Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Social, Behavioral & Global Studies


Global Studies

First Advisor

Ajit Abraham

Second Advisor

Richard Harris


There are thousands of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. Unlike Jewish settlers in the West Bank who are tried in civilian courts, Palestinians are tried in Israeli military courts where the conviction rate is 99.7%. Since Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, over 800,000 Palestinians, or 20% of the population in the Occupied Territories, have been imprisoned. Prisoners are kept in conditions that violate their human rights and international humanitarian conventions. Individuals confined in Israeli prisons are abused, tortured, and, in many instances, they are confined indefinitely without due process, charge, or conviction under what is called “administrative detention.” Using critical race and international legal theory and drawing from the work on mass incarceration in the U.S., this report explores why the Israeli government’s use of imprisonment against Palestinians is so large and disproportionate, and how Israel is able to regularly break international human rights law without consequence. I also look into specific cases of human rights violations against Palestinian prisoners that vividly illustrate the destructive nature of Israeli prisons. I find that Palestinians struggling for national sovereignty and self-determination is deemed as threatening to Israeli’s power, and is therefore criminalized at all costs.