers are normally gathering places where animals and plants come together at the water source. On maps, however, rivers are represented as a line, which in the abstract appears as a division. Consequently, many rivers were chosen

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as international boundaries because it was a convenient place to draw the line on the map. That convenience results in the very unnatural division of the two banks of the river. The director of the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, John Sproul, sees many consequences of the barrier: ‘Well, the most obvious consequence is the view. We now have an ugly fence along the entire edge of the wetlands. Also, the animals, it will certainly have an effect on their habitat. But there is one good thing; the Border Patrol does not enter the park as much anymore. They used to drive their vehicles all through it. So at least there is that.’ Beyond the ability to waive any law necessary in order to expeditiously build the barrier, the exceptional nature of the borderlands is further evident in the expansive definition by law enforcement officials of precisely where the border zone is located. Section 287 (a) (3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. §1357, authorizes agents, without a warrant, ‘Within a reasonable distance from any external boundary of the United States, to board and search for aliens any vessel within the territorial waters of the United States and any railway car, aircraft, conveyance, or vehicle.’ The Border Patrol has the authority to enter private property (but not buildings) within 40km (25 miles) of the border. The reasonable external boundary distance for warrantless search and seizure was set as within 161km (100 miles) of a land border or the coastline. In theory, this means that two-thirds of the United States population lives in one of these border zones and could be searched without a warrant by the Border Patrol. Although the American Civil Liberties Union (2006) called it a ‘constitution free zone,’ that is not completely accurate. Instead, it is a zone where the constitution exists but provisions of it can be waived in particular situations. In the 1975 Brignoni-Ponce decision, the US Supreme Court reaffirmed the right of the Border Patrol to stop cars without warrants in border areas under certain conditions. The agents can conduct the search ‘only if they are aware of specific articulable facts, together with rational inferences therefrom, reasonably warranting suspicion that the vehicles contain aliens who may be illegally in the country.’ The ruling goes on to list factors that could be considered ‘articulable facts’: Officers may consider the characteristics of the area in which they encounter a vehicle. Its proximity to the border, the usual patterns of traffic on the particular road, and previous experience with alien

the us–mexican border  |   115 traffic are all relevant … They also may consider information about recent illegal border crossings in the area. The driver’s behavior may be relevant, such as erratic driving or obvious attempts to evade officers can support a reasonable suspicion … The vehicle may appear to be heavily loaded, it may have an extraordinary number of passengers, or the officers may observe persons trying to hide. … Aspects of the vehicle itself may justify suspicion. For instance, officers say that certain station wagons, with large compartments for fold-down seats or spare tires, are frequently used for transporting concealed aliens … The Government also points out that trained officers can recognize the characteristic appearance of persons who live in Mexico, relying on such factors as the mode of dress and haircut. … In all situations the officer is entitled to assess the facts in light of his experience in detecting illegal entry and smuggling.

Although the ruling limits the ability of Border Patrol agents to stop anyone, the factors listed are broad enough that virtually any stop could be justified (Heyman 2009a). I experienced this firsthand while driving with a local rancher along a Hudspeth County, Texas, road near the border. During a one-hour period we were stopped and questioned five times by Border Patrol agents. The rancher who was showing me around said the same thing happened to him every day: Just go ahead and get it out of the way. I am real proactive, but it bothers some people. I want to tell him what we are doing because they are real suspicious. They got sensors all over the place. Coming back they will stop you. Going to my farm they’ll stop you. None of them live here in this area, so they do not really know any of the people. … I am real polite to these suckers, ‘yes sir, no sir. If you want to look, go ahead and look.’ Getting stopped by the Border Patrol is a regular thing for me but I get tired of it. It’s like living in Russia where they check you at checkpoints. I guess Germany was worse. It is similar to that. Everywhere you go you get stopped and asked where you are going, who you are, and I have lived here my whole life.

By the time the fifth agent pulled us over, he was fed up: Well, it gets old. Why don’t they just radio each other? Don’t

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you think this is overkill? … It is like this when I go to our farm. Since the eighties they began stopping us more, a little bit, for drug smuggling. Then after 9/11 it got really bad. It has all gone downhill. More and more security; these guys make a living off it. Reasonable suspicion? Whatever that means, it’s just whatever they want to do. They just say it fits the profile.

When I recounted my experience to a Mexican-American male resident of El Paso, he laughed and said: Just think if you really fit the profile. They would have had three cars there, put you in the back, and then asked questions. … There has to be enforcement, but it needs to respect an individual’s human and constitutional rights. Sometimes I feel like the constitution does not exist here at the border. Especially the fourth amendment, the Border Patrol can stop whoever.

In addition to these random checks based on the Brignoni-Ponce standard of articulable facts, the Border Patrol also has fixed checkpoints on all of the interstates and major highways leading away from the border, typically around 50–100km from the line itself but well within the 161km zone (see Figure 2.1). Undocumented workers in El Paso indicated that it was much harder to get past the network of fixed checkpoints than it was to cross the border itself, even with the new barrier. Human smugglers charge 200–300 USD to cross from Mexico into the United States, but an additional 1,200 USD to get past the fixed checkpoints into the interior. These checkpoints are effective tools for the Border Patrol and account for one third of all narcotics seizures, but they raise questions about the rights of people who live between the checkpoints and the border (US Government Accountability Office 2009b). The fixed checkpoints also result in arrests that have nothing to do with the border. In November 2010, the musician Willie Nelson was traveling from San Diego, California, to Austin, Texas, on I-10, an interstate highway that runs across the entire southern United States. When his bus arrived at the Sierra Blanca fixed checkpoint at 9.30 in the morning, the Border Patrol agent on duty smelled marijuana. Drugsniffing dogs confirmed it and Nelson was arrested for possession of 170 grams (6 ounces) of marijuana (Patoski 2011). Beyond the 161km zone, ‘US federal regulations state that Border

the us–mexican border  |   117 Patrol agents have the right to interrogate suspected illegal aliens anywhere inside or outside the United States’ (Haddal 2010: 30). In 2004, ICE and CBP signed a memorandum of understanding that establishes information-sharing systems and describes the interior enforcement duties of the Border Patrol. The Border Patrol N ­ ational Strategy states that agents can be deployed to interior locations ‘where there is a direct nexus to border control operations, such as transportation hubs, airports, and bus stations to confront routes of egress for terrorists, smugglers, and illegal aliens’ (US Customs and Border Protection 2005: 13). Furthering the perception that there is an ‘emergency’ at the border, 6,000 National Guard troops were deployed to the border from 2006 to 2008. President Obama authorized the deployment of 1,200 troops in 2010 and they remain in many areas (Mason 2010). As described above, both Arizona and New Mexico declared states of emergency along the border in 2005. A male community organization director in El Paso explains his view of the consequences of these decisions: The National Guard was not here to help people in a flood or earthquake. It has been deployed for long periods of time to actually help prevent the movement of people. You have the military deployed in our communities, using military strategies, to deal with workers. We would not deploy the military in New York City or Chicago, but we can at the US–Mexico border. And they are not deployed right at the river but within our communities … When you have done a lot of work to make US citizens think they live in this exceptional area – where they do not have full rights as a citizen – that is very concerning. Right now it is the border, but later on it is going to be San Francisco because of the gay community, or the South because of the black community. It has all of those connotations.

The result is a border zone that is patrolled by Border Patrol agents who have the authority to stop anyone, to paraphrase the Supreme Court guidelines, who looks out of place. It is a border zone where the barrier is built without consulting the local community and by waiving every law that might impede its construction. It is a border zone that is patrolled in the air by Predator drones and on the ground, at least occasionally, by National Guard soldiers operating under emergency laws. It is a border zone that is outside the mainland of

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the United States because citizens are required to pass through an additional checkpoint on all the major highways. It is an exceptional space of border enforcement. Shifting not stopping movement Despite the rapid construction of the barrier, the dramatic increase in the number of Border Patrol agents, and the spreading out of enforcement to multiple sites in the border zone, there are still vast stretches of the border that are unpatrolled, which reinforces a powerful theme of insecurity. It draws on both representations of Mexico as an ungoverned place with a violent population and on descriptions of the incomplete and ineffective control over the border line. Rather than a secure and closed border, cross-border movements are funneled to the bridges, which lack the capacity to inspect even a small fraction of the traffic that crosses, and to more isolated locations that have less effective types of barriers or no barrier at all. The Secure Fence Act of 2006 required DHS to keep old sections of fencing that were already in place. In downtown El Paso, for example, one section near a railroad bridge was already fenced with a simple chain-link fence. The Border Patrol agents refer to it as the ‘tortilla fence’ because it is as easy to cut as a tortilla and it now consists of as many patches as original fencing. Additionally, the type of barrier varies depending on the terrain. In urban areas like El Paso, it is a 6-meter-tall steel mesh fence that is designed to withstand a vehicle driving at approximately 100km per hour. Ruben Garcia, the director of Annunciation House in El Paso, agrees that this type of barrier is effective in preventing cross-border movements: ‘Does the wall affect the flow patterns of migration? It does. It does. If you build more walls, is it going to affect the flow patterns? It is. Is it stopping migration? Up till now there is no indication you are stopping it, you are moving it.’ The international bridges receive much of this increased traffic. The bridges in El Paso were constructed in the 1960s and 1970s prior to the maquilas, NAFTA, and the war on terror. Consequently they are designed primarily to service local border flows between the two cities, such as tourist and everyday shopping trips. They were designed for neither hundreds of container trucks nor the rigorous checks required after 9/11 (Heyman 2009b). Mayor Cook describes what he sees as a problem with the ports of entry:

the us–mexican border  |   119 What’s happened is there has been a lot of emphasis on the area between the ports of entry, the Border Patrol guys, the boots on the ground and the technology there – whether it is motion detectors or aerial recognizance. All of that technology has been put between the ports of entry. What you haven’t seen is a major emphasis on the ports of entry themselves. What you did is built fences and security to funnel everybody through the ports of entry and then you didn’t do anything at the ports, so you just moved your problem to your weakest point. You funneled it to the place where there is no way you can check every vehicle. There is no way you can check every passport to see that they are all legal. And they have the technology on the other side to make any false documentation that they want. It’s not very encouraging.

Despite this obvious problem, other El Paso residents are still supportive of the barrier and argue that it succeeded in protecting the city from the violence in Juárez by containing it and pushing cross-border flows to less populated areas. The wife of a former Border Agent explains: Border Patrol’s job is to serve as the first line of defense for the United States of America. They are the first line of defense for your country. It’s a big job and there are not a whole lot of bodies out there doing it. I think if they can have a tool like the fence to do their job to protect the citizens of this country, it is fine with me. The main object is to push the troublemaker farther out away from the people. It pushes them out to the rural areas and away from the civilization.

In these more remote sections of the border, the barrier is often built in a less expensive manner and is primarily designed to prevent vehicle traffic rather than pedestrians. To the west of El Paso in the deserts of New Mexico, there is not a fence or wall but rather a vehicle barrier that resembles a guard rail along an interstate highway that can easily be stepped over. In other sections south of El Paso there are hundreds of kilometers without any barrier at all. Most of these unfenced sections are in the rugged desert, but some are in populated rural areas, including an almost 20km stretch near Fort Hancock, Texas. Residents of these places are not as enthusiastic about the barrier pushing waves of ‘troublemakers’ to them, as the vigilante landowner suggests:

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It is public safety, it is national security. Those dogs are not pets. I have five dogs that eat fifty pounds a day that are not here for entertainment. My fence is not for decoration. And every gun is loaded. You do not go out without one, sometimes two. And if a dog barks here, day or night, you can’t call the sheriff and say I’ve got a problem – you deal with it. So you need to always be prepared to deal with a confrontation on your property day or night. And that is due to the hole in the fence. We’ve had major security issues, people shot across the border … We have had all of the Barrios Aztecas [an El Paso prison gang] gang members crawling through day and night. So every rancher here is a first responder and they are kind of irritated that the government has given us this problem. Because they want to keep this open and the drug thugs across the river are here because they have been given this corridor. And that is basically it. Do you see any Border Patrol agents?

The residents of Fort Hancock have a point. The border barrier inexplicably stops precisely at the point where the border line is closest to State Highway 20 and I-10, which both run within 0.5km of the border. It is hard to fathom why this particular section would be left unfinished. Furthermore, the section of the Juárez valley in Mexico directly across from the Fort Hancock gap has been particularly hard hit by cartel violence. In December 2010, Erika Gandara, the lone remaining police officer in the town of Guadalupe, only a few hundred meters from the Fort Hancock gap in the barrier, was abducted and is presumed killed. In 2008, the severed heads of three people, including the then police commander of Guadalupe, were left in an ice chest in the central square (Borunda 2010). The violence on the Mexican side suggests that control over the Fort Hancock gap is profitable and fought over. The barrier produces feelings of both security and insecurity. The places where it is constructed and where there is a substantial Border Patrol presence are under ‘operational control.’ Nevertheless, the length of the border, the rugged terrain, the gaps in the barrier, and the volume of traffic at the ports allow for continued cross-border flows of undocumented workers and smuggled drugs. The DHS can simultaneously point to its success by arguing that what it did worked, and to its failure, which demonstrates the need for more funding and fencing. In FY2000 the Border Patrol received an appropriation of

the us–mexican border  |   121 1.06 billion; in FY2011, it requested 3.58 billion USD – an increase of 238 percent (Haddal 2010). Who profits? Who is harmed? The barrier unevenly affects the lives of borderland residents. For wealthy residents of Juárez, the barrier and the violence in Mexico are at most a minor inconvenience. The easiest route to the US for those with money is the EB-5 Green Card, which typically requires a minimum investment of 1 million USD in the United States but provides permanent resident status for the investor, spouse, and children. Many of these businesspeople were able to move to El Paso, if they did not already live there. Indeed, a previous mayor of Juárez lived in El Paso while he was mayor. In the past few years many of the most well-known restaurants in Juárez moved across to El Paso, as have many other businesses. The bridges have express lanes for ‘trusted travelers’ who pay several hundred USD per year to cross the border with minimal delays. For residents of El Paso, the barrier is an eyesore and an unwanted symbol of federal excess and exclusion, but has little effect on their daily life on the US side. The barrier certainly benefits some businesses and groups of people. The corporations that constructed the barrier and provide the supplies, uniforms, weapons, and vehicles for the Border Patrol received billions of USD in contracts through the emergence of the homeland security market. The Associated Press estimated that 90 billion USD were spent by the US government on border security from 2001 to 2011 (Mendoza 2011). These businesses benefit from the same narrative as the Border Patrol, which emphasizes both the successes of expanded securitization of the border and continued challenges due to the length and conditions at the border. Prior to the Secure Fence Act of 2006, all of the border fencing was undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers with labor from the Department of Defense. The sheer amount of fencing required under the Secure Fence Act meant that all of the work after 2007 was contracted out, which increased the cost of pedestrian fencing from 3.9 million USD per mile in FY2007 to 6.5 million per mile in FY2008 (US Government Accountability Office 2009a). The projected twenty-year life cycle of the barrier is expected to cost a total of 6.5 billion USD for deployment, operation, and maintenance (ibid.). Other groups that certainly benefited from the barrier are the cartels

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that control the cross-border smuggling routes. The US government estimates that wholesale drug profits to Colombian and Mexican cartels are between 18 and 39 billion USD annually (Finklea et al. 2011). Following the construction of the barrier, often the only way to move drugs across the border is through these cartel-controlled networks. Whereas a generation ago, anyone could cross the river with a bag of drugs, today the cartels control the routes under, around, and through the barrier. This results in increased violence as cartels work to control the extremely profitable routes (ibid.). The funneling of traffic through the bridges, particularly the dramatic increase in container trucks after NAFTA, also helps the cartels because it provides more work for the understaffed customs agents and increases the likelihood that shipments will not be detected. Mayor Cook explains what he perceives as a tacit understanding between law enforcement and the cartels (emphasis added): Q: Do you believe that the barrier makes El Paso safer? A: No, because the cartels travel freely back and forth across the international ports of entry. They are very sophisticated people … When the market conditions change for the cartels, they adapt to it. They are very dependent on conditions in the United States to get their drugs to market; they do not want to upset that. And, quite frankly, we have not done anything to upset it on this side of the border. The biggest crackdown on the drug cartels, and the gangs they organize to do their dirty work for them, was after the embassy killings [in Juárez in March 2010]. Then, all of a sudden, we arrest five hundred people. We go on this thing across the United States. Well, that tells me we knew who they were already; it’s just to say don’t mess with us on this side of the border. And, quite frankly, they don’t want to mess with anything on this side of the border. They are quite comfortable with the way things work right now; they can afford to let some of their product get caught.

This surprisingly candid admission by the mayor of El Paso underlines the point that the barrier alone has minimal impact on the smuggling of drugs across the border. The people who are most adversely affected by the barrier are poor workers from Mexico. A generation ago, undocumented workers could easily and regularly cross the border without any assistance. Now, it is necessary to use a human smuggler to pass through a tunnel

the us–mexican border  |   123 or through a route in the desert where the barrier is not built and the enforcement is weaker. It also means that many people choose to remain on the US side for longer periods because the crossing is difficult. A Mexican-American female community worker in El Paso describes (in Spanish) how the barrier affected the undocumented workers she interacts with: It has many negative impacts. The wall or fence has been very bad for vulnerable communities. Before they would cross here in the city; there were good places and they did not have trouble crossing the border. Now, this has changed and they are faced with a grave problem. Now they have to find more dangerous places to cross and many are dying. It is also affecting the community because many people are no longer able to come. The only options are places that are more dangerous, more inhospitable, more isolated parts of the border. Consequently more people are dying.

