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When hospitals are damaged or destroyed in armed conflict, the loss is far greater than the physical structures: safe spaces are lost, health outcomes worsen and trust in health institutions is undermined. Despite the legal protections afforded to medical units under international humanitarian law (IHL), attacks on hospitals are a recurring problem in armed conflict. In 2019, the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition documented more than 1,203 incidents of violence against medical facilities, transports, personnel and patients in twenty countries. This article examines investigations of four post-Second World War incidents of attacks on hospitals in armed conflicts in Vietnam, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Palestine and Afghanistan, the role public advocacy campaigns played in bringing about these investigations, and how national and international authorities can work together to promote greater accountability for violations of IHL.
Cycles of violence in Palestine are set against a backdrop of settler colonialism. In this chapter, we argue that in colonial conditions such as in Palestine, ‘transformative justice’ frameworks and practices are needed over transitional justice. In particular, we suggest that transformative justice should e grounded in Indigenous knowledges and emergent practices ‘from below’, meaning the everyday needs and strengths of those most directly impacted by violence and oppression. In this chapter, specifically, we theorise ‘from below’ from the perspective of our work as two Palestinian psychologists. Through this writing process, which involved reflecting on our personal, professional and inter-generational experiences of contending with violence and oppression, we articulate a series of counter-stories as key decolonial enactments of adaptation and resilience. These decolonial enactments include: 1. Self-determination of Colonized Communities: Asserting our Sovereignty with Decolonial Attitude and Unafraid Re-Planting; 2. Radical Coalitions for Transformative Justice: Strengthening our Connections and Capacities to Struggle; and 3. Resetting our Wings: Everyday Enactments of our Humanity and Radical Love. These counter-stories shed light on pathways towards effectively disrupting cycles of colonial violence in Palestine and bringing forth, into everyday life, the decolonial futures that we so desperately need and deserve.
This chapter examines the trajectory of a research project on militant organizations’ adaptation that began as a “classic” case comparison and was “re-cased” into an explicitly network-based comparison of intra-organizational networks. In doing so, it outlines a method of comparison focused primarily on roles, relations, and emergence rather than on organizational form or behavior. The chapter starts by discussing the project’s initial research design, which proposed a study of militant organizations across three Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon that largely adhered to Millian logic. The project dedicated extensive research time to establishing a pre-invasion “control” by seeking to demonstrate pre-shock organizational uniformity across the communities under study. However, the evidence gathered often complicated or contradicted logics of control, independence, causality, and identification that undergird dominant approaches to comparison. Rather, it repeatedly indicated that complex, relational, often contingent interactions among geographic environment, communities’ interpretations of violence, and organizational structures influenced outcomes of interest. The chapter leverages this experience to establish core tenets of a broader approach to studying organizational change in comparative perspective.
Over the course of the first two decades of the twenty-first century, within the occupied Palestinian territories, photographic technologies and image-oriented politics would grow increasingly central as activist and human-rights tools of bearing witness to Israeli state and settler violence. This essay investigates the Israeli right-wing and international Zionist response to these Palestinian visual archives and their perceived threat. In particular, it tracks the rise and normalization of a repudiation script that impugned the veracity of these images, arguing that they were fraudulent or manipulated to produce a damning portrait of Israel. Drawing on post-colonial and settler-colonial studies, as placed into dialogue with digital media studies, the essay focuses on three cases studies of repudiation (2000, 2008, 2014, respectively) to consider how the long colonial history of repudiation in the Israeli context would be progressively updated by right-wing Israelis and their international supporters to meet the challenges posed by the smartphone age. By the second decade of the twenty-first century, the script had become an increasingly standard Zionist response to viral images of Palestinian death or injury at Israeli state or settler hands. Repudiation was thus marshaled as a solution to the viral visibility of Israeli state violence by bringing the otherwise damning images back into line with dominant Israeli ideology, a process of shifting the narrative from Palestinian injury to Israeli victimhood. The story of the “false” image of Palestinian injury endeavors strips the visual field of its Israeli perpetrators and Palestinian victims, thereby exonerating the state. Or such is the nature of this digital fantasy in the Israeli colonial present.
