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Marwan Barghouti in Tel Aviv: Occupation, Terrorism, and Resistance in the Courtroom


On 15 April 2002, Marwan Barghouti, a high profile Member of the Palestinian Parliament and a close aide of the late Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, was arrested and transferred to Israel for trial. On 14 August 2002, he was charged with multiple counts of crimes including acts of terrorism, murder and conspiracy to murder. In the Courtroom in Tel-Aviv, Barghouti was being tried for acts of terrorism, but in the court of public opinion, Israel was using the trial to slander and discredit the Palestinian leadership as a bunch of ‘murderous gangs,’ and ‘enemies of all mankind.’ On his part, Barghouti uses the judicial space to go beyond the surface problem of law and legality to the deeper question of occupation – a problem that is at the depth but also all across the normative structure of Israel’s legal order. Through re-signification, the accused becomes the accuser, putting the state of Israel and the occupation on trial. In this article, I consider the ways in which the accused and the accuser repurpose the legal material to produce and disseminate ideas, concepts, and images productive to their respective politics. Attending to the ways in which discourses of occupation, resistance, and terrorism were synchronized with the legal form, the article reflects on how the narratives move from the legal to the political, from the personal to the social, from the local to the global, and from the theological to the political, creating the conditions of possibility for meaning and understanding.

Acceptance Date Jun 16, 2016
Publication Date Jun 16, 2016
Journal Social and Legal Studies: an international journal
Print ISSN 0964-6639
Publisher SAGE Publications
Publisher URL

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