Civilians in Military Courts? The Israel Defense Forces in 1948

in Israel Studies Review
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This article examines Jewish civilian criminality during the 1948 War and the way it was handled by military forces. It demonstrates the dilemma the Haganah forces were confronted with in dealing with civilian criminality in the absence of a functioning civil court system, and the various measures taken against civilian profiteering and looting. In July 1948, the practice of trying civilians in military courts was terminated due to an appeal to the Israeli High Court of Justice by one of the looters. This article examines these issues, thus allowing a different periodization of the 1948 War, based on a legal rather than on a military perspective.