The Law in These Parts reveals the legal framework of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories and exposes the injustices inherent in a legal system designed by Israel but applied only to Palestinians. Through archival footage and interviews with Israeli military judges, prosecutors, and legal advisors, this documentary unravels an intricate system of military control that symbolizes one of the most enduring and damaging conflicts of our time. From establishing settlements in an occupied area to dealing with torture in interrogations to rationalizing parallel legal systems for Palestinians and Israelis, the film explores some of Israel’s basic moral quandaries. Can a nation that occupies another people act with genuine adherence to the principles of the rule of law? And what are the implications of the very effort to document such a system?
A word from Tënk
Made in 2012 but still profoundly relevant and impactful today as Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip continues, The Law in These Parts by Israeli filmmaker Ra’anan Alexandrowicz tackles the infinitely complex issue of the military legal system implemented after the Six-Day War (1967) to govern populations living under Israeli occupation. Without ever passing judgment or taking sides in the conflict, Alexandrowicz simply asks questions, quotes commentaries, and clarifies legal points with several retired generals and colonels, all legislators and architects of the current system. The filmmaker doesn't seek to trap them; he simply wants to understand. In doing so, he raises moral questions about responsibility that speak to the very essence of democracy. The fact that an Israeli citizen asks such challenging questions about his own society and its policies is surprising but also strangely moving. While lawmakers often prefer to evade his uncomfortable questions or refuse to take a stand on hypothetical situations that Alexandrowicz suggests, they nevertheless answer candidly about the work they have done. They don't try to hide behind excuses. However, as the interviews progress, the absurdity of the situation is not lost on some of them, with one even admitting that the system was never intended to be applied sustainably. In short, what initially stemmed from an understandable desire to ensure Israel's security and the safety of the occupied populations has turned into a Kafkaesque quagmire, the moral cost of which in terms of human rights cannot yet be measured.
Critic and programmer