This study looks at infrastructures as sites of contest between empire and settler-colonialists. It analyses the construction of Mandate Palestine's Haifa seaport and Lydda Airport as imperial projects and traces the techno-political networks that allowed Jewish settlers to build their own competing seaport and airport in Tel-Aviv during the anti-colonial Arab Revolt (1936–1939). It identifies a dialectical relationship between colonisers and empire: Jewish settlers welcomed Palestine’s intended role as an arena of imperial development but soon developed their own stakes in securing access to sea and skies. The study contributes to the scant knowledge about infrastructures in colonial settings and specifically to the little-known role of British consultant engineers in facilitating them. All in all the article de-centres the Arab-Jewish conflict as a major historical focus and instead considers Palestine through the lens of the British empire’s conception of the Middle East.
- airports and seaports