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Forging Justice from Below: Palestinians, Indigeneity, and Abolition

Published: 2 July 2021

Abstract: This essay examines the practices and institutions of “rebel justice” that emerged during two of the most effective and sustained anti-colonial uprisings of the twentieth century, the Great Revolt and the First Intifada. It addresses these uprisings “from below” to illuminate their social foundations and the kinds of futures they imagined. For Palestinians, communal justice (sulh, ‘urf, and the like) have been prevalent forms of dispute resolution and justice-seeking. Rather than being written in a criminal code, the foundation of justice was based on shared notions of honor, redemption, and a social order that balanced hierarchical impulses with egalitarian ones. The essay also addresses Palestine’s place within abolitionist discussions currently under way in the United States, building upon the notable connections and parallels between the two geographies, from joint trainings undertaken by U.S. and Israeli forces to recent manifestations and longer traditions of Black-Palestinian solidarity.
Keywords: Palestinian uprisings / rebel justice / abolitionism / Black-Palestinian solidarity

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