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Choreographies of Shared Sacred SitesReligion, Politics, and Conflict Resolution$
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Elazar Barkan and Karen Barkey

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169943

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169943.001.0001

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Choreographing Upheaval

Choreographing Upheaval

The Politics of Sacred Sites in the West Bank

(p.235) 7 Choreographing Upheaval
Choreographies of Shared Sacred Sites

Elazar Barkan

Columbia University Press

This chapter explores political riots in Jerusalem and the West Bank surrounding religious sites and the role played by the state in creating space for the riot and in responding to it. It argues that the riots serve a larger political agenda of aggravating the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and are intentionally manipulated by the political entities that have the capacity to either inflame or contain the level of violence. It further claims that popular religious violence serves as an informal political tool that is used by formal governing bodies. In Jerusalem, the chapter looks specifically at three incidents instigated by Israeli government action. These involve the opening of the 1996 Temple Mount tunnels, the 2000 “visit” by Ariel Sharon to the al-Aqsa, and the inclusion of three sites located in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem in the Israeli heritage sites in 2010. In the West Bank there are four major “joint” religious sites and numerous minor ones. The four major sites are the Cave of the Patriarchs (Hebron), Rachel's Tomb (Bethlehem), Joseph Tomb's (Nablus), and Nebi Samuel (north of Jerusalem).

Keywords:   Jerusalem, West Bank, religious sites, riots, Israeli/Palestinian, political violence, shared sites, sacred sites

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