This ‘funnel effect’ is evident in the number of immigrant bodies found in the remote deserts in the Tucson sector of the border. In the 1990s, before the construction of the barrier and rapid expansion of the Border Patrol along the more densely populated sections of the border, the Tucson morgue averaged eighteen immigrant-related deaths per year. By 2005, it had soared to 160 per year. In 2010 the Border Patrol found over 250 bodies in the Tucson sector – the most ever – despite a decline in the total number of apprehensions along the border (Medrano 2010). In 2000, the Border Patrol reported 1.6 deaths per 10,000 apprehensions; in 2009 there were 7.6 deaths per 10,000 apprehensions (Haddal 2010). Although not as frequent as at the Indian or Israeli barriers, there is also state violence in the borderlands as the Compeán and ­Ramos case demonstrates. In the city of El Paso alone, Border Patrol agents killed two unarmed Mexican youths in the past decade. Juan Patricio Peraza Quijada was killed in February 2003 on a city street in downtown El Paso. He was unarmed and fled when a Border Patrol agent questioned him about his citizenship. In June 2010, a fifteen-year-old boy, Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca, was shot in the head while throwing rocks at a Border Patrol agent from the Mexican side of the border. These shootings must be understood in light of the new mission of the Border Patrol in the global war on terror. Although the vast

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majority of the people apprehended at the border are undocumented workers, even the ‘dangerous people’ are mostly the poor from Mexico who smuggle drugs across the border. However, as the first line of defense against terrorism, the Border Patrol agents are reminded every day that they have to assume every person they encounter in the borderlands is possibly a terrorist until they determine they are not. This presumption of threat is the final example of the exceptional nature of the US borderlands. The normal constitutional practice of presumed innocence in the United States is reversed and everybody in the borderlands could potentially be a terrorist, until they can demonstrate they are not. Conclusion As the final acts of the Bush administration, the commutations for Border Patrol agents José Compeán and Ignacio Ramos symbolize the overriding argument of this book that border security will be the most profound and longest lasting of the policy changes implemented as part of the global war on terror. While the other extreme policies of the war on terror no longer seemed worth defending, border security alone retained the necessary legitimacy. Furthermore, even if the underlying policies that surround the increased policing of the border are reversed – which seems unlikely in the short term – the materiality of the barrier will remain, rusting in the Southwestern desert sun. The US–Mexico borderlands are a zone where the sovereignty of the state is vigorously performed through the construction of the barrier, the criminalization of cross-border movement, and the more visible presence of law enforcement. The fuzzy frontier in the 1800s between the newly emergent sovereign states of Mexico and the United States – which was still fuzzy between Juárez and El Paso through the 1990s – is hardened and demarcated. The symbolic boundary of the state container is now visible in the form of a 6-meter-tall barrier along long sections of the border. The barrier also has profound impacts on the local communities in the borderlands. Rather than the idealized view of NAFTA removing barriers between the United States and Mexico, the past two decades instead resulted in a hardening of the border for the poor and a solidification of the position of corporations and cartels as the primary cross-border actors. The fortification of the border line produces a rippling out of

the us–mexican border  |   125 enforcement practices, which creates a new type of fuzzy frontier. The border is a place of vigorous law enforcement, but also a place of the waiver of laws where there is a presumption of threat rather than a presumption of innocence. The special legal zones on both sides of the border make the precise point where Mexican sovereignty ends and US sovereignty begins unclear. Is Juárez completely under the sovereignty of Mexico if the cartels control the streets, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents assist investigations, and US Predator drones patrol the skies? There is also the question of the ambiguous space of the maquilas, where different sets of legal and tax regulations apply. Along the river, the International Boundary Water Commission has binational authority over the water, and then there is a strip of US territory that is fenced out of the United States by the barrier. Inside US territory, the border zone is an exceptional space where the Secretary of Homeland Security has the authority to waive any laws to build the barrier, the Border Patrol can stop anyone with ‘articulable suspicion,’ and citizens must pass through an additional fixed checkpoint many kilometers from the border to enter the interior of the United States. Does the United States begin in Juárez with the enforcement practices there? Or at the river? Or the barrier? Or at the fixed checkpoints? Or at the edge of the 100mile zone? The border is an exceptional space where enforcement and violation of the law blend together into a state of indistinction.

6  |  The Agents of Exception in the Indian Borderlands

Introduction On one of my last days of research in India, as I was passing an Indian Border Security Force (BSF) compound, I noticed a large banner that hung across the imposing wall of the facility. BSF camps are ubiquitous on the Indian side of the border, providing a reminder that the state is operating in the borderlands to provide security for the population. Many smaller camps are within a few hundred meters of the border; however, there are also larger bases, like this one, that are several kilometers inside India. The banner hung beside two armed guards in formal military dress who stood at the gated entrance to the compound. It was above their reinforced guard post and just below lengths of barbed wire at the top of the wall. The message, written in large English letters, was simple, ‘BSF: Friend of Border Populace.’ On the banner there was a large photograph of a BSF soldier in an aggressive stance, apparently having just jumped over an obstacle. He was dressed in military fatigues, had both hands on an assault rifle held out in front of his body, and his dirty, camouflage-painted face was eternally caught in a war cry. Although political borders were always a key concern for the leaders of sovereign states, the themes of fear and uncertainty that characterized the discourse of the ‘global war on terror’ allowed governments worldwide to rapidly accelerate securitization processes at their borders (Ackelson 2005; Amoore 2006; Jones 2009b; Sparke 2006). The expanded powers that are now deemed necessary are achieved either by declaring a state of emergency – as Israel has done continuously since its creation in 1948, as the United States has done  every year since  1995, and as India has done for decades in its restive northeastern region – or by implementing legislation that allows the government to operate temporarily in an aggressive manner when fighting terrorism (Gregory 2004; Hussain 2003).1 These powers were put in place in the United States through the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 and in  India through the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 2002 (POTA) (Oza 2007a). In India, these exceptional govern-

the indian borderlands  |   127 ment ­powers were further institutionalized after the Congress Party rescinded the controversial emergency act in 2004, but concomitantly added many of the formerly temporary emergency powers to the permanent judicial system through the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act of 2004 (Singh 2006). In order to understand the expansion of these aggressive government techniques, many scholars turned to Giorgio Agamben’s (1998, 2005) work on law and individual rights. Agamben argues that a state of exception occurs during a time of emergency, when a sovereign authority suspends legal protections to individuals while wielding the violent power of the state against them. Agamben’s earlier work argues that the state of exception is often manifested in the particular space of a camp, such as Nazi death camps during World War II, or contemporary American military installations such as Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. However, Agamben (2005) also suggests a more ominous formulation in which the state of exception is not limited to the camp, but rather is all-encompassing, where every individual is at risk of being stripped of their legal protections and could be taken outside of the law at any moment. As CIA black sites, extraordinary renditions, and the use of ‘enhanced interrogation’ tactics suggest, this permanent state of exception may already be the rule. Indeed, Edkins and Pin-Fat (2004: 9) argue: ‘We have all become homines sacri or bare life in the face of a biopolitics that technologizes, administers, and depoliticizes, and thereby renders the political and power relations irrelevant.’ However, despite the evident expansion of sovereign power in the last decade, the notion that it is now an all-encompassing reality in which the state of exception could be enacted at anytime, anywhere, and against anyone fails to adequately grasp how it is actually practiced. Sovereign power operates as a few particular agents of the state make the decision to target a few particular individuals for the exception, a process that occurs in a few particular places much more frequently than others. Therefore, a crucial task for understanding the state of exception is to identify the agents, the targets, and the spaces where the practice of sovereign power occurs. Indeed, this point was made by Mark Salter (2006, 2008), who argues that governments utilize political borders and visa regimes that restrict mobility to create and enforce their sovereign authority through the biopolitics of submission and confession. Salter (2008) contends that at the border checkpoint, everyone is reduced to bare

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life as they submit to the authority of the state to make a decision on their existence as a political citizen. This chapter also argues that political borders are examples of the state of exception; but it makes the point in a fundamentally different way. The residents of the borderlands of India and Bangladesh did not make the decision to go to the border and submit to the authority of the state. Most live their lives far from the official border crossing. Instead, the state of exception came to them as the governments of India and Bangladesh exercised their ability to violently impose their authority at the political border. Therefore, the borderlands emerge as a space where the state of exception can be located and the particular bodies, and specific actions, which trigger the decision on the exception can be understood (DeCaroli 2007; Doty 2007). This chapter analyzes how the tactics employed by the government of India to establish its sovereign authority along its border with Bangla­desh transformed the densely populated farmland into a space where there is the constant potential for exceptional ­ actions. The securitization process in the Bengal borderlands created an exceptional space out of ordinary farmland as aggressive state interventions ­attempted to bring order to the area. This chapter draws on interviews with borderland residents and data on violence at the border and identifies the border security forces as the agents of exception, the ‘petty sovereigns’ who make the decision on life and death every day (Butler 2004). It argues that at the intersection of the state of exception at the border and in the exclusionary narratives of the global war on terror, Muslims, specifically, are targeted for state-sanctioned violence. Securitizing the Bengal borderlands After the 1947 partition of British India, the areas of the province of Bengal that became the borderlands between India and Bangladesh were only marginally under the authority of the newly created countries. The small towns and rice paddies that filled the landscape in no way suggested that the area would eventually become a violent and militarized border. In these rural parts of Bengal people’s lives were only minimally touched by colonialism because the British colonial government preferred to rule from a distance through calculation rather than engaging in the daily lives of the vast majority of the population (Crampton and Elden 2006; Legg 2006). The narrative construction of the border and the drawing of a line on a map were

the indian borderlands  |   129 not enough to bring the new border into existence. Instead, sovereignty was imposed through enactments of security and bordering practices as the imagined line drawn in the summer of 1947 was slowly inscribed onto the landscape. Border stones were laid in the 1950s, security forces were established in the 1960s, and, in the last decade, the barbed-wire barrier was constructed to prevent unauthorized movement across the border. In the process, the farmland on both sides of the border has become an exceptional space. The border between India and Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) was drawn by a commission led by Sir Cyril Radcliffe during a three-week period in the summer of 1947 (Chatterji 1999). Radcliffe was unfamiliar with the region and was simply instructed to place Hindu-majority areas in India and Muslim-majority areas in Pakistan. Several of the pre-partition districts in the province of Bengal had roughly equal-sized populations of each religious community, which posed significant difficulties for the commission. In order to solve this problem, the new border often did not follow the boundaries of administrative districts, but rather split the districts along Thana boundaries, which mark the jurisdictions of different police stations. Consequently, the new international border was drawn through many areas that were previously hundreds of kilometers from an international border and even many kilometers away from a district boundary. Rivers flow in and out of each country, some villages are cut in half, and many urban centers are partitioned off from their traditional rural constituencies. Prior to 1947, these Thana boundaries were not marked on the ground and for several decades after partition the densely populated areas along the new international border continued to operate as they had before, with people crossing the border in order to work, go to the market, visit relatives, and arrange marriages. The relationship between India and Pakistan was adversarial from the start and after wars in 1947 and 1965 the leadership in both countries realized that their borders needed to be normalized and secured. An important part of this process in India was the creation of a new security force that had the sole task of patrolling and securing the borders of the state. The Indian Border Security Force (2004) was established in 1965 with its primary duties to: (a) Peacetime: 1. Promote a sense of security among the people living in the border areas.

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2. Prevent trans-border crimes, unauthorized entry into or exit from the territory of India. 3. Prevent smuggling and any other illegal activity. (b) Wartime: 4. Hold ground in less threatened sectors. 5. Protect vital installations. 6. Assist in control of refugees. 7. Prevent infiltration in specified areas. Although in 2011 the Indian BSF had almost 200,000 members, the task of securing India’s borders is still immense (Indian Border Security Force 2011). India has over 14,000 kilometers of international borders and it shares the longest section – at just over 4,000 kilometers – with Bangladesh.2 On the Bangladesh border, the BSF are deployed in 714 small border outposts that are on average 5.5 kilometers apart. There are three agents on duty at each post for six-hour shifts, twenty-four hours a day (Kabir 2005). However, even these deployments mean that each agent is responsible for an almost two-kilometer stretch of border that runs through some of the most densely populated rural areas of the world. Despite the large contingent of border guards and the new barbedwire barrier, the borderlands are still not an empty demilitarized zone. The term ‘no-man’s-land’ (sic) does not apply because all of the land along the border is owned by hundreds of thousands of small-scale farmers (Buerk 2006). Indeed, the fencing project made the situation much worse for Indian farmers near the border because the barrier was built 150 meters back from the actual border. This was done to comply with the 1974 Indira-Mujib treaty that prohibited both governments from building any permanent military or defensive structures within 150 meters of the border (Kabir 2005). This buffer zone is not wholly controlled by either state but is still under the purview of the security forces in the area. Indian farmers whose land is in this zone are able to access it only through gates operated by BSF guards. Although the government did not release official data, it was estimated that 65,000 citizens of India live in the 150-meter buffer zone and are forced to pass through gates in order to get from their homes back to mainland India (ibid.). The situation at the gates echoes Salter’s (2006, 2008) arguments about the biopolitics of submission and confession before the state. In order to

the indian borderlands  |   131 work on their farmland, the Indian borderland residents must submit to the authority of the border guards to render a decision on their political citizenship. The gates I visited were open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. It is impossible to pass through, legally, at any other time. Persons that enter the space of the border zone at other times, or without submitting to the authority of the state, risk a unilateral decision on their status as a political citizen. In total, the barrier on the Bangladesh border partitioned off 600km2 of Indian territory, which is almost twice the size of the Gaza Strip in Palestine.3 A forty-six-year-old Hindu male farmer in India, whose house is directly beside the barrier, but on the Indian side, describes his experiences: Q: Is it a problem living this close to the border? A: It is not a problem. Actually it is good because the BSF built this road [the road that runs along the border fence] to our house. Before they built that there was no road at all. But it is inconvenient because we have a lot of land on the other side of the fence. Before, we could just walk over to it. Then they built the fence but it had a gate that was open all the time. Then later the BSF took our names in order to cross. Your name had to be on an approved list. After that they said you had to show your ration card. Now they have to have your photo on file if you want to go through the gate and it is only open four hours a day. It is very difficult. Q: Do you know the people on the Bangladeshi side? A: Of course. Just a few years ago there was not a fence at all so you could just walk over. If they needed help in the fields, we went. If we needed help, they came. Now that connection has been broken.

A sixty-year-old Muslim male local politician in Bangladesh, whose house is in the village just across the border from the Indian farmer, also felt the changes brought by the increased securitization of the borderland areas over the last ten years: I don’t think I will live in this area much longer. Ten years ago things were very good near the border. It was peaceful and you could come and go as you please. Then five years ago the BSF and BDR4 began restricting things more. Then last year they built the

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barrier. We are facing hardships. Things have changed so much in the past ten years I am worried about how bad they will be ten years from now.

The average life expectancy of a female resident of West Bengal is sixty-six years. Therefore an average sixty-six-year-old farmer in 2012, who was born in a village on the boundary between Birampur and Kumarganj Thanas in 1946, lived the first year of her life hundreds of kilometers from an international border. Then in 1947 she found herself living directly beside a political border, but one that was unmarked and unenforced – only a line on a map imagined in a distant capital. Over her lifetime she saw survey crews come to mark the border with stones, border security forces come to patrol the area, and in the past decade the barbed-wire barrier built, which partitions her land off from the rest of India. In the process, the borderlands have become an increasingly exceptional space where simply entering the border zone could put your life at risk. The agents of exception Despite the attempt by the Indian government to bring order to the Bengal borderlands, the density of the population on both sides, the common language, the similarities in the appearance of the borderland residents, the hundreds of gates in the fence, and the legitimate reasons many farmers have for entering the 300-meter buffer zone have still prevented the imposition of absolute sovereignty at the border. Consequently, the border guards who patrol the borderlands are given enormous authority to decide who can legitimately be in that zone, an authority that was expanded in the aftermath of a series of violent terrorist attacks inside India in recent years. The BSF border guards are imbued with the notion that the borderlands are an exceptional space where order must be established through force. They are what Butler (2004: 56) calls the ‘petty sovereigns’ of governmentality who ‘are delegated with the power to render unilateral decisions, accountable to no law.’ Rather than having a strong sense of law and order, the guards operate outside the law, where their actions in defense of the sovereignty of the country have few consequences. The BSF Acts and Rules codify this system in which any order given by a superior officer to ‘safeguard the security of India’ is legal:

the indian borderlands  |   133 Any member of the force shall be liable to perform any duties in connection with the safeguarding of the security of the border of India, the administration, discipline and welfare of the Force and such other duties as he may be called upon to perform in accordance with any law for the time being in force and any order given in this behalf by a superior officer shall be a lawful command for the purposes of the Act. (Indian Border Security Force 2004: 75)

The ability to legalize any action by having a superior officer command it results in the tyranny of border residents whose killing is justifiable if they appear to be a threat to the security of India. Because the border guards are able to act without substantial oversight from other government officials or police, the borderlands become a zone where their decisions are the only things that matter. An encounter I had with a BDR officer illustrates the exceptional space of the borderlands. I was near the border conducting an interview when I was briefly detained by two border guards. While interrogating me, the officer felt the need to emphasize the exceptional nature of the borderlands and his unlimited power to act with impunity in that space: I am the mastan of the border. The chairman [whom I was interviewing] is not the mastan of the border. The mastan of the interior is the police, not me. … If I arrest you as a spy, who will save you? … I am BDR, I have a uniform on. Everybody knows I am BDR. I have a weapon but no license for it. All arms that BDR have are weapons outside of the law. … My license is my dress.

