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Looking for Law in All the Wrong PlacesJustice Beyond and Between$
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Marianne Constable, Leti Volpp, and Bryan Wagner

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823283712

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823283712.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Before Emptiness: On the Destructiveness and Impotence of Law

Before Emptiness: On the Destructiveness and Impotence of Law

(p.37) 2. Before Emptiness: On the Destructiveness and Impotence of Law
Looking for Law in All the Wrong Places

Samera Esmeir

Fordham University Press

Stanton Street in Haifa lost its Arabic name during the British mandate in Palestine. After the 1948 war and the subsequent Zionist "ethnic homogenization" of the land, the street became Shivat Zion (the Return of Zion). The Palestinian residents were forced out, their homes taken into state custody as a result of a series of Israeli Absentee Property Laws. Today, this street is lined with the ruined homes of Palestinian refugees whose return Israel prevents. While the street has undergone many transmutations, a stretch of dismembered rubble remains. Unlike other scarred houses of Palestinian refugees on the same street, sold by the state to Israelis who restored them and settled in them, the rubble cannot be renovated. In their rubbly ruination, they resist becoming a site for the new law of the land. Israel's mission has been to fill up the emptiness Palestinians were forced to leave behind with settlers or new colonial symbolic meanings. This stretch, however, has proved unfillable, its emptiness uninhabitable. It can only be further destroyed. But if law knows only how to annihilate dismembered ruins, it is incapable of exerting its authority over them. It is impotent in the face of the resistance they offer.

Keywords:   1948 War, Haifa, Israel, Israeli law, Palestine, Palestinian refugees, property law, ruins, settler colonialism

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