Policing divided cities: stabilization and law enforcement in Palestinian East Jerusalem



    1. Professor in Middle East Politics, University of Exeter.
    Search for more papers by this author
    • This article is based upon fieldwork funded by the Large Grant awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK) for the five-year interdisciplinary and multi-institutional project ‘Conflict in cities and the contested state: everyday life and the possibilities for transformation in Belfast, Jerusalem and other divided cities’ (RES-060–25–0015). For further details of the research framework and programme of the Project, please see the website http://www.conflictincities.org. I would like to thank Eyal Hareuveni for assisting me in collecting data and providing Hebrew translations.


The study of conflict in cities has emerged as a significant subfield in a number of disciplines. For policy-makers and analysts concerned with humanitarian interventions in cities emerging from conflict, the city as a form of human organization and its impact upon the establishment of security is of particular importance. Less academic attention has been given to divided cities where the legitimacy of the state authority controlling the city is, itself, in question and where stabilization and the establishment of security is protracted. The adoption of integrative and inclusive approaches to policing becomes a key component in security regimes in divided cities. In these cases, however, to what extent should the stabilization phase be recast? Is the law enforcement phase subsumed and over-ridden by national security concerns? This article examines these questions by suggesting a number of security models which have been used in a range of divided cities. It focuses in more detail on a study of Israeli policing in the Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem occupied by Israel after 1967 to draw some broader conclusions about the nature of the security regime in Jerusalem and other divided cities inside contested states.