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The Diseased "Terror Tunnels" in Gaza: Israeli Surveillance and the Autoimmunization of an Illiberal Democracy

Marouf Hasian, Jr.


This essay provides an ideological critique of the media tropes that have been used by Israeli militarists, politicians, diplomats, and members of the public to characterize Gazan “terror tunnels” as existential threats. The author extends the work of Butler, Derrida, Esposito, and other scholars to illustrate the ways that autoimmunizing rhetorics are used to render precarious the lives of Israelis while erasing the non-combat status of Gazan civilians who are accused of aiding and abetting those who build smuggling tunnels. This focus on the alleged existential danger of the tunnels is used to ward off international criticism of those who accused the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) of violating the international humanitarian law principles of distinction, proportionality, necessity, and humanity.


autoimmunity; Gaza; Hamas; hasbara; International Humanitarian Law (IHL); media tropes; Netanyahu; Operation Protective Edge (OPE); terror tunnels

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