Law and Armed Conflict: Impact on Palestine - Foundation Office Palestinian Territories
Prof. Hajjar, a sociologist, is currently Associate Professor at the Law and Society Program, University of California – Santa Barbara. She is a member of the Editorial Committee of the Journal of Palestine Studies and is the author of Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza (California, 2004). Prof. Hajjar is a well-known scholar and her expertise includes the contemporary Middle East, issues relating to human rights and humanitarian law. Prof. Hajjar is frank and outspoken and well-known for accusing especially America and Israel to ignore International Humanitarian Law.
Mr. Shiner leads the team at Public Interest Lawyers (PIL). He is a lawyer with an international and national reputation for his work on issues concerning international, environmental and human rights law. Mr. Shiner is a member of the Law Society's planning panel and is entitled to describe himself as a specialist planning and environmental lawyer. Mr. Shiner was honoured as "Human Rights Lawyer of the Year" by the Joint Liberty and Justice Awards in 2004.
In her lecture, Prof. Hajjar elaborated on the significance and impact of International Humanitarian Law as lex specialis, which only applies in cases where peace has been broken. In this context she explained the function of The Hague Law, The Geneva Laws and The Geneva Convention (1949), which prescribe the means and methods of warfare and how war criminals/victims should be treated. In order to clarify her point that Israel and the USA are violating these laws she referred to the US’ global war on terror and the measures Israel uses in the Palestinian territories. Both states argue, that the Geneva Conventions do not apply in theses cases, as the Palestinians and Taliban in Afghanistan are stateless people. Furthermore, she explained, that they are not considered to have rights, as they are classified as terrorists who are neither civilians nor combatants.
Mr. Phil Shiner appears for his Palestinian clients in the case of the UK’s policy of selling arms to Israel. In his lecture, he explained why he argues that Israel breaches International Laws.
A large number of legal experts, journalists, politicians, members of staff of NGO’s, academics and students from Birzeit University were debating with Prof. Lisa Hajjar and Mr. Phil Shiner at the end of their lectures about the how law can assist the Palestinian people to transform discourse and thus contributing to the improvement of their situation. The lecture took place on 10th of January within the scope of the lecture series “Legal Encounters” which is organised in cooperation with KAS Ramallah.