Please join us for the second of a 3-part series on Understanding Palestine.


Panel 2: Palestine and the Law


The colonization of Palestine has raised many questions that involve international law, the laws of war and occupation, legal definitions of apartheid or crimes against humanity, the rights of refugees, the nature and rights of sovereignty, statehood and statelessness, and, domestically, concerning the legality of boycott, legal definitions of antisemitism, and the right to protest, as well as the legality of censorship and bans on speech and other forms of expression. Do Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza and the West Bank, its deliberate denial of basic infrastructure—water, power, access to food—and its long-term siege of the Gaza Strip constitute crimes against humanity and/or war crimes? Do they amount, as many have claimed, to the crime of genocide? Given the continuing denial of statehood to Palestine, what rights does its people have and what may be the limits of a rights-based approach to Palestinian liberation? How has Israel succeeded in changing international law through its actions and claims to legitimacy? What are the rights of refugees to return to their original places of residence? How do military rule and discriminatory laws affect Palestinians both on the West Bank and in occupied East Jerusalem and in Israel itself? In the US, how is the right to boycott protected? What rights do Palestine solidarity activists enjoy? What is the “IHRA definition of antisemitism” and what is its legal force? What is lawfare?


View Bibliography and Suggested Reading




Zoha Khalili (Palestine Legal)

Zoha Khalili is a staff attorney at Palestine Legal. She provides legal advice and advocacy support to activists in the movement for Palestinian freedom on issues ranging from free speech violations, discrimination and disciplinary charges to doxxing, surveillance and threats.


Zoha's legal career has been devoted to defending the rights of marginalized communities. Before joining Palestine Legal, Zoha fought against housing discrimination and advocated on behalf of people with disabilities as a staff attorney at Project Sentinel. Prior to this, she represented immigrants in naturalization and deportation proceedings as an immigrant rights fellow at Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus.


John Reynolds (Maynooth University, Ireland)


John Reynolds teaches at the School of Law & Criminology at Maynooth University in Ireland. He is the author of Empire, Emergency and International Law (Cambridge University Press) and an editor of the Third World Approaches to International Law Review journal and website. His recent article with Noura Erakat on South Africa's genocide case against Israel can be read on the Jacobin website ) An interview with SWANA Region Radio on The International Court of Justice and South Africa’s Charge of Israel with Genocide, February 4, 2024, can be found here:


Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)


Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian is the Lawrence D. Biele Chair in Law at the Faculty of Law-Institute of Criminology and the School of Social Work and Public Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is a Palestinian feminist activist and the Chair in Global Law at Queen Mary University of London.Her research focuses on law, society and crimes of abuse of power. She studies the crime of femicide and other forms of gendered violence, crimes of abuse of power in settler colonial contexts, surveillance, securitization and social control, and children, settler colonialism, trauma and recovery in militarized and colonized zones. Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s many books include Militarization and Violence Against Women in Conflict Zones in the Middle East: The Palestinian Case Study (Cambridge University Press, 2010); Security Theology, Surveillance and the Politics of Fear (Cambridge University Press, 2015); and Incarcerated Childhood and the Politics of Unchilding (Cambridge University Press, 2019).


Moderated and hosted by Jeff Sacks (UCR, Comparative Literature and Languages)


Cosponsored by the Decolonizing Humanism(?) initiative at the Center for Ideas and Society


Photo credit: Section of street mural in Ramallah, Palestine, December 2015, by David Lloyd




Panel 3: Wednesday, April 25, 2024, 12.00 – 2.00 pm

Indigenous Resistance, Settler Decolonization, and Palestine


There has been much discussion of possible paths to the liberation of Palestine, including the two-state solution that would ensure a sovereign state for both Israel and Palestine on the divided territory of historic Palestine; the one-state solution, which has become the de facto reality given Israel’s virtual annexation of most of the West Bank, but which could also be transformed into a post-apartheid state of all its people with equal rights for all; and even a “post-state” solution that would seek other modes of polity than the nation-state. Would the decolonization of Palestine entail the expulsion of Jewish settlers from the West Bank or Jewish Israelis from all of historic Palestine? What forms of cohabitation can be imagined? How far would external pressure on Israel or the Palestinian Authority be required to enable decolonization to take place, and what kinds of pressure would be effective? Is there a viable nonviolent path to decolonization? What can be learnt from Indigenous models of decolonization from settler colonialism or from the post-apartheid successes and failures of South Africa



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  • Kate Huang

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