Farah Najjar


Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1993 following the Oslo Accords, Israel supposedly handed its duties of safeguarding the economic and social interests of the West Bank’s Palestinian population to the Palestinian Authority. In doing so, it allegedly followed a separation strategy and granted the Palestinian people the right to self-determination by allowing them to govern themselves. This essay uses Foucault’s ideas on power and governmentality to investigate whether Israel has truly ceased governing the Palestinian population and whether the PA is properly equipped to serve as a state apparatus. The essay’s central thesis is that, despite the separation, Israel employs bio-political technologies that both regulate Palestinian life and incapacitate the PA from fulfilling its regulatory duties towards Palestinians. In making that argument, the essay introduces a brief explication of Foucault’s modes of power before analysing, through Foucauldian lens, three primary ways through which the state of Israel intervenes in Palestinian life today. It looks at the erection of checkpoints, the building and maintenance of settlements, and the usage of laws, administrative policies and economic policies. The concept of ‘dispowerment’ is introduced as a neologism to describe a state apparatus’s situation when the conditions for the possibility of its acting as a bio-power apparatus are made absent. For a state to be fully dispowered, it must have had its bio-political technologies rendered ineffective rendering the state an impotent bio-power apparatus. The investigation finds that Israel continues to regulate Palestinian life in the West Bank and that the structure of the occupation dispowers the PA. In other words, under the current structure of the occupation, neither Israel separated nor the PA regulated.


Law Department

Degree Name

MA in International Human Rights Law

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2014

First Advisor

Beckett, Jason

Committee Member 1

Sayed, Hani

Committee Member 2

Lorite, Alejandro


44 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Israeli West Bank Barrier.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Palestinian tiol Authority -- Foreign relations -- Israel.


The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item