Sofa culture in Middle East – Occupied Palestinian Territories

“Architecture and the built environment is a kind of slow violence. The occupation is an environment that slowly was conceived to strangulate Palestinian comunities, villages and towns, to create an environment that would be unlieveable for the people there.” Eyal Weizman – Hollow Land

Architecture and urban planning are strategic tools in Israel’s domination over Palestinians, it disfigures the natural landscapes proclaiming its power over an oppressed people.

Palestinians are subjected to mobility restrictions and controls due to the policy of territorial fragmentation carried out by the Israeli State in order to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian State. Such limitations manifest themselves through a system of checkpoints, settler-only apartheid roads and the infamous Apartheid Wall which reinforce the occupation.

Palestinians’ struggle is a natural reaction to the ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing. Throughout the years the resistance underwent to different forms of expression and recently some villages chose to opt for the nonviolent popular struggle inherited by the experience of the First Intifada. The strength of this movement resides in its horizontal participative base which allows anyone to contribute regardless the religion, nationality and social class.

Bilin and Nabi Saleh, featuring in this collection, are amongst the resistant villages who have joined the movement and featured in the series. Every Friday they demonstrate against the Israeli occupation and its effects: Apartheid wall, settlements, confiscation of water sources, land grabbing….and every Friday the protestors are faced with excessive brutality by the IOF’s: tear gas, live ammunition and rubber bullets as well as actions of collective punishment such as night raids.

In each of these contexts, wherever sofas are located: in urban settings (Bethlehem, Khalil…) or rural landscapes (Bilin, Nabi Saleh..) they depict Israel’s attempt to oppress the Palestinians and the consequent reactions of struggle and resistance.