Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza

By Hoffman, Cynthia | Tikkun, May/June 2005 | Go to article overview

Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza


Hoffman, Cynthia, Tikkun


Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza, by Lisa Hajjar. University of California Press, 2005.

Overwhelmed by media imagery of Israeli soldiers confronting civilian demonstrators, for the average newspaper reader, it'd be hard to imagine that a military court system has been exercising equal control over the Occupied Territories since June 1967. Yet, on a scale of ten to one, this IDF-vetted judiciary has been responsible for sealing the fate of hundreds of thousands more Palestinians than any unit of army conscripts has ever been.

The greatest challenge for a book like Courting Conflict is not only explaining how central this institution really is to the Occupation, but why social justice advocates ought to be as familiar with it as they are with the conduct of the IDF.

Lisa Hajjar goes a long way towards achieving this goal. Neither a history of the Israeli military court system, nor an anthropological study, Courting Conflict is a philosophically-informed, interview-packed analysis of how the Israeli army's judicial system works in relation to Israeli civil law, and how it uses the law to unjustly reinforce the Occupation. Breaking down everything from the problem of settlers working as Judges to questions about the responsibility of military court interpreters, Hajjar asks a great number of disconcerting questions about the Occupation's military judiciary: Are confessions ever tossed out because of coercion?

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