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Israel’s Occupation

Israel’s Occupation

Neve Gordon
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Pages: 344
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  • Book Info
    Israel’s Occupation
    Book Description:

    This first complete history of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip allows us to see beyond the smoke screen of politics in order to make sense of the dramatic changes that have developed on the ground over the past forty years. Looking at a wide range of topics, from control of water and electricity to health care and education as well as surveillance and torture, Neve Gordon's panoramic account reveals a fundamental shift from a politics of life—when, for instance, Israel helped Palestinians plant more than six-hundred thousand trees in Gaza and provided farmers with improved varieties of seeds—to a macabre politics characterized by an increasing number of deaths. Drawing attention to the interactions, excesses, and contradictions created by the forms of control used in the Occupied Territories, Gordon argues that the occupation's very structure, rather than the policy choices of the Israeli government or the actions of various Palestinian political factions, has led to this radical shift.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94236-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xi)
  5. Map
    (pp. xii-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xxii)
  8. INTRODUCTION: Of Dowries and Brides
    (pp. 1-22)

    On June 8, 1967, just a few hours after the Israeli military captured Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Harem al Sharif, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan visited the site. Noticing that troops had hung an Israeli flag on the cap of the Al-Aqsa shrine, Dayan asked one of the soldiers to remove it, adding that displaying the Israeli national symbol for all to see was an unnecessarily provocative act.¹ Those who visited the Occupied Territories (OT) in the 1980s and 1990s no doubt noticed Israeli flags fluttering over almost every building Israel occupied as well as above every Jewish settlement. Moreover, most military...

    (pp. 23-47)

    The landscapes and populations of the two regions Israel occupied in 1967 were quite different. The West Bank, which had been under Jordanian rule, is about seventy miles long and thirty miles wide, an area the size of Delaware. It is an arable, mountainous region that spreads from north to south and is circumscribed on the east by a barren plateau and on the west by the 1949 armistice agreement border known as the Green Line. Following the war, close to six hundred thousand Palestinians were living in 12 urban centers and about 527 rural communities, including 19 refugee camps....

    (pp. 48-69)

    Immediately following the 1967 War, the head of Israel’s GSS, Yosef Harmelin, submitted a proposal to Defense Minister Moshe Dayan elaborating on how he thought the population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip should be governed. Harmelin suggested that the same framework that had been used to manage the Palestinians inside Israel during the period of the internal military government (1948–1966) should be adopted in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.¹ Dayan disagreed, maintaining that given the very different social and political situations of the Palestinians inside Israel after 1948 and the newly occupied inhabitants, the form of...

  11. Chapter 3 OF HORSES AND RIDERS
    (pp. 70-92)

    Israel’s attempts to create prosperity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and to normalize the occupation were simultaneously marked by a series of constraints and restrictions that hindered the development of an independent Palestinian economy. Military orders were constantly issued in order to hamper local economic expansion and to transform the Palestinian economy into a captive market for Israeli producers.¹ Complex tax and custom laws, restrictive marketing arrangements, and a slew of bewildering decrees and regulations were, in the words of Ze’ev Schiff and Ehud Ya’ari, used as weapons to hold the territories hostage to the Israeli economy. As...

    (pp. 93-115)

    In 1981, Menahem Milson, a professor from Hebrew University and a government advisor on Arab affairs, was chosen to be the first head of the newly established Civil Administration in the West Bank.¹ Before taking on this role, Milson argued that a more interventionist approach was needed in order to “free the [Palestinian] population from the grip of the PLO.”² As a historian, he was most likely aware that nationalist movements, particularly in the context of an occupation, could easily become a potent political force. National identification has the power to override other forms of identification and in this way...

  13. Chapter 5 CIVILIAN CONTROL
    (pp. 116-146)

    On June 27, 1967, the day East Jerusalem was annexed, a group of Israeli archaeologists were appointed as the supervisors of the archaeological and historical sites in the West Bank. In a press release issued by the military, these sites were defined as Israel’s “national and cultural property.”¹ This act, which may appear relatively benign, reveals nonetheless that the ideology of a Greater Israel—namely, that the West Bank and Gaza Strip are part of the biblical land of Israel and should therefore be integrated into the state informed Israel’s policies immediately following the war.² Alongside this messianic ideology, a...

  14. Chapter 6 THE INTIFADA
    (pp. 147-168)

    On December 8, 1987, a tank transporter leaving the Gaza Strip crashed into a line of cars taking Palestinian laborers from Gaza into Israel. Four workers, three of whom were from the Jabalya refugee camp, were crushed to death, and seven others were seriously wounded. Rumor rapidly spread throughout the Gaza Strip that the truck driver was a relative of an Israeli merchant who had been stabbed to death in downtown Gaza the day before. The driver, so the rumor intimated, had intentionally crashed into the cars. That night, thousands of people joined the funeral processions in the overly crowded...

    (pp. 169-196)

    As the years passed, the fact that Israel would be unable to quell the popular uprising began registering among larger segments of the Israeli public. Many Israelis believed that the economic, political, and moral cost of upholding the occupation was too high and that Israel had to modify its policies in the OT. It became clear that the existing forms of control were not producing the desired calm and that another strategy was needed. The ingenious idea was tooutsourcethe responsibility for the population to a subcontractor. A Palestinian authority was established to take on the task of managing...

    (pp. 197-222)

    In an attempt to affirm Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount/ Haram al Sharif, Ariel Sharon strode into the Al-Aqsa compound on September 28, 2000, guarded by an armed entourage. Right after the provocative visit, Palestinian demonstrators hurled stones at Israeli police, who fired back tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets. Twenty-five policemen and three Palestinians were injured in the confrontations. The next day, demonstrations erupted at the Temple Mount following the Friday prayers; rapidly, they spread to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Within two days fifteen Palestinians had been killed. Sharon’s visit to the Al-Aqsa compound had served...

    (pp. 223-226)

    The sectarian clashes that erupted in 2006 between Hamas and Fatah as well as between differenthamulasin the Gaza Strip have introduced a totally new dimension into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Most pundits have understood these latter clashes as either a struggle over who will control the Palestinian government and resources or as a local manifestation of a much broader international conflict between fundamentalist and secular forces in the Islamic world. While such interpretations no doubt capture some of the most important recent developments, they also obscure the central role that Israel and the United States have played in producing...

  18. APPENDIX 1: Structure of the Civil Branch of the West Bank’s Military Government
    (pp. 227-228)
  19. APPENDIX 2: West Bank Settlements According to Year Established
    (pp. 229-232)
  20. NOTES
    (pp. 233-290)
  21. INDEX
    (pp. 291-319)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 320-320)