Against the context of pending judicial proceedings between the State of Palestine and the United States of America (US) at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), this article critically examines the United Nations (UN) commitment to the international rule of law through an examination of its consideration of Palestine’s 2011 application for membership in the organization. The universality of membership of the UN is a foundation upon which the organization rests. The international law governing UN admission has accordingly been marked by a liberal, flexible and permissive interpretation of the test for membership contained in the UN Charter. In contrast, an assessment of the UN’s consideration of Palestine’s application for membership demonstrates that it was subjected to an unduly narrow, strict and resultantly flawed application of the membership criteria. An examination of the contemporaneous debates of the Council demonstrates that the main driver of this was the US, which used its legal authority as a permanent member of the Council to block Palestine’s membership. The principle argument used against membership was the US’s view that Palestine does not qualify as a state under international law. Notwithstanding, the State of Palestine has been recognized by 139 member states of the UN and has acceded to a number of treaties that furnish it with access to the ICJ. While a number of articles have been written about Palestine’s statehood, little has been written on the UN’s consideration of Palestine’s 2011 application for membership. Palestine v. USA provides a renewed opportunity to do so.
The chapter revisits some of the main contributions by Meir Shamgar, who served between 1961 and 1995 as Israel’s Military Advocate General, Attorney General, Judge and President of the Supreme Court, to the development of Israeli jurisprudence relating to the interpretation and application of international law in general, and the law of belligerent occupation in particular. Arguably, the legal structures constructed by Shamgar proved to be resilient because they were based on his deep understanding of international law and commitment to basic legal values. Among the topics discussed are Shamgar’s contribution to subjecting Israel’s activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to rule of law concepts, his nuanced position on the application of the Fourth Geneva Convention, his support for a flexible interpretation of the law of belligerent occupation and the balancing he performed between Israeli security interests and the needs and interests of the Palestinian inhabitants. While this chapter focuses on the work of one exceptional Israeli jurist, it offers broader insights about Israel’s approach to international law and the law applicable to the occupied territories, and about the relationship between international law as a constraint upon political power and as a cloak for the exercise of such power.
In this book, Hedi Viterbo radically challenges our picture of law, human rights, and childhood, both in and beyond the Israel/Palestine context. He reveals how Israel, rather than disregarding international law and children's rights, has used them to hone and legitimize its violence against Palestinians. He exposes the human rights community's complicity in this situation, due to its problematic assumptions about childhood, its uncritical embrace of international law, and its recurring emulation of Israel's security discourse. He examines how, and to what effect, both the state and its critics manufacture, shape, and weaponize the categories 'child' and 'adult.' Bridging disciplinary divides, Viterbo analyzes hundreds of previously unexamined sources, many of which are not publicly available. Bold, sophisticated, and informative, Problematizing Law, Rights, and Childhood in Israel/Palestine provides unique insights into the ever-tightening relationship between law, children's rights, and state violence, at both the local and global levels.
Chapter 1 lays the theoretical, methodological, and contextual foundations of this book. First, an overview is provided of the book’s key arguments, as well as its contribution to existing studies and debates. The chapter then offers a detailed rethinking of conventional wisdom about each of the book’s central themes: childhood, law, and human rights. Children, it argues, are not simply a preexisting group with inherently unique traits and needs but, rather, are a category largely manufactured by social forces. Key among these forces are law and children’s rights, both of which, for reasons explained in this chapter, have been complicit in state domination and violence. From there, the chapter places the subject matter in its political context. This is done by outlining the varying modes and degrees of control that Israeli authorities exercise over each of the following territories: Israel “proper” (within its pre-1967 borders), East Jerusalem, the rest of the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. The methodology of this study is then discussed, and the book’s sources are described, along with the decisions that were taken in interpreting them, as well as the inaccessibility of some sources. Finally, an outline of the next chapters is provided.
Living under the Israeli occupation continues to affect all aspects of Palestinians’ everyday lives. This chapter considers the testimonies of Palestinians who were displaced after their homes were damaged during the urbicidal 2002 Israeli Ejtiyah on the old town of Nablus. This analysis is to assess the fundamental role of a sense of place, and the significance of its multiscalar nature, in gaining stability through rebuilding of damaged homes. The Palestinians experience home as a place where sense of place is lived and interpreted in multiscalar forms of spatial justice that relate to everyday life, community and socially constructed meaning, a state of mind, and as they relate to nostalgic memories and fear of displacement. Urban violence not only ruptures the spatial incubator of the Palestinians’ sense of place but also demonstrates the ways in which the colonial power dominance is controlling their homeland in general, and the very place where they intimately nurture it at home. In this context, Palestinians’ relationship with home and sense of place is considered a form of moqawameh (resistance) and sumoud (steadfastness) against the Israeli colonial strategies.
