IDF soldier (file)
IDF soldier (file)Mendy Hechtman/Flash 90

A professor has been awarded by the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) for a book in which she claims that the IDF aims "to control" Palestinian Arabs by wounding them rather than killing them during confrontations.

Jasbir Puar, associate professor of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University, co-won the NWSA’s 2018 Alison Piepmeier Book Prize for her book “The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability.” In the book, Puar asserts one of the “Israeli tactical calculations of settler colonial rule” is that of “shooting to maim rather than to kill” during confrontations between IDF soldiers and Palestinian Arabs. She says that by doing so, the IDF “maintain[s] Palestinian populations as perpetually debilitated, and yet alive, in order to control them.”

“Shooting to maim in order not to kill might appear as minor relief given the proclivity to shoot to kill,” she writes, “[but] both are part of the deliberate debilitation of a population [...] and are key elements in the racializing biopolitical logic of security. Both are mobilized to make power visible on the body [...] Both are forms of the racialization of individuals and populations [...]”

In granting the award to Puar, who also wrote that the purpose of the book “is to labor in the service of a Free Palestine,” the awards committee praised her book as “a paradigm shift in thinking fully about the global politics of disability and capacity.”

“Puar argues that debilitation and the state production of disability are biopolitical projects both useful and productive for states under Neoliberal capitalism,” the committee said, concluding that the book was a “major milestone.”

The twisting of IDF intentions to make everything it does - or does not do - appear malicious is reminiscent of a research paper that won a Hebrew University teachers’ committee prize with its conclusion that the lack of IDF rapes of Palestinian Arab women is “an alternate way of realizing [particular] political goals."

"In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be seen that the lack of military rape merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences - just as organized military rape would have done,” the paper asserted.