In a series of interviews, Israeli law enforcement officials speak plainly about the legal system they have created in the occupied Palestinian territories, providing a unique insight into the political and social impact of this particular legal system.
Ever since Israel conquered the territories after the Six-Day War in 1967, the legal branch of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has implemented numerous laws, established a great many courts, convicted hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and enabled half a million Israeli settlers to move to the occupied territories. This complex and unique system, invisible to most Israeli citizens, has a major impact on the everyday existence of Palestinians. IDF’s legal experts are faced with judicial and moral dilemmas as they try to enforce and further develop the current legal system. As one of the people interviewed puts it: ‘A military judge not only represents the law; he also represents the authorities of the occupying power, and is seen as the enemy by the local population. This unnatural situation has been prevailing for forty years.’