This article discusses the concepts of borders and boundaries by analyzing the medical treatment provided in Israel to Syrian casualties, in field hospitals along the border zone between Israel and Syria but also in public hospitals elsewhere in the country. At these hospitals, security personnel and IDF soldiers guard the wards where the Syrian patients receive treatment, which rapidly transforms the surroundings into a cooperative medical/ security environment. The Israeli medical staff and the Syrian casualties also develop their own special relationships during the treatment periods. A boundary zone emerges, in which security and medicine, as well as enemies and allies, interact through the provision of medical aid. In this process, security arenas adapt to the humanitarian aid agenda, while civilian medical spheres are readily transformed into security spaces. In the intersection of the two elements, boundaries between the civilian and the military, and between medicine and security, become blurred. Moreover, boundaries between enemies also shift, as Syrians and Israelis begin to view each other as friends – and even as family. Whereas the concepts of bordering or border-making refer to establishing distinctions between spaces or groups, we suggest using the concept of the “boundary zone” to describe the new space that here creates a bridge between two different (medical and security) spheres of expertise and two different peoples.
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|Published - Mar 2019