I left the term mastan in Bengali because its usage here provides an incisive view into the role border security forces play in the imposition of the sovereignty of the state in the borderlands. It was very surprising that the officer used mastan to describe himself because it always has a negative connotation in Bengali. Mastan refers to thugs or enforcers used by a gangster – they are the muscle sent out by a mob boss to rough up or kill someone who is out of line. This is a shocking thing for a border guard to call himself. However, if you consider that the role of the border guards is to enforce the sovereignty of the state in a space that is at the limits of the law, it makes a lot more sense. Indeed, as the border security forces operate in a state of exception, mastan describes exactly what they do. Just as the mob

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boss uses the mastan to enforce obedience and establish who is in charge, the border security forces are the thugs of the state; muscle used to control people who are out of line and whose actions threaten the notion of state sovereignty and authority. As the agents of the state, the border guards are the ones that make the decision on the existence of a factual danger in the borderlands. Hussain (2003: 16) points out that ‘The notion that a situation of factual danger, whereby the existence of the state is threatened, allows for the suspension of the normative universe of a rule of law is provided for in almost every account of modern lawful rule.’ While every legal code provides for this suspension, what is less evident is how the agents of the state determine that a particular situation represents a factual danger to the state (Doty 2007). Indeed, DeCaroli (2007: 46, emphasis in original) critiques Agamben’s theorization of the state of exception specifically for this lacuna: ‘Left unaddressed is why these actions, and these actions in particular, call forth exceptional measures. Exactly what forms of subjectivity and their associated behaviors elicit non-traditional punitive responses from the state? Why, instead of conventional forms of punishment, do certain forms of political life warrant exile?’ The border provides an important site for locating the individuals making the decision on the exception and understanding what triggered the decision (Salter 2006). Transgressing the border, and exposing the fiction of the coterminous nation, state, and territory, is undoubtedly one of these things, but not the only thing. In pursuit of security in the borderlands, it appears that the BSF does not distinguish between the different conditions at each of India’s borders or between the legitimate and illegitimate reasons an individual might have for entering the border zone. Instead, any transgression of the border can result in being categorized as a p ­ oten­tial factual threat to the state. On the official BSF website, a table of ‘achievements’ states that in the seven years from 2000 to 2006 the BSF killed 1,175 ‘militant/extremists’ at the borders of India. In the same period they detained an additional 1,306 militant/extremists. The BSF data do not differentiate between the western border with Pakistan, where there is an ongoing insurgency in Kashmir, the eastern border with Bangladesh, or India’s other borders with Bhutan, Burma, China, and Nepal. Undoubtedly many of these killings and detentions occurred on the Pakistan border, but the failure to distinguish between the different borders results in the perception that

the indian borderlands  |   135 the conditions on each of the borders are the same and the BSF’s policies should be the same. The physical geographies of the Bangladesh and Pakistan borders are dramatically different: the Bangladesh border runs through densely populated farmland while long stretches of the Pakistan border are in sparsely populated deserts and high mountain ranges. On the Pakistan border, an individual who approaches the border can legitimately be viewed with suspicion. Conversely, on the Bangladesh border there are hundreds of thousands of farmers whose livelihood depends on them entering the border zone every day to work their fields. Additionally, because the Bengal borderlands were only very ­recently securitized, there are many economic and social connections that remain across the border. The same table, which was removed from the website, indicated that the BSF evidently caught many smugglers, listing 9.4 billion rupees (230 million USD) of seized contraband over the same six-year period. What is unclear is how the BSF makes the decision on whether someone is a smuggler or a militant/extremist. The table does not have a category that documents the number of smugglers captured. There is also not a separate category in the BSF’s data for illegal immigrants who were detained at the border. Recent Indian censuses demonstrated that the population in West Bengal grew much faster than could be accounted for by the birthrate alone. It has been estimated that there are somewhere between ten and twenty million Bangladeshis living in India (Mitra 2004; Samaddar 1999). How are they classified when they are detained at the border? Of course, it is also the BSF’s duty to prevent smuggling and illegal immigration into India. However, there are many other individuals who cross the Bengal border, in both directions, to simply visit family, attend weddings, or go to festivals on the other side. After the massive population movements that followed the 1947 partition and the 1971 Bangladesh independence movement, almost every family has relatives on the other side of the border (Jones 2012). For most people, the easiest, fastest, and cheapest way to cross is illegally using traffickers. The BSF statistics, however, do not make any distinction for these other reasons for crossing the border and instead appear to categorize everyone who is detained along the border as a militant/extremist. Although many individuals have legitimate – and illegitimate, but not militant – reasons to be in the buffer zone, it has become a space of exception where at any moment they could be detained or shot

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without any questions asked. They are treated as a threat to the sovereignty of the Indian state and their lives become expendable: Homo sacers, in Agamben’s terms, whose life is not worth anything. Muslim borderland residents It turns out, however, that simply transgressing the border is not enough to elicit the decision on the exception. Instead, the expansive powers accorded to border security forces, along with the mandate to prevent Islamic terrorist attacks in India, create a space in the borderlands where Muslim citizens of Bangladesh and India live with constant suspicion, surveillance, and the possibility of governmentsanctioned violence. Originally, the principal duties of the BSF on the Bengal border were only the prevention of smuggling and illegal immigration. While the Indian military and the BSF have been fighting insurgents in Kashmir for over twenty years, the Bengal border was relatively peaceful and lacked a militant element. However, India was the target of several major attacks that were connected to the broader global war on terror from 2001 to 2008. Most of these attacks were linked in government statements and media reports to extremist organizations operating in Bangladesh, as the Times of India reported on the Ahmedabad bombing: ‘Bangladesh is emerging as the deadly link to the bloody affair’ (Nag 2008). In the wake of these attacks, the role of the BSF was redefined as the first line of defense in the prevention of terrorism in India. Part of that mandate also allowed the BSF to conduct counter-insurgency and security operations within India against suspected terrorist organizations (Indian Border Security Force 2011). In the Bengal borderlands, this shifted the focus of the guards from smuggling and illegal immigration to preventing security breaches that could result in another attack. Newspapers in Bangladesh regularly carry reports of Bangladeshis who were killed, wounded, or abducted by the BSF in borderland areas. Although the Bangladeshi media uniformly describe the individuals as innocent farmers, many of those killed are undoubtedly engaged in smuggling or other illegal activities. Nevertheless, the number of Bangladeshis killed by the BSF in the borderlands is staggering. During the month of September 2006, I analyzed a single Bangladeshi newspaper by noting each article that referenced the BSF.5 Out of the thirty days that month, there were twenty-four days with articles that included information about the BSF. Most articles were

the indian borderlands  |   137 short, usually well inside the paper, telling the story of another border resident killed by the BSF. A typical article from 23 September 2006: Border Security Force (BSF) of India gunned down a Bangladeshi farmer near Bamandanga border under Sapahar upazila of Naogaon district yesterday morning. The victim was identified as Johurul Haque, 36, son of Tomsuruddin of frontier Maiksadanga village. According to Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and police, the Indian border guards of Sotrahati camp under 172 BSF Battalion opened fire on Johurul while he was working on his cropland near the border at about 7:00 am. He died instantly. Immediately after the incident, the BSF men took away the body. On information, BDR personnel of 28 Rifles Battalion rushed to the spot and sent a letter to the BSF authorities, asking them to hand over the body. The BSF did not respond as of 6:00 pm yesterday. (Daily Star 2006e)

The most disturbing aspect of these stories is their banality. In fact, it appears that because the killings are a normal, daily story, the newspaper created a template that allows the reporter to change only the name, the location, and the reason the deceased went close to the border. ‘Zahurul Islam, 35, Shahid Mian, 45, and Ganon Marak, 44 … went there to collect firewood in the afternoon’ (Daily Star 2006h); ‘Mohammad Mujibur Rahman, 45, and Shaheb Ali, 30 … were irrigating their farmland’ (Daily Star 2006a); ‘Babu, 26 … was shot while walking along the border at 5:00 am’ (Daily Star 2006g); ‘Yusef Ali, 18 … was cutting grass near the border at 3:00 pm’ (Daily Star 2006f); ‘Moniruzzaman, 32 … was working on cropland at 6:00 am’ (Daily Star 2006d); ‘Uzzal, 26 … went to his field’ (Daily Star 2006c); ‘Abdus Samand, 25, and Moyub Ali, 20, went to collect firewood’ (Daily Star 2006b); ‘Amir Hossain, 25 … was run over by BSF soldiers in a speedboat while he was crossing the Ichhamoti River with cattle’ (Daily Star 2006i) and ‘Ansar, 40 … went near border pillar 75 at 5:00 am … to answer the call of nature’ (Daily Star 2006c). In almost every case the residents of Bangladesh are described as engaging in quotidian activities and the BSF border guards are portrayed as firing indiscriminately on innocent farmers, then hiding the body and the evidence. The BDR, after rushing to the spot, is left simply to petition the BSF to act properly next time. There are never follow-up articles that describe the aftermath, what happens

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to the body, or whether the BSF soldiers are reprimanded. Instead, it is treated as the normal situation in the borderlands. In total, ­according to the reports in the single newspaper during the month of September 2006, eighteen residents of Bangladesh were killed by BSF soldiers near the border with India. Odhikar (2009), a Bangladeshi human rights organization, reported that between January 2000 and November 2009, 821 Bangladeshi citizens were killed, 858 injured, and 903 abducted by the BSF along the border. It is very likely that many of these individuals were not simply inno­cent bystanders near the border, as the Bangladeshi press des­ cribes them, but rather were engaged in illegal activities. Indeed, an agenda item at a BSF–BDR meeting in 2005 was ‘distortion of facts of news published in Bangladeshi media’ (Daily Star 2005). However, the 300-meter buffer zone is still farmland and there are hundreds of thousands of farmers whose livelihood depends on them entering that zone and conducting legitimate work every day. Agamben (1998: 79) writes: One of the paradoxes of the state of exception lies in the fact that in the state of exception, it is impossible to distinguish transgression of the law from execution of the law, such that which violates a rule and what conforms to it coincide without any remainder (a person who goes for a walk during the curfew is not transgressing the law any more than the soldier who kills him is executing it).

Even if all of these individuals were smuggling, which should be determined through an adjudicative process, the punishment for the crime is not the death penalty. India reserves the death penalty for the ‘rarest of rare cases,’ which includes only murder, gang robbery with murder, abetting the suicide of a child or insane person, abetting mutiny by a member of the armed forces, and waging war against the government (Majumder 2005). Furthermore, the security forces of both countries agreed that anyone caught crossing the border – irrespective of the reason, whether as a smuggler, an immigrant, or a traveler visiting relatives – should simply be detained and returned to their country of origin (Van Schendel 2005: 305). However, the actions of the BSF suggest that they are unable, or unwilling, to distinguish whether an individual in the borderlands is a legitimate farmer, an illegal smuggler, or a terrorist who intends to carry out an attack. Consequently, the border guards appear to treat many individuals

the indian borderlands  |   139 who enter the space of the border as if they are ‘waging war against the government’ and carry out the sentence of death accordingly. In 2011, under pressure from human rights groups, the Indian government redefined the guidelines for the use of force in border areas. The governments of India and Bangladesh signed an agreement that instructed their border guards not to shoot unarmed civilians. Instead, the use of force was to be used only when they felt they were under threat (Habib 2011). The fact that the directive to not shoot unarmed civilians had to be given indicates how bad the situation was at the border. At the time of publication, the impact of these changes on daily life in the borderlands could not be assessed. The exceptional actions of the BSF border guards are not limited to aggressive measures against Muslim residents of Bangladesh – all eighteen people killed in the August 2006 newspaper reports were Muslims – in the 300-meter zone at the border. Instead, the violent actions of the borderlands also fold over into normal, everyday life as Muslim citizens of India are also targeted by the BSF. It is in the practices of normal life that the performative effect of difference is established through iterative interactions that sediment particular hierarchical power relations in society (Butler 1990, 1993). Although the 1947 partition was meant to create Pakistan as a country for Muslims and India as a country for Hindus and other groups, it never came close to homogenizing the populations on either side. As Hazakaria (1999: 140–1) points out, many residents of India struggle with negotiating the distinction between Muslim terrorists, Muslim illegal immigrants, and the over 150 million Muslim citizens of India: ‘Too often, one meets with academics and journalists, officials and politicians in this country [India], especially in the North-East, who are absolutely convinced that every Bengali-speaking Muslim is an illegal migrant who has come over into the area in the past decade or so.’ In the Bengal borderlands, Indian Hindus are quick to make a distinction between local Muslims, who are described as part of Indian society, and ‘foreign’ Muslims who are attempting to damage India. A twenty-five-year-old Hindu male Internet shop owner in an Indian border town explains: ‘There [in Bangladesh] the majority of the people are Muslim and here the majority of the people are Hindu. We do not match with them. We look at Muslims differently and they look at us differently. Those who are living locally are okay, but those living abroad, in other countries, we do not prefer

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them.’ Although borderland residents often describe this distinction between good, local Muslims and bad, foreign Muslims, it is difficult in practice to operate this way, particularly when the local Muslims and the Muslims from Bangladesh speak the same language, dress the same way, and follow the same customs. Consequently, despite the inclusive rhetoric towards local Muslim citizens, many Indian Muslims feel marginalized in the affairs of the state (Oza 2007b). A seventy-year-old Muslim male retired teacher in India describes the ease with which Hindu immigrants were accepted into society while Muslim residents, who always lived in the area, are still in subordinate positions: Those Hindus who came here as refugees [from East Pakistan/ Bangladesh], they have gotten jobs, they are part of the culture, everything. If you compare Muslims with them, Muslims are not getting a fair share. Today in West Bengal, Muslims are 28 percent of the population. We hope that if a hundred people are hired for a job, twenty-eight should be Muslim. But that does not happen here. What is the ratio? For the thirty years the Congress Party was in power, probably 7 percent of service holders were Muslim. Now under the CPIM [Communist Party of India-Marxist], it has declined to 1.5 or 2 percent. This is the current situation. So now the question arises ‘how are we doing here?’ In terms of religion and our way of life we are okay, but we are excluded from economic and political opportunities.6

The marginalization of Muslims in India extends beyond the economic and political spheres as they are often targeted for violence and harassment by the BSF border guards, who are imbued with the notion that their primary task is to prevent Muslim terrorist infiltration into India. An eighty-year-old retired Muslim man, who lived his entire life in the same village in what is today West Bengal, describes a recent experience with the BSF: Q: These stories are all from long ago, but what about today? What is the situation for Muslims [in March 2007, the month of the interview]? A: One problem happened three months ago. A husband and wife were coming from the other side [Bangladesh] and the BSF

the indian borderlands  |   141 or someone, who knows, raped her. The husband was running through here and in front of this house there were some young men. They went there, freed the girl, and brought her here. The boys also slapped the BSF soldier. Later the situation was bad. It was in the evening after prayers around eight or eight fifteen. At that time a few BSF came into my house. They went in every house. They hit me on the chest with the butt of their rifles. When they hit me I fell down. Later I got up and I heard my younger son’s wife crying. The BSF came in the house and threatened us. At the time we were painting my house, and the painter hid under the bed at my other house. He was wounded as well. Other people like the madrasa teacher were beaten. They beat him and broke his leg. Other things happened, they beat other people too. This oppression happened in our area. Here the administration became involved. Several officials and high-ranking police, even highranking BSF officials, came here. Through an inquiry, the next day the Hili border was closed. In India a hartal [general strike] was called and there was a meeting in the area. Human rights officials came here. The MP and other high officials came. This happened. Later they realized they had made a mistake. Now there is a case pending but it is not possible to say what will happen. The administration helped us and they realized that it was an illegal thing that happened. What happened, it happened at the border, but the reaction came to one village and into people’s houses, what is this?

This type of excess has become the norm for many Muslims in West Bengal. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), which documents human rights violations across the region, regularly reports on the violence perpetrated by BSF soldiers against Indian citizens. In 2006, AHRC documented eleven cases of BSF soldiers committing violent crimes against Indian citizens, all of whom were Muslim (Asian Human Rights Commission 2008). This tally is incomplete because the event described above is not mentioned on their list, although it occurred in late 2006 and was reported in the Indian media. When these events are reported in the public sphere, the BSF soldiers are reprimanded and politicians publicly voice outrage and promise a full investigation. However, at least in the case of the eighty-year-old Muslim man, nothing else came of it. Van Schendel (2005: 1) relates a similar story where a rickshaw puller and the

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driver of a BSF truck had a dispute over right of way that resulted in five local residents being shot and killed. A member of parliament raised the issue in Delhi, which resulted in this response from the deputy speaker of the Indian parliament: ‘We are proud of our [border guards] and other Forces. The Members [of parliament] cannot irresponsibly utter anything and everything on the Forces … I will not allow you to say anything more … Nothing will go on the record.’ Beyond the reticence of Indian politicians to criticize the border guards or rein in the BSF, the Acts and Rules of the BSF explicitly encourage senior officers to cover up any misdeeds. If at any point a superior officer determines that the disclosure of a BSF crime threatens India’s national security they are able to prevent its disclosure (Indian Border Security Force 2004: 75). Muslims who reside in border areas also have to submit to extra surveillance in the name of security and the global war on terror (Chatterjee 2004). One older Muslim leader described occasional visits from security officers in which they asked him to provide detailed information on the numbers of Muslims living in his area, the location and number of mosques, and the size and location of private religious schools. The need to categorize and monitor the activities of Muslims becomes clear, as the seventy-year-old Muslim male retired teacher explains: ‘Now our government is saying that in the areas near the border with Bangladesh all of the mosques and madrasas are terrorist training centers. Our state government is saying this. They are also saying the mosques are where weapons are stored. Now you can see our situation. Our country’s thinking is against the Muslim community.’ The violent actions of the BSF at the border and inside the territory of India demonstrate not only that the borderlands are an exceptional space but that the decision on the exception, on identifying a clear and present danger to the Indian state, was subsumed by the exclusionary narratives of the global war on terror which mark all Muslims as potential terrorists. This results in the increasing marginalization of Muslims in the affairs of the Indian state and their direct targeting by state-sanctioned security forces. Conclusion This chapter has made three claims about locating and understanding the decision on the exception of sovereign power. First, it has argued that borderlands constitute an explicitly spatial example

the indian borderlands  |   143 of the state of exception, as violence is deployed outside the rule of law and without consequences. Giorgio Agamben’s theorization of sovereign power and the state of exception generated substantial interest in the aftermath of the establishment of the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay and the declarations of emergency as part of the global war on terror. Scholars investigated the biopolitics of sovereign power, described the dehumanizing tactics of the state, and identified the spatiality of the state of exception, which occurs in the territory where the sovereign has authority and results in the creation of the camp, a bounded space to hold Homines sacri taken outside of the law (Butler 2004; Dicken and Laustsen 2005; Ek 2006; Gregory 2004; Minca 2006). Collectively these interventions produce the perception that the state of exception of sovereign power is all-encompassing, where everyone is already a Homo sacer and ‘a zone of indistinction is becoming globalized’ (Edkins and Pin-Fat 2004: 10). Despite this all-encompassing potentiality, this chapter has argued that the practices that constitute the state of exception can be located in a few very particular places. Beyond the space of the camp, borderlands are the most locatable example of the state of exception and are therefore a crucial site for understanding the decision to take individuals outside the law (Salter 2008). Secondly, it has demonstrated how the exceptional space in the Bengal borderlands was created through enactments of security as the line drawn on a map in 1947 was practiced in the borderlands. The need to impose sovereignty in the previously unorganized borderlands resulted in aggressive and violent state intervention. Although modern states represent the linkages between their territory and their sovereign authority as fixed and inviolable, it is more often fragile and must be vigorously reiterated and patrolled. In the Bengal borderlands, despite the ratcheting up of security practices, the frailty of the idea of a coterminous nation, state, and territory is exposed on a daily basis as people transgress the border and create alternative networks of connection that do not fit neatly into the border regime of the sovereign state. That act of transgression is perceived as a factual danger to the existence of the state which must be contained immediately. As a result, the borderland residents of Bangladesh are harassed, abducted, and killed in a way that is quotidian and unremarkable. Their lives are given little value by the authorities and are dealt with accordingly. In that zone, the category of political citizen is shed and the potential

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to be reduced to bare life is ever present. It is an exceptional space where the ‘normal’ laws of the state do not apply and where the BSF border guards are given the authority to make the decision to kill people without consequences. Finally, this chapter has argued that simply entering the border zone, however, is not enough to trigger the decision on the exception. Transgressions of the border that appear to undermine the authority of the state do result in the decision on the exception, but unevenly. Indian farmers who submit to the authority of the state at the gates pass safely through the border zone. Smugglers who bribe the border guards move through unimpeded. However, as the exclusionary narratives of the global war on terror mark Muslims as a potential threat to the state, Muslim persons, specifically, trigger the decision. The agents of exception, who enforce law and order by operating outside the law, have reduced Muslims on both sides of the border to the bare life of sovereign power.

