Academic journal article Arab Studies Journal

Resistance into Incitement: Translation, Legislation, "Early Detection," and the Palestinian Poet's Intention

Academic journal article Arab Studies Journal

Resistance into Incitement: Translation, Legislation, "Early Detection," and the Palestinian Poet's Intention

Article excerpt

Along with military oppression and border policing, Israel currently sustains its control and suppresses the Palestinian struggle discursively and juridically, by reframing resistance as "incitement to terror." Prior to the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israeli discourse often framed Palestinian resistance as terrorism and targeted political organizations for their tangible actions. The current framing of Palestinian resistance as "incitement," however, widens the scope of what is considered illegal dissent by criminalizing individual intentions. This article explores the operation of "incitement," as both a legal and a discursive category, by analyzing the court case of Dareen Tatour-a Palestinian poet recently convicted of incitement to terror in an Israeli court based on a poem she posted to social media. The court translated Tatour's poem, testimonies, and statements from Arabic and recorded them exclusively in Hebrew. I argue that the court's practices of translation construct the poet's intention as fully knowable and fixed, while, paradoxically, treating her words as completely inaccessible on their own terms. I refer to this paradoxical practice as "non-translation" and contend that, by fixing the poet's intention in a single pre-conceived meaning, it produces new, disturbing, and hollowed out political subjectivities. Moreover, this non-translation's tendency to essentialize intention is structurally similar and institutionally tied to preemptive security technologies newly developed in Israel, as well as to recent changes in Israeli legislation, whereby the charge of inciting terror can now be filed based solely on assumed internal intentions. Thus, by way of discursive translation, technology, and the law itself, intention is reified and serves as a central means of depoliticizing and controlling Palestinian resistance.

Dareen Tatour is a thirty-six-year-old Palestinian photographer, artist, and poet, as well as a citizen of Israel. On 4 October 2015, Tatour posted a video poem in Arabic to YouTube and Facebook, titled "Resist, My People, Resist Them" (Qawim, Ya Shabi, Qawimhum). She was arrested a week later in a night-time raid on her family home in Reineh, a Palestinian village near Nazareth. Following repeated police interrogations, Tatour was charged with several counts of incitement to terror. The charges referred to her poem as well as to three other Facebook posts-a reposting of Islamic Jihad's call for general resistance, a photograph of Israa 'Abed, a Palestinian woman shot by Israeli forces in Afula that week, and an associated profile picture that read, "I am the next shahid" (ana al-shahid illi jay)-a term that roughly translates as "martyr" but to Jewish Israelis reads as "terrorist." After spending three months in three different prisons, Tatour was placed under house arrest for the duration of the trial, which dragged on for over two and a half years. Tatour was convicted on all counts on 3 May 2018, in the Magistrate's Court in Nazareth, by a Jewish Israeli judge. After delays that further extended her house arrest, Tatour was eventually sentenced to five months in prison (two of which were commuted). After she completed her sentence, the court partly accepted her appeal. It exonerated the poem but upheld two other counts.

Tatour's trial was conducted solely in Hebrew-that is, through the Hebrew translations of her texts and testimonies.1 While Tatour understands Hebrew, she chose to testify in Arabic, as is her right by law, to ensure the accuracy of her testimony. In the courtroom, then, the accused alone spoke Arabic, while everyone else spoke Hebrew: the prosecution (i.e., the State), the defense, the interpreters, and the judge, who in Israel also serves as the jury, communicated solely in Hebrew. Each time Tatour took the stand, the court appointed a different simultaneous interpreter, who was thus unable to develop familiarity with the case or awareness of its nuances. Tatour therefore frequently challenged the interpreter's Hebrew translation. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.