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Civilized Borders: A Study of Israel's New Crossing Administration



Abstract:  At Israel's new border crossings with the West Bank, modernization has become the buzz-word: not only referring to modernized mechanical means—a Wall, newly designed crossings, and micro-mechanics such as turnstiles, signs, and fences—but also to new and sophisticated scientific technologies, such as sensor machines and scanners, and to modernized means of identification, such as advanced computer systems and biometric cards. This paper considers the transformation of the Israel–West Bank border to be a result of four major processes: reterritorialization, bureaucratization, neoliberalization, and de-humanization. I utilize in-depth interviews with top military and state officials and with human rights activists as well as a series of participatory observations to explore the on-the-ground implications of the borders’ transformation.