7  |  The Practices of Insecurit y: The ­B arrier in the West Bank

Introduction ­The effort to resignify Palestine extends beyond settlements, roads, checkpoints, and barriers to the types of trees that dot the landscape (Braverman 2009; Cohen 1993). Although the land has been fought over for thousands of years, it is not particularly productive. The rocky soil and arid conditions of the West Bank support only hardy vegetation. However, olive trees survive and provide sustenance for the population. The trees have an extremely long lifespan – some are claimed to be over two thousand years old – and the same stand is passed down from generation to generation of farmers. Consequently, the olive trees become the connection between not just the people and the land, but also to their ancestors who planted and cultivated them over centuries. For many residents of the West Bank, the most devastating aspect of the construction of the barrier was the fact that tens of thousands of olive trees were uprooted. A fifty-four-year-old Muslim male farmer in al-Jeeb explains: ‘Just think about the olive trees. My great-grandfather planted it. Then my grandfather took care of it, then my father. Now, in one night, it is all gone under a bulldozer.’ Every family I met in the West Bank had a story about their olive trees. Many emphasized the wanton destruction of the trees, which for them represents the disrespect of the Israeli government for the land. Others told stories of trees that were uprooted, loaded onto trucks, and driven to Israeli cities to be replanted, literally transforming the tree from a Palestinian to an Israeli object. Olive trees often figure in stories about the dehumanizing practices of the occupation and the barrier. A sixty-eight-year-old Muslim male farmer in Jayyous describes his experiences: ‘Once, after the harvest, I was pruning my olive trees. I fell and cut my leg very badly. My cousins took me to the gate so that I could go to Qalqilya to the hospital. But the gate was closed. It was not the scheduled opening time. The guards were there but they said we had to wait. So we sat for an hour until the gate was scheduled to open, then they let

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me through.’ Planting olive trees is also a way some people resist the construction of the barrier. In many areas activists return to a bulldozed area overnight and plant new seedlings, which Israeli crews bulldoze again the next day. Irus Braverman (2009) argues that trees are not a benign part of the landscape but rather are potent symbolic and material representations of who belongs on the land and who controls it. She writes, ‘the pine is synonymous with the Zionist project of afforesting the “desolate” land of Israel, and the olive has become emblematic of the Palestinian struggle against Israel’s occupation and for national independence’ (ibid.: 10). It is not by chance that the claustrophobic and cramped exhibits of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem/al-Quds, end on an open-air platform with sweeping views of the pine-covered hills of West Jerusalem/al-Quds. The repurposing of the land as a Jewish-Israeli space played out through countless events in which the dream of recreating biblical Israel – and the force of the Israeli military – meets the material reality of a longstanding Palestinian population which literally has roots in the land. This chapter analyzes this collision through detailed ethnographic data that illustrate the lived experience of the barrier in the West Bank. The barrier is the culmination of the territorial strategies of Zionism and the reimagining of the conflict over Palestine as a part of the global war on terror. It is significant for a number of reasons that, on the surface, appear to be contradictory. First, the barrier symbolically and materially represents the clean break of separation between distinct territories. Drawing a boundary and marking it with a barrier establishes a clear demarcation of where one political-cultural space ends and another begins. Around Jerusalem/ al-Quds, the imposing concrete wall leaves little doubt where the divisions between the Israeli and Palestinian areas are located. Secondly, the construction of the barrier completes the process of remaking some parts of the West Bank as Israeli spaces. Since the earliest Zionist presence in Palestine, the overarching goal of reimagining the territory as a Jewish-Israeli space remained constant. However, the precise methods shifted from the settler colonialism strategy of representing Palestine as terra nullius, to the contemporary effort to delegitimize the people and territory of Palestine by describing them as violent terrorists who are not deserving of modern human rights. Along the way there were also periods of displacement, when people

the barrier in the west bank  |  147 were simply moved off the land at times of unrest, as in the 1947 war, and periods of colonization, when there was an effort to govern both the people and the land of the West Bank. The 1947 war established an initial territory for Israeli cultural, religious, and political practices. The 1967 war opened the possibility of greatly expanding that zone into the remaining areas of Palestine. Thirdly, although the barrier seems to devolve more power to the Palestinian Authority by marking the territory under its control and by removing some Israeli oversight from these areas, the Israeli presence in the West Bank continues to undermine Palestinian society by disrupting movement, livelihoods, education, government services, and family structures. The barrier and the practices of occupation create what a thirty-one-year-old Muslim male and the public relations officer of the town of Rafat called ‘an unorganized life, an unorganized people.’ These disruptions prevent the Palestinian Authority from establishing a functioning state, they allow the continuation of the Israeli settlement process, and they continue to force more Palestinian people off the land. The devolution of some administrative tasks to the Palestinian Authority allows it to be blamed when the people of the West Bank are unable to govern themselves, unable to support themselves economically, and unable to prevent other people from acting violently. In this iterative security discourse, the barrier is essen­tial to contain the perceived instability of the West Bank and to prevent it from leaking into the modern space of Israel. This chapter argues, however, that this disorganization and insecurity are not a preexisting condition that the Israeli government is reacting to, but rather actively produced by the barrier and the policies of occupation. Consequently, the barrier does not provide security for Israel, either. Instead, by destabilizing life in the West Bank, it fosters discontent that results in continued antipathy towards Israel. Additionally, because the barrier is still incomplete and contains many security flaws, people will continue to move through the barrier in both directions. Therefore, despite the apparent clean separation that the barrier symbolizes, the instability that results keeps open the prospect that more of the West Bank could be remade into Israel in the future. Colonization, occupation, and separation The Israeli barrier in the West Bank is situated in the long history of Zionism and its goal of a Jewish state akin to the sovereign

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states that emerged in Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. From the beginning, the existence of another people in Palestine represented an immense impediment to the establishment of a Jewish state. The Zionist movement, then the Israeli government, responded in many different ways to this reality. The earliest strategy adopted by Zionist leaders to deal with the already existing population in Palestine was to pretend that no one was there and that Palestine was akin to the terra nullius of other settler colonial states. The slogan ‘a land without a people for a people without a land’ demonstrates this idea. Of course, early Jewish visitors to Palestine were disabused of this notion; as Hillel Zeitlin put it in 1905, what Zionist leaders ‘forget, mistakenly or maliciously, is that Palestine belongs to others, and it is totally settled’ (quoted in Shapira 1992: 46, emphasis in original). After the creation of Israel in 1948, the state strategy towards the native population in the ‘totally settled’ land shifted between displacement, incorporation through colonization, and separation. Yiftachel (2006: 39) refers to Israel as an ‘ethnocracy’ that ‘uses the rhetoric, language, institutions, and legal status of a nation-state, but its practices often undermine the foundations of this very political order.’ The instability is manifested in ‘a continuum between the poles of democratization and ethnicization’ as the state attempts to maintain ties to ‘Western’ world standards, while also pursing territorial goals when possible (ibid.: 41). After the 1967 war, in which Israel occupied the West Bank, Israel found itself in control of a territory with a large native population. In his analysis of the occupation, Neve Gordon (2008) argues that although it has continued uninterrupted for the past forty-five years, the underlying logic of the occupation shifted from a colonization principle to a separation principle. Gordon (ibid.: xix) argues that initially it followed a colonization model, which he defines as ‘the attempt to administer the lives of the people and normalize the colonization, while exploiting the territory’s resources (in this case land, water, and labor).’ This is evident in the attempt to erase the Green Line in the post1967 period when maps in Israel no longer depicted it and movement in both directions was allowed. Newman (2010: 94) notes that ‘in the short term, this was beneficial for Palestinians on both sides of the line who wished to visit their families, while in the longer term it resulted in Palestinians from the West Bank commuting into Israel

the barrier in the west bank  |  149 to find employment.’ However, the opening up of the West Bank was not unidirectional and ‘for Israel’s Jewish population, especially those who were inspired by religious-nationalist values, the Israeli conquest of the West Bank was no less than the “liberation” of the key places and sites of the ancient biblical and Israelite kingdom’ (ibid.: 94). On 17 December 1967 the West Bank was officially designated Judea and Samara, which are biblical names for the land that emphasize the Jewish historical presence in the territory (Weizman 2007). For Israel, the result of the effort to colonize and incorporate the West Bank was a low-wage labor market and the opportunity for Israelis to lay claim to much more territory through new settlements and roads. For Palestinians, when it became clear that the Israeli government intended to neither leave the West Bank nor completely incorporate the population into Israel as citizens, this uneven exchange culminated with the First Intifada in the late 1980s. Gordon (2008: xix) identifies a shift to a separation principle over the past two decades, which is characterized by ‘the abandonment of efforts to administer the lives of the colonized population (except for people living in the seam zones or going through checkpoints) while insisting on the continued exploitation of nonhuman resources (land and water).’ Rather than taking responsibility for the people in the West Bank, the Israeli government shifted these duties to the Palestinian Authority. Nevertheless, it maintained control of land by creating checkpoints, building Israeli-only highways, constructing settlements, and most recently erecting the barrier. Gordon (ibid.: 3) argues that this occurs through a system of control that operates not only through coercive force, but also through ‘the entire array of institutions, legal devices, bureaucratic apparatuses, social practices, and physical edifices that operate both on the individual and the population in order to produce new modes of behavior, habits, interests, tastes, and aspirations.’ The narratives and practices of occupation work to destabilize the population by creating a new version of normal life that is imbued with uncertainty. These mechanisms allow life to occur, but also disrupt it through arbitrary travel restrictions, arbitrary denials of work permits, unannounced patrols through villages, and midnight raids to arrest young men. Weizman (2007) documents the mechanisms of control and ­sep­aration in the West Bank by focusing on the architecture of occu­ pation. He demonstrates how reshaping the landscape has profound

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c­ onsequences for consolidating power on one side, while marginalizing and dividing the other. Just as the term ‘security’ can be deployed to justify virtually any action by Israel, Weizman argues that discourses of planning and civil administration can also mask the political goals of separation. Even seemingly benign planning designs such as where to build a park or to establish a nature reserve often hide overtly political ends. Rather than based on the progressive goal of more green space in a city, he suggests these decisions are often made strategically to limit the ability of a Palestinian neighborhood to grow or to impede their movement in and out of the area. By restricting the growth of these neighborhoods, some people are forced to move out and risk losing their Israeli status. These are particularly effective methods of exclusion because they are not based on a government-wide policy. Instead, the government establishes general guidelines and then dele­ gates the decision-making to lower-level civil administrators based on their understanding of local conditions. Similarly many decisions about the precise route of the barrier or where to place a checkpoint are delegated to military commanders in the area, who are making tactical security decisions on the ground (Yiftachel 2006). The result is a broader practice of separation and disruption, but one that is hidden behind the veneer of local decisions based on civil engineering, architecture, and planning. Gordon (2008: 6) writes that ‘a series of mechanisms were thus developed to expropriate the occupied land without fully annexing it, while numerous apparatuses and practices were introduced to regulate and manage the lives of the Palestinians without integrating them into Israeli society.’ There is a strong presence of the occupying army in the territory, but without any meaningful interaction with the people. Services are not provided. Jobs that used to exist in Israel disappeared as laborers from the West Bank were replaced with guest workers from other parts of the world. The people of the West Bank live their lives in an odd space where they are simultaneously controlled by an occupying army but also unadministered by it. Ungoverned spaces The contemporary justifications for the barrier draw on the same themes of empty and wild territories that characterized the enclosure of most of the globe as bounded sovereign territories. However, in Israel these themes are modified to match the realities on the ground

the barrier in the west bank  |  151 because it is simply not possible to argue that Palestine is wilderness. In the Israeli government version, the West Bank is not an empty space, but it is not a modern sovereign space either. It is a ‘broken window’ that needs to be managed and controlled to prevent disorder from spreading to the modern space of Israel (Mitchell 2010). The idea of the West Bank as an ungoverned space is created through narratives deployed by the Israeli state and a set of practices that prevent Palestinians from living an orderly life. The thirty-oneyear-old Muslim male public relations officer for the town of Rafat explains how the occupation affects the administration of the West Bank (in English, emphasis added): We cannot travel from place to place. We have to go to the checkpoint, get down, then take another car on the other side. We do not like that but it is the target of the occupation: everyday suffering. We are human beings. We have a voice, we have a mind. … But our life is targeted to be stopped by the occupation. The occupation is designed to create conflict between people. The occupation is ­designed to create an unorganized life, an unorganized people. In America you go to one place to get all the documents for your car. But the occupation will not allow that. The occupation wants to encourage all the bad habits, behaviors, in our minds, in all aspects of our life. We are not wishing to have bad roads, for example. We want to have the best. We wish to achieve our dreams.

The ‘unorganizing’ strategy of the Israeli state is not to create complete disorder, but rather to allow the Palestinian Authority to operate and on paper to give it substantial authority. This provides the impression that the Palestinian Authority is the sovereign decisionmaker, and it also allows the Palestinian Authority to be blamed if something goes wrong. However, in practice there are numerous cumbersome regulations, zones, and exceptions that severely inhibit the Palestinian Authority’s ability to gain control over the territory (Yiftachel 2006). These arbitrary and ever-changing policies of occu­ pation create confusion and allow disorder to flourish (Gordon 2008). This creates the perception that the people are radical and the government is either unable or unwilling to stop them. A sixty-year-old Muslim male, who is the deputy mayor of the town of al-Judeira, gave an example of how this occurs. Al-Judeira was formerly on the edge of Jerusalem/al-Quds, but is now completely



The West Bank


Dead Sea



Neve Ya’akov Beit Hanina Pisgat Ze’ev Shu’fat

map 7.1 East Jerusalem/al-Quds Palestinian areas Israeli settlements Annexed land Completed barrier Planned barrier 1949 Armistice Line


Sheikh Jarrah

Ma’ale Adumim

Old city Silwan

(Green Line)



Beit Jala


km 0

Note: The map depicts the completed and planned route of the barrier, the 1949 Armistice Line (Green Line), and the land annexed by Israel in 1967. The map also indicates the locations of Israeli settlements and built-up Palestinian areas.


the barrier in the west bank  |  153 enclosed by the main barrier and the fences around the Israeli-only Highway 443. While previously most people in the town worked in Jerusalem/al-Quds and went there for hospitals, shopping, and admin­istration, now al-Judeira has only a single road through a tunnel under the highway that connects it to Ramallah. The tunnel is in Area C, which means it can be closed at any time by the IDF. There are also regular, but unpredictable, IDF checkpoints there. The town itself is administered by the Palestinian Authority, but the police are based 5km away in Ramallah. The deputy mayor said that if there is a fight in the town and they call the Palestinian police to intervene, the police must first contact the Israeli authorities and ask permission to cross through the Area C lands. Then, they must meet an Israeli patrol that takes their weapons and escorts them to the town. The process takes an hour or more, which allows any violence to continue to escalate unchecked. Even when they arrive, they do not have their weapons and it is difficult for them to subdue the situation. The point, according to the deputy mayor, is to create instability in the Palestinian Authority-controlled lands. By allowing the fight to go on for an hour, it emphasizes that the people are violent and barbaric and by delaying and taking the weapons from the police, it makes the administration seem weak and ineffectual. The original violence cannot be blamed on the Israelis, but their policies and regulations exacerbate the problem. However, because on paper the Palestinian Authority is responsible, this lawlessness is also blamed on the Palestinian Authority. As an Israeli Cabinet Secretariat communiqué (2001d) put it: ‘The Government of Israel holds the PA and its leader directly responsible for the miserable living conditions of the Palestinian people. The Government of Israel will continue to do everything possible to help the civil population.’ In public statements, the complexity of the situation on the ground is lost and the larger narrative of uncivilized and violent Palestinian behavior is emphasized. Another practice that institutionalizes instability is the policy of house demolitions. Fifty-nine percent of the land in the West Bank is classified as Area C and is under both Israeli security and administrative control. In practice, this means that even people who own their land cannot build on it. If they do, the house is deemed illegal and it is destroyed. A forty-eight-year-old Muslim female homemaker in al-Walaja describes the devastating effect on her life:

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Our house has been destroyed twice because we are in Area C and close to the route of the wall. The demolition crew comes and we appeal to them. They say, ‘What can we do? You built your house here without a permit.’ We go to the permit office and they always deny our claim. They say this is Israel and you cannot build here. But it is our land. We own it. I have three children and my husband tries to work as an electrician but we have nothing. Look at our house. Look at this rubble.

The Muslim male mayor of the town of Jayyous, northeast of Qalqilya, suggests that this uncertainty and instability over time achieve what the Israeli authorities want. The people begin to leave the land and it appears that this is of their own volition: There is nowhere for the younger generation to work. When they graduate there are no factories. They cannot go to work in Israel any more. They are taking away their future. These people have no choice but to look for work outside, in America or the Gulf. And that is what the Israelis want. They say look, they are leaving Palestine by their own will, not because we are forcing them.

