Israeli Heritage Tourism in Wadi Helweh: Making What Is out of Mind out of Sight
settler colonialism
heritage tourism
Wadi Helweh
City of David

This essay demonstrates how Zionist settler colonialism is swiftly proceeding to claim ownership over the Palestinian neighborhood of Wadi Helweh in Jerusalem through the City of David archaeological park, a controversial project premised on disputed Israeli archaeological methods and biblical claims. It examines how guided tours of the site, consisting of tourists with predisposed beliefs and desires to receive more of what they already know to be true, serve to brand the site as conclusively Zionist and Jewish—a central aim of Israeli heritage tourism in Jerusalem. This takes place through a process referred to as “irrefutable divine internalization,” and through which Israel’s ongoing illegal annexation and occupation of Wadi Helweh is eclipsed, turning tourists’ gaze toward Israeli-Jewish ownership of space instead.

Author biography: 

Dr. Espinosa-Najjar has a PhD in law, a master’s degree in global politics, and extensive expertise in human rights, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding. The essay draws on in-depth research and interviews with Israeli, Palestinian, and international actors during and after the doctoral fieldwork process.