'Powers of Illegality': House Demolitions and Resistance in East Jerusalem

73 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2009 Last revised: 24 Jan 2009

See all articles by Irus Braverman

Irus Braverman

University at Buffalo Law School


This article examines how techniques of illegality based in planning laws and policy are utilized to dominate the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem. Although the demolition of homes is the most spectacular spatial mechanism of illegality exercised by Israel in East Jerusalem, my focus in the first part of the article is on more mundane techniques of illegality, such as mapping, filing, and arbitrariness. The second part of the article introduces the notion of resistance and explores the illegal building carried out by East Jerusalemite Palestinians as an act of spatial protest. In examining tactics of "everyday" resistance, I suggest that the study of illegality in the East Jerusalem context allows a nuanced understanding of the relations between bureaucrats and subjects, thereby offering a deeper understanding of the nature of power itself.

Keywords: Law and Geography, Law and Urban Planning, illegality, house demolitions, East Jerusalem, Israel/Palestine, everyday resistance, spatial protest

Suggested Citation

Braverman, Irus, 'Powers of Illegality': House Demolitions and Resistance in East Jerusalem. Law and Social Inquiry, Vol. 32, No. 2, 2007, Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-05, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1330916

Irus Braverman (Contact Author)

University at Buffalo Law School ( email )

School of Law
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United States
716-645-3030 (Phone)
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HOME PAGE: http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~irusb/

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