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Courting ConflictThe Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza$
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Lisa Hajjar

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520241930

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520241930.001.0001

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The Politics of Language: Translators

The Politics of Language: Translators

(p.132) Chapter 5 The Politics of Language: Translators
Courting Conflict

Lisa Hajjar

University of California Press

This chapter considers the politics of language in the military court system, highlighting the roles, practices, and perspectives of translators, most of whom are Druze. The state's policies toward the Druze community provide a vivid case of social engineering to politicize and manage identity in ways that conform to and serve state interests. Moreover, the chapter discusses how Druze Israelis became bilingual. The Druze are preferred for the role of translators because they have both bilingual skills and a sociopolitical status as “non-Arab Arabs.” The role translators perform contributes to maintaining an appearance of due process and the availability of defendants' legal rights by enabling judges, prosecutors, and defense lawyers to understand one another and to communicate their points effectively. Druze translators are deterred from adopting or expressing views critical of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Keywords:   military court system, translators, Druze, politics, social engineering, bilingual skills, West Bank, Gaza

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