Justice for Some

9780804798259: Hardback
Release Date: 23rd April 2019

9781503613577: Paperback
Release Date: 28th April 2020

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 352

Edition: 1st Edition

Stanford University Press

Justice for Some

Law and the Question of Palestine

The struggle for Palestinian sovereignty has been a quest for inclusion in—and recognition from—a world order that left them behind.Sovereignty has become a trap for Palestinians and getting out is a matter of political vision and will. The law does not determine any particular outcome, it only promises the contest over one.While Jewish and Palestinian sovereignty are incommensurable, their belonging is not. The law is not just and justice is not rule-based.
Hardback / £24.99
Paperback / £17.99
This book can only be pre-ordered within 2 months of the publication date.

Justice in the Question of Palestine is often framed as a question of law. Yet none of the Israel-Palestinian conflict's most vexing challenges have been resolved by judicial intervention. Occupation law has failed to stem Israel's settlement enterprise. Laws of war have permitted killing and destruction during Israel's military offensives in the Gaza Strip. The Oslo Accord's two-state solution is now dead letter.

Justice for Some offers a new approach to understanding the Palestinian struggle for freedom, told through the power and control of international law. Focusing on key junctures—from the Balfour Declaration in 1917 to present-day wars in Gaza—Noura Erakat shows how the strategic deployment of law has shaped current conditions. Over the past century, the law has done more to advance Israel's interests than the Palestinians'. But, Erakat argues, this outcome was never inevitable.

Law is politics, and its meaning and application depend on the political intervention of states and people alike. Within the law, change is possible. International law can serve the cause of freedom when it is mobilized in support of a political movement. Presenting the promise and risk of international law, Justice for Some calls for renewed action and attention to the Question of Palestine.

Contents and Abstracts
0Introduction
chapter abstract

The introduction lays out the book's primary question: if international law has not refereed and resolved the Palestinian-Israel conflict, then what role is it playing, and what are the potential benefits and risks that its invocation poses for the Palestinian struggle for freedom? Using UN General Assembly Resolution 2334 as a pedagogical tool, the introduction provides an analytical framework for understanding the meaning and utility of international law. It demonstrates that powerful states can use international law as a tool of domination but that the law's susceptibility to strategic deployment through legal work also imbues it with the potential to advance progressive causes. This opening discussion argues that international law is politics and that in order for it to serve an emancipatory function it must be wielded in the sophisticated service of a political program that challenges the geopolitical structure sustaining an oppressive status quo.

1Colonial Erasures and the Struggle for Self-Determination
chapter abstract

This chapter examines the origins of the Palestinian struggle as a quest for self-determination and freedom from settler-colonial domination. It argues that the British decision to suppress the self-determination of Palestinians in order to facilitate the self-determination of a settler population constituted a sovereign exception that justified the juridical erasure of Palestinians as a political community. The League of Nations Mandate system thereafter enshrined British policy as international law, suspending Palestinians in a state of exception. The closest that Palestinians came to realizing their self-determination during this period was during their revolt against the geopolitical structure that rendered them nonexistent in the language of law. Chapter 1 traces these legacies through the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Israel's acceptance into the United Nations, and Israel's racialized martial law regime that justified the exceptional and distinct treatment of Palestinian citizens of Israel under the pretext of emergency.

2Permanent Occupation
chapter abstract

Chapter Two examines how occupation law as established by international agreements has failed to regulate Israel's settlement enterprise. At the close of the 1967 War, Israel argued that a sovereign void in the West Bank and Gaza meant that these territories were neither occupied nor not occupied; they were sui generis, a legal concept bestowing on them unique distinction. This sui generis framework legalized Israel's presence in the territories and allowed it to steadily take Palestinian lands, remove Palestinian inhabitants, and avoid disrupting Israel's Jewish demographic majority. Israel also ensured that UN Security Council Resolution 242 did not mandate its withdrawal from the territories, deploying it instead to legitimate its takings. Aggressive U.S. intervention has facilitated Israel's interpretative model and helped normalize it as part of a tenable political framework. Together, this legal and political machinery has enabled Israel to incrementally annex Palestinian lands without serious political or legal consequence.

3Pragmatic Revolutionaries
chapter abstract

The 1973 War recalibrated the balance of power in the Middle East and planted the seeds for the first regional peace conference. This shift altered the Palestinian Liberation Organization's strategic thinking and produced an internal chasm that pitted a pragmatist front that supported accepting a truncated state in the West Bank and Gaza, against a rejectionist front that sought to pursue national liberation under the banner of revolution. The PLO would pursue a program of liberation diplomacy at the United Nations in an effort to cement its juridical status and create more leverage to enter into negotiations. Chapter 3 traces the PLO's entry into the United Nations and the apex of its legal advocacy, when it helped to create new law to regulate its use of force, to legislate an alternative to Resolution 242, and to pass a resolution declaring Zionism to be a form of racism.

4The Oslo Peace Process
chapter abstract

The Palestinian intifada that began in December 1987 compelled Israel and the United States to reevaluate their entrenched opposition to negotiations with Palestinians. The United States developed a proposal for a short timetable for negotiations based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. In its Letter of Assurances to the Palestinians, the United States reiterated a proposition almost identical to the one previously laid out in the Camp David framework agreement of 1978. Although the PLO had consistently rejected Resolution 242 and revolted against the autonomy framework proposed in 1978, in 1991, the Palestinian National Council voted to enter into the peace process. Chapter Four explains this shift within the Palestinian national movement. It also details the history of the negotiations in Washington, Madrid, and Oslo that led to the devastating terms of the 1993 Declaration of Principles and enabled Israel to consolidate its control of the Territoriese.

5From Occupation to Warfare
chapter abstract

In November 2000, Israel publicly embraced an assassination policy targeting particular Palestinians. In authorizing military force against Palestinians and the deployment of assassinations and other prohibited tactics, Israel's legal institutions embarked on two fundamental and interlocking shifts. The first was to unsettle the applicable legal framework regulating the Israel's relationship to Palestinians. The second was to change the laws of war as they regulated a belligerent's right to use force more generally. Together, these shifts worked to expand Israel's use of force against Palestinians and to extinguish the specter of Palestinian military resistance. These seeds planted in 2000 began to come into lethal bloom during Israel's onslaughts against the Gaza Strip in the 2008<->2009 winter and the years to follow. Chapter Five traces the shift from occupation to warfare and examines how Israel is steadily establishing new law for colonial dominance.

6Conclusion
chapter abstract

The Conclusion describes Israel's success in extending its jurisdiction across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, obviating the possibility of a sovereign Palestinian state. Israel rules occupied Palestinians but excludes them from citizenship, administering distinct legal systems based on racial definitions. The official Palestinian leadership both deliberately and inadvertently helps sustain the apartheid condition by adhering to a sovereignty framework and a politics of acquiescence believing that the United States will deliver a Palestinian state. This ultimate chapter traces how a sovereignty framework has become a trap and counterproductive to Palestinian interests. While a rights-based approach, as embodied by the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, may overcome this trap, it lacks a political program for decolonization. Counterintuitive approaches are proposed for transcending the impasse on the question of Palestine.

Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and assistant professor at George Mason University. She has served as legal counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives and as a legal advocate for Palestinian refugee rights at the United Nations. Noura's research interests include human rights and humanitarian, refugee, and national security law. She is a frequent commentator, with recent appearances on CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NPR, among others, and her writings have been widely published in the national media and academic journals.

"Through a brilliant and bracing analysis of the Palestine question and settler colonialism, Noura Erakat offers a compelling story of how the antinomies of structure and indeterminacy shaped international law and its possibilities. Justice for Some is a vital lens into movement lawyering on the international plane. At once tragic and inspiring, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in decolonization and the politics of international law."

Vasuki Nesiah, New York University
founding member of Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL)

"Noura Erakat brings a sophisticated understanding of the role of international law over the last century in the Question of Palestine. This brilliant book will be of great interest to anyone seeking to understand why the outcome, thus far, to the disposition of the Palestine problem has not been a just one."

Rashid Khalidi
author of The Hundred Years' War on Palestine: Settler-Colonial Conquest and Resistance, 1917-2017

"Erakat's dissection of these legal and political histories is careful and captivating....This book asks that the Palestinian liberation struggle and Jewish-Israeli society each reckon with the impossibility of a two-state future, reimagining what their interests are—and what they could become. In rejecting the zero-sum formula's inevitability, Erakat sees, and demands, an alternative."

Amanda McCaffrey
Jewish Currents

"Without any doubt, Justice for Some is the best book on the law and politics of the Palestine/Israel struggle—sophisticated, learned, humane, and creative. Noura Erakat makes a profound contribution to our general understanding of the paradoxical role of law in the contemporary world."

Richard Falk
Former UN Special Rapporteur for Palestine, author of Palestine's Horizon: Toward a Just Peace

"A radical rethinking of the role of law and legal advocacy in the struggle for Palestinian rights. Noura Erakat tells how a refugee problem became a national liberation movement, and the tragic story of how initiative and momentum were squandered after Oslo. Brilliant, inspiring, coldly realistic—and hopeful."

Duncan Kennedy, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence Emeritus
Harvard Law School

"Noura Erakat's incisive exploration of the role of law in shaping the development of Israel/Palestine reveals the consistent genuflection of international legal institutions to Israel's reliance on well-established colonial practices. She also forcefully argues that the skillful use of international law as a tool of struggle can be generative of hope and possibility—for Palestine and the world. Justice for Some is precisely the book we need at this time."

Angela Y. Davis
author of Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement

"[A] major scholarly contribution to the critical literature devoted to resolving the Israel/Palestine struggle in line with the dictates of justice....[I] urge a careful reading of Justice for Some by all those interested in the Palestinian struggle as well as those curious about the way law works for and against human wellbeing."

Richard Falk
Mondoweiss

"[Erakat] meticulously reveals how Israel ignored international law, the laws of war, duties of an occupying power, and efforts brought through the United Nations to censure its actions....The book will interest those concerned with the law and ethics of war, international law, terrorism laws, and observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its treatment by international bodies. Highly recommended."

S. Zuhur
Choice

"Anyone wondering how and why international law has failed so miserably to curb Israeli violations in Palestine and the deleterious effect this has had on the law itself should read this book. Noura Erakat communicates...with the skill of a lawyer and the passion of an activist. Justice for Some is both enriching and inspiring."

Raja Shehadeh
founder of Al-Haq, author of Where the Line Is Drawn: A Tale of Crossings, Friendships, and Fifty Years of Occupation in Israel-Palestine