Of dowries and brides: A structural analysis of Israel's occupation

Neve Gordon

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4 Scopus citations


In this article I attempt to uncover some of the causes leading to the dramatic changes that have taken place over the past four decades in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Drawing attention to the way in which the Palestinian inhabitants have been managed, my central thesis is that the occupation's very structure, rather than the policy choices of the Israeli government, has led to the shifts in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. More specifically, I maintain that the interactions, excesses, and contradictions produced by the means of control that have been applied in the Occupied Territories can help explain why, following the 1967 war, a politics of life, which aims to secure the livelihood of the occupied residents, was emphasized by the military government and why we are currently witnessing a macabre politics characterized by an increasing number of deaths. An interrogation of this kind is advantageous because it helps us see beyond the smoke screen of political proclamations, and thus improves our understanding of why the acrimonious Israeli–Palestinian conflict has developed in the way that it has.  1 I would like to the thank Nitza Berkovitch, Adi Ophir, Catherine Rottenberg, and Yuval Yonay as well as the anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions. When I asked Eshkol what we were going to do with a million Arabs, he answered: “I get it. You want the dowry, but you don't like the bride!” Golda Meir in a Mapai Party Meeting three months after the 1967 war2  2 Cited in Shlomo Gazit, The Carrot and the Stick: Israel's Policy in Judea and Samaria, 1967–1969 (Washington, DC: B'nai Brith Books, 1995), p. 135. Levi Eshkol was Israel's prime minister at the time and Golda Meir was the general secretary of the Mapai Party.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-478
Number of pages26
JournalNew Political Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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