Jerusalem Unbound: Geography, History, and the Future of the Holy City

Michael Dumper

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Jerusalem's formal political borders reveal neither the dynamics of power in the city nor the underlying factors that make an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians so difficult. The lines delineating Israeli authority are frequently different from those delineating segregated housing or areas of uneven service provision or parallel national electoral districts of competing educational jurisdictions. In particular, the city's large number of holy sites and restricted religious compounds create enclaves that continually threaten to undermine the Israeli state's authority and control over the city. This lack of congruity between political control and the actual spatial organization and everyday use of the city leaves many areas of occupied East Jerusalem in a kind of twilight zone where citizenship, property rights, and the enforcement of the rule of law are ambiguously applied. Michael Dumper plots a history of Jerusalem that examines this intersecting and multileveled matrix and, in so doing, is able to portray the constraints on Israeli control over the city and the resilience of Palestinian enclaves after forty-five years of Israeli occupation. Adding to this complex mix is the role of numerous external influences-religious, political, financial, and cultural-so that the city is also a crucible for broader contestation. While the Palestinians may not return to their previous preeminence in the city, neither will Israel be able to assert a total and irreversible dominance. His conclusion is that the city will not only have to be shared but that the sharing will be based upon these many borders and the interplay between history, geography, and religion.


Jerusalem Unbound is a clearly organized, meticulously researched, highly readable guide to Jerusalem's complex social and political landscape.--Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

A very worthwhile addition to any library... A very accessible text that can be read and enjoyed by scholars within the field as well as educated and informed readers with an interest in Middle Eastern affairs more generally.--LSE Review of Books

In short, this should become the standard reference on the Jerusalem issue--CHOICE

Outstanding... A must-read for Jerusalem researchers and an important contribution to the bookshelf of anyone interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or, more broadly, in the political and urban geography of contested cities.--Society and Space

This title will be of interest to those hoping for a peaceful solution to Middle Eastern conflict.--Library Journal

Jerusalem Unbound is a truly masterful examination of the layers of complex politics surrounding--indeed, embedded in--contemporary Jerusalem. Michael Dumper uses the concept of a 'many bordered' city to explore the local and international forces that shape patterns of social as well as political interaction. He then, by way of conclusion, builds on this analysis to suggest how the issue might be addressed in the context of a future Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement. The research is excellent, and the result is a delight to read. Jerusalem Unbound is not only essential reading for anyone interested in Jerusalem or the Arab-Israeli conflict but also represents a significant contribution to the literature on divided cities, religious sites, and cities in conflict.--Rex Brynen, Department of Political Science, McGill University

An original look at a city in flux amidst impasse. Jerusalem Unbound presents a new argument about how to think about this contentious city, asserting that its fluid, 'many-bordered' nature constrains the unilateral imposition of political power and opens up new alternatives for political compromise.--Scott A. Bollens, author of 
City and Soul in Divided Societies

Dumper, a leading expert on contemporary Jerusalem, provides an excellent guide to Jerusalem's current dynamics. This is the most updated and comprehensive account on the frontier city, where conflicting national claims and operations meet religious resacraliztion.--Menachem Klein, author of 
The Shift: Israel-Palestine from Border Struggle to Ethnic Conflict
Michael Dumper is professor in Middle East politics at the University of Exeter and the author of The Future of the Palestinian Refugees; The Politics of Sacred Space: The Old City of Jerusalem and the Middle East Conflict, 1967-2000; and The Politics of Jerusalem Since 1967.

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