In this essay, I identify and examine the legal-rhetorical mode of reasoning that justifies colonial-transformative occupations by legitimizing the repression of indigenous resistance via appeals to self-defense. The discretionary power authorized by the law of occupation in defence of the occupant’s security becomes, in the hands of a prolonged occupying power with territorial ambitions, the door through which an entire cart and horses of colonial apparatus can be driven. The essay traces this mode of reasoning since the early modern period, and exemplifies it in the case of Israel-Palestine.


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