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School of Law

Law, human rights and peace building: the Israeli-Palestinian case

Course Code:
15PLAC133
Unit value:
1
Taught in:
Full Year

The course was awarded the SOAS Director's Teaching Prize for the academic year 2007-2008.

This course aims to offer a critical appraisal of the relationship between law, human rights and peace-building in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In Part I, we build the international legal architecture applicable to the Israeli Palestinian conflict: the right of self-determination, the law of occupation, international humanitarian law, statehood doctrine, the Israeli Military courts and the Israeli Supreme Court. In Part II we explore the history and international legal history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a particular focus on the relationship between self-determination and population transfer. In Part III we critically examine Oslo within the wider comparative framework of peace negotiations and examine in depth the issues reserved for the permanent status negotiations (Jerusalem; settlements; refugees; water). In Part IV we return with a critical eye to the law of occupation; and in Part IV students organise and run two conferences: a student research conference and a simulated Israeli-Palestinian peace conference.

Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to employ a reflective and critical approach to the study of international law “in practice”, exploring its benefits and constraints as an analytical and normative framework.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

  • Engage in legal analysis of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;
  • Reflect critically on the role of international law in practice and be aware of both its benefits and constraints as an analytical and normative framework;
  • Carry out independent research in the field of international law using both the library-based and electronic resources; and
  • Work as part of a team and make written and oral argument on a given legal issue

Method of assessment

  • Coursework: 40% (4000 words) and 10% (role play)
  • Unseen written exam: 50%

Suggested reading

  • A Bregman, Cursed Victory: A History of Israel and the Occupied Territories  (2014)
  • D. Kretzmer The Occupation of Justice: The Supreme Court of Israel and the Occupied Territories (2002)
  • B. Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited (2004)
  • R. Shehadeh, Occupier’s Law: Israel and the West Bank (1995)
  • J. Strawson, Partitioning Palestine: Legal Fundamentalism in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict (2010)