This chapter applies a developmental approach to understand how intergroup processes shape the emergence of retaliatory motives and behaviors among youth growing up in contexts of protracted intergroup conflict, drawing on research examples from Israel-Palestine, Northern Ireland, and Vukovar, Croatia. Across these conflict-affected societies, reasoning around revenge may be influenced by both personal and collective victimization. As part of the cycle of violence, youth may be motivated to engage in tit-for-tat acts of retaliation through direct exposure to political violence, social identification with conflict-related groups and group norms. Family and broader societal processes may further reinforce desires for revenge by transmitting narratives of ethnic socialization and historic group suffering. Children and adolescents may display variation in intensities of retaliatory behaviors, such as aggression and discrimination, which can contribute to the maintenance of intergroup hostilities across generations. The chapter integrates learnings from the three cases and offers recommendations for peacebuilding interventions.
The First Dynasty, an unbroken succession of Amorite kings, lasted 300 years despite a major rebellion. Babylon had close relationships with the nearby cities Sippar, Kish, and Borsippa. Trade and alliances reached much further. The Sumerian king-lists of earlier times were replaced by Babylonian equivalents, various cities having their own version. Kings briefly recorded major events; names were given to each year of their reign for dating documents. Trade was widespread, by canal and river, or overland by donkey. Royal edicts excluded certain groups from trade. Evidence comes from a profusion of clay tablets. Official letters are plentiful. Priestesses of Marduk carried out trade for Babylon in other cities. The temple of Marduk was built and furnished with a golden throne. Elamite control over several major cities, which left its mark on temple design, was ended by Hammurabi late in his reign; there is a possible connection with Genesis 14:1–16. Regular edicts were issued to release individuals from debt and to regulate trade. The main powers were Halab (Aleppo), Eshnunna, and Larsa, until Hammurabi achieved supremacy and claimed divinity. His successor Samsu-iluna followed his father’s example.
This article examines the origins of human shielding—the practice of employing hostages on the battlefield—in Arab Palestine during the Great Revolt in the 1930s. The Palestinian rebellion vexed the British for over three years, and during its second phase (1937–1939), lightly armed rebels beat back the colonial authorities from broad stretches of the country, putting continued colonial control of the territory in serious jeopardy. Britain only defeated the insurgency through a harsh repertoire of collective punishments and “dirty war” tactics. British forces used Palestinians as human shields in a systematic fashion during the revolt's second phase, attempting thereby to stave off the insurgents’ consistent and effective attacks on transportation arteries. Beyond its battlefield rationale, this article contends that human shielding was critically tied to two other dynamic processes. The military's adoption of unauthorized tactics like human shielding was part of a broader pattern of rejecting its institutional subordination to civilian authorities and of seeking direct control over the Palestine government in order to assure its unfettered command over the revolt's suppression. At the same time, the conversion of colonized bodies into literal shields bespoke a process of deepening, corporeal racialization that had profound consequences for the Palestinians, stripping them of any figment of legal rights or protections and signaling the utter disposability of Arab life.
Arguing that literature requires alternatives to genres such as cli-fi – that focus on the ‘after’, the catastrophe, rather than causes or solutions – this chapter examines Palestinian literature. It draws on Ghassan Kanafani’s novella Men in the Sun (1962) to narrate a tradition of writing that has emerged from interconnected processes of resource extraction, colonialism and fossil capital; and, historically, from the nakba (‘catastrophe’) – the displacement or ethnic cleansing of 70,000 Palestinians in 1948 – and enforced migration to, for example, an unbearably hot Iraq. He notes that a twentieth-century literary tradition – of poets (Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, Marwan Darwish) and novelists (Susan Abulhawa, Liyana Badr) – both recalls a fecund Palestine, pre-oil, and resists the forces and interests of the fossil economy. With the experience of displacement and environmental devastation increasingly globalised, the enduring resistance that characterises Palestinian literature can be an exemplar for literature not as resignation but as resistance to the accelerating, imperialising forces underlying the Capitalocene.
The culmination of an ambitious and unique campaign to make humanitarianism self-sufficient, comprehensive reconstruction work became the focus of and heir to all previous international Jewish social welfare work. This chapter considers this humanitarian response to Jewish impoverishment as a result of war. Superimposing American wealth and Progressivism onto long-standing Jewish self-help ideology, prewar vocational training, housing construction, and agricultural colonization were revived and expanded, especially in the Soviet Union. Crucially, this involved the creation of two American-Western European foundations to foster Jewish microlending and cooperative systems in Eastern Europe and Palestine. Jewish reconstruction sat somewhere between state social welfare and international development. The crash of 1929 made economic relief the primary form of Jewish relief and serves as an endpoint to the narrative.
