The Law in These Parts premieres August 19, 2013 at 10 PM on PBS stations. (Check local listings.) The film will be available for streaming on the POV website from August 20, 2013 to September 18, 2013.

In The Law in These Parts, acclaimed Israeli filmmaker Ra’anan Alexandrowicz has pulled off a tour-de-force examination of the system of military administration used by Israel since the Six Day War of 1967 — featuring the system’s leading creators. In a series of thoughtful and candid interviews, Israeli judges, prosecutors and legal advisers, who helped devise the occupation’s legal framework, paint a complex picture of the Middle East conflict and the balance among political interests, security and human rights that has come with it. Winner, World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary, 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

After the broadcast, you can visit the The Law in These Parts companion site to download a discussion guide, view annotated documents and other resources, and find out what’s happened since the cameras stopped rolling.

For updates on the 2013 season of POV, subscribe to POV’s documentary blog, like POV on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @povdocs.

  • Ronald W. Ginson

    All the television shows by left-leaning PBS tend to show Israel to be illegitimate wherever it is dealing with harsh realities.

    I am still waiting for the story of the Jews of North Africa, who were thrown out of the countries, Egypt, Libya, etc. where their families have lived for centuries. When you will be showing that?
    When will you show the intense Jew hatred at Israel’s founding, when it was recognized by the United Nations, and attacked by Arab armies.

    There is an intense existential hatred between the Arabs and the Jewish people that has resulted in mistreatment or outright expulsion even before Israel existed.

    When will you show the other side of the coin–there are two sides to every story.

  • concerned citizen

    The documentary succeeds in providing Israeli military judges an opportunity to discuss the difficult workings of a democracy – when it has to deal with terrorism against its people. The documentary does not provide the context of the occupation – that it followed the Jordanian occupation of the West Bank from 1948-1967 , where Ottoman/British/ Jordanian law was applied and during which time the Palestinian Arabs made no attempt to create their own state. And that it came about as the result of Israeli self defense against aggression in 1967 by Arab states who then refused to trade land for peace which, if they had, meant Jordan would have gotten the West Bank back. None of this crucial context is mentioned. Nor is Palestinian terrorism given prominence as the reason for Israel’s harsh steps. The end of the documentary was a propagandistic attack on the “occupation” with no voice providing the other side – the reasons for Israeli presence in the West Bank. On such a contentious issue, this is unacceptable.

    Likewise, the choice of the panel was an insult. Three anti-Israel radicals ganged up on the center-left Israel supporter Thane Rosenbaum, so justice was not done to the good questions asked by the moderator. J Street misrepresented itself as a pro-Israel organization – which it calls itself – but is not, since the government elected by the Israeli people does not agree that it is.
    The 3 radicals answered every question by demonizing Israel and often got their facts wrong, especially the Temple Univ participant.
    Grade = D

  • Howard Lerner

    The Jewishness of the State of Israel is the the key in the dispute. How it is understood may generate deep passion and violent actions. And that includes in Jewish population(s), too. Here in the U.S. we are heavily engaged in debating the defense of various rights against our security concerns. How would that debate proceed should acts of terror dramatically increase? The State of Israel takes strong action in response to perceived existential threats. But some firmly believe that the State of Israel’s very actions and attitudes in effect cause and perpetuate the threats it seeks to contain or eliminate. And some say that even without existential threats second-class citizenship is the best a non-Jewish population can realize in a Jewish state. Is the very existence of a “Jewish” State of Israel the insult, an insult that must not be tolerated? If so, then the likelihood of continuing efforts to eliminate that insult remain high. Will a two-state solution, even including constraining the State of Israel’s control over east Jerusalem, and monetary or other benefits made available to people displaced during Israel’s creation (but disregarding the Jewish populations displaced), genuinely lead to the acceptance of the Jewishness of the State of Israel? Some say it’s worth a try. And that socioeconomic engagements over time will lead to acceptance. Others see the opposite happening, or the thwarting of particular beliefs central to their lives. The POV film “The Law in These Parts” depicts decades of ongoing demonization, collision and “creativity” in employing legal strategies and tools to address violence and perceived threats. But grappling with the acceptance (and meaning) of a “Jewish” State of Israel is left to charicature and propaganda.

  • Zaydeshap

    The extent to which a sense of unreality pervades the debate can be seen from a remark of the Palestinian participant in the discussion. (I cannot find names of the panel.) She said, rightly, that a military occupation must be temporary, and allow a return to the status quo ante.

    But in this case there was no legal status quo ante. For a brief time there had been an illegal occupation by Jordan – but until 1948 there was a legal British occupation, mandated by the League of Nations to encourage a Jewish National Home in all of Palestine, ensured by ‘close settlement’. This mandate was carried over into Article Six of the United Nations Charter.

    When Britain walked away from this obligation, the surrounding Arab countries invaded, leading to a legal void that has not yet been resolved.

    Ironically, the ‘settlement movement’, which all four panel participants disparaged (so much for a balanced panel !) is the closest in spirit to a ‘return to the legal status quo ante’ that the panelist called for.

    Most disturbing was the assertion by the panelists that the existence of Jewish towns on the West Bank would prevent a two-state solution from coming about, with the implicit acceptance of the ethnic cleansing of scores of thousands of Jews from the historic Land of Israel. This in the context of a debate on moral and ethical values !

    Reality demands that a solution be found in terms of the situation on the ground today, not trying to return to an imagined political alignment of 1948, or 1967, or whatever date is deemed to support each party’s theoretical baseline.