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Alternative Strategies for Realising Justice in Palestine


On Tuesday, 15 December 2015, the Institute of Law (IoL) at Birzeit University concluded its conference on Alternative Strategies for Realising Justice in Palestine.

Held over three days in Jerusalem, Birzeit and Nazareth, the conference brought together a select number of Palestinian and international academicians and activists. Based on the Palestinians’ natural right to self-determination, panellists discussed and proposed alternative strategies, which are viable and capable of achieving liberation from Israel’s colonisation. The event was organised to meet the crucial need to launch a dialogue on such strategies.

The IoL organised this conference in partnership with the Trans Arab Research Institute (TARI), Arab Studies Institute of George Mason University, Mada al-Carmel ‒ Arab Center for Applied Social Research, Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights ‒ Jerusalem, and Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (Stop the Wall). Throughout their places of residence, the Palestinians people are facing insurmountable conditions due to Israeli racist and colonial policies and practices, which target both Palestinians and their land. The conference was organised at a time the political settlement process has reached an impasse. The current regional and international situation has also set aside the question of Palestine and engaged in many other regional and international issues.

The conference included three main areas of discussion. On the first day, panellists addressed the issue of Jerusalem. On the second day, a number of alternative strategies were introduced with a view to achieving justice in Palestine, including legal and diplomatic strategies. The third day of the conference was designated to discuss Palestinian national struggle in the 1948 territory. The event also included talks on political fragmentation imposed on the Palestinian people as well as potential strengthening of power dynamics within the Palestinian society.

At the Ambassador Hotel Jerusalem in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, panellists highlighted the case of Jerusalem, which is subject to a relentless colonial-settlement attack. In this context, discussants emphasised the need for creating collective political initiatives, which would contribute to liberating, and achieving justice in, the city. Local and youth-led initiatives should also be organised in Jerusalem to ensure involvement in in these collective policies and influence the liberation project as a whole.

At Birzeit University, the second day of the conference was launched. Speakers presented several potential liberation strategies that can play a pivotal role in shaping and implementing political action. These include legal and diplomatic strategies and tools, international solidarity movement, and creation of an economy of resistance.

In relation to legal strategies, panellists discussed recourse to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by the Palestinian Authority. Along this vein, they investigated how law can be adapted by lawyers, legal experts and legal institutions to promote procedures implemented at international forums, including the ICJ and United Nations General Assembly. With respect to diplomatic strategies, speakers addressed how the Palestinian leadership could reform its regional and international alliances in light of US control of the peaceful settlement process. Regarding economic strategies and international solidarity movement, presentations reviewed the means to support the Palestinian economy and further consolidate the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

The conference was concluded at the Al Ein Hotel in Nazareth. In reference to the 1948 Palestinians, several issues were examined, including the means and mechanisms of involvement in the wider Palestinian struggle towards justice and liberation. Addressing local and international efforts to materialise it, panellists investigated how the Palestinian national unity could be restored. Speakers also highlighted obstacles to maintaining these efforts and to implementing alternative strategies to achieve justice in Palestine.

This conference on Alternative Strategies for Realising Justice in Palestine follows up on the conference on Options and Strategies of International Law for the Palestinian People, held on 8 May 2013. It is in line with the IoL’s vision of providing an academic, critical hub that furnishes an opportunity for discussion and action, provides alternative strategies, and contributes to consolidating a comprehensive Palestinian national project.