Designing Within Conflict: A Desert-Focused Conversation with Dr. Suhad Bishara

As part of Malkit Shoshan’s year-long appointment as this year’s Senior Loeb Scholar, she will host Dr. Suhad Bishara, a human rights lawyer and the Legal Director of Adalah, a Haifa-based human rights organization, for a conversation about the challenges confronting communities in the desert region of Israel.

As a landscape, the desert registers the enduring history of territorial boundaries, and it is a place where spatial policies are often used to facilitate the displacement of indigenous communities from their nomadic and semi-nomadic lifestyles in favor of state control. In the case of the Negev/Naqab desert in the south of Israel, nomadic and semi-nomadic routes as well as homes and grazing fields have been swiftly transformed into new towns, lone farms, nature reserves, monoculture pine forests, military bases, and industrial zones.

Such displacement—often prompted by rezoning or other state-sanctioned repurposing of the landscape—has forcibly uprooted many Bedouins from their livelihoods and cultural heritage, compelling them to settle in densely populated localities. Others who have resisted relocation find themselves subjected to multidimensional violence that is justified by state policy on land use, including militarized raids and the destruction of Bedouin settlements.

Link Harvard GSD