The representation of the West Bank as an ungoverned space allows the Israeli state to justify its continued presence in the territory and to further the displacement of the population. Rather than acknowledging that there is an occupying power that is destabilizing people’s lives, the disorder is blamed on the Palestinian Authority and is held up as a danger to the international system of modern sovereign states. The West Bank is described as ungoverned and lawless, which could potentially destabilize neighboring sovereign states, and which obligates Israel to continue to occupy the territory to maintain order. Dehumanized people Just as the West Bank is represented as ungoverned space that is a threat to the modern sovereign state system, the people are represented as a threat to the order of modern society because they are described as maintaining alternative codes of behavior. Human beings are very reluctant to treat other people they know in a degrading and violent manner, but if the humanity of ‘the enemy’ is stripped away, the harsh actions become much more acceptable (Said 1979). This is particularly true if they are perceived not as an individual but as

the barrier in the west bank  |  155 a group. Dehumanizing narratives and practices are effective groupmaking strategies because they justify keeping these ‘others’ out of the state’s space, often through immigration controls or the construction of new barriers, and they allow the government to treat these other people in ways that would never be contemplated for a citizen of a modern state. In the West Bank, the occupation dehumanizes the population by treating everyone, uniformly, as potential terrorists and as unworthy of the rights of a citizen of a modern sovereign state. Foucault (1971, 1978) suggests that state subjectivities are produced through discourses that establish the norms (taken-for-granted waysof-being) and the other which lies outside them. In one of Foucault’s examples, sanity is defined not based on fixed criteria of what makes someone sane, but only in relation to what society terms insane. The same process occurs when defining the members of the nation. It is the terrorist, the foreigner, the Mexican in the United States, the Bangladeshi in India, and the Arab in Israel who does not belong. State subjectivity is defined against this other, which consolidates the territorial identity of the dominant group. Although much of the international coverage of the Palestine issue describes it as a dispute between adversarial Jews and Muslims, in Bethlehem the families that were worst affected by the construction of the barrier are Christians. They lived on the main road from Jerusalem/ al-Quds to Bethlehem near Rachel’s Tomb, one of the historical sites in the West Bank that the Israeli government declared a Jewish heritage site (Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2010a, 2010b). In better times, these were expensive and profitable properties that benefited from the many tourists and pilgrims who traveled to Bethlehem to see the Church of the Nativity. The proximity of Rachel’s Tomb provided an additional reason for people to visit the area. Claire Anastas’ family owns a medium-sized apartment building with a souvenir store and repair shop on the ground floor. In the 1980s and early 1990s, her husband and his brother were successful mechanics and she ran the souvenir shop. Things went dramatically wrong after the 1994 Oslo Accords in which Bethlehem was categorized as Area A, and therefore would be under complete Palestinian control. However, the land on the edges of Bethlehem, in the direction of Jerusalem/al-Quds, was categorized as Area C. In 2002, during the Second Intifada, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) set up a military camp at the edge of Bethlehem in a few vacant

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lots beside Rachel’s Tomb and declared the entire area along the main road a military zone. This designation imposed severe restrictions on movement in the area and allowed the IDF to use the surrounding buildings as their quarters without warning or compensation for the residents. The IDF fought mostly after dark, which meant on many occasions they stormed into the Anastases’ house in the middle of the night, woke their children with guns raised, and then used their roof to fire into Bethlehem. Claire explains: ‘Imagine the fear and trauma of the children. They cried and begged us to move. But we couldn’t. We had nowhere to go. If we left, we would lose our land … They occupied our roof, our apartment; they treated us in a cruel way even though they know as civilians we have never hurt anyone.

map 7.2 North Bethlehem


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Ayda Refugee Camp Rachel’s Tomb InterContinental Hotel Israeli military base Anastas House Nasser House Man’s shop Old main road New main road and checkpoint 10 Route of wall

m 0


9 10


5 4


2 7 3 N

Note: The map depicts the route of the barrier along the main road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem near Rachel’s Tomb.

the barrier in the west bank  |  157 They did not care about that.’ The soldiers encouraged them to leave the house so they could declare it abandoned and occupy it permanently, as they did other buildings in the area. It was all the Anastas family had and in order to ensure they kept it, someone had to remain there at all times. In 2003 Israel decided to build the barrier in the area. At first the barrier was to be directly beside their house, but during the planning stage, the authorities found the main sewage line under the ground and decided to move the barrier back a few meters, which is far enough for a car to drive up to the house. The most traumatic day for the family was when the concrete slabs were finally put in place. Claire continues: They were digging around our house for two months but then they put the blocks in one day. The children went to school in the morning and they returned and found themselves surrounded. We looked out the windows … and it is completely surrounded. All of the views are just walls. So the children went to their rooms to see what the views would be. My youngest said after what we suffered and nobody did anything for us; they buried us alive for ever in a big tomb. That is how he described it, and it is actually the truth.

The barrier literally takes a detour to go around their house, surrounding it on three sides, providing visual proof that the barrier is designed to take in as much land as possible while excluding the people. Things are quieter now in Bethlehem, with tour buses passing through the checkpoint on the new road to the Church of the Nativity. But not at the Anastases’ house; they still cannot go onto the roof without the permission of the soldiers, and there is no reason for anyone to come to their store. We cannot even repair our house. We have a sewer problem but they will not let us dig because they worry that we will build a tunnel. Also, when they switch soldiers in the area, they do not tell them anything about the families. So the new soldiers treat us all equally – equally bad. They do not differentiate between civilians and the bad men who are fighting them. We even used to help the Jews who would come here to Rachel’s Tomb. We would help them and be friendly to them, even the soldiers. But they still reacted in the same cruel ways to us.

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The Nasser family lives across the street from the Anastas family. Although their house is not completely surrounded like the Anastases’ home, they also suffered greatly. They were once a wealthy family and they bought their land in 1981 in order to build a six-story hotel and restaurant near Rachel’s Tomb. They completed the exterior of the structure in 1985, which made it the tallest building on the highest point in the entire neighborhood. Initially they opened a restaurant on the first floor, which became popular with people in the area, and they planned to complete the hotel the following year. But in 1986 the Israeli authorities denied their permit to complete the hotel. As with the Anastas family, their troubles really began in the mid1990s after the Oslo Accords when they found the property located in Area C. In 2001, when fighting occurred in the area, the IDF occupied their building and used the restaurant as their headquarters. They reinforced the roof with barbed wire and sandbags because it was the highest point in the area. Until 2008 snipers were stationed there full time. George Nasser and his mother Carmen describe their experiences: Q: How has the wall affected your life? Carmen: You can see it, it’s close, it’s ugly, it’s in our face, it prevents us from seeing the sun. George: All of our life has been affected. It is not just a wall that blocks out the sun, it is our business, our children, our life. I cannot send my children to school because I lost my business, because it was occupied by the military, because they built the wall. It has become a dead area. Everyone is affected, the children, their studies. The children now blame me for not sending them to a good school. I worked to cover the expenses. But the soldiers use the water, they use the electricity, but the bill is still in my name. We have suffered a lot. They still have the key and can come whenever they want. … We have suffered a lot from the teenage soldiers. They hit me, they make me put my hands up, they hit my mother, they tell us we must leave. They tortured us. This is why the rest of my family, my daughters, have left.

Even after the barrier was completed, the military continued to use the roof for observation and, in 2010, the barbed wire was still in place on their upper floors. The hotel they had planned to build in 1986 is still incomplete. Even if they were given permission to finish

the barrier in the west bank  |  159 it, which is unlikely, the money has long since run out. The Nassers were finally allowed to reopen their restaurant in early 2010, but now there is not any traffic on their road and people are still afraid to come to the area. When I interviewed them at lunchtime, we were completely alone. A third example is the story of a sixty-five-year-old man who owned a small restaurant on the main highway between Jerusalem/ al-Quds and Bethlehem. The building had two sections and he owned the half closer to Bethlehem. His neighbor sold the other half of the building in 1996 to a Palestinian man who had Israeli citizenship, and that man sold it to a Jewish resident of Israel. However, his neighbor failed to tell him about the sale until 2002, when he moved abroad. When the Israeli authorities decided to construct a barrier, they first built a small wall that cut his building in half, giving him access to Bethlehem and putting the Israeli-owned half on the Israeli side. It was not ideal, but he could still get to his business from his home in Bethlehem. But when they built the main barrier in 2003 it was constructed just to the south of his building, putting it completely on the Israeli side. The building, which is only fifty meters from Rachel’s Tomb, is the only Palestinian-owned property in the military zone on the Israeli side of the barrier. He hired a lawyer who was able to get him a permit that allows him to pass through the new checkpoint to go to his property. After the main pedestrian checkpoint at the barrier, he now has to pass through a second smaller checkpoint to get into the military area near Rachel’s Tomb. They only allow people over sixty years of age to have that permit, so neither his sons nor the rest of his family can go to the property. His lawyer told him that if he did not go there and open his business at least once per week the court would declare it abandoned and transfer ownership to the military. Since 2003 he has gone there every day and opened the business for a few hours. The guards at the checkpoint often delay him for several hours, they search him every day, and they tell him to stop coming. On a good day the trip takes an hour each way, but sometimes they make him sit and wait for several more hours. He keeps going because he does not know what else to do. His restaurant was open every day, but he has not had a single customer since 2003. These are regular families who were living normal lives prior to the construction of the barrier. None was involved in the fighting,

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and all three had good relationships with Jewish travelers prior to the construction of the barrier. Nevertheless, simply being identified as Palestinian, coupled with the dehumanizing discourse of the global war on terror, allowed the Israeli military to treat them in unimaginable ways, to occupy their houses, to frighten their children, and to humiliate them at checkpoints. In the process, the roles of victim and perpetrator are reversed, and by simply living in the West Bank these people are treated as if they are potentially violent, uncivilized terrorists. The lives of these families in Bethlehem are emblematic of the experiences of the West Bank population as a whole. The Muslim male mayor of al-Walaja, a village near Jerusalem/al-Quds, describes his interactions with the Israeli authorities: Q: How do they treat you when you go there [where the crews are building the barrier in his village]? A: They are the ones with the weapons, helicopters, and bull­dozers. But when we go there, they look to us as if we are the ones attack­ing them. If there is not a camera there, they will attack and hit us. But if there is a camera, they will try to be polite. If there is a picture of something they do not want, they will arrest the photographer. Although they are the ones with the weapons and the bulldozers, they say they are defending themselves. We are the ones attacking them. … Our land has been stolen, we have been attacked. According to the law we have the right to defend ourselves. But when we come to resist, they call us terrorists. And the whole world condemns us. This is the upside down world for us as victims.

The result is a West Bank population that never feels completely secure in their homes. However, if anyone questions the situation or asks for an explanation for their treatment, it gets held up as another example of uncivilized behavior, which perpetuates the notion that they are not ready for a modern civilized state. In Israel, these dehumanizing narratives and practices, coupled with the real fear of attacks during the Second Intifada, create the feeling that the uncivilized other could carry out another attack at any time. These fears are stoked by enhanced security throughout Israel, where car trunks are searched at entrances to garages, customers are X-rayed before entering shops, and armed guards

the barrier in the west bank  |  161 accompany elementary school field trips. From early childhood, Israeli children learn that they are constantly under threat. When they complete their compulsory military service as teenagers, these fears influence their  treatment of Palestinians, which continue the cycle of dehumanization and violence. Consequences of the barrier: insecurity and empty space Although the Israeli government describes the barrier as temporary and only for security, it does not provide security for Israel. The barrier is still incomplete and its route leaves a large number of Israeli settlers on the Palestinian side, and a large amount of Palestinian farmland on the Israeli side. Both settlers and farmers need to be able to pass through the barrier regularly, which undermines its purpose. Instead of security and separation, the real consequence of the barrier is instability in the West Bank, allowing further Israeli Judaization of the land, and the fortification of previous Israeli claims to West Bank aquifers, large settlement blocs in the West Bank, and the city of Jerusalem/al-Quds. After large sections of the barrier were rapidly completed from 2002 to 2007, construction has stopped almost completely over the last five years. In 2011, the barrier was under construction only in a few places: in Na’alin, where the route is being altered based on a High Court ruling, in Deir Naballa, and in al-Walaja on the outskirts of Jerusalem/al-Quds. The delay in completing the barrier can be attributed to a decline in the concerns about terrorism in Israel, to the reallocation of some resources to the 2006 Lebanon War and the 2009 Gaza War, and to a series of Israeli High Court rulings that resulted in changes to the route. The petitions to the Israeli High Court were brought by people in the West Bank whose land or homes were affected by the proposed barrier, and they were supported by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (Kershner 2005). The petitions asked the court to rule that the route of the barrier was illegal because it was based on political grounds and did not follow the Green Line (the pre-1967 boundary between Israel and the West Bank). The ruling, however, reaffirmed the government’s position that a barrier for security is legal, and the current route, based on the testimony of Israeli Defense Force (IDF) officials, was determined for security reasons. The court further ruled that a barrier for economic, cultural, or political reasons would be

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illegal. The court found, then, that if the Green Line were considered in choosing the route, it would be a political decision and consequently illegal. Instead, ‘it is the security perspective – and not the political one – which must examine a route based on its security merits alone, without regard for the location of the Green Line’ (Israeli High Court of Justice 2004: Article 30). Nevertheless, the court decided that when choosing the route the proportionality of security benefits must be considered against the hardships that would be imposed on residents in the area. For example, the court ordered that in Beit Sourik the hardships were not proportional to the security benefits and 30km of barrier had to be rerouted. The court affirmed this position in a 2005 opinion that ruled on the legality of specific sections of the barrier. The 2005 ruling also stated that the 2004 UN International Court of Justice advisory opinion was not valid in Israel because it had not adequately considered the right of the Israeli state to provide security to its citizens. These High Court decisions were a mixed verdict for the Israeli government because they confirmed that Israel can legally build the barrier, but they also limited the extent to which security concerns alone could be used to justify constructing the barrier deep into the West Bank. The result was that the particular sections included in the rulings were rerouted and the remaining sections to be built around settlements inside the West Bank were delayed. Although the barrier certainly made it more difficult to move surreptitiously between the West Bank and Israel, it has not completely prevented these movements. As an opinion piece in the Haaretz newspaper about the unfinished barrier concludes: ‘On the relatively fewer occasions that Palestinians do decide now to carry out attacks, the path into Israel through the Beit Shemesh corridor is wide open for them’ (Harel and Issacharoff 2011). Beyond the uncompleted gaps in the barrier, there are other security flaws because there are hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens living in the West Bank and these settlers demand the right to travel back and forth from Israel with minimal inconvenience. Some checkpoints that are not used by settlers, such as the Jerusalem/al-Quds to Bethlehem crossing, are tightly monitored with documents and vehicles checked each time. Others that predominantly serve settlers, like the main vehicle checkpoint on Route 55 from Nablus to Kfar Saba, south of Qalqilya, include only a cursory review. Vehicles with

the barrier in the west bank  |  163 yellow Israeli plates – and drivers with a particular appearance – are waved through in both directions without stopping. Passing through this checkpoint almost twenty times, I never stopped the car, showed any documents, or opened the trunk. Obviously, people from the West Bank approaching this checkpoint are checked vigorously, but the point is that many other cars pass through completely unmonitored. Just as many Israeli settlers need to pass through the barrier on a daily basis, many Palestinian farmers have to pass through it to access their farmland, which was placed on the Israeli side. Although security reasons were invoked for the route of the barrier in these areas, the underlying goal is to establish Israeli control of the key West Bank aquifers near Qalqilya.1 A fifty-five-year-old Muslim male who is the international relations officer of Qalqilya explains (in English): You see once the Israelis say it is for security reasons, in other ways it means do not discuss it or ask why. That is what the term ‘security reasons’ means. You understand the meaning for the Israelis. For me, when I hear security reasons, it means ‘shut up.’ We say it is illegal. The Israelis say it is for security. Fine, let them set it up on the Green Line and the height does not matter, it can be 100 meters tall. The problem for the Palestinians is that it is on confiscated land.

The farmland around Qalqilya was traditionally the most important in the West Bank for vegetables and fruit, particularly citrus. Israel began to claim these aquifers through the construction of settlements in the area, such as Alfei Menashe, which were placed between West Bank towns and on the higher ground. In many rural areas, the route of the barrier goes deep into the West Bank where there are not any houses or villages. Then, as it nears a village, the route swings back towards the Green Line, ensuring that most houses are on the West Bank side. However, this results in a problematic situation in which the farmers who live in the villages have documents that demonstrate that they own the farmland that is now located on the Israeli side of the barrier in the seam zone. As with the Indian barrier, to accommodate these farmers, the Israeli barrier has many gates designed to allow access to their land on the Israeli side. The international relations officer of Qalqilya continues (in English): ‘From the very beginning the Israelis promised the farmers they would have access to their plots of land. But they put restrictions on

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having access such as producing ownership certificates, being married with children, which, we see, these measures are tough ones. So the farmers themselves began to abandon their lands.’ Many of the farmers claim this review becomes most stringent during harvest times, which they perceive as an intentional effort by the Israeli authorities to disrupt their livelihood and make them stop going to farm their lands (Smith 2011). A fifty-eight-year-old Muslim male retired schoolteacher and landowner in Jayyous describes his frustrations: I have twenty dunams [5 acres, 0.02km2] of land on the other side of the wall, before we farmed lemons and oranges. Now, because we cannot go there every day, those trees would have died. So we cut them down and put in vegetable houses. But those crops were also destroyed because we could not go to harvest the crops. Tomatoes and cucumbers need to be harvested on time but we did not have a permit so they rotted. Our only option now is to plant olive trees because they do not need much care. We only have to go two times per year. But the financial losses were huge and we feel disconnected from our land.

A fifty-five-year-old Muslim male farmer in Falamya laments: Sometimes they deny the permit and say I am a security risk. If I was a real security risk, they would arrest me and take me away. They want the land without people. Israel wants us to forget about the land. If people go there, there is life there. It grows. But if we cannot get permission, we cannot go, and it will die. This is what they want. In the future they want to take it.

In addition to the areas near the West Bank aquifers, the planned barrier has longer loops in order to include Israeli settlements built well inside the West Bank over the past thirty years. The largest of these are the settlements of Alfei Menashe near Qalqilya, Ari’el in the middle of the West Bank, and the blocks of settlements around Jerusalem/al-Quds, including Pisgat Ze’ev, Ma’ale Adumim, Gilo, and Gush Etzion (see Maps 4.1 and 7.1). The barrier is often built some distance from the settlement itself, which provides lands for further expansion in the future. It has the opposite consequence for Palestinian towns and villages because it is built directly beside the town, in many cases on three sides of it, which not only cuts off farmland, but also space for future growth and expansion. Many of

the barrier in the west bank  |  165 these towns had already wanted to build on these adjacent lands, but were prevented by previous Israeli regulations about building in Area C. Now those limits are formalized with the barrier. Finally, the route of the barrier includes Jerusalem/al-Quds as a part of Israel. A thirty-five-year-old Christian male NGO worker in Bethlehem explains the consequences of the barrier around Jerusalem/ al-Quds (in English): It is built for making facts on the ground, confiscating all the empty land, controlling the natural resources and making facts in Jerusalem. Because, by building the wall around Jerusalem, 300,000 settlers will be able to be in Jerusalem and 180,000 Palestinians that live in the villages of Jerusalem will be out and not have any access to Jerusalem. This is the main thing the Israelis want to do.

