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.
Lisa Hajjar is Associate Professor in the Law and Society Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
“Hajjar takes the reader on a journey to the courts themselves, providing her audience with a sense of the random bargaining and humiliation and the seemingly endless tension informing the judicial interactions. [Her] intervention is unique in the literature on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”—Neve Gordon The Nation
“I have found the book to be provocative and have been challenged to rethink the means by which law in general, and a legal system in particular, can be manipulated for political and national purposes.”—Law & Politics Book Review
"Hajjar's book on the Israeli military court system brings together rich ethnographic and historical knowledge with cutting-edge theoretical sophistication."—Austin Sarat, coeditor of Cultural Analysis, Cultural Studies, and the Law
"This book will be the most authoritative source on the subject for years to come."—James Ron, author of Frontiers and Ghettos
"With a stunning display of academic mastery, Hajjar provides a definitive and remarkably balanced account of how Israeli military courts operate in the occupied Palestinian territories. Illuminating this hitherto neglected facet of Israel/Palestine by empirically grounded research is also a major contribution to the wider role and limits of law in situations of acute conflict."—Richard Falk, author of The Great Terror War
"Hajjar's sociological and political achievement is both more focused and more general than her study's historical frame. She shows exactly how the military court system in the Occupied Territories was and is a cruel parody of justice—yet also a faithful representation of Israel's liberal legality."—Stanley Cohen, Martin White Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics