Cover of Living Emergency by Yael Berda
Living Emergency
Israel's Permit Regime in the Occupied West Bank
Yael Berda


November 2017
152 pages.

Paper ISBN: 9781503602823



In 1991, the Israeli government introduced emergency legislation canceling the general exit permit that allowed Palestinians to enter Israel. The directive, effective for one year, has been reissued annually ever since, turning the Occupied Territories into a closed military zone. Today Israel's permit regime for Palestinians is one of the world's most extreme and complex apparatuses for population management. Yael Berda worked as a human rights lawyer in Jerusalem, and represented more than two hundred Palestinian clients trying to obtain labor permits to enter Israel from the West Bank. With Living Emergency,she brings readers inside the permit regime, offering a first-hand account of howthe Israeli secret service, government, and military civil administration control the Palestinian population.

Through interviews with Palestinian laborers and their families, conversations with Israeli clerks and officials, and research into the archives and correspondence of governmental organizations, Berda reconstructs the institutional framework of the labyrinthine permit regime, illuminating both its overarching principles and its administrative practices. In an age where terrorism, crime, and immigration are perceived as intertwined security threats,she reveals how the Israeli example informs global homeland security and border control practices, creating a living emergency for targeted populations worldwide.

About the authors

Yael Berda is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Hebrew University and Academy Scholar for International and Area Studies at Harvard University.