The Wall and the Gate: Israel, Palestine, and the Legal Battle for Human Rights, by Michael Sfard, translated by Maya Johnson. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2018. 496 pages. $35. In this study, human rights lawyer Michael Sfard offers a unique perspective on the Arab-Israeli conflict in which he discusses the multitude of human rights challenges brought about by Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian Territories. Through a series of powerful personal narratives derived from the many legal battles he and other human rights lawyers have fought in Israeli courts, Sfard reveals a legal environment where the Israeli state actively seeks to legitimize blatant violations of international law and human rights. While most of the cases detailed in The Wall and the Gate suggest a grim future for Palestinians living under Israeli rule, Sfard emphasizes the potential that human rights activists have to challenge the occupation and bring about social change through litigation. (CH)
Israel/Palestine, fourth edition, by Alan Dowty. Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2017. 314 pages. $24.95. Alan Dowty, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Notre Dame, strives to present readers with a balanced and comprehensive account of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his fourth edition text of Israel/Palestine. Placing a strong emphasis on the historical development of the conflict, Dowty provides accounts of both Jewish and Arab narratives, attempting to shed light on the characteristics that contribute to the obstinate nature of the dispute while simultaneously allowing readers to deduce their own conclusions from the information presented. This edition has been updated to include the constantly evolving conflict’s latest developments and their implications on both Palestinian and Israeli public opinion. This text is ideal for those looking for a concise yet thorough guide to the historical progression of the conflict. (CH)
Enclosure: Palestinian Landscapes in a Historical Mirror, by Gary Fields. Oakland: University of California Press, 2017. 424 pages. $85.00. Enclosure undertakes an original historical approach to the territorial conflict between Palestinians and Israelis by comparing it to two previous cases of land dispossession: the enclosures of early modern England by wealthy estate owners and Native American land dispossession by Anglo-American colonists. Author Gary Fields identifies that each case consists of a dominant group with a desire for a specific territory, said group’s desire to “modernize” the territory as justification for taking the land from a relatively weak group, the use of certain tools that allow them to forcefully take possession of the land, and a regional change in demographics that takes place as a result of the transferring of populations. Through his analysis of each case, Fields provides a compelling argument that the process of Palestinian land loss is not unique but rather consistent with patterns of behavior and discourse used in cases of territorial colonization throughout history. Enclosure’s historical comparison allows readers to examine Palestinian-Israeli relations through an unconventional framework that reflects the ways in which power dynamics are revealed through geographic landscapes. (CH)
Living Emergency: Israel’s Permit Regime in the Occupied West Bank, by Yael Berda. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2017. 152 pages. $12.99. In Living Emergency, Jewish Israeli lawyer Yael Berda leverages her years of experience representing Palestinian laborers by using detailed personal anecdotes, administrative documents, and extensive historical research to construct a thorough picture of how the Israeli government manages and restricts the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank. Berda argues that Israel employs a range of techniques, including emergency laws, closing off spaces, and purposeful bureaucratic inefficiency to restrict the number of Palestinians who can obtain Israeli labor permits. While the author acknowledges that Israel’s case is unique and should be treated as such, she does say this text can be used as a case study to help understand the logic and methods of other regimes that restrict population movement on the grounds of security concerns. (ZG)
CENTRAL ASIA AND THE CAUCASUS
The Sovietization of Azerbaijan: The South Caucasus in the Triangle of Russia, Turkey, and Iran, 1920–1922, by Jamil Hasanli. Salt Lake...