Activities per year
Water has been acknowledged as a key area of dispute in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. In particular, water stress in the occupied territories of the West Bank has been exacerbated by Israel’s colonisation of water resources via the Oslo II agreements and, latterly, the erection of a separation wall that articulates a hydropolitical as much as a geopolitical reality. This article argues that Mourid Barghouti’s I Saw Ramallah, a memoir of Barghouti’s return to the West Bank after thirty years in exile, offers a sustained engagement with the environmental politics of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, most particular the politics of water. Via his reflections on metaphor and metonymy in particular, Barghouti responds to the central question posed in the memoir – ‘Does a poet live in space or time?’ – with the presentation of a distinctively liquid vision of life in exile and in the occupied territories. As such, I Saw Ramallah presents an instance of what Rob Nixon calls the ‘decentring of environmentalism’ in which postcolonial insights offer a corrective to bioregional approaches which neglect politics.