The Colonial Foundations of the State of Exception: Juxtaposing the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian Territories with Colonial Bureaucratic History

Givoni, Hanafi & Ophir (eds). "The Power of Inclusive Exclusion: Anatomy of Israeli Rule in the Occupied Palestinian Territories", Zone Books, MIT Press, 2009, ISBN: 9781890951924

21 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2013

See all articles by Yehouda Shenhav

Yehouda Shenhav

Tel Aviv University

Yael Berda

Princeton University - Program in Law and Public Affairs; Princeton University - Department of Sociology

Date Written: January 1, 2009

Abstract

Shortly after the war in 1967 and the occupation of the west bank and Gaza by the Israeli army, Israel declared the territories as a closed military zone . Military rule was established by the Military Commander of the Territories, through geographically dispersed military governors (known as 'moshlim') ruling a distinct area, having close contact with local leadership and a central administrative body that would evolve in 1981 into the Civil Administration of the Territories. It had separated between the bureaucratic civil administrative apparatus in the territories from organized military action, and the management of the everyday lives of the Palestinians, from military actions, creating ostensibly two bureaucratic spheres of control.

Our main objective is to describe the morphology of a colonial model of bureaucracy and to suggest that it should serve as the proper framework against which colonial situations should be measured and compared, including the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories. The paper is structured as follows. First, we discuss the political-theological perspective, which calls attention to the rule through 'exception' rather than the rule of law as a growing phenomenon in the postcolonial world as well as in western democracies. Second, we present the essentials of Lord Cromer's ideal type of bureaucracy, which challenged the liberal universal law and extended racially based through political 'exception' as the main arbiter of the ruling reality. Thus we offer an alternative ideal type of bureaucracy which introduces racial hierarchies into the administrative structure rendering Weber’s prerequisites “without scorn and bias” all but obsolete. Third, we provide several illustrative examples from Egypt, India, and Occupied Palestine to show how the model was implemented in practice. We end with a theoretical reflection that turns the gaze from the colonies to the metropole. In so doing we challenge the modernist interpretation of Weber’s ideal type, and show that the Weberian model itself may be subject to political-theological interpretation, a neglected aspect in the literature on bureaucracy and domination.

Keywords: Law, Colonialism, Bureaucracy, Israel, India, Egypt, Emergency Laws, Permit Regime, Restrictions on Movement

Suggested Citation

Shenhav, Yehouda and Berda, Yael, The Colonial Foundations of the State of Exception: Juxtaposing the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian Territories with Colonial Bureaucratic History (January 1, 2009). Givoni, Hanafi & Ophir (eds). "The Power of Inclusive Exclusion: Anatomy of Israeli Rule in the Occupied Palestinian Territories", Zone Books, MIT Press, 2009, ISBN: 9781890951924, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2296861

Yehouda Shenhav

Tel Aviv University ( email )

Ramat Aviv
Tel-Aviv, 6997801
Israel

Yael Berda (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Program in Law and Public Affairs ( email )

Wallace Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544
United States

HOME PAGE: http://lapa.princeton.edu/yaelberda

Princeton University - Department of Sociology ( email )

Princeton, NJ
United States

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