Counter Surveillance H2

The olive tree is a significant economical resource for the Palestinian community. Its harvest takes place in the fall in Palestine and is an important moment for Palestinian families who rely on it for their livelihood. The olive tree symbolizes the resilience of the Palestinian people in their ongoing resistance to live under Israeli military oppression. Over the past fifty years close to one million olive trees were destroyed by Israeli settlers and authorities.

The initiative Artist + Allies x Hebron has been confronting the ongoing oppression of Palestinian residents in Hebron. Israel exercises military control over twenty percent of Hebron, known in Arabic as Al-Khalīl. After the Hebron Protocol was signed in 1997 the city was divided into two parts: H1 was given to Palestinian Authority and H2 continued to be under Israeli military control. H2 is home to close to forty thousand Palestinians while the number of Israeli settlers remains far under a thousand inhabitants. Over the years the Israeli authorities have developed physical roadblocks and legal barriers based on national-ethnic criteria. These measurements have created a modern-day apartheid where the Palestinian population is formally being resisted to live and work in H2.

From the early nineteen nineties Israel has established itself as one of the most powerful technological innovators worldwide. As such Israeli authorities have used these resources to set up an extensive and technologically advanced surveillance operation to monitor Palestinians across the West Bank through the use of cameras, smart phones and facial recognition. In addition to the ongoing material and mental oppression, the Palestinian population suffers from a technological invasion and ignores the acknowledgment of their basic human rights.

In line with Israeli’s surveillance effort, Artist + Allies x Hebron has created a counter offense by placing surveillance cameras in Palestinian owned olive groves. From here a live-feed broadcasted to websites and digital platforms of various cultural institutions around the world. Where the Palestinian population is invisible to the world, Counter-Surveillance: H2 aims to bring their presence to the foreground and provides a live broadcast of the present situation directly witnessed by the international community.

Credits: Issa Amro, Adam Broomberg, Batuhan Keskiner, Lena Holzer, Christian Nolle, Gabriel Angot, Rafael Gonzalez, Natasha Garbawi, Lina Aastrup, Miki Kratzman, Guy de Lancey.

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