BofaxeCurrent Developments

Does policy “Trump” international law?

On the legality of the US’ statement on Israel’s settlement policy

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has announced a reversal of US policy on Israeli settlements in the West Bank. While the Obama Administration deemed Israel’s settlement activities illegal under international as well as Israeli law and an obstacle to the peace process in the region, the Trump Administration now officially breaks with that position by stressing that “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not …

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Current Developments

An unlikely couple

Informed consumer choice in EU law and the Middle East conflict

We are currently witnessing a general trend towards more ethical consumption, more sustainable food production, and more awareness about the origins of products. However, it seems a far stretch to link this societal trend (in Europe) to one of the most complex territorial conflicts today, namely about the status of the Palestinian Territories, i.e. the West Bank and East Jerusalem (‘Territories’). Not for the ECJ. In Organisation juive européenne and …

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Cynical International LawSymposium

All’s fair in the law of war?

Legal cynicism in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

On June 1, 2018, Razan Al-Najjar, a twenty-one-year-old Palestinian paramedic, was killed by Israeli fire during demonstrations along the Israel–Gaza border. Her death triggered intense debates concerning the facts and circumstances of the shooting: was Al-Najjar the target of the Israeli fire, as several human rights organizations concluded, or was the deadly bullet directed at other violent demonstrators, as the Israeli military found? Was she standing alone, with only other …

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ABC of OPTBook ReviewSymposium

Response: Critiquing in the Light of The ABC of the OPT

We are grateful to Verfassungblog for dedicating a symposium to The ABC of the OPT; to Anne Peters and Alexandra Kemmerer for their generosity of mind, indeed the contextual mindfulness in which they held a launching event for the book in Berlin (sponsored by both the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law, International Law‘s Berlin Office and Recht im Kontext (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) and wrote the introduction to this symposium; and …

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ABC of OPTBook ReviewSymposium

“Say My Name”: The Politics of Not Naming

At first sight, the “ABC of the OPT” creates the impression that this is yet another book written exclusively by Israeli academics about a situation that has profoundly transformed the framework of occupation law—and international humanitarian law in general—a long time ago. This first impression is underpinned by the use of hegemonically loaded terminology, structure, and choice of entries and sources. Despite the many nuances academics employ to draw a …

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ABC of OPTBook ReviewSymposium

The broken promise of belligerent occupation law

The ABC of the OPT, the award-winning new publication by three outstanding Israeli scholars and jurists – Orna Ben-Naftali, Michael Sfard and Hedi Viterbo –demonstrates, in a masterly fashion, the use and abuse of the laws of belligerent occupation as a masquerade for raw power and as a tool for oppression. The authors illustrate, using the format of a legal lexicon dedicated to specific legal terms and rhetorical devices (or newspeak), …

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ABC of OPTBook ReviewSymposium

Phantom sovereignty and the imaginary version of international law

In the ABC of the OPT, Orna Ben-Naftali, Michael Sfard and Hedi Viterbo offer a guidebook for the legal tourist – a narrated cartography to the strange legal planet that has become Israel/Palestine, governed by hundreds of military and civil officials that harbor wide discretion and a flexible rule that I call phantom sovereignty. Shaped as a lexicon, it includes entries that offer both a thematic and a chronological history …

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ABC of OPTBook ReviewSymposium

Mobilizing the untapped capacity of international law

It is a particular honour to be asked to contribute to the Book Review Symposium at Verfassungsblog because of the occasion: the arrival of an outstanding work on international law that addresses – dispassionately, authoritatively and comprehensively – one of the most pervasive and most tragic issues of our time: Israel’s interminable occupation of Palestine. This book du jour – The ABC of the OPT – by Orna, Michael and …

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ABC of OPTBook ReviewSymposium

From “Assigned Residence” to “Zone”

Introduction to the Book Review Symposium on The ABC of the OPT

Israel’s occupation or “control” (as the book prefers to call it) of Palestinian Territory that began with six days in June 1967, presents a depressing and tragic political and moral conundrum. For the international lawyer, it is also a legal laboratory of global relevance. “The Israeli occupation of Palestine embodies a fateful and troubling paradox regarding international law that we must acknowledge and think our way through”, writes Michael Lynk, …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

New peak in the dispute concerning the Golan Heights

On the recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory by Donald Trump

On Monday, 25 March 2019, US President Donald Trump accepted Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights by stating that “the United States recognizes that the Golan Heights are part of the State of Israel” (see here). The Golan Heights are an area located in Syria close to the Israeli border and are of strategic importance, given their location in between the two states. The Six-Day War in 1967 resulted in …

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