The popular impulse for destruction seeks to spatially articulate ‘liberation’ from an architecture understood as a political straitjacket, an instrument of domination and control. If architecture is a weapon in a military arsenal that implements the power relations of colonialist ideologies, then architecture must burn. If architecture is a weapon in the military arsenal of colonial rule, then architecture must burn. The impulse of destruction seeks to turn time backwards, reverse development into virgin nature, a tabula-rasa, on which a set of new beginnings could be articulated .

However, time and its processes of transformation can never be simply reversed: rather than the desired romantic ruralization of developed areas, destruction generates desolation and environmental damage that may last for decades. In 2005 Israel evacuated the Gaza settlements and destroyed 3,000 homes, creating not the promised tabula-rasa for a new beginning, but rather a million and a half tons of toxic rubble that poisoned the ground and water aquifers. The decontamination process has been greatly impeded by the complete closure of the Gaza strip – which is the new form that Israel’s occupation has taken.

Courtesy: UNEP – United Nations Environment Programme

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Atzmona before (June 2005) and after (2006) its destruction by the Israelis. Courtesy: ARIJ

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Neve Decalim before (June 2005) and after (2006) its destruction by the Israelis. Courtesy: ARIJ