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Checkpoint Watch

Checkpoint Watch

Judith Keshet


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Book Details


This book is a critical exploration of Israel's curfew-closure policy in the Occupied Palestinian Territories through the eyes of CheckpointWatch, an organization of Israeli women monitoring human rights abuses. The book combines observers' daily reports from the checkpoints and along the Separation Wall, with analysis of the bureaucracy that supports the ongoing occupation. Keshet demonstrates the link between Israeli bureaucracy and the closure system as integral to a wider project of ethnic cleansing. As co-founder of the group, Keshet critically reviews the organisation's transformation from a feminist, radical protest movement to one both reclaimed by, and reclaiming, the consensus. Illustrating the nature of Israeli mainstream discourse as both anodyne and cruel, the book also analyses Israeli media representation of Checkpoint Watch and human rights activism in general. Keshet contends that the dilemmas of these Israeli women, torn between opposition to the Occupation and their loyalty to the state, reflects political divisions within Israel society as a whole.
Yehudit Kirstein Keshet was born in Wales and has lived in Israel since the late fifties, settling there permanently in 1974.
'This important book offers an insightful perspective of the system of Israeli military checkpoints and blockades in the West Bank, their devastating impact on the Palestinian population, and the arbitrary use of a control mechanism for reasons which often have little to do with security considerations. The first-hand accounts and observations of the Watchers - Israeli women from all walks of life - also provide an interesting insight into how different sectors of Israeli society see - or fail to see - the impact of such a system and its injustices' Donatella Rovera, Researcher on Israel and the Occupied Territories, Amnesty International 'It is impossible to guess when and how the harsher Israeli version of the Apartheid Pass System will collapse. When it does, CheckpointWatch will have had an important role in its collapse'. Amira Hass

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Cover Cover
Contents v
Maps vii
Acknowledgements viii
Foreword by Amira Hass x
Introduction 1
Borders and boundaries 2
A political awakening 3
1948 and after 5
The book 7
Notes 8
1 | Occupation 11
Checkpoint policy 13
A glossary of oppression 14
Bureaucracy 17
The mechanism of oppression 20
Jerusalem 24
Notes 28
2 | Bearing witness 31
Witnesses to the Occupation 35
Practices and tactics 37
A case of conscience 39
‘We dwell among our own people’ 43
The modesty of witnessing 46
Notes 49
3 | The Gateway to Hell 55
Checkpointspeak 60
A people’s army 63
An ‘invisible’ people 70
The banality of evil 75
Days of violence 80
Notes 86
4 | The Annexation Wall 89
The story of Jabarra 91
‘O Jerusalem! Our feet are standing (outside) your gates!’ 95
Demography is geography 101
Notes 103
5 | Dilemmas of witnessing 107
Humanitarianism versus political activism 110
Protest or resistance 112
An uneasy alliance 116
The silver platter 117
The perpetrators as victims 120
Between solidarity and patronage 122
Notes 130
6 | Representation 132
A love–hate relationship 132
The media 134
In conclusion 145
Notes 148
7 | Conclusion 150
Looking back 150
Looking forwards 152
The last word 154
Note 155
Appendix I: Checkpoints observed, 2001–05 156
Appendix 2: Complaints filed in 2004 163
Appendix 3: Monthly Digest, November 2004 165
Machsomwatch observations during November 2004 165
References 170
Index 176