Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Colored Identity, The Politics and Materiality of ID Cards in Palestine/Israel / Helga Tawil-Souri

Colored Identity, The Politics and Materiality of ID Cards in Palestine/Israel / Helga Tawil-Souri

Ratings: (0)|Views: 12|Likes:
Published by Ronnie Barkan
Colored Distinctions
ID cards have played a central role in Palestinian life since the beginning of the twentieth century. Palestinians were subjects of the Ottoman Empire, which issued Palestinians travel documents. Under the British Mandate of Palestine, Palestinians became “Turkish subject[s] habitually resident in the territory of Palestine,” holding Mandate identity cards.
In the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Palestinians inside the new Israeli state were issued ID cards, while those in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were given temporary documents from Jordanian and Egyptian authorities, respectively. After Israel’s occupation in 1967, Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip were issued different cards by Israel. Today, all adults in Palestine/Israel are issued ID cards required to be carried at all times. But not all cards are created equal.
Colored Distinctions
ID cards have played a central role in Palestinian life since the beginning of the twentieth century. Palestinians were subjects of the Ottoman Empire, which issued Palestinians travel documents. Under the British Mandate of Palestine, Palestinians became “Turkish subject[s] habitually resident in the territory of Palestine,” holding Mandate identity cards.
In the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Palestinians inside the new Israeli state were issued ID cards, while those in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were given temporary documents from Jordanian and Egyptian authorities, respectively. After Israel’s occupation in 1967, Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip were issued different cards by Israel. Today, all adults in Palestine/Israel are issued ID cards required to be carried at all times. But not all cards are created equal.

More info:

Published by: Ronnie Barkan on Nov 13, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

03/16/2014

pdf

text

original

 
67
Social Text 107 
 
 Vol. 29, No. 2
 Summer 2011 DOI 10.1215/01642472- 1259488 © 2011 Duke University Press
I jealously watched Dr. Tamar filling in Nura’s . . . Jerusalem passport. Neither Nura [my dog] nor Dr. Tamar [the veterinarian] realized how damn serious I was about replacing Nura’s photograph with mine. I don’t think either of them knew how difficult or impossible it is for Palestinians to acquire a Jerusalem ID, let alone a Jerusalem
 passport 
.It was not long before I decided to make use of Nura’s passport.“Can I see your permit and the car’s?” requested the soldier standing at the Jerusalem checkpoint.“I don’t have one, but I am the driver of this Jerusalem dog,” I replied, handing the soldier Nura’s passport. . . . “I am the dog’s driver. As you can see, she is from Jerusalem, and she cannot possibly drive the car or go to Jerusalem all by herself.” — Suad Amiry,
Sharon and My Mother- in- Law: Ramallah Diaries
Hani, Sana, and I are waiting at a checkpoint in the West Bank hoping to cross into East Jerusalem. In 2002, this is still the “good old days” when passing checkpoints hasn’t yet turned into a mechanical sifting of substandard beings through concrete barricades and remote- controlled turnstiles. Men, women, children, locals, internationals, and sometimes animals, too, stand together chaotically. I wonder if others who are wait-
ing are eyeing my American passport with envy, distrust, or perhaps even hatred; I will likely pass without much hassle and faster than most around me. Hani, a Palestinian from East Jerusalem, is shoving the corners of his
Colored Identity
The Politics and Materiality of ID Cards in Palestine/Israel
Helga Tawil- Souri
 
68
Tawil- Souri
 ·
Politics and Materiality of ID Cards in Palestine/Israel 
blue ID card between his teeth like an oversize toothpick; and I imagine his ID, too, is eyed with some jealousy or suspicion by those around us.
Sana, who is from Jenin and lives in Ramallah, is thumbing her green ID card nervously. In her case, suspicious gazes would be radiating from the
soldiers. Our friend Mazen, born in Gaza and living in the West Bank since the early 1990s, doesn’t dare come with us he avoids all check-points, whether those to enter Israel or the hundreds that separate one Palestinian area from another for fear of being evicted to Gaza with his orange ID card in hand. Sana, Hani, and Mazen’s ID colors do not denote a fashion preference, but a color- coded bureaucracy which issues Palestinians in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, and Israel dif-ferent cards. The cards themselves, issued by Israeli authorities, are all off- white but referred to in Arabic as colored, denoting the plastic sleeve they are obliged to be carried in.Palestinians claim that the state of Israel simultaneously attempts to thwart, isolate, fragment, transfer, and erase them. Slowly kill them; send them to neighboring Arab countries; strangle them geographically, politically, economically, and militarily until they accept their subordina-tion. This is not a chimerical claim of ethnic cleansing
1
 but a reality that can be analyzed as a technical problem of the geopolitical conditions of Palestinians’ status. The Israeli state practices, and arguably perfects, a logic of territorial and population control and monitoring. One form is high- tech: unmanned aerial drones, X- ray machines, remote- controlled cameras, radars, and surveillance techniques that instill fear and awe;
2
 
another form is physically and geographically violent: walls, fences, check-
points, turnstiles, settlements, bypass roads, fighter jets, bulldozers, and machine guns.
3
 Moreover, it is no secret that, as Nils A. Butenschon, Uri Davis, and Manuel Hassassian state, “the mere existence of the Palestin-ian people is a major strategic impediment to the realization of classical Zionist ambitions”; and thus, exclusion “forms the logical background of
a segregational policy that erects defensive walls of legal, institutional, and
physical kinds to prevent Palestinians access to land, institutions, or other rights that could threaten Jewish hegemony.”
4
These realities seem to form a cognitive dissonance: the Israeli state is accused of trying to eradicate Palestinians, and yet the state institutes an impressive infrastructure of control based on Palestinians’ continued
presence in Palestine/Israel. Against the background of transfer, fragmen-
tation, and erasure exists a bureaucratic system of keeping Palestinians where they are: subjects of sustained, if changing, forms of colonialism, occupation, and oppression. In other words, there may very well be a practice of fragmenting, isolating, transferring, and erasing Palestinians, but they need to be counted, documented, monitored, and controlled first.
The clearest way to grapple with this disconnect is to consider the peculiar
 
69
Social Text 107 
 
 Summer 2011
experience of passing a checkpoint, which has everything to do with a not- so- insignificant piece of paper. The checkpoint as a site of uneven power relations serving to fragment Palestinians has been analyzed in depth.
5
 A key feature that is most evident at checkpoints yet more fundamental in “bordering” Palestinians remains under theorized: the low- tech, visible,
and tactile means of power that is the ID card (see figs. 1 and 2). Prosaic to those subjected to its regime, the ID card remains obscure to those outside
who discuss Israeli occupation and Palestinian resistance.The identification card (by which I mean specifically the physical card, referred to by Palestinians as
hawiya
) is the space in which Palestin-ians meet, confront, tolerate, and sometimes challenge the Israeli state.
6
 In fact, for Palestinians, ID cards are mundane “things” that ultimately determine much of their political, economic, and social life, and not only at checkpoints.In what follows, I trace the development of the modern- day bureau-cracy of the Palestinian ID card since the establishment of Israel. As they
are around much of the world, ID cards in Palestine/Israel are physical and
visible instruments of a widespread low- tech surveillance mechanism and a principal means for discriminating (positively and negatively) subjects’
Figure 1. A Palestinian woman hands her orange ID card to an Israeli soldier at the Huwwara Checkpoint near Nablus. Photograph courtesy of the author

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->