British and Irish Universities Support Palestinian Political Initiative Against Israel

21.10.2020

Editorial Note

Queen’s University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin, and Liverpool John Moores University are involved in a two-year research project that seeks to fight an international legal battle against Israel over several small villages of Bedouin in Area C, which is an Oslo II administrative division of the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority is responsible for medical and educational services to Palestinians. Israel does infrastructure construction.

The research project titled “humanitarian vulnerabilities of Palestinian Bedouin at risk of forced displacement in ‘E1’, an area of the West Bank allocated for the expansion of Israeli settlements,” is based in the Al Quds human rights clinic at Al Quds University and currently offers two positions of a research assistant. 

Heading the research project is Dr. Alice Panepinto, a Lecturer in Law at Queen’s University Belfast. Panepinto also serves on the board of trustees of Law for Palestine, an NGO in the UK, established in March 2020, which aims to build and create a network of legal professionals interested in Palestine from around the world. Before moving to Queen’s University Belfast, Panepinto studied and worked at Durham University, where she was also the secretary of the research cluster on Islam, Law and Modernity.

Panepinto is clearly biased against Israel. Evidently, she supported the academic boycott against Israel, as a signatory to a petition, in 2017, urging scholars to boycott the European Society of International Law Research Forum hosted by the Hebrew University.  In 2014 when Panepinto was a UN Fellow for Human Rights in Jerusalem and a PhD Candidate at Durham Law School, she told Middle East Eye, a London-based news outlet, after the Palestinian factions in Gaza launched over 100 rockets at Israel, that “The escalating Israeli aggression towards Gaza… calls into question whether international law is of any use in protecting civilians and non-combatants in the area… The answer rests in the ability of the international community to hold Israel accountable for any unnecessary and disproportionate military actions.”

Panepinto’s research project announces that the “Palestinian Bedouin at risk of forcible transfer have, unintentionally, become key players in the regional context, whilst simultaneously facing unique humanitarian vulnerabilities… Israeli policies and practices in those areas, including a restrictive permit and planning regime, demolitions and threats of demolitions of property and the active promotion of relocation plans all contribute to the coercive environment.”

Fighting against Israel through the International Criminal Court (ICC), Panepinto recently penned an article titled “ICC and Palestine Symposium: Mind the Gap– The ‘Palestine Situation’ before the ICC” on Opinio Juris, a journal of international law. Panepinto urges ICC to investigate Israel. Panepinto postulates that the ICC should decide whether it can investigate “international crimes in Palestine” to clarify if “impunity is granted for the most serious crimes of international concern.”  She also postulates that “the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza… are clearly under Palestinian sovereignty.” 

Panepinto claims that “Israel’s power in the West Bank is based on a temporary regime of military occupation established in 1967 at the end of the Six Day War – not on any form of legitimate authority. According to international humanitarian law, occupation does not give sovereignty, and any attempt to alter the demographic profile of occupied territories is prohibited.”

Alan Baker, an Israeli international lawyer who served as legal counsel for Israel’s Foreign Ministry and as Israel’s ambassador to Canada, responded and refuted Panepinto’s allegations. He noted this issue relates to disputed territories and not occupied. He explained that the Oslo Accords’ aim was and still is, to lay the groundwork for Palestinian-Israeli agreement on the permanent status of the territories. Both parties agreed upon the territorial division between areas A, B, and C, and the division of powers and responsibilities.

He wrote that Panepinto’s legal analysis is based on the flawed assumption as if there is “Palestinian sovereignty and sovereign territory, when no such assumption has any legal basis.” According to Baker, when Panepinto uses various designations such as “Palestinian state”, “Occupied Palestinian Territories” or “occupied Palestine,” assuming that at some stage there was a Palestinian state entity, but “the territories have never been part of any accepted Palestinian state, and no such entity has ever existed. No binding international treaty of resolution has ever determined that the territories are Palestinian.”  He added that such designations, taken from UN resolutions, are nothing more than the “wishful thinking of the political majority of states voting for such resolutions.” Therefore, she cannot invoke UN Charter article 2(4) because there isn’t and never has been any Palestinian political independence. Baker added no Palestinian national project existed before 1967 when Jordan annexed the West Bank areas and East Jerusalem, and Egypt annexed the Gaza Strip. Both Jordan and Egypt did not support a Palestinian national project between 1948 to 1967 during their annexations.

Baker argues that since 1967 Israel has never annexed the West Bank and Gaza areas or extended its sovereignty over those areas. 

The issue of the Bedouin is also complex.  For example, Israel’s TV Channel 13 report, “The Bedouin Village of Khan al-Ahmar Became a Symbol of the Struggle over Control of the Territories,” aired in August 2019, discussed how Khan al-Ahmar, a total of 28 families of the Jahlin tribe, became a Palestinian symbol.  According to one of the Israeli interviewees, “this is a battle over the road from Jerusalem to Jordan and the Dead Sea, no less.”

It is well known that the status of Judea and Samaria is one of the most complicated issues in the international arena.  Despite numerous efforts to solve the problems and the Israeli government’s generous offers at Camp David II in 2000, the Palestinians have never agreed to settle the conflict.  Their stubborn refusals have been noted most recently by the Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan.  Prince Bandar chastised the Palestinian rejection of the Abraham Accord among Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain and painted them as ingrates.

Given the Middle East developments, Panepinto and her colleagues do the Palestinians no favor by stiffening their resolve and denying reality.

Be it as it may, even more problematic is the fact that the three universities are lending their legitimacy to a blatantly political project that does not benefit the students and the taxpayers who support higher education. 

https://www.facebook.com/job_opening/1384982531691683/

Research Assistant

Al Quds Human Rights Clinic |عيادة القدس لحقوق الإنسان

Full-time
VACANCY 

Job title: Field Researcher (Research Assistant)
Project title: Palestinian Bedouin at risk of forced displacement: IHL vulnerabilities, ICC possibilities
Location: Al Quds Human Rights Clinic, Al Quds University-main campus 
Duration: 24 months (full time)

Job purpose
Al-Quds University Human Rights Clinic is seeking to appoint a Field Researcher (Research Assistant) for the project titled “Palestinian Bedouin at risk of forced displacement: IHL vulnerabilities, ICC possibilities” funded by AHRC-DfID Collaborative Humanitarian Protection Research Programme and led by Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland). 
Details of the project can be accessed here: https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=AH%2FT007540%2F1
Working closely with the rest of the team, the Field Researcher will actively support senior colleagues in implementing field activities and liaising with the Bedouin communities, as well as providing research assistance as required. 

About Al-Quds Human Rights Clinic 
Al-Quds Human Rights Clinic (the Clinic) is a unit based in the faculty of law at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem that aims at teaching human rights defense skills through theory and practice. Through the work of its staff and students, the Clinic documents human rights and international humanitarian law violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (hereinafter oPt) focusing on the southeastern suburbs of Jerusalem. The Clinic is also involved in research and publication on issues related to its documentation activities. 
Project overview
The Clinic, in collaboration with colleagues at Queen’s University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin, and Liverpool John Moores University, will be involved in a two-year project that seeks: 
i. To better understand the humanitarian vulnerabilities of Palestinian Bedouin at risk of forced displacement in ‘E1’, an area of the West Bank allocated for the expansion of Israeli settlements (considered illegal under international law)
ii. To ascertain the effects of impunity for International Humanitarian Law (IHL) violations driving protection risks in E1;
iii. To analyse the International Criminal Court (ICC) role in improving humanitarian protection outcomes for the Bedouin communities in E1 through accountability for past abuses and in deterring future violations.
Detailed information and application instructions can be viewed on the Al-Quds Human Rights Clinic Website. 
https://legalclinic.alquds.edu/en/about-aqhrc/opportunities/vacancies.html
Deadline for applications: October 19th, 2020. 
It is envisaged that interviews will take place via video conference in the week beginning: October 24th, 2020
Please direct informal enquiries (in English) to Clinic via clinic@law.alquds.edu

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https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=AH%2FT007540%2F1

UKRI Logo (press to go to the UKRI home page)

Palestinian Bedouin at risk of forced displacement: IHL vulnerabilities, ICC possibilities  

Lead Research Organisation: Queen’s University of BelfastDepartment Name: Sch of Law

Abstract

This project seeks to better understand the humanitarian impact of continued forcible transfer of the Bedouin communities living in E1, Jerusalem, and how impunity for violations of international law contributes to the deterioration of humanitarian vulnerabilities. Through qualitative enquiry, combining desk based research and first hand semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, the project will gather together a significant body of evidence to highlight to ongoing deleterious impact of repeated violations of IHL (and impunity for violations) on those living at the sharp edge of the situation in Israel-Palestine, namely the Bedouin communities of E1.

In their 2017 report, Humanitarian Facts and Figures: Occupied Palestinian Territory, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs noted that forced displacement is listed as one of the four key drivers of humanitarian vulnerability. The report highlighted that, “between 2009 and 2016, Israeli authorities demolished or seized over 4,800 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, mostly in Area C and East Jerusalem”. It further indicated that “46 Palestinian Bedouin communities in the central West Bank, home to some 8,000 Palestinians, the majority registered Palestine refugees, have been targeted by the Israeli authorities for “relocation” to a number of designated sites”. The expansion of Israeli settlements, considered illegal and condemned as a “flagrant violation under international law” by UN Security Council resolution 2334 of 2016, has been a driver for confiscation of Palestinian private and public land, demolition of homes (including Bedouin shacks) and repeated displacement of Palestinian civilians. The confiscation and demolition of property in Bedouin villages, and the ensuing forcible transfer/relocation of these vulnerable communities, is recognised as a violation of IHL and human rights by the UN, EU and other international actors. Forced displacement of civilians in an occupied territory is also considered a crime under International Criminal Law.

The planned expansion of the ‘Ma’ale Adumim’ settlement block east of Jerusalem is exacerbating the humanitarian vulnerabilities of the Bedouin and herder communities in the E1 area. Bedouin communities such as those residing in Abu Al-Nuwwar, Wadi Abu Hindi, Al Khan Al-Ahmar, Jabal Al-Baba and Sath Al Bahar are at the front line of defence for resisting Israeli settlement expansion, thus ensuring Palestinian access to Jerusalem. This scenario does not just affect individual Bedouin villages at risk of demolition and transfer, but carries grave implications for the broader Israeli-Palestinian situation. Thus, Palestinian Bedouin at risk of forcible transfer have, unintentionally, become key players in the regional context, whilst simultaneously facing unique humanitarian vulnerabilities that must be better understood.

A number of Israeli policies and practices in those areas, including a restrictive permit and planning regime, demolitions and threats of demolitions of property and the active promotion of relocation plans all contribute to the coercive environment, “which generates pressure on Palestinians to leave their communities”. In the Israeli-Palestinian context, impunity for violations of international law, including IHL, has been recognised as a “driver of conflict”. In espousing the benefits of holding violators of IHL to account, it has been noted that, “effective accountability not only ensures that perpetrators are brought to justice, but also ensures that victims have access to remedies and serves to deter future violations and to try to repair the harm suffered.” As such, it is vital to understand the impact of violations of IHL on the Bedouin and herder communities in Palestine, and engage with the ICC’s work. This project will work fill this gap, and produce an edited book and policy report.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit for the research?

There are three key beneficiaries of this research
(a) local groups and individuals facing humanitarian protection risks, namely Bedouin communities, including women and teenagers identified as specific vulnerable groups therein, whose improved capacity to understand, collect evidence of, and communicate issues and experiences illustrating IHL violations will enable greater participation in international accountability efforts, including at the ICC;
(b) in-country researchers and practitioners, in addition to the project partners, whose greater coordination and access to updated analysis will improve the efficiency, effectiveness and timeliness of engagement with international accountability efforts, including at the ICC; and
(c) the international community, including the State of Palestine, acting responsibly in line with the peace and security aims of the UN Charter, including accountability and guarantees of non-recurrence for violations of international humanitarian law through appropriate international legal fora (such as the ICC and UN, as well as the EU and other key players). All of this will maximize humanitarian protection of the Bedouin at risk of forced displacement by responding to past abuse by ensuring accountability for violations before an independent and impartial tribunal, building an environment founded on international law and conducive to full respect of all human rights, and offering some remedy to affected communities by acknowledging harm, seeking justice and empowering local groups to tell their story and be heard.

How will they benefit?

Each group will benefit from the planned activities by way of capacity building. And in particular, the Bedouin community will be in a stronger position to engage with the ICC preliminary examination activities.

In line with the overall purpose and aims of the AHRC-DFID humanitarian protection research grant, and as detailed in pathways to impact, this project offers potential impact in policymaking, practitioner and development contexts by addressing the IHL violations affecting Palestinian Bedouin at risk from the ground up, involving and building capacity of the communities affected, working with local researchers and practitioners and engaging with the preliminary examination activities at the ICC, UN and EU. Palestinian Bedouin at risk of forcible transfer have, unintentionally, become key players in the regional context, whilst simultaneously facing unique humanitarian vulnerabilities that must be better understood to enable and unlock the development potential of Palestine.

The impact, in line with the primary aim of this project, seeks to mitigate in the long term the significant and specific humanitarian challenges faced by the Palestinian Bedouin at risk of displacement in E1, with a view to reducing harm through an increased respect for international law. The specific humanitarian challenges underpin these communities’ possibilities for development as well, as illustrated by a range of UN reports and other sources (see Case for Support). As such, this research project on the E1 Bedouin speaks directly to the international community’s commitment to development in Palestine, and commitment to peace and justice in the region.

People

Alice Panepinto (Principal Investigator)Brendan Ciaran Browne (Co-Investigator)Munir Nuseibah (Co-Investigator)Triestino Mariniello (Co-Investigator)

ORCID iD

http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3568-7565http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4993-3907

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https://law4palestine.org/dr-alice-panepinto/

Dr Alice Panepinto

July 23, 2020Board of trustees

Panepinto is a Lecturer in Law at Queen’s University Belfast, where she researches international law, human rights and transitional justice, with a regional interest in the Middle East. Her teaching reflects both her research interests and applied work. Current and recent projects have attracted funding from ESRC-IAA, AHRC-DFID and the Society of Legal Scholars.

Law for Palestine was established in March 2020 and formally registered in the United Kingdom as a voluntary and non-profit initiative that aims to build and create a network of legal professionals interested in Palestine from around the world and to provide enriched and objective Palestinian legal content.

The organization is currently working on three major initiatives:

  1. “Palestine’s Legal Scene” project:
    This is a weekly report that reviews the legal dynamics of the Palestine question, and everything related to international law and Palestine. The report includes an account of the most important publications, activities and conferences related to Palestine at the local, regional, and international levels. The report further covers decisions, decrees, and judicial orders affecting the Palestinian cause, whether made at the official, academic or public levels. The report aims to be a reference for monitoring, documenting and archiving the latest human rights developments related to Palestine, and to present them to individuals, researchers, study centers, and official, academic and legal institutions concerned. Subscribe to get the “Palestine’s Legal Scene” weekly report.    
  2. “International Criminal Court & Palestine – Translation and Analysis Project”:
    In light of the sensitivity and significance of the case before the International Criminal Court regarding Palestine, which is expected to continue for years, it is noteworthy that the articles, regulations, and statements discussed by the court in this regard are considered a very important archive and reference in the history and current lived reality of Palestine. Given that most of the ICC articles regarding this case are issued in English, we work on collecting and translating all official materials relating to Palestine in order to provide them to Arabic and English readers for free and to remain as a reference for researchers and readers interested in the Palestinian issue. This project also has a section for summarising these materials and presenting them as simplified documents to reach the widest possible range of interested audience. The project also works to analyse, translate, summarise, and provide full commentary on data published in international research and studies centers in relation to the International Criminal Court and Palestine.
  3. “Legal training for Palestine” project:
    This project aims to provide training courses and legal research materials as well as training opportunities in the organisation in order to create a network of experts who are able to understand the Palestinian question in its various legal dimensions. As part of this project, the Organisation provides training in the fields of: international law and Palestine, ICC & Palestine, international humanitarian law, human rights, and advocacy in regards to Palestine. Also, the project collects academic materials related to Palestine and international law and makes it available to those interested. Finally, the project provides an opportunity for training in the organisation for those interested in getting involved and getting acquainted with everything related to Palestine and international law, in addition to connecting trainees with effective and partner organisations in relevant areas. Find out about the training opportunities with us (here).

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https://www.ukcdr.org.uk/funding-call/ahrc-dfid-collaborative-humanitarian-protection-research-programme-thematic-research-grants-call/

AHRC-DFID Collaborative Humanitarian Protection Research Programme – Thematic Research Grants call Thematic Research call: The protection of people in areas of war and conflict

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) – part of UK Research and Innovation – and the Department for International Development (DFID) have established a new Collaborative Humanitarian Research Programme to help tackle one of the most pressing issues of our time: the protection of people in areas of war and conflict. With the World Bank predicting that nearly half (46%) of the world’s poor will live in fragile and conflict affected states by 2030, the AHRC and DFID are working in partnership to fund world-class research into humanitarian protection of people affected by conflict. The Thematic Research Grants call launched under this initiative will support a portfolio of research projects to better understand the causes of humanitarian protection risks/violations and to gather evidence about which interventions are most effective in improving humanitarian protection outcomes.

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https://twitter.com/AlicePanepinto/status/1313164070066020352

Alice Panepinto@AlicePanepintoPalestinian human rights peeps: two job opportunities for 2 years based at Al Quds university, working on some urgent research on displacement in E1, and how impunity for international law violations drives humanitarian vulnerabilities. PM me for info http://legalclinic.alquds.edu/en/about-aqhrchttps:///opportunities/vacancies.html
8:08 PM · Oct 5, 2020

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Researchers to assess humanitarian vulnerabilities of Palestinian Bedouin in West Bank

7th May 2020

An international collaboration of researchers is to embark on a two-year project having received funding to assess the humanitarian vulnerabilities of the Palestinian Bedouin at risk of displacement in an area of the West Bank that has been allocated for the expansion of Israeli settlements.

Dr Brendan Ciarán Browne from Trinity’s School of Religion, has been awarded the Research Development Grant worth approximately €500,000 from the AHRC-DFID Collaborative Humanitarian Protection Research Programme.

He will work with Principal Investigator Dr Alice Panepinto (Queen’s University Belfast), and Drs Triestino Mariniello (Liverpool John Moores University) and Munir Nuseibah (Al Quds University).

The project, entitled Palestinian Bedouin at risk of forced displacement: IHL vulnerabilities, ICC possibilities, will focus on the ‘E1’ area of the West Bank allocated for the expansion of Israeli settlements, which was condemned as a “flagrant violation under international law” in the landmark UN Security Council resolution 2334 (2016).

The project will see those involved working closely with the Palestinian Bedouin community in E1 to gather testimonies of everyday life under threat of forcible transfer, with a view to engaging with the ongoing activities of the International Criminal Court on the situation in Palestine.

The grant will support desk-based research, fieldwork, and community based outreach activities with the Palestinian Bedouin in E1, in addition to two academic conferences and an edited book.

Dr Browne, Trinity, said:

“This is a significant grant that will allow for important collaborative research with members of the Palestinian Bedouin community who are at risk of forcible transfer in the West Bank.”

“The legal work that will be conducted will be complimented by capacity building projects with the Palestinian Bedouin community in E1, ensuring that the impact of the project is felt both locally and at the International Criminal Court.”

Dr Brendan Ciarán Browne joined Trinity in 2016 as assistant professor of conflict resolution, discipline of peace studies based in Belfast. His work can be accessed here.

Tags: research

Media Contact:

Thomas Deane, Media Relations Officer | deaneth@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 4685
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ICC and Palestine Symposium: Mind the Gap– The ‘Palestine Situation’ before the ICC  
04.02.20
Alice Panepinto

[Alice Panepinto is a lecturer in law at Queen’s University Belfast, where she researches and teaches human rights, international law and contemporary issues in property law.]

In determining its territorial jurisdiction in Palestine, the ICC is presented with a golden opportunity to revive the global reach of international criminal justice. When Pre-Trial Chamber I will rule on the question of whether “the “territory” over which the Court may exercise its jurisdiction comprises the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza”, it will do much more than establish whether the ICC has territorial jurisdiction in Palestine. The Court faces a crucial decision: either it recognises that the ICC has judicial oversight over international crimes in Palestine (by virtue of the reasons put forth by my colleagues in this symposium), or it decides that Palestine remains in the blind spot of international justice, a legal black hole of where impunity is granted for the most serious crimes of international concern. As such, in accepting or rejecting territorial jurisdiction over Palestine, the Court will be forced to clarify its position within international law: not just on its ability to seek accountability for alleged crimes in Palestine; but also, more generally, on its willingness to uphold its mandate as “a permanent institution” with “the power to exercise its jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of international concern” (Article 1, Rome Statute). By considering two core tenets of international law, my contribution illustrates how the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza (which I will not consider in detail) are clearly under Palestinian sovereignty, despite the limitations to the full exercise of that sovereignty imposed by Israel’s protracted occupation. To conclude otherwise would create a gap that no other tribunal can bridge. 

International law prohibits annexation through force

The territory indicated in the ICC Prosecutor’s request to Pre-Trial Chamber I comprises the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza. These areas are commonly referenced in all UN documents, and by and large across the international community, as constituting Palestine today, distinguishing it from Historic Palestine (prior to 1948), regardless of whether the designation is Palestinian State, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, or Occupied Palestine. The events of 1967, resulting in the occupation by Israeli forces of these parts, which continues today, have not modified the UN and international community’s designation of these territories, which remain Palestinian and never became Israeli (despite Israel’s unilateral declaration of annexation of East Jerusalem, which has not been recognised by the UN and the vast majority of states). Under international law, the “threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations” is prohibited (UN Charter article 2(4)). This principle is mirrored in The Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations (adopted by the General Assembly on 24 October 1970 with resolution 26/25 (XXV), wherein ‘no territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legal’.

Sceptics could argue that in 1967 Palestine had not reached the criteria for statehood, and thus the maxim that ‘international law prohibits annexation through force’ does not hold. But regardless of the atypical connotations of formal statehood of Palestine at that time, it is undeniable that in 1967 the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza were neither Israeli nor terra nullius. Those parts were inhabited by Palestinians, and controlled by Jordan and Egypt respectively, in recognition and support of the Palestinian national project and political independence. Thus, the Palestinian territories constituted a sufficiently and clearly distinct political entity in 1967, suggesting that the prohibition contained in the ratio of Article 2(4) of the UN Charter applied. As such, there is international consensus on the fact that the start of the Israeli occupation of Palestine in 1967 did not annex the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza to Israel, nor did Israel attempt to do so openly. Therefore, it would be surprising, and indeed contra legem, if Pre-Trial Chamber I refused territorial jurisdiction over these parts based on the argument that in 1967 they were annexed to Israel, or are disputed between Israelis and Palestinians, because of the prohibition contained in Article 2(4).

Occupation does not transfer sovereignty under international law

The second issue to consider is whether the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza, established with the events of 1967 and continuing to the present day can corroborate Israeli claims to those parts. This can be answered conclusively by drawing on International Humanitarian Law as encapsulated in a maxim attributed to Oppenheim: ‘there is not an atom of sovereignty in the authority of the occupying power’. Based on this assessment, even a protracted, transformative occupation, which conceals the intention to conquer territory or establish a single apartheid regime, cannot under international law enable the transfer of sovereignty (for a more detailed discussion of each of these issues, see GrossKormanBen Naftali, Gross & MichaeliKoskenniemiBhuta ). Indeed, even the carving up of the West Bank into Areas A (under Palestinian administration), B (under Palestinian administrative control, and Israeli security control) and C, entirely under Israeli security and administrative control, in Oslo II has not stripped Palestinian sovereignty from Area C (and to an extent, Area B) and substituted it with Israeli sovereignty. Despite the fact that such measures are still in place, they were designed to be a temporary arrangement to administer the West Bank, and certainly do not remove Palestinian sovereignty therein (notwithstanding the limited exercise of Palestinian sovereignty in those parts due to the occupation). And while in practice, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in particular, Palestinian jurisdiction has been eroded, as I have discussed elsewhere, this does not deny Palestinian title to those areas. The international community, including the ICC, cannot acquiesce lightly to the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Israeli military and civilian courts in the West Bank. Against the backdrop of the current Israeli administration’s intention to annex large swathes of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the de facto exercise of Israel’s extraterritorial jurisdiction is gradually absorbing Palestinian land within the Israeli state; if this remains unchallenged, the process of conquest through an expansion of jurisdiction could become irreversible, clearly contravening international law.  

Taking the example of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine (which are a “flagrant violation under international law” in the landmark UN Security Council resolution 2334 of 2016), the fact that they are located primarily in Area C has shielded them from scrutiny in the Palestinian justice system. Some have argued that Palestine cannot delegate jurisdiction over the settlements to the ICC (or other international courts) because under Oslo II it does not possess criminal jurisdiction in those parts. But this position is oblivious to the context of the occupation, and the power dynamics between Israel and Palestine. Indeed, one of the side effects of Oslo II, endorsed by the international community, has been the virtual exclusion of the Palestinian Authority from large parts of the West Bank (in particular ‘Area C’ – over 60% of the West Bank), and, relatedly, the suspension of Palestinian jurisdiction over those parts. That vacuum has been filled by Israeli jurisdiction, operating extraterritorially through a range of military and civilian legal means, which have resulted in strengthening Israel’s hold of those parts, including areas where the settlements are located. As such, the limitations imposed on the exercise of Palestinian jurisdiction in the occupied territories is not based on an intentional will to dispose of it in favour of Israel through Oslo II or any other means. The difficulties in exercising Palestinian sovereignty and jurisdiction fully in the West Bank is to be attributed solely to the effects of the ongoing occupation, and an excessive entrenchment of Oslo II that goes beyond the original aims and timeframe of that bilateral agreement.

ICC inaction will allow further Israeli international law violations in Palestine

So according to international law, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza were neither annexed to Israel in 1967, nor subsumed within Israeli sovereignty throughout the protracted occupation and effects of Oslo II that continue today. Thus, there is no legal basis for Pre-Trial Chamber I to recognise those parts as falling outside Palestine, and within Israel. The Court now is faced with a unique opportunity to clarify its adherence to international law in Palestine, recognising once and for all that it is neither Israeli territory nor ‘contested’ between two claimants. The fact that, for some, the contours of Palestinian statehood are atypical, need not hinder the Court’s assessment of its territorial jurisdiction in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza. The ICC’s mandate and international law should guide Pre-Trial Chamber I in affirming the Court’s jurisdiction in Palestine.

Situations of atypical statehood pose a tangible challenge to international courts seeking to enforce international law. Yet, it is paradoxical that the system does not allow international law violations, including widespread harm suffered by the inhabitants of entities approaching statehood, quasi states or de facto states – or however one wishes to conceptualise states which fall short of full statehood – to be properly adjudicated because procedural rules prevent courts from exercising territorial jurisdiction. In some contexts, denying or refusing to acknowledge statehood can “become a pretence for enforcing politics”, and potentially a shield for abusers of human rights, international humanitarian law and criminal justice. By allowing grey areas of contested statehood to become legal black holes of unaccountability, the international legal order seems to concede that there is a degree of “planned misery” tolerated by the system in some places. This would be inconsistent with the international peace and security aims of the UN Charter as the founding document of the present international legal order, and the human rights imperatives set out in numerous instruments that underpin the present system.  

In this regard, it is important to consider the exceptional nature of the mandate of the Court as “a permanent institution” with “the power to exercise its jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of international concern” (Article 1, Rome Statute). In considering the universalist v delegation-based foundations of ICC jurisdiction, the “ICC Statute is a special type of multilateral treaty”, because (as argued by Stahn) the “fundamental premise of the Statute goes beyond protection of sovereignty and state interests” and, instead, is “geared at the protection of individuals and the establishment of a system of justice”. Thus, its “normative justification” is supported by “the fact that individuals face direct individual criminal responsibility under international law for international crimes”. Thus (citing Stahn) “accession to the Statute merely activates the power of the ICC to exercise a jurisdiction grounded in international law. Jurisdictional constraints encountered by the acceding state do not necessarily affect the jurisdictional title of the ICC”. So given the Court’s special purpose, it would be paradoxical if Pre-Trial Chamber I did not recognise territorial jurisdiction in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza, as that would trump the Court’s core mandate to hold individuals to account for international crimes.

Indeed, while uncontested Palestinian statehood would alleviate many of the Court’s concerns, “statehood, as a remedy, does not correspond to the reality and scope of Palestinian grievances today”. Accountability for grave violations of international law, such as those considered in the OTP’s preliminary examination activities, cannot be dependent on the formalities of statehood for assessing territorial jurisdiction. So if, by avoiding recognising its territorial jurisdiction, even the ICC is unable and unwilling to pursue accountability for international criminal law violations in Palestine, the prospects of a just solution for Palestinians and Israelis are slim. For a body already struggling with its image and reputation, a more decisive ICC intervention on alleged crimes committed on Palestinian territory provides the perfect opportunity to prove critics wrong.  

1 Comment

Alan Baker:

Ms. Panepinto’s legal analysis bases itself on the flawed assumption that there exists Palestinian sovereignty and sovereign territory, when no such assumption has any legal basis. The various designations she uses, such as “Palestinian state”, Occupied Palestinian Territories” or “occupied Palestine” all assume that the territory concerned was, at some stage, granted to or belonged to a genuine Palestinian state entity. But the territories have never been part of any accepted Palestinian state, and no such entity has ever existed. No binding international treaty of resolution has ever determined that the territories are Palestinian. All the above designations taken from UN resolutions and international community determinations, are nothing more that political determinations representing the wishful thinking of the political majority of states voting for such resolutions. As such, she cannot invoke UN Charter article 2(4) because there his not, nor has there ever been any Palestinian political independence or territorial integrity. The writer mistakenly claims that Jordan and Egypt controlled the territories prior to 1967 “in recognition and support of the Palestinian national project and political independence”. This is nonsense and an utter, false interpretation of history. There was never any Palestinian national project before 1967. The fact that Jordan annexed the West Bank areas and East Jerusalem in the 1950’s would not appear to be indicative of Jordan’s supporting any Palestinian national project. Ms. Panepinto appears to ignore the fact that since 1967 Israel never annexed the West Bank and Gaza areas, and as such never claimed, or extended its sovereignty over those areas. To the contrary, the whole aim of the Oslo Accords was, and remains to lay the groundwork for Palestinian-Israeli agreement on the permanent status of the territories. But she appears to totally ignore the agreements. Her statement: “even the carving up of the West Bank into Areas A, B and C, in Oslo II has not stripped Palestinian sovereignty from area C and substituted it with Israeli sovereignty.” is pure nonsense. Both Israel and the PLO agreed that the ‘carving up’ of the territory was for the practical purpose of governance and management. Sovereignty was not given to anyone by the agreement, and was not taken from anyone. Hence the title of the agreement “interim agreement”. to the contrary – the two parties agreed that the issue of the permanent status of the territory, and as such, any possible determination of sovereignty between them, would be the outcome of the permanent status negotiations. They undertook not to alter the status of the territory prior to the outcome of such negotiations. Why is Ms. Panepinto ignoring these legal and historic facts? The territorial division between areas A, B, and C , and the division of powers and responsibilities, was agreed to, and not imposed. As such it became, and remains a form of lex specialis, pending any agreed outcome of the permanent status negotiations – including through an agreement emanating from the Trump peace plan. One might have assumed that a serious researcher on the issue of the disputed territories, participating in a serious symposium on the ICC, would familiarize herself with the agreements between the Palestinian leadership and Israel, rather than impose on the readers of ‘opinio juris’ flawed and misleading assumptions and personal political bias and hostility to Israel, all of which have absolutely no linkage to reality and to the existing legal situation.==============================================================

https://theconversation.com/a-tiny-west-bank-village-is-due-to-be-demolished-heres-how-international-law-could-be-used-to-intervene-97885
A tiny West Bank village is due to be demolished: here’s how international law could be used to intervene
June 14, 2018 7.09 pm AESTBy Alice Panepinto. Lecturer in Law, Queen’s University BelfastDisclosure statement: Alice Panepinto has received funding from ESRC-IAA-GCRF / Warwick University for previous research on the Al Khan al Ahmar case. Queen’s University Belfast provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation UK.

The village of Al Khan al Ahmar is home to 180 people on the West Bank of Palestine. It has 40 houses, a mosque and a school built from old tyres and mud. But its residents don’t know if their village will still exist tomorrow – after Israel confirmed plans to demolish the Bedouin settlement.

If the demolition does go ahead, it could amount to a violation of international humanitarian law. Forcible transfer of civilians living under occupation, demolition of Palestinian homes, and the expansion of settlements all violate the Fourth Geneva Convention.

According to some human rights organisations, destroying the village might also be considered a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court – something which the rest of the world has a responsibility to prevent.

It was on May 24 2018 that the Israeli Supreme Court put a summary end to the Al Khan al Ahmar judicial saga in Israel. Three judges (with direct personal links to Israeli settlements) authorised the state to proceed with the demolition. It could happen any time now, despite the community which lives there having nowhere to go.

That tiny Bedouin community has been fighting a legal battle since 2009, when a donor-funded school built of used tyres and mud was ordered to be demolished. The case later expanded into plans to remove the entire village.

The argument of the Israeli state – now endorsed by the court – is that none of the makeshift structures in Al Khan al Ahmar were ever granted planning permission. Applications for permits were submitted by the villagers numerous times, but invariably refused. As a result, it is impossible for the community (and other Bedouin villagers in the area) to build anything “legally” according to Israeli law.

Israel’s power in the West Bank is based on a temporary regime of military occupation established in 1967 at the end of the Six Day War – not on any form of legitimate authority. According to international humanitarian law, occupation does not give sovereignty, and any attempt to alter the demographic profile of occupied territories is prohibited.

For too long now the Israeli Supreme Court has exercised its jurisdiction over Al Khan al Ahmar and other Palestinian Bedouin villages in the West Bank. A sober appraisal of this scenario would indicate the need for an impartial international tribunal, independent from the Israeli state, to consider the international illegality of the planned demolition.

Indeed, in 2017, International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, listed Israeli plans “to relocate Bedouin and other herder communities … through the seizure and demolition of residential properties” as potential war crimes that may fall under the court’s jurisdiction.

Israel’s plans to demolish the village present a perfect opportunity for foreign governments to reaffirm their commitment to human rights and the international rule of law.

Time for legal pressure

The world cannot afford to look away while Bedouin communities like Al Khan al Ahmar are erased to make way for the Israeli settler project.

Under the Geneva Conventions, while there is no specific action mandated for third parties, countries committed to international law cannot remain idle when faced with serious violations. Third state responsibility must be effective.

For a start, states cannot simply accept an illegal situation which results from a serious violation of international law. There must be accountability for these violations.

Foreign countries now have an opportunity to acknowledge the unwillingness of the Israeli courts to carry out a genuine investigation into the violation of international law in Al Khan al Ahmar – and a duty to endorse the ICC’s preliminary investigations into demolitions in the West Bank.

This is a tragic story of perverse justice, and it’s time for the international community to put its weight behind the ICC.

So far, some of the signs have been encouraging. In the US, 76 members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, urging him to halt the demolitions. The letter states:

The destruction and displacement of such communities would run counter to shared US and Israeli values, while further undermining long-term Israeli security, Palestinian dignity, and the prospects for peacefully achieving two states for two people.

France has expressed “deep concern”, Germany is “extremely worried” and the EU as a whole has raised the issue with Israeli authorities.

In the UK, the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, has urged Israel not to proceed with the demolition and other ministers have visited Al Khan al Ahmar and issued strong statements against the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision.

Royal role

It is encouraging that the UK government has spoken up – especially about a region severely damaged by the legacy of British colonialism.

Yet at a time of escalating bloodshed in Gaza, Prince William is about to visit Israel as a representative of the UK government amid reports of a thriving arms trade between the two countries.

There are of course many more ways in which the UK can uphold its obligations, including intervening on the arms trade and other collaborations with Israel that enable settlement activity which is driving Bedouin displacement.

At the very least, when Prince William visits the region on behalf of the UK government, a visit to Al Khan al Ahmar should be high on the agenda.

=====================================================

https://criticallegalthinking.com/2017/11/23/statement-against-holding-esil-at-the-hebrew-university/

Statement by Legal Scholars and International Lawyers Against Holding ESIL Forum at the Hebrew University in East Jerusalem

by Concerned International Lawyers • 23 November 2017

To add your name, please email: palpetition17@gmail.com. The statement is open to all law academics and international lawyers. You do not have to be a member of ESIL or based in Europe to sign.

The European Society of International Law (ESIL) is holding its Research Forum at the Hebrew University in February/March. Ten Palestinian human rights organisations have condemned this decision calling on ESIL to reconsider its decision and urging international lawyers and academics to not participate in this event.

As legal scholars and international lawyers committed to the rule of law and human rights, we are dismayed by the decision of the European Society of International Law (ESIL) to hold its 2018 annual research forum at the Mount Scopus Campus of the Hebrew University. We believe that holding the annual forum on international law in an occupied territory legitimates this occupation and all of the other human rights violations that are part of it.

While we are aware that the original buildings of the Hebrew University are located in the area that was designated in 1948 as the “Demilitarised Zone”, whose status is contested, the University has expanded significantly since the 1967 occupation, and significant parts of it fall beyond the “Demilitarised Zone” line and are in the Palestinian occupied territory.

We believe that it is unbecoming for an organisation that is committed to the rule of law and international law to hold its annual forum in an institution whose campus is at least in part on an occupied territory. It is more so when this occupation is in its 50th year. Therefore, we shall not participate in this event, and we urge ESIL to reconsider its decision.

Institutions are for affiliation purposes only.

Professor (Emeritus) Georges Abi-Saab, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva Professor (Emeritus) John Dugard, University of Leiden and the University of the Witwatersrand, former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory Professor (Emeritus) Richard Falk, Princeton University, and former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory Dr. Noha Abueldahab, Visiting Fellow, Brookings Institution Huwaida Arraf, National Lawyers Guild, Free Palestine Subcommittee Co-Chair Dr. Grietje Baars, City, University of London Dr. Nesrine Badawi, American University in Cairo Dr. Samia Bano, SOAS, University of London Dr. Arnulf Becker Lorca, Brown University Dr. Jason Beckett, The American University in Cairo Dr Simon Behrman, Royal Holloway, University of London Faisal Bhabha, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University Dr. Brenna Bhandar, SOAS University of London Dr. Amar Bhatia, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University Professor (Emeritus) George Bisharat, UC Hastings College of the Law Dr. Isra Black, University of York Professor Bill Bowring, Birkbeck, University of London Dr Yassin M’Boge Brunger, Queen’s University Belfast Audrey Bomse, National Lawyers Guild (US), Palestine Subcommittee Reem Al-Botmeh, Birzeit University, Palestine Professor Marcel Brus, University of Groningen Dr. Michelle Burgis-Kasthala, University of Edinburgh/Australian National University Pierre-Alexandre Cardinal, McGill University Professor  Irina Ceric, Kwantlen Polytechnic University Professor Cyra Akila Choudhury, Florida International University Dr. Tanzil Chowdhury, University of Birmingham Professor Olivier Corten, Directeur du Centre de droit international, Université libre de Bruxelles Dr. Marios Costa, City, University of London Luigi Daniele, Lecturer/Doctoral researcher, Nottingham Trent University and University of Naples Federico II Professor (Emeritus) Eric David, Président du Centre de droit international, Université libre de Bruxelles Dr. Julia Dehm, La Trobe University Dr. Sara Dehm, University of Technology Sydney Professor François Dubuisson, Université libre de Bruxelles Dr. Nadine El-Enany, Birkbeck University of London Noura Erakat, George Mason University Dr. Luis Eslava, University of Kent Prof. Mohammad Fadel, University of Toronto Dr. Michael Fakhri, University of Oregon Dr. Tomaso Ferrando, University of Bristol Professor  Martin Gallié, Université du Québec à Montréal Professor Conor Gearty, London School of Economics Mariana Gkliati, University of Leiden Professor Gustavo Gozzi, University of Bologna Dr. Maj Grasten, Copenhagen Business School Professor Penny Green, Queen Mary University of London Dr. Markus Gunneflo, Lund University Friederycke Haijer, Utrecht University Prof. Wael Hallaq, Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University Dr Vanja Hamzić, SOAS University of London Dr. Jeff Handmaker, International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam Dr. Kevin Hearty, Queen’s University Belfast Dr. Gina Heathcote, SOAS University of London Dr. Loveday Hodson, University of Leicester Dr. Nora Honkala, City, University of London Emily Jones, Lecturer in Law, University of Essex Dr. Henry Jones, University of Durham Dr. Ioannis Kalpouzos, City, University of London Dr. Michael Kearney University of Sussex Dr. Asem Khalil, Vice-President for Community Affairs, H.H. Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Chair in Constitutional and International Law, Birzeit University, Palestine Professor Laleh Khalili, SOAS University of London Dr. Adil Hassan Khan, Melbourne Law School Dr. Zeynep Kivilcim, Berlin Institute for Advanced Study Kojo Koram, Lecturer in Law, University of Essex Tor Krever, University of Warwick Dr. Vidya Kumar,  University of Leicester Dr. Troy Lavers, University of Leicester Anne Lagerwall, Université libre de Bruxelles Dr. Thomas MacManus, Queen Mary University of London Professor (Emeritus) Wade Mansell, University of Kent Dr. Anne-Charlotte Martineau, Ecole Normale Supérieure Alexandra Masako Goossens, Graduate Institute, Geneva Dr. Mazen Masri, City, University of London Dr. Heidi Matthews, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University Dr. Akanksha Mehta, University of Sussex Ladan Mehranvar, lawyer, SJD candidate in International Law, University of Toronto Professor Chantal Meloni, University of Milan Parvathi Menon, Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Procedure, Luxembourg Dr. Nima Mersadi Tabari, City, University of London Dr. Mathias Möschel, Central European University, Budapest Dr. Usha Natarajan, The American University in Cairo Professor Vasuki Nesiah, New York University Professor Donald Nicolson OBE, University of Essex Dr. Munir Nusseibeh, Al-Quds Human Rights and IHL Clinic, Al-Quds University, Palestine Dr. Gearóid Ó Cuinn, Lancaster University Dr. Paul O’Connell, SOAS, University of London Dr. Amr Osman, Hamad bin Khalifa University Professor Dianne Otto, Melbourne Law School Dr. Genevieve R. Painter, Concordia University Dr Alice Panepinto, Queen’s University Belfast Dr. Imranali Panjwani, The University of Notre Dame Australia Dr. Rose Sydney Parfitt, University of Kent/University of Melbourne Dr. Amin Parsa, Independent Scholar, Prev., Lund University Dr. Charlie Peevers, University of Glasgow Professor (Emeritus) Sol Picciotto, Lancaster University Professor Trevor Purvis,  Carleton University Dr. Adamantia (Mando) Rachovitsa, University of Groningen Dr. Rahul Rao, SOAS University of London Professor Danya Reda, Peking University School of Transnational Law Dr. John Reynolds, National University of Ireland Maynooth Jillian Rogin, Assistant Professor, University of Windsor Professor Hengameh Saberi, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School Dr. Hani Sayed, American University in Cairo Dr. Bérénice K. Schramm, Université du Québec à Montréal Professor Iain Scobbie, University of Manchester Rehana Seedat, Muslim Legal Network Queensland Moheb Shafaqyar, Refugee Law Clinic Berlin, Humboldt-University Berlin Dr. Halla Shoaibi, Birzeit University Oishik Sircar, Jindal Global Law School/ Melbourne Law School Dr. Adrian Smith, Carleton University Dr. Graham Smith, University of Manchester Dr. Nimer Sultany, SOAS University of London Dr. Mayur Suresh, SOAS University of London Dr. Mai Taha, The American University in Cairo Dr. Anastasia Tataryn, University of Liverpool Sâ Benjamin Traoré, University of Neuchâtel Dr. Ntina Tzouvala, Melbourne Law School Dr. Umut Özsu, Carleton University Professor Lynn Welchman, SOAS University of London Professor David Whyte, University of Liverpool Professor Daniel Wilsher, City, University of London Dr. Sujith Xavier, University of Windsor Dr. Federico Zanettin, Università di Perugia Paola Zichi, SOAS, University of London

Explanatory Note

Location of the Hebrew University

During the 1948 war, it was agreed between the Israeli and Jordanian military commanders that the Mount Scopus area, which included the Hebrew University (HUJI) buildings, would be a demilitarised zone. After Israel occupied the West Bank (including Jerusalem) in 1967, the Israeli Government confiscated the land around the Hebrew University and Hadassah hospital, and HUJI embarked on large-scale expansion plans. The expansion extended beyond the “Demilitarised Zone” and included private Palestinian land. As it stands today, significant areas of the Hebrew University are in occupied Palestinian area, and are effectively settlements. The areas are marked with the black line in the map below (the red line is the Demilitarised Zone), and they include: part of the Maiersdorf Dormitories, all of the Alan Bronfman Dormitories, the Students Village, the Lerner Family Indoor Sports Complex and the Gilbert Tennis Courts.

Role in the Settlement Project

HUJI is at least in part in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). These parts are settlements for they are used to house the population of an occupying power in an occupied territory. Furthermore, HUJI’s Mount Scopus campus as a whole is part of Israel’s illegal extension of its powers and control over the OPT. As a large higher education institution with thousands of students and employees, its presence in this area stimulates settler activities in East Jerusalem, especially in the adjacent neighbourhoods of the French Hill, Ramat Eshkol and Sheikh Jarrah and beyond. HUJI benefits from the settlement infra-structure, the transport lines, and the access roads, which are all in the occupied territory, some of which are on privately-owned Palestinian land. This infra-structure is also designed in a way to favour Israeli settlements in the area, and to the detriment of the local Palestinian population. HUJI’s campus is an integral part of Israel’s settlement enterprise in East Jerusalem.

HUJI itself does not see Israel’s occupation as an occupation, and does not distinguish between the “Demilitarised Zone” and other occupied areas. In fact, HUJI views the occupation favourably and calls it “liberation”, insinuating that Palestinian or Arab control should be seen as an occupation. As its official website states, “On the 7th of June, the Old City of Jerusalem was liberated, and the city was reunited. Efforts to return the university to Mt. Scopus began immediately, but the full restoration and building of the old/new campus took many years.” [Emphasis added]. HUJI also awarded the then Chief of Military Staff, Yitzhak Rabin, an honorary doctorate for his role in the occupation, or as HUJI’s website puts it his role “in reuniting Jerusalem, and for enabling the return of the university to Mt. Scopus.”

