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The ABC of the OPT
A Legal Lexicon of the Israeli Control over the Occupied Palestinian Territory


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  • Date Published: December 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316609934

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About the Authors
  • Israel's half-a-century long rule over the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and some of its surrounding legal issues, have been the subject of extensive academic literature. Yet, to date, there has been no comprehensive, theoretically-informed, and empirically-based academic study of the role of various legal mechanisms, norms, and concepts in shaping, legitimizing, and responding to the Israeli control regime. This book seeks to fill this gap, while shedding new light on the subject. Through the format of an A-Z legal lexicon, it critically reflects on, challenges, and redefines the language, knowledge, and practices surrounding the Israeli control regime. Taken together, the entries illuminate the relation between global and local forces - legal, political, and cultural - in Israel and Palestine. The study of the terms involved provides insights that are relevant to other situations elsewhere in the world, particularly with regard to belligerent occupation, the law's role in relation to state violence, and justice.

    • Offers a case study relevant to other examples of occupation, such as Iraq and Crimea
    • Uses a lexicon format to analyze key legal and political concepts relating to Israel's control over the West Bank and Gaza Strip
    • Aimed at academics and practitioners in the fields of international law, jurisprudence, and political science
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    • Winner, 2018 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

    Reviews & endorsements

    'A landmark in the literature of the Israel/Palestine conflict, this book's comprehensive analysis of dozens of Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories demonstrates - brilliantly - that Israel systematically perverts the rule of law while all the time falsely proclaiming a meticulous commitment to legality. Truly eye-opening.' Duncan Kennedy, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Harvard Law School

    'The ingenious format of the lexicon allows the three authors to offer a fresh account of the law of occupation. Starting from the insight that law is language is power, Orna Ben-Naftali, Michael Sfard and Hedi Viterbo furnish legal analysis on a high technical level and raise profound questions of justice. The original combination of keywords covering conventional legal terms (such as Geneva law) and unexpected words (such as outside/inside or kinship) creates a dense web of knowledge and makes the work a reliable source of information, provided by legal experts. Numerous cross-references help the reader to navigate the book and to find answers to specific questions. At the same time, this book instills a subtle horror about one of the most legalized regimes of territorial control in the world. A deeply passionate work of legal scholarship at its best.' Anne Peters, Managing Director, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg

    'Spiraling down the inverse hurricane of the endlessly temporary occupation, where facts are optional and state lawyers weaponize the law against the oppressed, we urgently need a new set of conceptual and practical tools. Now three of the most committed and brilliant legal scholars-practitioners working on or against the Israeli occupation have joined up to provide a uniquely perceptive and comprehensive analysis of law's relationship with the Israeli control regime. This equips us with an essential cartography, charted from the very epicenter of the storm.' Eyal Weizman, Director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College, University of London

    'This reference book is an indispensable guide to the Palestinian-Israeli problem and deserves a place in any public library as well as in research institutions. Essential.' C. M. Henry, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316609934
    • length: 582 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 30 mm
    • weight: 0.9kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    A. Assigned residence
    B. Border/barrier
    C. Combatants
    D. Deportations
    E. Export of knowledge
    F. Future-oriented measures
    G. Geneva law
    H. House demolition
    I. Investigations
    J. Jewish settlements
    K. Kinship
    L. Lawfare
    M. Military courts N. Nomos
    O. Outside/inside
    P. Proportionality
    Q. Quality of life
    R. Regularization, law of
    S. Security prisoners
    T. Temporary/indefinite
    U. Usufruct, rules of
    V. Violence
    W. War crimes
    X. X rays
    Y. Youth
    Z. Zone.

  • Authors

    Orna Ben-Naftali, Haim Striks School of Law, Israel
    Orna Ben-Naftali holds the Emile Zola Chair for Human Rights in the Haim Striks School of Law, Israel.

    Michael Sfard, Michael Sfard Law Office, Israel
    Michael Sfard is an Israeli human rights lawyer and the legal adviser to several Israeli human rights organizations and peace groups.

    Hedi Viterbo, University of Essex
    Hedi Viterbo is Lecturer in the School of Law at the University of Essex.


    • Winner, 2018 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
    • Honourable mention, 2019 Certificate of Merit in a specialized area of international law, American Society of International Law

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