The neighborhood of Anata, which has views of the Mount of Olives and is only a ten-minute drive north from the Old City, is an example of the effort to expand the boundaries of Jerusalem/al-Quds to include Israeli settlements, while excluding Palestinian areas. The residents of old Anata are Arab-Israeli citizens and the city is part of the Jerusalem/al-Quds municipality. However, directly beside it without any demarcation is New Anata, which is in the West Bank and whose residents do not have Israeli citizenship. Rather than including both neighborhoods inside the barrier, or attempting to build it through the middle of the area to divide old and new, both parts of Anata were walled out of Jerusalem/al-Quds. Consequently, the Arab-Israeli residents of old Anata have relatively easy movement to Ramallah and the rest of the West Bank, but have to pass through a large new checkpoint to go to Jerusalem/al-Quds or even the neighboring Arab-Israeli neighborhoods of Shu’fat or Beit Hanina. These areas are demographically similar to Anata, but could not be walled out because they are directly between Jerusalem/al-Quds and the northern Jewish settlements of Pisgat Ze’ev and Neve Ya’akov. Despite being part of Israel and within the city limits of Jerusalem/ al-Quds, municipal services in old Anata are almost non-existent. The roads are in poor condition and have not been repaired in many years. The area lacks the urban infrastructure of sidewalks and crosswalks that are obligatory in the rest of Jerusalem/al-Quds. The lack of administration forces local residents to carry out tasks that

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are normally handled by the city, even projects as big as digging up a road to lay a sewer pipe under the street. The treatment of the Israeli citizens in old Anata demonstrates the ethnocratic alignment of the state, which is more concerned with Judaizing the land, particularly around Jerusalem/al-Quds, than protecting its citizens (Yiftachel 2006). This same process is occurring in other areas in Jerusalem/al-Quds, including Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah. The consequences of the barrier are new facts on the ground that will shape any future discussion of the territories of Israeli and Palestinian states. The route of the barrier, the practices of the occu­ pation, and the dehumanizing narratives about the people and ­territory create a constant state of insecurity for the people in the West Bank. This instability makes everyday life difficult and contributes to the Israeli government narrative that Israel is a modern country surrounded by disorganized and anarchic spaces where people behave irrationally and which cannot be governed. The barrier contributes both to the separation logic by establishing where Israeli space ends and Palestinian space begins, and to the displacement logic that forces more Muslim and Christian residents of the West Bank off the land. Even though Palestine was not a land without a people during the Zionist period, the displacement, colonization, and separation practices of the Israeli state have now created empty spaces in many parts of Palestine, which allows it to be remade into a Jewish-Israeli space. Conclusion: the faceless enemy In spite of the violent and exclusionary practices of the Israeli state, the question remains whether the barrier can lead to a solution to the conflict through the peaceful creation of an independent state of Palestine in a demarcated territory. Since construction began, there has been a marked decline in the number of suicide bombings in Israel and people now go to public places with far less trepidation. It appears that the barrier brought security, and security is often cited as a prerequisite for an Israeli peace deal. In this view, despite the criticism of the barrier by the UN, Palestinian officials, and human rights organizations, the barrier was necessary and is good for the peace process. This perspective overlooks other longer-term consequences of the barrier for relations between the communities. The barrier dramatically curtailed the ability of Israelis and Palestinians to see each other, to

the barrier in the west bank  |  167 speak to each other, and to know that the other is indeed a human being. With the barrier in place, the people least likely to cross the boundary between Israel and the West Bank, in either direction, are normal, rational people. The Israeli citizens who go into the West Bank are IDF soldiers and radical settlers, two groups of people that can be cruel and often represent the worst of Israel. The West Bank residents who cross through the barrier are either humiliated workers/ farmers or militants who intend to carry out an attack. The casual trip by someone from Israel to Qalqilya to buy from the cheaper markets no longer occurs. The casual trip by a family from the West Bank to Petah Tikva for an afternoon ice cream no longer occurs. Instead, and in conjunction with the dehumanizing rhetoric on both sides, the gulf between the societies appears likely to expand in the years to come. Zoughbi al-Zoughbi, a Christian male member of the Bethlehem city council and the director of an NGO, worries this will be the most devastating consequence of the barrier (in English): The most dangerous thing is not the wall here, it is the walls in our hearts, it is the racism towards each other. The belligerent acts towards each other [and] the denying of each other’s existence. This is not only a matter of physical walls and spiritual walls and emotional barriers and so on. The Israelis need to learn. They were in concentration camps. They know what it is to be oppressed. So it is more an imagined barrier. That is why I am focused on a strategy of justice. We need to break the cycle of violence and we need a solution that redresses the wrongs, rather than revenging them.

As Zoughbi suggests, the stereotyping and homogenizing of the other is not just on the part of the Israelis. One of the most disappointing findings of this project was the almost complete lack of awareness by people on both sides that regular people who have similar views live on the other side. For example, I attended geography conferences in the same week at Ben Gurion University in Be’er Sheva, Israel, and an-Najah University in Nablus, Palestine. There was not a single scholar from Palestine at the Ben Gurion conference and not a single scholar from Israel at the anNajah conference.2 At Ben Gurion, paper after paper described the inhumane practices of the occupation and repeatedly used the term ‘apartheid’ to describe the systematic inequality of the current system.

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At an-Najah I also heard excellent papers about the occupation, particularly those using sophisticated remote sensing and GIS analyses to document the expansion of settlements even during construction freezes. Unfortunately, I also heard repeated denunciations of Israeli geographers as ‘stooges of the state’ and ‘enablers of the occupation.’ Undoubtedly some are, but I did not meet any of them at the Ben Gurion conference. If anything, some of the papers at Ben Gurion were more critical of the Israeli state than the Palestinian papers. I left the conferences feeling disheartened that the opportunity for connection or mutual understanding between these scholars, with similar worldviews and complementary research, was missed. There are exceptions to the increased separation between the two communities, including Dr. Sami, the head veterinarian at the Qalqilya Zoo. Dr. Sami became well known during the Second Intifada as media reported on the plight of the animals at the zoo. In more normal times, though, the Qalqilya Zoo remains dependent on the goodwill of Israeli zoos and their officials. Consequently Dr. Sami regularly travels to Israel and is in contact with many Israelis. Although there was initially some distrust after the Second Intifada began, Dr. Sami and his colleague in Israel also found common ground that allowed them to move beyond the debilitating suspicion on both sides (in English): When the intifada started, he wanted to talk about politics. ‘You killed our people, etc.’ I told him, ‘We are vets; we do not need to talk about politics. Let’s do our jobs. I like you, you like me. Let’s not talk about politics. I do not care.’ Then he changed when I called. He said, ‘Hello, how are you? Still alive?’ And I said, ‘Yes, still alive. You?’ ‘Yes, still alive.’ Both sides were hurt from this. You could compare and one is a big number and one is a small number, but there are people killed on both sides. I changed his mind not to talk about the political situation. Because if we did, he would hate me and I would hate him. But as we are, we are only vets. We love animals and based on that we are friends.

Unfortunately Dr. Sami and his colleague in Israel are the exception. Most other people in the West Bank and Israel do not have these opportunities to talk with people on the other side. The Bethlehem city council member, Zoughbi, comes to a similar conclusion (in English):

the barrier in the west bank  |  169 We need to humanize each other, despite this wall, because the wall is not healthy at all for the Israelis or Palestinians. We are a country of face, so you will talk about the faceless enemy. When you have a faceless enemy, he or she deserves to be killed. But if you see a face, he is a human being; a person worthy of respect. It is a different relationship. … First we need to begin with an unlearning process. As much as we say don’t generalize, avoid stereotypes, we are humans and we use stereotypes. So it is the time to unlearn them and to really think differently. There are precedents. I do not think anything is totally impossible. … It is an evil occupation. It demoralizes Palestinians and demoralizes Jews.

Peace and stability are more often created through mutual understanding, respect, and trust, rather than simply through separation. The barrier succeeds in limiting interactions between the populations because casual movement across it is difficult and in many places the tall concrete construction prevents even a glimpse of life on the other side. In the process, the stereotyped view of the other is reinforced, the populations grow further apart, and the possibility of resolution seems further in the distance as radical voices are the only ones that are heard. Rather than producing peace by preventing contact between peoples, the barrier produces further instability in that it allows larger and larger discrepancies and fears to develop between the populations. In the end, the barrier secures a continued state of insecurity for people in both Israel and Palestine.

8  |  The Enduring Significance of Borders But to me, these border walls all over the world, if you see a map, they are like wounds in the planet.   (Male immigrant services organization director in El Paso, Texas)

Introduction: do barriers matter? In early 2011, a viral video made the rounds in the United States that showed two women climbing over the US–Mexico border barrier in less than eighteen seconds.1 They nonchalantly walk up to it, grab onto it, and then climb it using only their hands and feet. The video also included text criticizing the enormous expense of the barrier, which is demonstrably ineffective. Various pundits analyzed the video on US cable news shows, but generally from two perspectives that considered only the limited question of whether the barrier prevents movement. The first perspective accepted the premise of the director of the video and argued that other methods of immigration management should be pursued. Why spend 2.5 million USD per kilometer (four million USD per mile) for a barrier that is easily climbed over or tunneled under? The other view emphasized that the type of barrier in the video was built only on a small section of the border and other sections built in a different manner had reduced cross-border movement by 95 percent. Therefore, the video demonstrated why more money needs to be spent on border security to redesign these flawed barriers and to finish securitizing the remaining sections of the border. Scholars have also asked whether barriers on political borders really matter, both in the material and in the theoretical sense, when many of the practices of exclusion often happen elsewhere (Newman and Paasi 1998; Newman 2006). While this book focuses on the hardening of political borders in the United States, India, and Israel, others have identified a broad range of bordering practices that relocate border enforcement away from the line (Amoore 2009; Coleman 2009; Mountz 2010). This is evident in both the effort to push the border out by preventing potentially undesired movements before they reach the edge of the state territory and pushing the border in through increased patrolling well inside the state’s territory (Johnson

the significance of borders  |   171 et al. 2011). In the United States, for example, the devolution of immigration control through Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. §1357, allowed city and county governments to be trained to enforce immigration statutes that previously were solely under the purview of federal law enforcement (Coleman and Kocher 2011). Passenger screening at airports also exemplifies how decisions are made on whom to admit or further scrutinize through algorithms run on computers in government buildings far from the border itself (Johnson et al. 2011). If border work happens in many locations – as Balibar (1998) suggests, ‘borders are everywhere’ – then why focus on barriers on the border line? This concluding chapter connects the shifting terrain of security, governance, and the state in order to argue for the enduring significance of political borders for the practice of – and resistance to – sovereignty in the global system. The central argument of this book is that the construction of a barrier on the border simultaneously legitimizes and intensifies these other exclusionary practices of the sovereign state. It legitimizes exclusion by providing a material manifestation of the abstract idea of sovereignty, which brings the claim of territorial difference into being. The barrier also intensifies these exclusionary practices, because once the boundary is marked and ‘the container’ of the state takes form, the perception of difference between the two places becomes stronger. By performing sovereign control, the state simultaneously reifies authority over that territory and defines the limits of the people that belong there. These perceived differences then fuel more passionate feelings of belonging to the in-group and distinction from the other on the outside. The border barriers in the United States, India, and Israel are the culmination of the multitude of changes to security and defense practices that emerged as part of the global war on terror. These changes at the edges of the state are an integral part of broader structural changes in the legitimization and practice of sovereignty in each territory. The barrier on the border substantiates the imagined line of state sovereignty and becomes the site for contested performances of territorial control, separation, identity, insecurity, and resistance. Security, governance, and the state The term ‘security’ is ubiquitous in contemporary society. The government reminds citizens that it is protecting the population from

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danger through border security, homeland security, and national security. The state also guards against economic instability through social security, energy security, and food security. The term security also influences how companies sell products which implore the population to think about internet security, retirement security, job security, ad infinitum.2 Mark Neocleous’ (2008) critique of security demonstrates that the term is deployed in a multitude of ways that draw on feelings of uncertainty in order to mask ulterior objectives. He asks: What if security is little more than a semantic and semiotic black hole allowing authority to inscribe itself deeply into human experience? What if the magic word ‘security’ serves merely to neutralize political action, encouraging us to surrender ourselves to the state in a thoroughly conservative fashion? … The starting point of the critique is to see it not as some kind of universal or transcendental value, but rather as a mode of governing, a political technology through which individuals, groups, classes, and, ultimately, modern capital is reshaped and reordered. (Ibid.: 4)

Neocleous traces the emergence of the term security to the emergence of the idea of the modern state itself in the political thought of John Locke. Even in his liberal political theory, Locke maintains a space for the state to operate quickly – without regard for the legal system but in the interests of the common good – in the event of an emergency. In the original formulation, this need for immediate action was generally intended to be in response to a military invasion when institutions like courts would not be functioning. Neocleous documents how over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, these small loopholes in the normal legislative and judicial process were expanded to include a broad range of internal disruptions such as labor unrest, natural disasters, and terrorist attacks. He argues that, over this same period, the traditional role of the state in securing its territory from invading armies transformed into an entity that protects the economic security of the population. This shift from securing the state from external dangers to securing internal wellbeing represents a fundamentally more intensive engagement in managing the lives of the population. After WWII, a new term emerged that joined together the external and internal meanings of security: national security. Neocleous argues that while a major part of the National Security

the significance of borders  |   173 Strategy of the United States was to maintain stable, friendly foreign governments for capitalist markets, there was also a large internal component: The US national security documents of the time, and more or less every national security document ever since, are interesting for their stress on psychological operations targeted internally towards the American people as much as externally toward the enemy and suggesting that the security project is as much an ideological and cultural offensive as it is military or economic; conversely, it also suggests the extent to which culture has been used as one of the disciplinary techniques of liberal power. (Ibid.: 112, emphasis in original)

The creation of the Department of Homeland Security is the next logical step in this process. Indeed, in the 2010 National Security Strategy of the United States the first heading under ‘Security’ is ‘Strengthen Security and Resilience at Home’ ahead of ‘Disrupt, Dismantle and Defeat Al-Qa’ida and its Violent Extremist Affiliates in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Around the World’ and ‘Reverse the Spread of Nuclear and Biological Weapons and Secure Nuclear Materials.’ The focus on the homeland is explained: Security at home relies on our shared efforts to prevent and deter attacks by identifying and interdicting threats, denying hostile actors the ability to operate within our borders, protecting the ­nation’s critical infrastructure and key resources, and securing cyberspace. That is why we are pursuing initiatives to protect and reduce vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure, at our borders, ports, and airports, and to enhance overall air, maritime, transportation, and space and cyber security. (Obama 2010b: 18)

The enormous expansion of internal monitoring of the American population over the past decade underlines this point. An investigative report in the Washington Post in 2010 entitled ‘Monitoring America’ documents the breathtaking scope of these new internal monitoring systems: Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators. The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation’s

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history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of US citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing. The government’s goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States. … [It is] an alternative geography of the United States, one that has grown so large, unwieldy and secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs or how many programs exist within it. … It describes a web of 3,984 federal, state and local organizations, each with its own counterterrorism responsibilities and jurisdictions. At least 934 of these organizations have been created since the 2001 attacks or became involved in counterterrorism for the first time after 9/11. (Priest and Arkin 2010)

In India, in addition to the new surveillance and security practices of POTA and UAPA, in 2009 the government initiated a program to issue identity cards to the entire population. The cards will include biometric data and every citizen will be issued a unique identification number. The Sunday Times of London suggested, ‘It is surely the biggest Big Brother project yet conceived’ (Blakely 2009).3 In 2009, the Israeli Knesset passed the Biometric Database Law requiring the collection of the fingerprints and facial contours of all citizens, which will be incorporated into national ID cards and passports (Lis 2011). All of these programs are part of an effort to make the population legible by monitoring their activities in the territory. The shift in the meaning of the term security mirrors the changing purpose of borders from external military defensive lines, to markers of the edge of internal sovereignty, to the site at which to monitor and control the movement of state subjects. Although the emergence of the national security state blurs the internal–external distinction, it also requires an unambiguous definition of the inside and outside of state space. The entire premise is that there is a defined internal state space to be protected and a clear distinction between the population that belongs and foreigners who do not. Consequently, the barrier on the border is an essential part of the national security state. Borders as performative sites The significance of the border barriers in the United States, India, and Israel goes far beyond the simple prevention of movement in

the significance of borders  |   175 borderland spaces. Instead, these barriers are performative acts that demonstrate a set of political claims. Place matters, and performances are most effective when they occur in particular symbolic locations (Massey 1994). The line on the map and the barrier on the border bring the idea of separate homogeneous territories and separate homo­ genous peoples into being. They reify it, solidify it, demonstrate it, and vindicate it. Although boundary-making practices may well occur in many other places, the border line is symbolically where they all converge, both in terms of the efforts to close down and harden the state’s territorial and identity categories, and in terms of resistance to it. First, the barrier is the site for the performance of territorial control. The abstract idea of territory becomes real and tangible when it is marked on the ground with a barrier (Sack 1986). The idea of state sovereignty is still relatively new, and the barrier on the border is the latest technology of governance that articulates the claim of authority over the territory. It is a political statement that demonstrates that the state has the right and ability to control what happens within that bounded space. Andrew Abbott suggests that entities of all kinds could not even be conceived without some sort of boundary. Abbott (1995: 857) argues, ‘it is wrong to look for boundaries between preexisting social entities. Rather we should start with boundaries and investigate how people create entities by linking those boundaries into units. We should not look for boundaries of things but things of boundaries.’ Boundaries are constitutive of the entities themselves, without which they would be difficult to conceive. Boundaries are also normative; these bounded territorial and identity categories do not simply mimetically represent the world, but instead simultaneously create it and limit it (Jones 2009a). In order to imagine a territory for the state and imagine a group of people, there must be boundaries that define the edges of those categories. Secondly, the barrier is a site for the performance of separation. In addition to demonstrating control over the territory the barrier separates where one state’s authority ends and another begins. Rather than the historical norm of a frontier with overlapping authority, or even ungoverned spaces in between, the barrier on the border materializes distinctions between inside and outside. Just as a map provides the image of a spatial container for nations and states, the barrier marks those lines on the ground for all to see. The barrier

