Tadween Publishing (2013)
Co-edited volume with Mouin Rabbani.
Getting the Question RightIn recent months the role of international law and human rights has come under increasing scrutiny. This introspection has involved, among other things, questioning whether Palestinians should continue to bring their claims to Israeli civil and military courts; whether occupation law is a part of the problem or part of the solution; and, if legal claims are to be brought before international tribunals, what should they allege?
What these conversations have in common is an assumption that law can serve a positive function. However, in other conversations, discussants ask whether or not the law itself is the problem. It is important to consider the merits and implications of each approach to elucidate the proper role of international law and human rights in the Palestinian struggle for liberation. This policy brief attempts to do just that. It asserts that while the law is generally a tool of the powerful, it can be used to counter hegemony if it is deployed strategically in furtherance of a broader political project.
In mid-December 2010, a young street vendor set himself on fire after his ill-treatment by Tunisian police. Mohamed Bouazizi set himself ablaze in Sidi Bouzid and inspired an entire region to revolt against decades of authoritarianism. Mass protests in Tunisia led to the ouster of its autocratic head of state Zine Abidine Ben Ali. This revolutionary fervor then spread to neighboring Egypt, where eighteen days of protest removed Hosni Mubarak from the helm of power. Soon, these tectonic shifts inspired protestors in Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, and Syria to challenge their autocratic leaders who had, for decades on end, also denied them the right to freely determine their political, economic, and social conditions. The protests have since successfully led to the negotiated removal of Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh from power. NATO military intervention, initially mandated by the UN Security Council to thwart a massacre in Benghazi expanded into a mission of regime change and ended the rule of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya. Today, protests continue in Syria, Bahrain and the transition processes have never ceased in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen.
The emergence of authoritarian regimes in the Arab world reflects a sordid history of colonial rule and post-colonial interventions that have created oppositional politics among states within the Middle East.
Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and activist. She is currently a Abraham L.
Freedman Teaching Fellow at Temple University, Beasley School of Law and a Co-Editor of Jadaliyya. She has taught international human rights law in the Middle East at Georgetown University since Spring 2009.
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I am currently working on several research projects that examine the law of self-defense in international law, armed conflict, and human rights. My research interests include the laws of war, human rights law, humanitarian law, refugee law, national security law, social justice, Palestine, the Palestinian-Israel conflict, and the Middle East in general.
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As a co-editor of Jadaliyya, I have the privilege of working with a remarkable team of scholars and analysts who have their hand on the pulse of dynamic change and historical perspective in the Middle East.
2013 marks the third year of the DC Palestinian Film & Arts Festival which seeks to showcase Palestinian subjectivity by featuring Palestinian filmmakers, actors, visual artists, and musicians.
Legal Agenda is a Beirut-based NGO established in 2010 dedicated to legal reform throughout the Arab world through civic and judicial empowerment including the interdisciplinary study of law and society.