International Law Aids and Abets Israeli Crimes

The go-to tool for determining which party is in the wrong is international law: turning off the water supply is a war crime (never mind that for years Palestinians were forced to be dependent on Israeli goodwill to have their water tanks filled), killing civilians is a war crime (never mind human rights’ subservience to global politics means little scrutiny over how and when Israel deems a Palestinian to be sufficiently harmless), etc. While the international community browbeats Palestinians into reacting the correct way, Israel continues to act in deplorable ways, bolstered by the legitimacy some aspects of international law, already derived from a colonial order, grants them. Demands that Israel “comply more” with international law as they raze Gaza  — the same law they use to their benefit — will not rattle principle into the morally bankrupt.

Noura Erakat, a prominent Palestinian-American legal scholar and human rights attorney, challenges the nature of international law as a paradigmatic moral guide in her book, “Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine.” Born into a family deeply rooted in the struggle for Palestine, Erakat brings an incisive and reflective perspective that builds on her legal acumen. She argues that international law has facilitated Israel’s settler-colonial ambition. She describes how the interpretation of the law is often subject to manipulation and “legal work,” or the strategic efforts undertaken by legal actors to shape outcomes according to their preferences. Continue reading International Law Aids and Abets Israeli Crimes