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