American University
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Authority, resistance and the law: A study of the Israeli military court system in the occupied territories

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posted on 2023-09-06, 03:00 authored by Lisa Hajjar

The Israeli military court system is an exemplary context to analyze the articulation of law, politics and identity in Israel and the occupied territories. As an institution, this system is part of the Israeli military administration over the territories. Its politico-legal function is to enable the Israeli authorities to maintain their control over the Palestinian population living under occupation. But the system also has a very important sociological function, which has not been examined previously. It provides one of the few contexts in which diverse sectors of the populations in Israel and the territories have regular and sustained contact. The primary objective of this study is to focus on the military court system as a setting and to use the network of relations among the various categories of participants as a case study to analyze socio-political relations in the broader context. This study focuses on the five main categories of participants: judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, defendants and translators. By focusing on participants, specifically their roles, practices and interactions, this study provides a detailed assessment of relations within and among the various communities of citizens of Israel and residents of the territories. This study provides a conceptual alternative to the standard variants of the dichotomy paradigm, which assume an essential opposition of "Israeli" versus "Palestinian." The analytical framework in this study integrates a consideration of the politicization of identity differences, the territoriality of Israeli state power, and the structure of socio-political relations throughout Israel and the territories. While the dichotomy is not irrelevant, it is inadequate to accommodate the complexity of socio-political relations among peoples in this area. In practice, as in the example of the military courts, relations often confound the boundaries of dichotomy.



American University




Ph.D. American University 1995.


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