The Border as Bridge: Mandelbaum Gate in Divided Jerusalem (1948–1967): Geopolitics and the Historical-Geography of a Divided City
IRS Seminar with Kobi Cohen-Hattab, Bar Ilan University, Israel
Between 1948 and 1967, Jerusalem was divided by a “city line”, dividing Jordan (East Jerusalem) from Israel (West Jerusalem). Between the two sections stood one border crossing called “Mandelbaum Gate”. While existing literature on the Gate tends to emphasize its military status—owing in particular to the military convoy that crossed the border on a regular basis – research using sources from that time paints a picture of a border with civilian activity run jointly by two ostensibly warring countries. Whether it was the return of civilians and bodies, tourism coordination, or medical passage, those manning the border worked together to make it bridge, rather than barrier – and may even have paved the way to a peace agreement years later.
This IRS Seminar is based on a theoretical part and an empirical part. The theoretical part is based on three main pillars: The border as bridge vs. the border as barrier (Timothy, 1999; Newman, 2003; Crawford & Koskenniemi, 2012); Martinez’s (1994) model; and Historical geography research of tourism (Towner, 1996; Cohen-Hattab & Katz, 2001; Cohen-Hattab, 2006). The empirical part is based on two main types of sources: primary sources such as archival documents, memoirs, interviews and press from the time; Secondary sources such as existing research academic literature and journalistic sources.
Prof. Kobi Cohen-Hattab is a Associate Professor at the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, Bar Ilan University, Israel. His main research interests are historical-geography of tourism, tourism in historical towns, the development of Holy Sites and the relationships between Zionism and the Sea. His books include: Tour the Land - Tourism in Palestine during the British Mandate Period (1917-1948), Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi: Jerusalem, 2006 (Hebrew); Tourism, Religion and Pilgrimage in Jerusalem, Routledge: U.K, 2014 (coauthor book with Prof. Noam Shoval); The Maritime Revolution: The Yishuv’s Hold on the Sea and Shores of the Land of Israel, (1917-1948), Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi: Jerusalem, 2019 (Hebrew); Zionism’s Maritime Revolution: The Yishuv’s Hold on the Land of Israel’s Sea and Shores, 1917–1948, De Gruyter: Leiden, 2020; The Western Wall: The Dispute over Israel's Holiest Jewish Site, 1967–2000, Brill: Leiden, 2020 (coauthor book with Prof. Doron Bar).