Palestine, Resistance, and the Law

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Law, Gender and Media

Module overview

What is the relation between law and resistance? This course takes the question of Palestine as an emblematic case study for the examination of the potentialities and limitations of human rights and legal discourse in empowering the oppressed and constraining the powerful in situations of gross asymmetry of power. It thus examines the question of Palestine from the perspective of legal discourse and examines law from the vantage point of the question of Palestine. In particular, the module considers the role of violence, both of the law and of the resistance to British and Israeli colonial legality, including the British pacification of the 1936 Revolt, the violence of partition and preemptive war, the right to violent resistance of Palestinian national liberation movements, and the right to resistance in the intifadas. It critically assesses the ways in which this violence is framed including in British commissions of inquiry, international law, Israeli law, US law, and EU law, including when resistance is framed as terrorism or resistance figures are subjected to political trials that criminalise opposition to occupation and colonialism. Law is thus approached as a site for contestation in which violence and law shape each other. The course contextualises law and violence in a historical trajectory of traditions of resistance to imperialism and exposes the students to a variety of texts and archival materials that range from history to law to moral philosophy.



  • Weekly 2-hour seminar


Method of assessment


  • Essay: 90% (4000 words)
  • Presentation: 10% (15 minutes)


Suggested reading

  1. Falk, Richard, "Azmi Bishara, the Right of Resistance, and the Palestinian Ordeal" (2002) 31(2) Journal of Palestine Studies 19-33
  2. Falk, Richard and Burns H. Weston, The Relevance of International Law to Palestinian Rights in the West Bank and Gaza: In Legal Defense of the intifada, 32 Harv. Int. L. J. 1 (1991
  3. Jabareen, Hassan, "Transnational Lawyering and Legal Resistance in National Courts: Palestinian Cases Before the Israeli Supreme Court", 13 Yale Hum. Rts. & Dev. L.J. (2010).
  4. Said, Edward S., The Question of Palestine (1979).
  5. Sultany, Nimer, Activism and Legitimation in Israel's Jurisprudence of Occupation, 23(3) Social and Legal Studies 315 (2014).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules