A young man waving a Palestinian flag. In the background Palestinian houses.
Israel-Palestine: training and events

Event series: Reflections on international law and the question of Palestine

2 September 2022

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and in particular Israel’s prolonged occupation of Palestine which has lasted for over half a century, continue to engage myriad aspects of international law including international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL).

International law is also a constant feature of discourse and subject of contestation, with various actors in the context framing their arguments around divergent interpretations of the law. At the same time, those directly affected and bearing the brunt of violations – Palestinian residents of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and beyond – have voiced increasing frustration at its seeming disconnect from wider political demands and inability to capture adequately and articulate principal issues of concern, especially the continuity of Israeli policies on both sides of the Green Line (the analytical distinction between Israel within its pre-1967 borders and the oPt being mandated by the IHL rules comprising the law of occupation, for instance). Some have even suggested that, far from constituting a tool for positive change, the applicable legal framework in fact contributes to negative outcomes such as the fragmentation of people and territory. Other points of criticism include the ineffectiveness of international law when it comes to securing accountability and redress for violations, particularly those that are long-standing and systematic in nature, as well as its perceived failure to bring about – or promise in the first place – historical and political justice in a larger sense. 

In light of these developments, this event series by the Diakonia IHL Centre Jerusalem (IHL Centre) seeks to explore in-depth select legal issues pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and specifically Israel’s occupation of the oPt, while simultaneously aspiring to offer wider reflections on the merits of international law including IHL and IHRL as analytical frameworks that can deliver on their promises of humanitarian protection. Bearing in mind these inherent limitations, the IHL Centre seeks to provide a forum for discussion amongst scholars and practitioners on how various rights- and stakeholders can nonetheless engage constructively with the law with a view to effecting positive change in the Israeli-Palestinian context and beyond. 

Most recent event: 

The Forthcoming ICJ Advisory Opinion and the Question of Palestine

Outside view of the peace palace in the Hague (Netherlands), in February 2012. © CIJ-ICJ/UN-ONU, Frank van Beek - Courtesy of the ICJ.

The most recent event in the series, The Forthcoming ICJ Advisory Opinion and the Question of Palestine, took place on Wednesday 14 June 2023 and featured the following speakers: 

  • Professor Susan Akram, Professor of Law, Boston University 
  • Dr Munir Nuseibah, Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the Human Rights Clinic, Al-Quds University
  • Dr Marco Longobardo, Reader in International Law, University of Westminster 

    Previous events in this series have included: 

    International law, colonialism and the prospect of decolonization in Palestine

    The most recent event in this series on international law, colonialism and the prospect of decolonization in Palestine took place on Wednesday 21 September 2022 and featured the following speakers:

    • Dr. Lana Tatour, Lecturer in Development at the School of Social Sciences at UNSW Sydney; and
    • Adv. Suhad Bishara, Legal Director of Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and PhD Candidate at King’s College London Law School.

      Reflections on shrinking space in Israel-Palestine

      Barbed wire and in the background the Temple Mountain.

      At a webinar hosted by the IHL Centre, legal experts offered reflections on the gradual process of democratic erosion and encroachment on civil and political rights in the Israeli-Palestinian context.

      Reflections on the efficacy of IHL in the Palestinian context

      A man passes graffiti on a high wall.
      A man passes graffiti on a high wall.

      As Palestinians continue to suffer the consequences of longstanding, widespread and systemic violations of international law, questions naturally arise as to whether and how advocacy based on international law can actually benefit Palestinians. As part of its ongoing efforts to address such questions, the IHL Centre hosted an online webinar identifying a transitional moment in the nature, goals and scope of legal discourse about Israel/Palestine in the midst of which the place of IHL will need to be clarified.