When we mention the term Palestinian architecture , we recall “architecture without architects”, which flourished for many centuries in urban and rural areas in Palestine, and maintained its characteristics until the First World War; Because of social and economic factors, which reflected the needs and living habits of the population and directly reflected the ways of interaction between humans and their environment.
There were many influences on the Palestinian territories, including architectural activities during the rule of foreign powers such as the Romans, Crusaders, Mukluks and Ottomans. Read also Architecture after death.. Philharmonic Egypt and the quest for immortality The Arab roots of Western architecture… How was the Church of Notre Dame and Big Ben stolen from Syria and the Islamic world? Secrets of building termite dwellings.. the finest examples of architecture on earth The designs of the Egyptian architect Hassan Fathi.. Architecture for the poor in the face of modernity
After the return of the Ottoman Sultan Abd al-Majid to power in 1839, he implemented new reforms, which led to the integration of the Palestinian economy with the global capital market, and produced the active participation of the local Palestinian leadership in ever-changing politics.
Palestinian architecture underwent new transformations at the end of the 19th century, and new architecture with Western influence emerged; Because of the presence of various missionary groups inside Palestine. This architectural development increased during the last three decades of the 19th century, and continued intensively with the British Mandate of Palestine in the 1920s and 1930s.
During that stage, the integration of the Palestinian local economy into the world trade market continued, and European influence increased within the region, in conjunction with the emigration of many Palestinians to America to avoid forced conscription, imposed by the Ottoman authority, and to send money to their families in Palestine to build their future homes. In addition, Jewish immigration to Palestine expanded at that time, and settlement construction began with modern architectural methods.
The British Mandate accelerated the transformations in Palestinian society, and left a Western influence on life in general and on architecture and buildings in particular. Neoclassical style and concrete buildings spread, the population was more concentrated in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Haifa, and the architectural differences between cities and villages became less clear.
These smooth transformations in the Palestinian architectural environment ended after 1948, when more than 400 Palestinian towns and villages were evacuated. In the decades that followed that event, Israeli plans took control of the Palestinian land mass after its confiscation. The spatial, social and economic needs of the Palestinians were completely ignored. Severe restrictions were imposed on the areas of influence of Palestinian towns and villages. Citizens were denied building permits, and thus deprived of basic services such as water, electricity, health care, and education. Home demolitions and evictions began to occur systematically.
The influx of 250,000 refugees into the Gaza Strip after the Nakba increased the population of the Strip by more than 300%; What greatly affected the architectural landscape of the Strip after the construction of camps and shelters sufficient for the new residents. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967 halted emerging Palestinian efforts to introduce a locally international architectural style.
During Israel’s complete control of Gaza and the West Bank between 1967-1993, the Israeli military authorities used planning and land management as a tool to control land and keep Palestinians within easy-to-govern areas.
In addition, the Israeli government surrounded Palestinian towns and villages with parks, entertainment venues, Israeli military zones, and Jewish settlement activities, to prevent the expansion of Palestinian towns despite the Palestinian population growth during that period.
The spatial dimension of the occupation policy in the Gaza Strip took other forms. By encouraging them to settle in the West Bank, Israel has tried to empty the refugee camps to expand Israeli settlements. Between the years (1969-1973), the Israeli army launched a major campaign of raids on Gaza, during which it destroyed thousands of homes in refugee camps; To create a wide network of roads and facilitate military observations.
The West Bank and Gaza Strip witnessed a construction boom with the beginning of the Oslo era in 1993, which led to a radical change in the Palestinian architectural scene, and a sharp contrast emerged between the old and the contemporary, where the traditional Palestinian houses of soft colors and old domes are located in the middle of Palestinian villages and towns, to blend in a natural aesthetic. with the surrounding hills. Dotted around these historic centers are the most modern buildings and multi-storey houses built of limestone blocks, concrete walls and roofs bearing satellite dishes, plastic water tanks and solar panels, buildings cut off from the ancient Palestinian heritage.
After 1993, new buildings increased in the Gaza Strip. From hotels to apartment buildings, commercial towers and summer houses. With Gaza’s limited area, refugee camps have become densely populated areas.
With the evacuation of the Israeli settlers from Gaza after the disengagement, Israel was able to use lethal force against the residents of the Strip without fear for the settlers in the years (2008, 2012 and 2014), especially after the deployment of the Israeli army around the Strip; To assert its control over the border crossings, and to control movement in and out of Gaza, in addition to designating large swaths of Palestinian lands as prohibited areas, Palestine has become a lagging place in urban and urban survival strategies.