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

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

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

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

Synopsis

Israel's military court system, a centerpiece of Israel's apparatus of control in the West Bank and Gaza since 1967, has prosecuted hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. This authoritative book provides a rare look at an institution that lies both figuratively and literally at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Lisa Hajjar has conducted in-depth interviews with dozens of Israelis and Palestinians--including judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, defendants, and translators--about their experiences and practices to explain how this system functions, and how its functioning has affected the conflict. Her lucid, richly detailed, and theoretically sophisticated study highlights the array of problems and debates that characterize Israel's military courts as it asks how the law is deployed to protect and further the interests of the Israeli state and how it has been used to articulate and defend the rights of Palestinians living under occupation.

Excerpt

The Israeli military court system is the central subject of this book, as well as the main setting for a sociological inquiry into law and conflict in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, an area I refer to collectively as “Israel/ Palestine” (see Chapter 1). This duality, subject and setting, reflects the fact that the military court system is both a product and a site of the IsraeliPalestinian conflict. To describe a court system—or any institution—as a product points toward one set of questions that this book addresses: Why and how was this institution created? What purposes does it serve? How does it work? Describing it as a site points toward another set of questions: What happens in this setting, and why? How does this site, and the activities that occur within it, connect to the broader context? Relating these questions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict presents a third line of inquiry: What can be learned about the conflict by studying the military court system? How has the court system affected and reflected the history and politics of the conflict?

The Israeli military court system was created in 1967, when Israel captured and occupied the West Bank and Gaza during the war with the surrounding Arab states of Jordan, Egypt, and Syria. the court system is part of the Israeli military administration that was established to govern the Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza. It has been in operation since 1967 and, presumably, will continue to operate as long as the conflict continues.

The legal status and the political fate of the West Bank and Gaza and of the Palestinians who reside there are hotly contested and subject to a . . .

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