In 2012, the Israeli Government announced plans to build a new military college nearby (which will be wholly or in part in the OPT) because of its proximity to the University. The University did not oppose these plans, on the contrary, it expressed its support for them.

Assurances given by the Organisers to ESIL’s Board

The local organisers of the event gave a number of assurances to ESIL regarding the event.

The assurances offered by the organisers (based on emails sent by ESIL) are:

— to make a good faith effort to involve Palestinian scholars in the event.
— to facilitate visa formalities for conference participants and arrange video conference facilities for speakers who are unable to travel to Israel.
— to ensure that no part of the RF takes place in the occupied territories.
— to include Palestinian-owned hotels in East Jerusalem in the list of recommended places to stay.
— to not invite government officials to speak at the event.
— to carefully monitor security and inform the Board of any developments.

While some of these are common sense assurances, they do not address the main issue, which is that a significant part of the HUJI is on occupied territory; that, in effect, HUJI is part of the settlements project; and that holding the event at HUJI is effectively an endorsement of the occupation and the associated human rights violations. None of the assurances provided can remedy these problems.

More specifically, some of the assurances are either impractical or plainly offensive to Palestinians.
Assurance number 2 ignores the widespread boycott of Israeli academic institutions by Palestinian scholars (who also call on other academics to boycott) in protest against the role of Israeli academia in maintaining the occupation. Even if a few Palestinian scholars wanted to participate, they will most likely be unable to attend because of Israel’s restrictions on their movement.
Assurance number 3 “to ensure that no part of the RF takes place in the occupied territories” is impossible to comply with because HUJI itself sits at least in part on occupied land.
Assurance number 4 about including Palestinian-owned hotels in East Jerusalem in the list of recommended hotels is disrespectful to the local Palestinian population. It implies that the damage done by ESIL’s endorsement of the occupation and settlements could be remedied if the conference goers are given the option to spend a few hundred dollars in Palestinian-owned businesses.

HUJI’s Complicity in the Occupation

HUJI is complicit in Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in a number of ways:

1. In addition to being an integral part of the settlement enterprise in East Jerusalem, it actively played an important role to the illegal taking of Palestinian property in East Jerusalem, including attempts to evict nine Palestinian families from their homes.

2. HUJI maintains very intimate links with the Israeli army and Israeli security arms. These links include academic cooperation. One example is the Talpiot Programme academic and military training designed and delivered by HUJI and the army (for the programme’s website in Hebrew, see http://www.talpiot.mod.gov.il/traing/Pages/default.aspx). Other academic programmes included specially tailored programmes for the personnel of the Israeli secret service (General Security Service, also known as the Shabak) which is responsible for torturing Palestinian political prisoners. HUJI promotes the General Security Service as a potential employer for its students and graduates.

3. HUJI has taken measures to support Israeli soldiers who are in active combat. During the 2014 in Gaza, HUJI supported the war effort by fundraising for and offering financial support for its soldier students who participated in combat. HUJI and its official students union had a campaign to collect goods to be delivered to the soldiers fighting in Gaza.

4. As opposed to some universities in South Africa which took a formal institutional position against apartheid and consistently condemned it, HUJI has never made any public statement against the occupation and its associated human rights violations. In fact, HUJI shows support for the occupation and refers to it as “liberation”.  

======================================================

https://www.middleeasteye.net/live/live-blog-gaza-under-attack?page=45

Voices: Will international law protect Palestinians?
2014

Alice Panepinto is a UN Fellow (Human Rights) in Jerusalem and a PhD Candidate at Durham Law School and told MEE:

“The escalating Israeli aggression towards Gaza, which has so far caused 1,361 injuries and 178 deaths – including 138 civilians of which 36 children – (source: UN-OCHA), calls into question whether international law is of any use in protecting civilians and non-combatants in the area. Will the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Convention respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, acceded to in April 2014, assist the Palestinians of Gaza? And are the recently ratified human rights instruments relevant? The answer rests in the ability of the international community to hold Israel accountable for any unnecessary and disproportionate military actions.” 

============================================https://www.dur.ac.uk/ilm/research/?mode=staff&id=9021

Research Ms Alice Panepinto Member of the Islam, Law and Modernity Member of the Law and Global Justice Biography Alice joined the Durham Law School as a PhD candidate in October 2010. She holds a law degree from the University of Turin, Italy, and an LLM from SOAS, University of London, where she focused on Public International Law, Law and Society in the Middle East, Human Rights and Islamic Law. In 2014 she is serving as a UN Fellow in Jerusalem, working on human rights and justice sector. Before returning to academia, Alice completed a traineeship on international peace and security issues at the Delegation of the European Commission to the UN and a legal research internship at the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights (Interights). She has also worked for the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation as a research and training assistant. At Durham Law School, alongside her PhD, Alice served as Deputy Convener (PGR) of the Law and Conflict at Durham (LCD) research cluster (2011-2013) and as secretary of Islam, Law and Modernity (ILM) (2011-2013) research cluster.

Durham University ⇨ Islam, Law and Modernity

Islam, Law and Modernity (ILM) has been established with the purpose of providing an interdisciplinary environment for research, discussion and commentary on a variety of social, political and legal issues relating to the Islamic world.

Throughout the Muslim World, there are calls for re-Islamisation of the legal systems, either for the strict application of the Shari’ah in its traditional form based on imitation (taqlid), or for a return to the roots or the principles of the Shari’ah (Maqasid al-Shari’ah), a re-opening of the door to independent reasoning (ijtihad), or even for a move towards the practice of Islam in a secular state or a combination of some of these – yet even amongst Islamic scholars there is no agreement on the path to be taken. Such disagreements are exacerbated by the differences in interpreting primary sources of law between the Shi’a and Sunni schools of thought. At the same time, one can notice that some Arab and Muslim States have taken steps that have resulted in a certain rapprochement of Islamic and secular principles. The recently enacted constitutions of States such as Iraq and Afghanistan, countries that have in recent history come under the influence of Western law-makers and policies, contain provisions which, on the one hand, declare the Shari’ah to be the highest source of the law of the land, while at the same time subscribing to the ideals of democracy. Many Muslim countries to this day have laws and justice systems based to a large extent on post-colonial and in fact secularised models left behind by the colonial powers and adopted by the former colonies. Arab States are engaged in international relations which are in fact dominated by Western thinking. Many Muslims live in Western countries where they enjoy and actively exercise the rights and freedoms granted under their laws. Globalisation will result in greater interaction between societies and different spheres of law. Such globalisation-influenced processes are not uniform in the Islamic world, however, as alongside liberalisation in some countries, radicalisation and more literal interpretation of Islam occurs in others, who feel threatened by Western interference. There are also prevalent cultural distortions between various Islamic countries that may inhibit their ability to act uniformly, such as, for example, the controversial concept of temporary marriage. All of these issues have recently been thrown into much sharper relief by events in the Middle East in the so-called “Arab Spring” since 2010.

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