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Ben-Gurion University
Ariel Handel - More of the Same at BGU Department of Politics and Government
18.05.15
Editorial Note

Dr. Ariel Handel, a post-doctorate fellow of the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) at Ben Gurion University Department of Politics and Government. Handel is one of a group of radical scholars whose research activity is an extension of their political activism. 
 
In July 24, 2014 Handel signed an Open Letter by 50 Israeli Army Reservists explaining why they refuse to fight in Gaza. The fifty reservists expressed opposition to the Israeli military apparatus, the war in Gaza and the conscription law.  This is hardly surprising since Handel is one of the original army reservists who published the Combatant's Letter in January 2002, aka "Courage to Refuse", he is listed as number 554.
 
Handel has the right to sign petitions and engage in other political activity.  But like his radical colleagues, Handel has used his academic position to push a political agenda. For instance, In 2008 he participated in a conference organized by Elia Zureik States of Exception, Surveillance and Population Management:The Case of Israel/Palestine". Zureik, a professor at Queens University, Ontario, Canada, is a leader in the Palestinian right of return movement.  Zureik published the proceeds of the conference in the book  Surveillance and Control in Israel/Palestine.              
                    
In his chapter "Exclusionary Surveillance and Spatial Uncertainty in the Occupied Palestinian TerritoriesHandel wrote that "Nearly every Palestinian that leaves his house in order to reach work, school, shopping, medical treatment, or to visit relatives, must bypass a checkpoint and therefore becomes a violator of the movement regulations set by Israel. Criminalization reaches its highest levels in the Seam Zone and in East Jerusalem, where people require a permit even to live in their own homes. Thus the person is always guilty, without the possibility of justification or correction (since there is no rule and exception, right and wrong). The person is guilty just because he lives, moves, and acts; no correction is possible, and therefore no correcting-inclusive surveillance practices are needed." 

Handel ended the chapter with "This is a surveillance-free prison. Guards do not look into cells or supervise – all they do is keep prisoners locked in and alive; they have no other duties. There is neither “correction” nor “rehabilitation” – just locking and removing. The state does not embrace the prisoner in anyway – it merely expels him for a specified period. In a similar way – though for an unspecified period – Israel controls the Palestinians in the OPT. They are kept alive and blocked in their archipelago of isolated cells. What do Palestinians do in their cells? Israel no longer even seems to care."    
 
Handel was to participate in the conference "Sensing War" at Friends House, London on the 12th­ of June 2014 to present his paper "Soundscapes and Touchscapes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Affective Spaces of Uncertainty and Violence"

In the summer of 2015 Handel will be participating in a conference “Power and Space in the Drone Age” in Neuchâtel University, Switzerland, where he will argue that the "condition of Israeli occupation creates is one of deliberate and chronic uncertainty penetrating all levels of life among the occupied population...[that] rests on the asymmetry in what might be termed (following Jacques Ranciere) the distribution of the sensible; namely on who is the one who can see, hear and touch the other, and under what conditions...These relations create distinct soundscapes and touchscapes that, although un-mappable, have an extensive impact on the lives and on the spatial organization and daily activities of the occupied."
                 
Handel's case raises two issues. The first pertains to the judgment of the ISF in sponsoring Handel.  As IAM reported, Israeli social sciences lag behind the West; ISF should spend its resources to upgrade the standards rather than sink them further by promoting the likes of Handel.
 
The second involves the decision-making in the Department of Politics and Government.  As widely known, the Department was censured by the International Evaluation Committee for having a serious critical, neo-Marxist bias. Hosting Handel as a fellow helps to deepen this bias.

        


Workshop “Power and Space in the Drone Age”, Neuchâtel University, 27-28 August 2015
Short biographies (alphabetical order)
* Keynote speakers
 Ariel Handel is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Politics and Government, Ben Gurion
University, and a research fellow at the Minerva Humanities Center, Tel Aviv University. His research
interests are mobilities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, mapping and spatial representations,
and the political philosophy of geography. He is the head of the "Space and Power: A Political
Lexicon" research group at the Minerva Humanities Center, Tel Aviv University. His publications
include  Protest: A Political Lexicon (ed., 2012),  Geographies of Occupation (forthcoming),
"Gated/Gating Community: The Settlements Complex in the West Bank" ( Transactions of the Institute
of British Geographers, 2014) and several other journal papers and book chapters.

======================================================

Workshop “Power and Space in the Drone Age”, Neuchâtel University, 27-28 August 2015
List of Abstracts
Ariel Handel: Soundscapes and touchscapes in the occupied Palestinian territories: Affective spaces in the drone age 

Ariel Handel, University of Tel Aviv, IL
This paper will explore the sensual geographies of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories in the shade of the extensive use of surveillance and attack drones. The argument I intend to formulate will be threefold. (1) The condition Israeli occupation creates is one of deliberate and chronic uncertainty penetrating all levels of life among the occupied population. This serves as a means of control by creating a permanent state of fear and uncertainty, based, among other things, on breaking the relation between presenting the instruments of violence and using them. (2) An important part of the status of uncertainty rests on the asymmetry in what might be termed (following Jacques Ranciere) the distribution of the sensible; namely on who is the one who can see, hear and touch the other, and under what conditions. (3) These relations create distinct soundscapes and touchscapes that, although un-mappable (or, because being un-mappable), have an extensive impact on the lives and on the spatial organization and daily activities of the occupied. The paper will attempt to contribute to the research of space and power, of the Occupied Palestinian Territories and to the theoretical fields of emotional and non-representational geography.

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Ariel Handel completed his Ph.D. at Tel Aviv University in 2011. His research interests are mobilities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, mapping and spatial representations, and the political philosophy of geography. He is the head of the "Space and Power: A Political Lexicon" research group at the Minerva Humanities Center, Tel Aviv University. His publications include The Political Lexicon of the Social Protest (ed. in chief; Hakibutz Hameuchad, 2012) and Geographies of Occupation (Van Leer, forthcoming).
 
Selected Publications
"Gated/gating community: the settlement complex in the West Bank", Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 2013
 




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