Otherwise occupied : an analysis of the causes and consequences of Zionist carceral practice : a thesis presented in fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts in Politics at Massey University, Turitea, New Zealand
Open Access Location
This thesis examines the employment of particular carceral tactics both inside and outside Israeli prisons in the context of the Zionist colonial occupation of Palestinian territories. Together these tactics are considered to form an overarching strategy to crush Palestinian resistance to the forty-five year-old occupation. Central to this study is application of Michel Foucault’s model of carceral practices which occur within the walls of the modern prison and extend capillary-like into wider Palestinian society, to the extent it resembles a Foucauldian “carceral archipelago” of control. Various components of Foucault’s concepts of power, discipline, punishment and resistance are applied in order to analyse overlapping canons of colonialism and Zionism, and the response of Palestinians to them. Occupied Palestinians are also linked with Giorgio Agamben’s concept of people killed with impunity - homo sacer - whom Agamben refers to as living a “bare life” without human or political rights, at the margins of society or beyond. Colonial-era laws and regulations are found to have dehumanised Palestinians as a mass security threat to Israel. This categorization is in turn used to justify mass incarceration, detention without trial, torture, extra-judicial executions, collective punishments and the commodification of Palestinian prisoners exemplified in lop-sided prisoner exchanges. The thesis finds Zionist carceral practices entrench the occupation and immiserate Palestinian society, disrupting economic, social and political cohesion, and the potential of the Palestinian people. The thesis identifies hunger strikes, the commandeering of Zionist prison space as sites of Palestinian nationalist education and political recruitment, and a refusal to vacate their own land as clear mechanisms of Palestinian resistance. An oppression-resistance cycle is evident, reinforcing the centrality of the prisoner and the prison in Palestinian life. Contemporary behaviour by Israel indicates this cycle will continue for as long as Zionist carceral practice criminalizes all resistance to its occupation.
Israeli prisons, Palestinian prisoners, Political prisoners, Israel, Occupation of Palestine, Palestinian resistance, Michel Foucault, Mass incarceration, Zionist carceral practices, Prisoner exchanges, Palestinians, Israeli oppression