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Navigating legal landscapes colonialism and risk in Palestinian land ownership

Garbett, Lucy (2023) Navigating legal landscapes colonialism and risk in Palestinian land ownership. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 43 (3). 293 - 307. ISSN 1089-201X

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Identification Number: 10.1215/1089201X-10896565


This article is about an ownership dispute between two Palestinian families in the West Bank. The dispute moves between Palestinian and Israeli forums while drawing upon the legal patchwork of Ottoman, British, and Jordanian land laws, and Israeli military amendments. The multilayered legal terrain coupled with the jurisdictional tension allowed some legal maneuvering. The article explores how the families maneuvered the legal landscape, but it complicates the use of forum shopping in the Palestinian context by adding how settler-colonial domination and political economy play into this phenomenon. Settler colonialism has served to intensify the Palestinian land market through a curated land scarcity, all while managing the distribution of relative “security” and risk of land title. This has affected land value, land availability, and land use. When the settler legal system is known to render Palestinian ownership insecure, why would some Palestinians still choose Israeli registration as a forum in which to register their lands, considering these risks? The article argues that land ownership is a process through which layers of unevenness are inscribed and reproduced. In focusing on the process, the article adds to sociolegal scholarship to explore the role knowledge and capital play in forum shopping.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 by Duke University Press
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2024 12:12
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 17:51

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