Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

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‘It’s a Matter of Life or Death’: Jewish Migration and Dispossession of Palestinians in Acre

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Abstract:  In this article, we aim to identify the actors and unpack the discourses and administrative practices used to increase current mobilities of people (Jewish immigrants, investors, tourist visitors, and evicted residents) and explore their impact on the continuity of the settler-colonial regime in pre-1948 Palestinian urban spaces which became part of Israel. To render these dynamics visible, we explore the case of Acre—a pre-1948 Palestinian city located in the north-west of Israel which during the last three decades has been receiving about one hundred Jewish immigrant families annually. Our findings reveal a dramatic change in the attempts to judaise the city: Mobility policies through neoliberal means have not only been instrumental in continuing the processes of displacement and dispossession of the Palestinians in this so-called ‘mixed city,’ but have also recruited new actors and created new techniques and opportunities to accelerate the judaisation of the few Palestinian spaces left. Moreover, these new mobility policies normalise judaisation of the city, both academically and practically, through globally trendy paradigms and discourses. Reframing migration-led development processes in cities within a settler-colonialism approach enables us to break free from post-colonial analytical frameworks and re-centre the native-settler relations as well as the immigrants-settlers’ role in territorial control and displacement of the natives in the neoliberal era.

Keywords:  Acre; Israel; migration; neoliberalism; Palestine; settler colonialism; urban development



© Amandine Desille, Yara Sa'di-Ibraheem. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.