Living Emergency: Israel's Permit Regime in the Occupied West Bank. By Yael Berda. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018.

Published date01 June 2019
Date01 June 2019
own histories and contemporary controversies regarding national-
ity, citizenship, immigration, and identity. The book’s appeal is to
a wide multidisciplinary audience and its contribution to the field
of migration and mobility studies is particularly pertinent and
valuable. Klaaren’s contribution to sociolegal studies is consider-
able – and particularly exciting for law and society scholars who
are engaged in research on the global movement of people. His
books will also be useful to law and society scholars examining the
possibilities and limitations of law and legal processes.
Living Emergency: Israel’s Permit Regime in the Occupied West Bank.
By Yael Berda. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018.
Reviewed by Noura Erakat, School of Integrative Studies, George
Mason University
Yael Berda’s Living Emergency uses ethnographic data compiled
during her career as a human rights attorney and legal analysis to
scrutinize Israel’s permit regime in the occupied West Bank. The
short book, part of Stanford University Press’s Briefs series, is
divided into four chapters and uses Israel’s management of
Palestinians as an “extreme case (study)” of population control
through a logic of security (9) and demonstrates the interplay of
surveillance, emergency, and law. Berda relies on conversations
with Palestinian clients as well officials from the military Civil
Administration to provide a penetrating analysis of the, often,
erratic logic, processes, and effects, of a bureaucratic edifice that
appears otherwise formidable. She highlights that the permit
regime regulating movement and predicated on data collection
and surveillance is not as deliberate nor as precise as we tend to
imagine repressive regimes to be.
Israel has directly controlled the movement of Palestinians
from the West Bank and Gaza within the territories and across a
nonexistent border into Israel since the 1967 War. Israel has
attempted to integrate as much of the territories with as little
Palestinians as possible in order to expand the state’s jurisdiction
without disrupting its Jewish demographic majority. Israel’s over-
arching ambitions, for territory without its natives, has shaped its
military bureaucracy.
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