The Joint Distribution Committee failed to coordinate effectively among the reactive, incoherent international health campaigns undertaken to prevent the spread of typhus. Reactions to this failure to make public health more sensitive to Jewish needs resulted in the establishment of autonomous Jewish health programs. Jewish social medicine thus flourished, with American Jews, including Hadassah, acting as the bridge from the prewar years. Gradually, Jewish American workers left Europe and turned over work to European Jewish organizations and local Jews. These public health programs allowed Jews to reconstruct and even seek to improve their local status through incremental change, without state sanction. Furthermore, medicine was uncontroversial within Jewish communities and Jewish health professionals were relatively abundant. Unlike battling disease, which required governmental collaboration that was difficult to achieve, social medicine could work as a form of apolitical resistance to oppression.
The Joint Distribution Committee cooperated with other American organizations to feed Jewish children after the armistice, more successfully than what was achieved in public health. But Jews were always concerned about the Jewish future, and these worries manifested in heated Eastern European Jewish debates over the right way to bring up Jewish children in the postwar economy. Jewish organizations could only achieve so much in terms of exporting Progressive child welfare schemes to Poland. Their vision of child welfare and self-help depended on an improving economy and the related ability of local Jews to absorb the initiatives begun by American Jews. When such improvements failed to materialize outside Palestine, the JDC felt morally obliged to continue its work, constructing a collective welfare system that in many ways aspired to that of a social welfare state.
The introduction to A Battlefield of Memory provides the reader with an understanding of the societal importance of the foundational pasts under review while highlighting existing trends of denial. Readers are also familiarized with polls conducted among Palestinians and Israeli-Jews on attitudes toward the other’s foundational trauma and failed reconciliatory attempts, which shed light on the materialization of mnemonic delegitimization efforts. Interviews conducted with the Israeli-Jewish and Palestinian individuals responsible for these initiatives demonstrate that they have, ironically, been accused of the same perfidious conduct, namely “selling out to the enemy.” The introduction further provides a synopsis of scholarly approaches to collective memory theory and the key research methodologies that have been applied in the collection of primary source material. It is in this particular context that the reader is informed of important caveats that should be taken into account during the reading of this work. One such provision concerns this work’s simultaneous deliberation of the Holocaust and the Nakba, which does not mean equating them or promulgating a causal linkage. Such a conflation would not only be historically – and ethically – erroneous, but equally fail to recognize the divergence in historical culpability. Nevertheless, as this work illustrates, a more relational linkage does exist: as dominant national metanarratives, the Holocaust and the Nakba have bolstered exclusive identities within the two groups, both centering on unique claims of ongoing victimhood and loss and a consequential devaluation – if not denial – of the other’s catastrophe
This chapter explores the relationship between secularism, nationalism, and religion in relation to Zionism. It maintains the centrality of the political-theological aspect in defining and forming the Israeli state, insisting that it is the theological with its apocalyptic dimension that stands at the heart of the definition of Israel as a Jewish state. It argues that to discuss Jews and Zionism in the context of religion and nationalism means to integrate two different perspectives: first, the historical analysis of the Jewish existence as a “problem” for modern secularism. The second perspective is the one provided by Zionism as a project of Westernization of the Jews. Accordingly, it argues that the Zionist theological perspective is unique in its direct relation to Jewish-Christian messianic images and biblical images of Palestine. Thus, the Israeli case stands out due to the relationship between messianism (and its political interpretations) and nationalism. Consequently, the analysis of Zionist discourse reveals the colonial dimension inherent to the process of secularization in the West in general, and nationalization of the Jews in particular. It also tries to point out to options of decolonization to be found in religious terminology.
In 1914, seven million Jews across Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean were caught in the crossfire of warring empires in a disaster of stupendous, unprecedented proportions. In response, American Jews developed a new model of humanitarian relief for their suffering brethren abroad, wandering into American foreign policy as they navigated a wartime political landscape. The effort continued into peacetime, touching every interwar Jewish community in these troubled regions through long-term refugee, child welfare, public health, and poverty alleviation projects. Against the backdrop of war, revolution, and reconstruction, this is the story of American Jews who went abroad in solidarity to rescue and rebuild Jewish lives in Jewish homelands. As they constructed a new form of humanitarianism and re-drew the map of modern philanthropy, they rebuilt the Jewish Diaspora itself in the image of the modern social welfare state.
The history of terrorism in Israel/Palestine is a history of increasingly interwoven terrorisms. These terrorisms have been employed by both ‘sides’ in the conflict, Israeli and Palestinian, in different manifestations for over one hundred years, responding to internal and external pressures, and also reflecting and informing wider forces of change that have characterised the political histories of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. A historical approach is thus not only helpful, but indeed crucial, for understanding the use of terrorism by various actors in Israel/Palestine, and also for recognising terrorism’s short- and long-term influences on the trajectory of the conflict. Situating terrorism in Israel/Palestine in broader historical and political contexts can also help us answer broader questions, both academic and policy-oriented, regarding the causes, consequences, and appropriate responses to political violence.