With Wide International and Palestinian attendance: a High-Level Conference on Palestine and International Law has been concluded

Law for Palestine, in partnership with Birzeit University and the Independent Commission for Human Rights – Palestine, has concluded its first conference (online) titled “Palestine and International Law: Effectiveness and Prospects”, held….

Law for Palestine, in partnership with Birzeit University and the Independent Commission for Human Rights – Palestine, has concluded its first conference (online) titled “Palestine and International Law: Effectiveness and Prospects”, held on Monday, November 29, 2021, marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

According to Ihsan Adel, chair of Law for Palestine Organization, the conference registration reached around 1,050 international law experts, lawyers, former members of parliaments, NGO leaders, researchers, academics and students from different fields of humanities from around the globe. 450 of whom attended the conference directly; including people like William Schabas, the well-known international lawyer and former Chairman of the UN Inquiry Commission for Gaza war in 2014, Luisa Morgantini, the former Vice Chair of the European Parliament Delegation to Palestine, and Clare Short, a former British minister and MP.

Moreover, the conference was streamed face-to-face at four Palestinian universities hosting their students; Birzeit University, Quds University, Islamic University and Al-Azhar University.

The conference consisted of several discussion sessions where it hosted senior experts including an unprecedent session for the three United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the occupied Palestinian territories over the past 20 years: Prof. John Dugard, Prof. Richard Falk, and Prof. Michael Lynk.

In the SP’s session, Prof. Michael Lynk emphasized that the UN and its General Assembly have been paralyzed primarily by the US veto and spoke in length on how the UN can play a more effective role, calling upon the respective bodies to request an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice to reinforce the international obligation to end the prolonged Israeli occupation.

For his part, Prof. John Dugard, former UN Special Rapporteur and international judge, reiterated that while the UN contributed effectively to ending apartheid in South Africa, the UN’s role in Palestine is disappointing. Finally, Prof. Richard Falk stated that Israeli behaviour is a sign of weakness not strength, and called for pushing for an arms embargo on Israel by the UNGA through the famous ‘United for Peace’ resolution; which Professors Lynk and Dugard were in agreement with.

The conference also hosted Palestinian, Arab and international experts in law, politics, civil society and media, who discussed topics is the status of Palestine at the United Nations.

The conference dedicated its last session to discuss ways of networking and cooperation between researchers, jurists, lawyers and experts interested in the Palestinian cause, since the conference came to celebrate the closing of the first season of the Jurists for Palestine Forum, one of Law for Palestine’s pioneering projects, which includes, so far, around 1,000 members from different countries around the world, according to Adel. At the end of this session, Professor Ahmed Khalifa, a member of LFP’s experts committee, announced that the second season of the Forum has been launched in full partnership with the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD).

Khalifa went on to announce that all the conference proceedings will be documented, compiled and published in a conference report, together with 10 important sessions with international experts held by the Forum in its first season. The report will be uploaded online for free on LFP’s website to be a reference for officials, academicians and jurists interested in Palestine and international law.

In its artistic break, the conference hosted the artist Aya Khalaf, from the village of Jat Al-Mothalath, who is regularly present in the currently under the threat of displacement Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. Aya’s performance included songs from Palestinian folklore.

In recognition of their great efforts and contributions to the cause of justice in Palestine, Law for Palestine, in partnership with Birzeit University held an honorary session for Professors Falk and Dugard awarding them the title of ‘Emeritus Professor’ in BZU, together with delivering the University’s honorary shield. LFP presented a symbolic portrait with the caption: “Palestine memorialises your steps on the path to emancipation.”

Adel noted that this international conference on the Palestinian issue is one of the exceptional conferences that deal with the Palestinian issue from a legal perspective, in both Arabic and English.

Adel indicated that this event came in light of that Palestine has been one of the most prominent topics addressed in the international legal literature,‏ since its first joint to the United Nations in 1974 (as a Liberation Organization), all the way until it was upgraded to the status of a non-member observer state, ending with its current path before the ICC.

Accordingly, Adel further explained that the conference discussed ways and prospects for networking and joint cooperation among all concerned stakeholders in order to reach greater effectiveness of the international law with regard to the Palestinian cause, especially in the issues of Jerusalem, prisoners and the statehood.

Finally, Prof. Khalifa, on behalf on LFP and the partners, thanked all those who made it to the event and called for more action to come up with the best outcomes that can be built upon in order to improve and develop the international legal scene for the Palestinian cause.

Law for Palestine organisation, registered in the UK and Sweden, is an NGO aimed at uplifting the state of international law in Palestine, enriching in-depth objective international legal literature, and building legal capacities of lawyers and law specialists interested in Palestine.