New Book – Surveillance and Control in Israel/Palestine

The Surveillance Studies Centre says: Congratulations to Elia Zureik, David Lyon, Yasmeen Abu-Laban and all the contributors on their new book Surveillance and Control in Israel/Palestine, now available from Routledge. The book is an edited collection of papers from the research workshop, States of Exception, Surveillance and Population Management: The Case of Israel/Palestine, organized by The New Transparency Project in Cyprus, December 2008.

ISBN: 978-0-415-58861-4


Preface – Elia Zureik, David Lyon and Yasmeen Abu-Laban

Part I: Introduction

1. Colonialism, Surveillance and Population Control: Israel/Palestine – Elia Zureik

Part II: Theories of Surveillance in Conflict Zones

2. Identification, Colonialism and Control: Surveillant Sorting in Israel/Palestine – David Lyon

3. Making Place for the Palestinians in the Altneuland: Herzl, Anti-Semitism, and the Jewish State – Glenn Bowman

Part III: Civilian Surveillance

4. Ominous Designs: Israel’s Strategies and Tactics of Controlling the Palestinians during the First Two Decades – Ahmad Sa’di

5. The Matrix of Surveillance in Times of National Conflict: The Israeli-Palestinian Case – Hillel Cohen

6. The Changing Patterns of Disciplining Palestinian National Memory in Israel – Tamir Sorek

Part IV: Political Economy and Globalization of Surveillance

7. Laboratories of War: Surveillance and US-Israeli Collaboration in War and Security – Steven Graham

8. Israel’s Emergence as a Homeland Security Capital – Neve Gordon

9. From Tanks to Wheelchairs: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Zionist Battlefield Experiments, and the Transparency of the Civilian – Nick Denes

Part V: Citizenship Criteria and State Construction

10. Legal Analysis and Critique of Some Surveillance Methods Used by Israel – Usama Halabi

11. Orange, Green, and Blue: Colour-Coded Paperwork for Palestinian Population Control – Helga Tawil-Souri

12. “You Must Know Your Stock”: Census as Surveillance Practice in 1948 and 1967 – Anat E. Leibler

Part VI: Surveillance, Racialization, and Uncertainty

13. Exclusionary Surveillance and Spatial Uncertainty in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – Ariel Handel

14. “Israelization” of Social Sorting and the “Palestinianization” of the Racial Contract: Reframing Israel/Palestine and The War on Terror – Yasmeen Abu-Laban and Abigail B. Bakan

Part VII: Territory and Population Management in Conflict Zones

15. British and Zionist Data Gathering on Palestinian Arab Land Ownership and Population during the Mandate – Michael Fischbach

16. Surveillance and Spatial Flows in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – Nurhan Abujidi

17. Territorial Dispossession and Population Control of the Palestinians – Rassem Khamaisi

Part VIII: Social Ordering, Biopolitics and Profiling

18. The Palestinian Authority Security Apparatus: Biopolitics, Surveillance and Resistance in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – Nigel Parsons

19. Behavioural Profiling in Israeli Aviation Security as a Tool for Social Control – Reg Whitaker

Surveillance and Ethical Investment

An interesting case today. Associated Press is reporting that Sweden’s major pension fund has decided to drop the company, Elbit Systems, from its investment portfolio on the grounds that it provides surveillance equipment to the separation barrier that cuts through the Occupied Territories of the West Bank. The find has an ethical policy and as the European Union considers the barrier to be in violation of international law, it seems they had little moral choice but to drop it. Interestingly the Israeli government has complained on behalf of this private company, which of course just serves to highlight still further the close links between the state and security firms and arms manufacturers in Israel. I am not sure that it’s particularly ethical for any national pension fund to be propping up another nation’s security policies, let alone a policy that is so controversial not to say overtly illegal. But beyond this Elbit is a major arms company that would, I thought, in any case have been off-limits for a fund with ‘ethics’ – see: Neve Gordon’s report on The Political Economy of Israel’s Homeland Security produced for The New Transparency collaborative research initiative here at the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s.

More border madness

I could probably blog all the time just about border surveillance and security issues… Aaron Martin has pointed out the reported latest new development on the Israel-Palestine border, which is an apparently arbitrarily used stamp which allows visitors to visit only the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and not Israel itself. Gaza remain closed to foreign visitors, and effectively an open-air prison camp.

It seems hard to define this as a ‘policy’ since the Israeli government officially deny that any order was given for the new stamp, despite the fact there is witness and photographic evidence of its use. Its purpose seems to be clearly to define for future reference, ‘enemies of Israel’ and to make it as hard as possible for those interested in the welfare of Palestinians to enter Israel.

India invests in surveillance drones

According to The Times of India, the Indian military is investing massively in boom military industry of the moment – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or drones).

An IAL Heron TP UAV in flight
An IAL Heron TP UAV in flight

The initial order is apparently for coastal protection and involves the purchase of Heron UAVs from Israel Aerospace Industries, a specialist in such technologies which produces everything from large payload drones to tiny micro-UAVs like the Mosquito, which can be launched by hand and is designed for “providing real-time imagery data in restricted urban areas.” The Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) have also been developing their own drones in conjunction with IAI, the latest being the Rustom MALE.

A Predator UAV equiped with Hellfire missile (USAF)
A Predator UAV equiped with Hellfire missile (USAF)

Herons are supposedly unarmed but armed versions were used in the 2006 invasion of Lebanon by Israeli armed forces. The ToI article also makes it clear that Indian forces will be buying more overtly aggressive drones such as the US Predator systems that have been used to such devastating effect against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier regions. Far from easing up on the use of these remote-control killing machines, Obama’s administration has accelerated their use. They put fewer US troops in the firing line, and can attack remote areas, from where it is also very difficult to get an accurate independent view on their activities. However they are alleged to have been massively inaccurate, with the Pakistan government claiming that only 10 out of 60 missions between January 2006 and April 2009 had hit their targets, killing 14 Al-Qaeda leaders and 687 civilians, an appalling ratio.

With the advent of strategic bombing and then the ICBM, the Twentieth Century saw a massive increase of the role of remote surveillance in warfare, which was intimately linked to the growth in destructive power and the ability to not to understand the consequences in any direct or emotional way. Even with the tank and artillery ground warfare was not so remote, but now in the Twenty-first Century we are seeing surveillance-based, remote-control warfare becoming increasingly normalised. It is not surprising to see both hypocritical states like the USA and Israel intimately involved in the promotion of this form of conflict which looks cleaner and more ‘moral’ from the point of view of the user, but which in fact simply further isolates them from the consequences of their action. Real time surveillance turns everyday life in to a simulation, and drone-based warfare makes war into something like a game. And it’s a deadly and amoral game that increasing numbers of states, like India, are now playing.