SOAS University of London

School of Law

Israel, Palestine, and International Law (15Cr)

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Term 2

This course is  proposed as a 15 credit alternative to the existing campus- based 30 unit Law, Human Rights and Peacebuilding course: The Israel-Palestine Case.

The course offers a critical appraisal of the role of international law in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In Part I,  we will explore the international legal history of the conflict from the Balfour Declaration 1917 to the UN Partition Plan 1947 to the Occupation in 1967. In Part II we take a critical look at the law of occupation with a particular focus on the indeterminacies of the law of occupation,  the application of human rights to occupied territory, the Wall, and Food Security.  In Part III,  we turn  to the international law of self-determination  and an analysis of the Oslo peace process.  The course will close with an assessed class research conference


  • 2 hours seminar per week

Scope and syllabus

Seminar  1:    International Legal History: A Century of International Law in Palestine

Seminar  2:    The Law of Occupation: Beginnings  and Ends  from Iraq to Gaza 

Seminar  3:    Are Human Rights the Emperor's Clothes of the Law of Occupation?  

Seminar  4:    Case Study: the Wall   

Seminar  5:    Case Study: Food Security  

Seminar  6:    The Law of Self-determination: From the West Bank to Western Sahara to Chagos    

Seminar  7:    Earning Sovereignty: Oslo and its Discontents   

Seminar  8:     Class Focus: Refugees & Settlements  

Seminars 9 & 10: Class research conference (assessed) 

Method of assessment

  • Research paper: 85% (3500 words)
  • Oral presentation at research conference: 15%

Suggested reading

Christine Bell Peace Agreements and Human Rights ( 2000)

O Ben Nafatali et al The AbC of the OPT ( 2018)

A Casese, Self-determination of Peoples (1995) 

J Crawford, The Creation of States ( 2nd ed. 2006)

N Erakat, Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine ( 2019 )

A Gross The Writing on the Wall: Rethinking the International Law of Occupation  ( 2017)

M Mazower, No Enchanted  Palace ( 2009)

S Pedersen,  The Guardian: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire  ( 2015)

R Wilde, International Territorial Adminstration  ( 2009)

D Kennedy, The Dark Sides of VIrtue  ( 2004)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules