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The Law In These Parts

Can a modern democracy impose a prolonged military occupation on another people while retaining its core democratic values? Since Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war, the Israeli military has imposed thousands of orders and laws, established military courts, sentenced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to detention, enabled half-a-million Israeli citizens to move to the Occupied Territories, and developed a system of long-term jurisdiction by an occupying army. In The Law in These Parts, military legal professionals talk about the legal system they helped to design and implement in its formative years. The film asks crucial questions that are often avoided: can such an occupation be achieved that includes genuine adherence to the principles of the rule of law? And what are the costs that a society engaged in such a long-term exercise must bear? World Cinema Jury Prize Documentary Sundance Film Festival 2012

Israeli military courts have enforced orders issued by Israeli military commanders that discriminate against Palestinians in favour of Israeli settlers. Military orders also curtail the rights of Palestinians to peacefully demonstrate against rights violations, such as unlawfully confiscating their lands and restricting their freedom of movement. Human Rights Watch has documented cases in which military courts have failed to curtail violations, including detention without access to lawyers, long-term detention without trial, and the use of coerced and secret evidence against defendants. The Israeli High Court of Justice has obliged the military to improve some of its practices but has also upheld many discriminatory military policies.