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Itineraries of Peace through Tourism: Excavating Territorial Attachments across the Arab/Israeli Frontier


  • Waleed Hazbun


This essay examines the efforts between Israel and Jordan in the wake of their 1994 peace treaty to promote peace, economic cooperation, and cross-cultural understanding through tourism. It argues these efforts failed, in part, because the resulting cross-border travel experiences defined the border as a marker of difference between two seemingly internally homogeneous territorial nation states, while opponents of peace successfully portrayed the resulting cross-border flows as threats to their own society’s economy and security. To suggest an alternative itinerary for peace through tourism, the essay considers the 1994 travelogue by Egyptian playwright Ali Salem describing his drive through Israel and the West Bank. Salem’s experiences, such as meeting Egyptian Jews and Palestinian citizens of Israel, recognize the existing, but overlooked, ways that Arab and Israeli societies live in states that possess overlapping cultures with interwoven histories and territorial attachments. The essay concludes that tourism based on such itineraries may contribute to the pluralization of politics and identities within each state needed to promote peaceful coexistence between Arabs and Israelis.