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Criminality in Spaces of Death: The Palestinian Case Study

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 54 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2014 Pages: 38-52
Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian
Date Published
January 2014
15 pages
This paper develops the argument that defining the Palestinian dead and spaces of the dead (cemeteries) in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem as under the surveillance and eviction power of the colonizer furthers the Israeli fabrication of narratives of the past and future that strengthen and affirm a right to land and sovereignty.
This argument is based on an analysis of Israeli court rulings on Palestinian graveyards in East Jerusalem. These court cases indicate that in order to build its sites of memory, Israel must reckon with an already existing people and place. It is the Palestinians who embody the border that requires policing and who are viewed as non-citizens of the territory of East Jerusalem. The cases presented are used by the author to show that Israel is building its memorial locales in order to legitimize itself as the original owner to the land that defines East Jerusalem. The cases indicate that dead bodies and their location in the land are also victims of the settler colonial state's logic of elimination and practices of dispossession; in one case, for example, Nuha was an elderly resident of East Jerusalem whose children live in the West Bank 30 minutes away from her home. While Nuha was sick and dying, her children were unable to get permission to travel to East Jerusalem. After Nuha's death, her children were prevented from visiting the dead body and arranging a funeral. The trauma of losing Nuha and being prevented from saying goodbye to her were only the beginning of the family's struggle with this death of a Palestinian under Israeli colonialism. 24 references