Benjamin Schütze | 2024

‘Seizing the Moment’: Arab-Israeli normalization, infrastructure as a means to bypass politics and the promotion of an Israeli-Jordanian transit trade-route

In: Geopolitics, 1-25

This article explores efforts at Arab-Israeli normalisation in Jordan. By mid-2011 the escalating violence in Syria had closed the overland trade route connecting Europe and the Arab Gulf. Despite the emergence of an alternative route via the Suez Canal, several (inter)national NGOs have since attempted to establish a transit trade route via Israel and Jordan. Due to the non-public nature of most attempts at normalisation, research on the topic is rarely empirically grounded. Exploring what happens when trade routes stop, this article offers an empirically-grounded discussion of attempts at normalisation via infrastructure as a means to bypass politics. It argues that such efforts are part of a deeply political project aimed at the selective regional integration of Israel, premised on the reinforcement of existing and the creation of new forms of violent containment. It explains infrastructure’s popularity in efforts at normalisation by focusing on its spatial, temporal and material duality.

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