Chapter

The Age of Conflict: Rethinking Childhood, Law, and Age Through the Israeli-Palestinian Case<sup>1</sup>

Hedi Viterbo

in Law and Childhood Studies

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199652501
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739217 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199652501.003.0010

Series: Current Legal Issues

The Age of Conflict: Rethinking Childhood, Law, and Age Through the Israeli-Palestinian Case1

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This chapter attempts to provide a contextualized investigation of some of the central factors which inform the intricate interplay between childhood, law, and age. To a great extent, the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories has been a legalistic one: Israeli authorities have tended to rely on law as a basis to undertake and justify their actions. Hence, the Israeli law in force in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) — which despite its importance has been largely understudied — is an apt arena to examine age and childhood in this context. By focusing on the encounter between Israeli criminal law (domestic and military) and minors in the OPT, the chapter rethinks the age-childhood-law triangle and explores its complexity. The first part of the chapter explains how Israeli criminal legislation constructs two different childhoods along national lines in the OPT. The second part investigates the complex role these forces play in Israeli military law (which applies to Palestinians), especially with regard to four manifestations of the elusiveness of age and childhood. The third part focuses on two cases — one regarding a Palestinian defendant and the other concerning Israeli settler girls — in which law's subjects were seen as obscuring their age. The chapter concludes by pointing, among other things, to the resonance of the issues discussed in this chapter with other contexts outside Israel–Palestine, including — but not limited to — international law, US law, and UK law. In light of the significant commonalities among these different contexts, the Israeli–Palestinian case is read as a ‘super-experiment’, through which to rethink how age functions and is utilized in the legal fabrication of childhood.

Keywords: age; law; childhood; Israel; Occupied Palestinian Territories; Palestinians; Israeli law

Chapter.  14815 words. 

Subjects: Family Law

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