Thursday, 9 October 2014

Israel - A Carceral State

The new issue of the Journal of Palestine Studies is devoted to Israeli practices of capturing, imprisoning, corralling, restricting the movements of, separating Palestinians.  Routinized forms of incarceration are as much part of the Occupation of the West Bank as house demolitions or checkpoints.  According to the JPS, 40% of the male population of the Territories - approximately 800,000 people - have been victims of some form of detention by the Israeli authorities since 1967.

As of 1 May 2014, the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, a Palestinian NGO dedicated to prisoners’ rights, reports 5,271 Palestinian political prisoners and administrative detainees in Israeli custody in an archipelago of 25 prisons, detention, and interrogation centers throughout Israel and the West Bank.

Earlier this year, prisoners held in “administrative detention” led a hunger strike demanding an end to the systematic practice of imprisoning Palestinians without charge, trial or sentence. A colonial practice inherited from the British mandatory regime, Israel’s “administrative detention” law subjects Palestinian political prisoners to imprisonment without due process for renewable periods of three and six months - very much akin to the practice of internment without trial which was practiced in the early days of the Northern Ireland Troubles. Some Palestinians have been held in such circumstances for over a decade. Palestinians brought to trial will face a military court with a 99% conviction rate.

Israel’s ongoing practice of widespread detention of Palestinians since the 1948 War characterizes the Zionist state-building and subsequent Israeli state imperative from the early Kibbutzim to the recent separation barrier of erecting “structures of control and confinement,” that, in Rashid Khalidi's words, represent “Israel’s nature from its very beginnings until the present day as a carceral state for the Palestinian people.”
For a limited time, the JPS is making some of the articles of its new issue available free online:

Journal of Palestine Studies


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