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also symbolizes that the state recognizes the authority of another state to govern beyond that line. It literally becomes the edge of the container keeping those on the inside in, and those on the outside out. In the process, connections that may have existed before are severed or dramatically curtailed, which prevents face-to-face interaction and increases distrust. In the narratives of threat and security from the global war on terror, the boundaries of particular state spaces also symbolically mark the margins of the idea of modernity, with governed places and civilized people on the inside, and the ungoverned and dehumanized other on the outside. If an individual transgresses the barrier, this act alone defines their lack of respect for the rule of law that civilizational discourses emphasize. Consequently, the transgressor is an ‘illegal’ who has demonstrated that they are not worthy of the complete set of rights of a citizen who respects the rule of law. The existence of a barrier legitimizes and exacerbates the dehumanization of the other on the outside. Thirdly, the barrier is a site for the performance of identity. By bounding the territory, and setting out another people and place, the identity of the members of the in-group comes into being. The existence of the barrier justifies the distinction between the two territories as ‘homelands’ for the populations. It intensifies the practices of exclusion because the barrier, as a material manifestation of inside and outside, reifies the difference between a citizen and a foreigner and turns the gaze inward in an effort to homogenize the idea of the nation and homeland. By symbolically marking the edges of these imagined spaces, the barrier accelerates the effort to sanitize the internal space of the state and to eliminate any examples of the threatening other. In the United States, the attempt to erase the presence of the other from the ‘homeland’ is evident in the virulent protests that emerged in response to the plan to build an Islamic community center a few blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York. The proposal was described by opponents as inappropriate because it would be a ‘shrine to terrorism’ on a site that is ‘in the shadow of the Twin Towers where landing gear from one of the hijacked planes landed [and] is part of sacred, hallowed ground’ (Sekulow 2011). An online petition in March 2011 gathered over 300,000 signatures against it. Similar efforts emerged around the United States. In Tennessee, the

the significance of borders  |   177 construction of another Islamic community center was subject to protests and it was vandalized multiple times. In Florida, a pastor declared the ninth anniversary of 9/11 ‘International Burn a Koran Day.’ In the New Republic an editorial about Muslims concluded with: ‘So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse’ (Peretz 2010). In 2010/11, almost half of the US states considered legislation to prevent judges from consulting Islamic sharia law. The state legislatures in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Tennessee have already enacted these bans (Elliot 2011). These are all examples of the effort to patrol the identity of the citizen and pursue a particular vision of who and what belongs in the landscape of the imagined American homeland. In Israel, the Judaizing of the people and territory is expressed in a range of exclusionary practices that attempt to remove any non-Jewish peoples from the state territory. In 2010, there was a debate about what to do with several hundred children born in Israel to foreign workers. As Israel restricted the number of Palestinians from the West Bank who can work in Israel, they were replaced by workers from around the world. The government decided to deport these children, who are not Jewish and do not have Israeli citizenship, because more foreign workers could ‘threaten the Jewish character of the state’ (Kershner 2010). Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded to criticism of the decision by stating that the government wanted to ‘take into our hearts children who grew up here and were educated here as Israelis,’ but will not, because it might create incentives for illegal migrants ‘to flood the country.’ In October 2010, the Israeli cabinet approved a loyalty oath for all new non-Jewish citizens that would require them to protect the ‘democratic and Jewish nature of the state’ (Lis 2010). The erasure of any Muslim presence in the landscape is evident in the practice of house demolitions generally, but specifically through the razing of Muslim neighborhoods in East Jerusalem in order to install Jewish settlements, which continues through the present day (Selig 2010). In India, the erasure of the other is evident in series of antiBangladeshi speeches by Varun Gandhi, the grandson of the former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi and the great-grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India. Varun Gandhi said in a speech in September 2010 that ‘We have a big challenge

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before us. The challenge is to save our nation. If we failed to solve Assam’s Bangladeshi problem, after ten years UP [Uttar Pradesh], Bihar, Haryana will face similar problem’ (Hindustan Times 2010). In another speech, he stated, ‘We, India as a nation, should take care to ensure protection of social, economic and cultural rights of our citizens. We must fight for a system where interests of Indians come first’ (Gandhi 2010). In 2009, during his campaign for the Indian parliament, he threatened to cut off the hands and heads of Muslims, while using a religious slur (Page 2009). Despite being briefly jailed for inciting communal violence, he won the parliament seat in a landslide and was selected as the national secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2010. The removal of Muslim symbols from the landscape occurred through the destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya and the pogroms in Gujarat in 2002 (Chatterjee 2011). During the Gujarat riots, Muslim houses and businesses were destroyed while neighboring Hindu buildings were left untouched (Simpson 2004; Oza 2007b). In an interview in West Bengal in 2007, a forty-four-year-old Hindu male teacher indicated that the same thing could occur in Bengal: I have a book that says that no Muslim can have humanity. If any Muslim wants to be human he must first give up his Muslim religion. … The world’s peace can only be gained by converting them into another religion. Okay? Or by killing them completely. Okay? And that day is coming, I think. Major fighting is waiting for us in India. No Muslim will be spared.

The barriers on the borders of the United States, India, and Israel are not the final maneuver towards the political-territorial ideal of a completely enclosed and homogeneous national space. Instead, they are one step in the Sisyphean task of creating a single homogeneous nation of people within a single homeland. Fourthly, the barrier is a site for the performance of insecurity. None of the barriers comes close to completely sealing the borders of the country. Instead, the gaps that become evident are held up as examples of why the state needs to be ever more vigilant about security. The feeling of insecurity is reproduced through media, government, and popular culture images, such as the video of the women climbing the US barrier in eighteen seconds or stories about undocumented immigrants in all three countries. Indeed, the reality is that the state

the significance of borders  |   179 can never have complete knowledge of everything that occurs at the border, within its territory, or in the world. As Scott (1998) argues, the goal of the state is to make as much of the territory and people legible to the state as is possible. As long as there are unknowns within the state territory and in the external world – which there will always be – the state will continue to argue for more sophisticated technologies of power to monitor the activities in their territory. As a result more money will be spent on security and surveillance, more contracts will be signed with security sector corporations, and more  and more invasive security practices will be imposed on the population of the state – of course, all in the name of protecting the freedom of the citizens. Borders are at the vanguard of the s­ecurity state because they are spaces of hyper-sovereignty where the most extreme, violent, and exceptional practices are implemented. As every­ one else on the outside is represented as a potential threat that must be sealed out or eliminated, the fear of the other is intensified and the continuous expansion of security practices undermines the foundations of freedom and democracy on which the societies are supposedly built. Finally, the barrier is a site for the performance of resistance. Although the enormous and expensive barriers on the borders of the United States, India, and Israel seem to be the final decisive representations of the state’s authority, they are not. Just as the barriers symbolize the legitimacy of the political concepts of separation and territorial sovereignty, they can also be the sites that delegitimize the entire enterprise. Building a barrier on a border is a significant act and consequently it can come to symbolize the oppression and exclusion of the system that produced it. The Berlin Wall, for example, became a potent symbol of the violent exclusion of the communist system and of its collapse. Indeed, Ronald Reagan’s famous line ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall’ still resonates today as a simple and evocative statement of freedom. Although the real exclusions of the state may be happening well away from the border, the barrier itself becomes the most important symbolic site at which to resist the system it represents. It provides the sense of place, the image, and the object to be resisted. At all three borders, people contest these barriers through a multitude of actions including overt resistance, such as the weekly protests against the West Bank barrier in the town of Bil’in and more mundane

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acts of resilience that make the best of the new reality. In Bangladesh and India, people occasionally use the barrier as a clothes line. In Mexico, a thirty-eight-year-old female resident of Juárez describes how people use the metal mesh barrier: ‘The people in Mexico, I don’t know how they do it, but they are little by little taking pieces of the wall and they use it for grills. It’s perfect for that. I don’t know how, but they have been doing it. To explain the wall is difficult, but people always have ideas of how to break these imaginary and real walls we are building. So they find a way.’ The graffiti that cover all three of the barriers symbolize the inability of the state to completely regulate activity in that space. The Israeli barrier is a particularly stunning example of this. Street artists like Banksy receive the most attention for their artwork on the barrier, but many sections of the concrete wall around Bethlehem and Ramallah are literally completely covered with graffiti. Indeed, the graffiti on the Israeli barrier prove the ‘broken windows theory,’ but in reverse. The paint symbolizes the complete failure of the Israeli state to control activities along the border and to control the imagination of the population. Just as the Berlin Wall represented the overreach and then collapse of the communist state, perhaps the current spate of border fen­cing is the equivalent overreach of the global system of place-based inequality of the security state. Although this book focuses exclusively on the United States, India, and Israel, these states are not alone in the construction or expansion of barriers on their political borders. Since 2000, a total of twenty-five border barriers were initiated or substantially expanded around the world (see Table 1.1). These barriers represent a broad-based, global expansion of the idea of bounded, territorial states that contain a unique national citizenship. The presumed distinctiveness of citizenship is based on the idea of nations as categories that have fixed boundaries and histories tied to a territory. However, despite a multitude of differences – foods, languages, clothes, skin colors, eye colors, hair colors, heights, weights, jobs, philosophies, religions, likes, dislikes – human beings are still ­human beings. Therefore, fixing political borders and excluding other ­human beings from access to basic human rights and social protections based on socially constructed and imagined boundaries is done on a false premise. Political borders institutionalize, territorialize, and reify these previously indistinct boundaries, rather than representing a real difference between people which always existed.

the significance of borders  |   181 Joe Nevins (2010: 211) wonders whether ‘at some not-too-distant point in the future, people will look back on our current system of legally enshrined global apartheid with the same disgust as the presentday perceives slavery and its successor, Jim Crow.’ The contemporary system of exclusion based on citizenship and birthplace may indeed continue to exist, and be expanded, for many years to come. It may appear to be permanent, just as the Berlin Wall or Jim Crow laws did, but could also prove to be unstable and eventually come undone. Excluding someone based simply on their skin color is inconceivable. Why, then, is building barriers on political borders in order to exclude someone based simply on their birthplace conceivable?

Appendix: Methodology and Methods

This book is a comparative case study that draws on data from two primary methods: 1) critical discourse analyses of government documents, speeches by public officials, and media reports in each country; and 2) interviews, focus groups, and participant observation at field sites both in the borderlands and in larger cities. While changes to border security in individual countries have been researched and the global phenomenon of new border walls theorized (Brown 2010), the contribution of this book is the comparative approach that combines local fieldwork at each site with a broader discourse analysis of the war on terror and border security narratives (Skocpol and Somers 1980; Somers 1994). The two broad methods result in complementary insights into the border security process and help to develop a more complete picture of the dynamic nature of discourses about sovereignty, territory, and borders in each region. The discourse analysis of government documents and media r­ eports is used to investigate how the barriers were justified in each country, how terrorism was represented, and whether there were any temporal or spatial variations. Critical discourse analysis investigates which themes are emphasized in these documents and which are downplayed or ignored (Fairclough 2005; Wodak and Meyer 2001). The data from the critical discourse analysis are primarily used in the first half of the book, which traces how the narratives of the global war on ­terror were used in each country and how they were mapped onto the population of the neighboring state. The on-the-ground fieldwork provides a different perspective by investigating how the global and state-scale discourses are received and understood by people who live in the borderlands, and, in turn, how local experiences affect state and global discourses (Brunet-Jailly 2011). These interview, focus group, and participant observation data also provide insights into how these barriers and the exclusionary immigration practices that surrounded them affect the everyday lived experience of the border in terms of movement, livelihoods, and identity (Dowler 2001; Hopkins 2007; Jorgensen 1989; Valentine 1997). The

methodology  |   183 fieldwork was carried out in several phases. The first was conducted in Dhaka and the district of Dinajpur, Bangladesh, and Kolkata and the district of Dakshin Dinajpur, India, between August 2006 and April 2007 as part of my dissertation project. This phase of the research produced 101 interviews and fifteen focus groups with borderland residents, local government officials, and residents of larger cities farther away from the border. All interviews, except those marked ‘(in English),’ were conducted in Bengali. All translations were done by the author in collaboration with a research assistant in Bangladesh. The second phase of field research was conducted in the West Bank, Jerusalem/al-Quds, and Tel Aviv in May–July 2010. This phase of the research resulted in fifty-five interviews and four focus groups with people in Israel and Palestine. The interviews were conducted in Arabic, except where marked ‘(in English),’ and translated in consultation with research assistants in Bethlehem, Nablus, and Jerusalem/ al-Quds. The third phase was conducted in El Paso, Texas, in March 2011 and resulted in twenty-four interviews. These interviews were conducted in English, except where marked ‘(in Spanish).’ Spanish translations were done by the author. For many of the interviewers, specific names, locations, and dates are withheld owing to the sensitive nature of the topic. In order to provide some context  to the quotations, when appropriate each interviewee is identified by their age, gender, occupation, religion, or country of residence. Throughout this book the views of people at each research site are reproduced and analyzed. In every case, my position as a male researcher from the United States certainly had real, and often difficult-to-assess, impacts on the responses given by the interviewees. In a few instances, I qualify a specific quotation by situating it in a broader set of issues, but for the most part I tried to let the interviewees speak for themselves without too much interference (Spivak 1988). Additionally, both during the interview process and as the interviews were translated and transcribed, I consulted local research assistants extensively in order to ensure I was faithful to what the interviewee intended by their comments. Of course, as the author of the book I have a profound impact on the representation of the data by deciding which quotations to use and how to situate them in the larger arguments. In recognition of this fact, I do not claim that the views presented here are representative of the broad public opinion in these places. Instead, I make the more limited argument that they are

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significant because they represent the views of particular individuals in these places. All knowledge is partial, situated, and based on our past experiences and perspective rather than permanent and universal (Haraway 1991; McDowell 2010). The research presented here should be understood as such and any errors that remain are mine.


1  Borders and the war on terror 1 The shorthand 9/11 is used in this book to refer to the 11 September 2001 attacks in New York City, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in the United States. Although this relies on the American month-day system and emphasizes the temporal rather than spatial aspects of the event (Elden 2009), 9/11 is the generally accepted signifier. 2  Palestine, specifically, was under the control of the Ottoman Empire (1500s–1910s) for far longer than it was under British control (1920–48). 3 This point should not be read as an assertion that some other people do have a legitimate claim to a territory as a nation. The history of humanity is movement and all claims of an eternal connection to a land are problematic (Sharma and Wright 2008). My point here is simply that these three states have particularly obvious difficulties in making claims of nation and homeland. 4 The territory that became Bangladesh was part of Pakistan from 1947 until 1971. 5 This equates to almost 5 percent of the total population at the time.

2 Securing the ‘homeland’ in the United States 1 The quotations from this speech are rearranged to group together similar themes. They do not follow the order of the actual speech. 2  Victor Konrad and Heather Nicol are leading scholars of the often overlooked US–Canada border (see Konrad and Nicol 2011).

3 This fieldwork was undertaken in 2011, after the decision to build the barrier. It is included here in order to illustrate the continued existence of these dehumanizing narratives, not to claim that these necessarily played a role in the construction of the barrier. 4 These are her numbers and are not official. 5 The study found that 35 percent of the Californian population are immigrants, but represent only 17 percent of the prison population. The same study finds that US-born men are ten times as likely to be incarcerated as foreign-born men (4.2 percent versus 0.42 percent) (Butcher and Piehl 2008). 6 The large American retailer WalMart, for example, sold 116,000 US flags on 11 September 2001; the previous year on the same date they sold 6,400 (St Petersburg Times 2002). 7 The Border Patrol defines effective control as ‘the ability to detect, respond, and interdict border penetrations in areas deemed as high priority for threat potential or other national security objectives’ (Haddal 2010: 15).

3  Border fencing in India 1 This poem is originally adapted from ‘The Great Learning’ by Confucius. A translation by James Legge (1960) reads ‘Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts will be rectified. Their hearts being rectified, their persons were c­ultivated. Their persons being cultivated, their families were r­ egulated. Their families being regulated, their states were rightly governed. Their

186   |  notes states being rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy.’ In India, the poem is most closely associated with Sri Sathya Sai Baba, a religious figure, who includes it as one of his core teachings ( quotes/character.htm). 2  Peaceful is a relative term. There are regular skirmishes between the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) and the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), which was previously known as the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR). Additionally, several hundred civilians are killed every year as they attempt to cross the border, which Chapter 6 analyzes. 3 The Left Front governed the state for over thirty years until it was ousted in the 2011 elections.

4  Israel and Palestine 1 The remaining 1 percent was to be an international administered zone around Jerusalem (see Figure 4.1). 2 pages/eng/questions.htm. 3 p=195. 4 The majority of the world’s population still lived in colonies in 1947. Over the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s these places were decolonized and joined the UN bringing its current membership to 193 in 2011. 5 It is not clear what the 120-year figure refers to in this speech, but it is a good example of how political leaders project contemporary political configurations and conflicts back through history. 6  As this book was completed, the Palestinian Authority applied to become a full member of the United ­Nations. Approximately two-thirds of the members of the UN already recognize Palestine as a sovereign state (126/193).

5  The US–Mexican border 1 It is impossible to generalize a single borderland experience owing to the length of the border and the diversity of borderland communities. Instead, this chapter focuses on El Paso–Juárez in order to provide a detailed view of one area. 2 These are his numbers and not official ones.

6  The Indian borderlands 1 The 1995 state of emergency in the United States, enacted by then president Bill Clinton, was originally targeted towards individuals financing terrorism in the Middle East. It was expanded to include al-Qaeda and later the broader war on terror and is still in effect. 2 The lengths of each section of India’s border are: Bangladesh 4,092km, Bhutan 605km, Burma 1,463km, China 3,380km, Nepal 1,690km, Pakistan 2,912km (Kabir 2005; Van Schendel 2005). 3 The Gaza Strip is 360km2. 4  Bangladesh has a security force, which was previously known as the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) but whose name was changed in 2011 to Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB). The BGB is smaller in size and not as well equipped as the BSF. The government of Bangladesh opposed the fencing project but has little recourse after India’s decision to build it 150 meters back from the border. The role of the BGB is largely to monitor the BSF’s actions. Because this book quotes newspaper reports and interviews from before the name change, the older acronym BDR is used throughout. 5 The Daily Star was chosen for this analysis for several reasons. First, it has the highest circulation of the many English-language daily papers in Bangladesh and is operated by the same company that publishes the Prothom

notes  |   187 Alo, the Bengali-language paper with the widest circulation (World Association of Newspapers 2007). Secondly, although both papers are operated independently of political parties, they are perceived to have a center-left orientation. This is opposed to some of the more right-leaning papers that are vehemently anti-Indian. Therefore, the representations of violence at the border cannot be understood as simply anti-Indian propaganda. 6 These are his statistics, not official ones.

7  The barrier in the West Bank 1  At the time of publication, the barrier route north of Qalqilya was adjusted to place more farmland on the West Bank side. 2 This is partly due to travel restrictions in both directions. Palestinians

obviously have difficulty entering Israel and Israeli law makes it illegal for Israelis to enter Area A, including Nablus.

8  The significance of borders 1 The video is available online: www. 2 This is evident in the 303 uses of the word ‘security’ in this book. 3 Interestingly, the United States does not have a national identity card. However, each individual state does issue identity cards and the REAL ID Act of 2005 established a rigorous set of standards for those state-issued cards. Citizens do already have a federally issued social security number that is required for all employment. Consequently, these two forms of identification are in practice equivalent to a national ID card.


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11 September 2001 attacks, 7, 8, 32–4, 65, 69, 77, 88, 89, 92–3, 101, 106, 109, 113, 118, 176; and change in security narratives, 31–9 Abbas, Mahmoud, 99 Abdul Kalam, A. P. J., 53, 71, 73, Addington, Bill, 113 Advani, L. K., 59–60, 64 Afghanistan, war in, 37–8 Agamben, Giorgio, 22, 23, 127, 134, 136, 138, 143 Ahmedabad bombing (India), 136 aircraft, unmanned, use of, 110–11, 125 Aldrete-Davila, Osvaldo, 102–3 Alfei Menashe settlement (West Bank), 164 Aliyah, 78–9, 82 American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), 114 Anastas, Claire, 155–8 Anata neighbourhood (Jerusalem/ al-Quds), 165 Anderson, B., 107–8 apartheid, 181; use of term, 167 apartheid wall, use of term, in Israel, 11, 77 aquifers of Palestine: annexation of, 77; controlled by Israel, 163 Arab Spring, refugee flows resulting from, 16 Arafat, Yasser, 74, 88, 92, 95; likened to bin Laden, 91 Ari’el settlement (West Bank), 164 Arizona (USA), immigration laws in, 36 ‘articulable facts warranting suspicion’, 114–15, 125 Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), 141 Association for Civil Rights in Israel, 161

Awlaki, Anwar al-, 50 Babri mosque, destruction of, 67, 178 Balfour Declaration, 79, 82 Bangladesh: as source of weapons, 70; blamed for migration into India, 15; border with India, 1, 54–5, 128, 135; pre-modernization, 60–3 see also West Bengal Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), 131, 133, 137 Banksy, 180 Barak, Ehud, 87 bare life, 144 barriers: as site of performance (of identity, 176; of insecurity, 178; of resistance, 179; of separation, 175–6; of territorial control, 175); stigma of, 5; contestation of, 179; defining state belonging, 3; Israeli, consequences of, 161–6; justification of, 7; recycled as metal grills, 180; used as clothing line, 180 Barrios Aztecas gang (Mexico), 120 Beit Sourik, 162 beneficiaries of barrier-building, 121–4 Benjamin, W., 22 Berlin Wall, 16, 180; fall of, 5, 12 Bethlehem, 155–61 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) (India), 21, 55, 59, 178 Bhattacharjee, Buddhadeb, 62 Biden, Joe, 47 biopolitics of submission and confession, 130 Blair, Tony, 53–4 Bonner, Robert, 39 border guards, as agents of the state, 134 Border Patrol (USA), 31, 39, 46, 109, 111, 114, 123; creation of, 29; expansion of, 51; funding of, 30, 120–1

index  |   205 Border Patrol agents in USA, 6, 14, 24, 27, 47, 49, 51, 115, 118, 119, 124; commutations for, 102–3; increasing numbers of, 40; license to kill, 103; powers of, 116–17, 125 Border Patrol National Strategy (USA), 117 Border Security Forces (BSF) (India), 24, 57, 71, 126, 132, 136–9; Acts and Rules, 132–3; counter-insurgency operations of, 136; establishment of, 129–30; relations with Muslims, 140–1; right of way incident, 142 borderlands: as spaces of exception, 104, 110–18, 132, 135, 142–3; dehumanization of residents of, 24; seen as area of lawlessness, 40–1; seen as disorderly, 22; seen as places of danger, 102; uncertainty of jurisdiction at, 111 borderless world, 5, 6 borders: as depicted on maps, 24; as performative sites, 174–81; as spaces of hyper-sovereignty, 110, 179; changing purposes of, 9–12; hardening of, 170; militarization of, 9 boundaries: establishment of, 86–7; normativity of, 175 Bracero program (USA), 30, 109 Brignoni-Ponce decision, 114, 116 Brubaker, R., 45 Burn a Koran Day, 177 Bush, George W., 8, 24, 32–8, 47–8, 88, 89, 90, 92, 93, 102–3, 112; letter to Ariel Sharon, 99–100 Bush Doctrine, 2, 32, 37 Camp David agreements, 74 Castells, M., 108 ‘catch and release’, use of phrase, 42, 109 censuses, conducting of, 17 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (USA), 110 Chatterji, Chandra, 65 checkpoints: of Israeli army, 75, 76, 86, 151, 153, 159; of US Border Patrol, 104, 116; waiting at, 106 Chertoff, Michael, 51, 113

Chidambaram, P., 58 citizenship, in relation to human rights, 15 Ciudad Juárez, 14 climate change, rising sea levels, 15 Clinton, Bill, 23, 74 Clinton, Hillary, 47 Cold War, 7, 8, 9 colonialism: British techniques of, 19; territorial administration in, 12 Communist Party of India–Marxist (CPIM), 140 commutations for Border Patrol agents, 102–4, 124 Compeán, José, Border Patrol agent, 102–3, 124 Congress Party (India), 56–7, 140 Cook, John, 105, 107, 118–19, 122 corruption, of border guards, 71 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) (USA), 26, 52 death penalty, in India, 138 deaths, in border areas, 123, 134: of Bangladeshis, 136–9 decolonization, 19 dehumanization of the ‘other’, 42, 154–61 demolition of houses, by Israeli army, 76 Denmark, re-establishment of border checkpoints, 16 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (USA), 26, 27, 35, 44, 104, 112, 113, 120; creation of, 36, 39, 173 Dobbs, Lou, 102 Dreier, David, 46 drugs, smuggling of see smuggling, of drugs East Jerusalem, 85, 97 El Paso, 104–7; construction of bridges in, 118 enclosures, in England, 82 Endangered Species Act (ESA) (USA), 112, 113 enemy-other, 8; dehumanization of, 154–61; description of, 2–3; elimination of, 8; hatred of, 106; internal, fear of, in European Union,

206   |  index 16; representation of, 15, 64, 67, 72, 107–10, 169; territorialization of, 55 enforcement practices, exceptional, 22–4 environmental consequences of barriers, 113 Escobar, Veronica, 106 European Union (EU): removal of internal border checkpoints, 5, 16; view of Israeli barrier wall, 97 exceptional practices, at borders, 110–18, 133, 179 exclusion, 18; legitimization of, 3 export processing zones, 30 farmers: effect of barriers on, 128, 130–1 (in Palestine, 145–6, 163–4); killing of, 136–9 Fatah organization (Palestine), 90 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) (USA), 111 Feinstein, Dianne, 102–3 Felix, Arellano, 40 female body, as site of contestation, 68 fence, use of term, 11, 12 fencing of borders: early history of, 32 see also virtual fencing fieldwork, 182–3 Force 17 organization (Palestine), 92 Fort Hancock, Texas, 43, 111, 119–20 Foucault, Michel, 18 funneling of cross-border movements, 118, 122, 123 fuzzy frontiers, 124–5 Gadsden Purchase, 28 Gandara, Erika, 120 Gandhi, Varun, 177–8 Garcia, Ruben, 5, 118 Geneva Conventions, 97; Fourth, 14 Gingrich, Newt, 21 globalization, and borders, 5–7 Goffman, Erving, 108 Gorbachev, Mikhail, 179 Gordon, N., 149–50 governance, 171–4 governmentality, 18 Great Wall of China, 9

Green Line, Israel-Palestine border, 24, 95, 148, 161–2, 163 Guantánamo Bay prison, 50, 127 Gujarat, pogroms in, 178 gun dealers, in USA, 29 Hadrian’s Wall, 9 Hamas (Palestine), 91; categorized as terrorist group, 93; freezing of assets of, 92 Haque, Johurul, 137 Harkatul Jihad group, 58 harmful effects of barrier building, 121–4 Hawai‘i, annexation of, 19 Hensarling, Jeb, 46 Hernández Güereca, Sergio Adrián, 123 Hindu, as category, 20, 21 Hindus, in India, 54, 65, 72, 140; attack on Babri mosque, 67; attacks on, 66 Hizbullah (Palestine), 91 Holocaust, 80 homeland: securitization of, in USA, 26–52; use of term, 44 Homeland Security Act (2002) (USA), 38 Homo sacer, 22, 136, 143 house demolitions, by Israeli armed forces, 153–4, 177 human rights, connected to citizenship, 15 illegal immigrants see immigration, illegal Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant etc. (1996), 112 ‘illegals’, use of term, 41 immigrants, stereotypes of (as criminals, 43; as dirty and diseased, 42–3; as uncivilized, 44) see also migration immigration: from Mexico to US, control of, 40; illegal, 36, 38, 136, 139 (arrest of suspects, 46); to Israel, 83 see also Aliyah Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) (USA), 110 Immigration and Nationality Act (USA), 114, 171 immigration control, devolution of, 171 India, 6, 19, 177; attack on parliament

index  |   207 of, 59; bombings in, 58; border with Bangladesh, 135 (fencing of, 1, 15, 53–73, 128); border with Pakistan, 129, 135 (fencing of, 1, 11, 54–5, 57); diversity of population of, 20; fencing of border, 53, 54–5, 126–44; nuclear materials deal, 57; partition of, 20, 128, 139; securitization in, 54; security relationship with USA, 72; siege of Mumbai, 7 see also Border Security Forces Indira-Mujib treaty (1974), 130 insecurity, practices of, in West Bank, 145–69 Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) (Pakistan), 62 internal security practices, expansion of, 3 International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), 111, 125 International Court of Justice, advisory on Israeli barrier, 95, 97, 162 Intifada: First, 74, 149; Second, 76, 87–8, 101, 155, 160, 168 Iraq, US troops in, 50 Islam: in South Asia, 65; issue of community center in USA, 176; sharia law, 177 Islam, Kazi Nazrul, 60 Islami Oikya Jote party (Bangladesh), 63 Islamic Jihad organization, 91; categorized as terrorist group, 93; freezing of assets of, 92 Islamist groups, 46; in Bangladesh, 62–3 Israel, 34, 57; Biometric Database Law (2009), 174; condemned by UN, 95; deportation of non-Jewish children, 177; diversity of population of, 20; emergency laws in, 24; fencing of border with Palestine, 1–2, 11, 14, 74–101, 146 (artistic deconstruction of, 180; consequences of, 161–6; justification of, 76; re-routing of, 162); Judaization in, 177; oath of loyalty, 177; occupation of territory by, 19; recognition of, 82; relations with USA, 93; securitization in, 54

Jabotinsky, Ze’ev, 79–80 Jamaat-e-Islami (Bangladesh), 62 Jerusalem/al-Quds, 88, 146, 165–6; as capital of Israel, 89; Israeli control of, 83; Israeli settlements around, 13, 76, 94, 100, 164–6 see also East Jerusalem Jews, as chosen people of God, 21 Juárez, 104–7 Juárez cartel, 106 Judeira, al-, 151–2 Kashmir, line of control, 9 kibbutz movement, 79 King, Peter, 45 Korea, demilitarized zone, 9 Kurtzer, Daniel, 92 Laden, Osama bin, 50, 71 languages and measurements, standardization of, 17 Locke, John, 172 maquiladoras, 30, 105 marijuana, 116 Masri, Izz al-Din Shuheil, 74 mastan, use of term, 133–4 Mediterranean, militarization of, 16 methodology of inquiry, 182–4 Mexican–American War, 28 Mexico: annexation of, 19; as terra nullius, 28; border with US, 1, 5, 6, 11, 36–7, 49, 102–25 (history of, 27–31); representations of, 39–45 (as ungovernable place, 14, 118) migrant labor, needed in USA, 109 migration, 19; as phenomenon of the poor, 5; criminalization of, 109; in India, 20 see also undocumented immigrants modernization narratives, 82 monitoring, domestic, in USA, 173–4 Montalvo, Frank, 113 mosques, seen as terror training centres, 142 Mumbai siege, 54, 57, 58 Muslim, as category, 20 Muslims, in Bangladesh and India, 54, 61, 64–6, 68–9, 71–2, 139–42; pogroms

208   |  index against, 178; seen as terrorists, 68–9, 70–1 Mutual Assistance on Criminal Matters Treaty (US–India), 56 Nakba, al-, 75, 82 Napolitano, Janet, 41, 50, 51 Nasser family (Bethlehem), 158 Nasser, Carmen, 158 Nasser, George, 158 nation: idea of, 108; membership of, anxieties related to, 21 nation-state, 17 National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) (USA), 112 National Guard (USA), 27, 117 Native Americans, 28 Nazi death camps, 127 Nelson, Willie, 116 Neocleous, Mark, 172–3 Netanyahu, Binyamin, 86, 97, 99, 177 Neve Ya’akov settlement (West Bank), 165 newspapers, role of, in stereotyping, 108 no-man’s land, 130 see also terra nullius North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 5, 30, 124 Obama, Barack, 24, 47, 50, 117 olive trees, in Palestine: planting of, 146, 164; uprooting of, 145–6 Olmert, Ehud, 100 Operation Gatekeeper (San Diego, USA), 30 Operation Hold-the-Line (Texas, USA), 30 Oslo Accords, 85, 87, 155, 158 other see enemy-other Oza, Rupal, 54 Pakistan, border with India, 1, 54–5, 129, 135 Palestine: as terra nullius, 13, 146, 148; border with Israel, 1–2, 74–101; de-signification of territory, 83; Jews in, 19; Judaization of, 85, 86, 101; par­ tition of, 19, 75, 80–2; resignification of, 145; Zionist settlement in, 78–9

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), 87 Palestine Monitor, 77 Palestinian Authority (PA), 2, 14, 74, 85, 87, 91, 95, 147, 149, 151; blaming of, 153; labeled terrorist organization, 92; police HQ closed, 88 Palestinians: in Israel, 20; stereotyped as terrorists, 90–1, 92, 94, 101 passenger screening at airports, 171 passports, issuing of, 18 Peraza Quijada, Juan Patricio, 123 Pew Hispanic Trust, 51 Pisgat Ze’ev, 164, 165 Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), 91 population, legibility of, 17 Powell, Colin, 88 pre-emptive war, 2 Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) (2002) (India), 24, 56, 59, 126, 174 Qaeda, al-, 32–4, 46 Qalqilya Zoo, 168 Rabin, Yitzhak, 87 Rachel’s Tomb, 155–61 racism, 167 Radcliffe, Cyril, 129 Ramos, Ignacio, 102–3, 124 rape, 141 Reagan, Ronald, 7, 179 REAL ID Act (2005) (USA), 112 Richardson, Bill, 41 Ridge, Tom, 36 rights, given by God, 21 Rio Grande, as border marker, 104, 113 rivers, chosen as boundaries, 113–14 Salter, Mark, 127, 130 Sami, Dr, 168 Sassen, Saskia, 16 Satterfield, David, 92 Sbarro pizzeria bombing, Israel, 74, 88 Schijveschuurder family, 74 Schmitt, Carl, 63 Scott, James C., 17 seam zone, use of term, 95

index  |   209 Secure Borders Initiative (USA), 50 Secure Fence Act (2006) (USA), 1, 45–50, 112, 118, 121 securitization, 171–4; critique of, 172; of borders, 3, 70, 126, 128, 131, 143 security fence, use of term, in Israel, 11, 76 security state, emergence of, 25 Sepich, Kathryn, 43 settlements, Israeli, in West Bank, 87–8, 95, 168 Sharon, Ariel, 8, 87–8, 89–91, 92–3, 94, 99–100, 101 Sinaloa cartel, 106 Singh, Manmohan, 58 Six-Day War (Israel), 83 smuggling, 6, 29, 115, 130, 135, 136, 138, 144; of drugs, 29, 30, 104, 110, 116, 122; of humans, 116, 135 sovereign power, 127, 142 sovereignty, 3, 4, 11, 12, 14, 17, 78, 110, 171; boundaries of, 9; imposition of, 129; performance of, 10, 17; power of, 22 spaces of exception see borderlands, as spaces of exception Sproul, John, 114 state of emergency: at borders, 117, 126–7; declaration of, 22 state of exception, 127, 134; as global environment, 23; in borderlands, 138 state subjects, defining of, 16–22 states, religiously defined, 20 Suharwardy, Huseyn, 60 suicide bombings, in Israel, 74, 166 Sundarbans forest, 70 surveillance and security operations, 23 Swadeshi movement, 60 Tagore, Rabindranath, 60 Taliban, 71, 92 Tamimi, Ahlam, 74 Tanzim organization (Palestine), 90, 92 technologies of surveillance, 47, 50; CCTV, 59 Tennessee, protest at Islamic community center, 176–7 terra nullius, 12; Mexico as, 28; Palestine as, 13, 146, 148

territory, defining of, 16–22 terrorism, 12, 26, 51, 55, 88–93; blamed on Muslims, 68–9; representation of, in India, 54 Thana boundaries (India), 129 Torpey, John, 17 tortilla fence, use of term, 118 Transportation Safety Administration (USA), 39 Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo (1848), 28 trees, as symbolic representations, 146 undocumented immigrants, 122–3; in USA, 51 ungoverned spaces, 12–16, 150–4 Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), 8; legitimacy of, 7 United Nations (UN): charter, right of self-defense, 98; General Assembly, 96; mutual recognition of sovereignty, 10; Security Council, resolution on Israeli barrier, 96 Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) (2004) (India), 56, 127 unmanned drones, use of, see aircraft, unmanned, use of urban slums, expansion of, 6 United States of America (USA), 53, 55–6, 89, 96, 176; attitude to Israeli barrier wall, 99; border with Mexico, 1, 6, 11 (history of, 27–31; fencing of, 5, 31, 36–7, 102–25 [funding of, 49; opposition to, 106; scaling of, 170]); Civil War, 29; diversity of population of, 20; exceptionalism of, 21; i­nformation-collecting in, 173–4; re­imagining of population of, 19; relations with Israel, 93, 100; representation of homeland, 39–45; securitization of homeland, 26–52; state of emergency in, 23; veto power in UN, 97, 100 US Customs and Border Protection, 39 US National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism, 13 US VISIT program, 39 US–India Nuclear Cooperation Approval

210   |  index and Non-proliferation Enhancement Act (USA) (2008) (2008), 56 USA PATRIOT Act (2001), 56, 126 Vajpayee, Atal Bihari, 8, 55–6 Vietnam war, 5 vigilantism, 119–20; development of, 111 virtual fencing, 50 visa-monitoring system, in USA, 37, 39 Vivekananda, Swami, 65 wall, use of term, 11 walled cities, medieval, 9 war on terror, 2, 5–25, 32–5, 37, 50, 123, 136, 160; and state of emergency, 22–3; discourse of, 7; in India, 53–73 Washington Post, report on internal monitoring, 173–4 Weizman, E., 149–50 Weldon, David, 46–7 West Bank: archaeological and cultural

sites in, 85–6; as ungoverned space, 151–4; emergency laws in, 24; expansion of Israeli settlements in, 87–8, 95, 168; fragmentation of, 85; Israeli barrier in, 14, 145–69 (protests against, 179); Israeli occupation of, 13, 148–9; Israeli settlements in, 94, 95; Judaization of, 166; ‘security project’, 11 West Bengal, 60, 62, 69; Naxalite movement in, 70; treatment of women in, 68 Westphalia, Treaty of (1648), 17 women, in Bangladesh, 67–8 xenophobia, 106 Zinni, Anthony, 92 Zionism, 21, 83, 146, 147–8; colonization by, 80; discourses of, 82; settlement of Palestine, 78–9 Zoughbi, Zoughbi al-, 167, 168–9

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