Urban conflict in Jerusalem has mainly been studied through the lens of spatial and functional segregation and discriminative fragmentation between Israeli and Palestinian localities. This article adopts a governmentality approach to the study of the politics of urban infrastructure and services in urban conflict, and argues that a governmentalization process of East Jerusalem by Israel has evolved in the last two decades that has been enacted mainly through the control and management of Palestinian urban infrastructure and services. Since, as manifestations of resistance to Israeli occupation, many of the Palestinian urban functionalities historically operated separately from Israeli state apparatuses, this new development and its consequences indicate an increasing dependency and forced adaptation of Palestinians in Jerusalem to Israeli rule. Based on analysis of Palestinian public transport and education systems, the article demonstrates how the “soft” power of governmentality – mediated through the control and management of urban infrastructure and services – diffuses among the Palestinian population and in space, restructuring them as objects and subjects of Israeli administration and governmental order. In this light, urban infrastructure and services appear in the course of urban conflict as an arena of governmentality and counter-governmentality. On the one hand they serve as a site where identities are practiced and defended; on the other, they may mediate and facilitate the restructuring of political subjectivities and normalization of political structures and hierarchies.
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