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Israel-Palestine: Where is the UN?

Register here [1].

In recent months, Palestinians in the occupied territory have once again been feeling the devastating impact of a barrage of Israeli airstrikes, forced evictions, and mass arrests. Placing this latest episode in the context of decades of structural and direct violence by Israel against Palestinians, these two panels will consider what is most significant about the current situation, will explore what constitutes a violation of international law, and why (despite widespread condemnations) the UN once again seems unable to respond adequately. Further issues for discussion include: the impact and significance of the mobilisation of Palestinians inside Israel who are demonstrating in solidarity with Palestinians in the OPT and what it reveals of their citizenship; how dynamics might change in the future; and what opportunities there are for an international response that goes beyond just a ceasefire.

There will be two roundtables, and you’ll automatically receive both Zoom links, which will be emailed to you nearer the time of the event. Full speaker bios are below.

Roundtable 1:

1.00-2.45pm (BST)

Roundtable 2:

3.00 – 4.45pm (BST)

Extended bios

Valentina Azarova is an international law practitioner and academic, currently research fellow at the Manchester International Law Centre, University of Manchester, and a founding member of the academic-practitioner collective Global Legal Action Network (GLAN). She has worked with human rights groups and movements for 15 years, held teaching and research posts in Palestine, Lebanon and Turkey between 2009 and 2018, including on the human rights program at Al-Quds Bard College, Al-Quds University, and Birzeit University. Azarova has published widely on the operation of international law in the Israel/Palestine context and in situations of occupation.

Suhad Bishara is a senior lawyer in Israel. She is the Director of the Land and Planning Rights Unit at Adalah, the Arab Center for Minority Rights in Israel. Bishara served as lead lawyer in landmark constitutional human rights cases regarding Palestinian citizens of Israel and international humanitarian law cases concerning Palestinians in the 1967 Occupied Territory before the Israeli Supreme Court. She is also a PhD Candidate at King’s College London Law School.

Diana Buttu is a Palestinian-Canadian lawyer and a former spokesperson for the Palestine Liberation Organisation. She is best known for her work as a legal adviser and participant in peace negotiations between Israel and the PLO. Butt has held visiting positions at Stanford University, Harvard University, and the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU). Her editorials have been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Al-Jazeera and Haaretz.

Katherine Gallagher is senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights. She works on universal jurisdiction and international criminal law. Prior to employment at the CCR, Gallagher worked at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia from 2001-2006, as a legal advisor for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Kosovo, and with the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Freetown. She has written on the issue of Palestine at the International Criminal Court.

Ardi Imseis is assistant professor of law at Queen’s University, Canada. He is author of The United Nations and the Question of Palestine: Rule by Law and the Structure of International Legal Subalternity (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). Before joining Queen’s, Imseis had a 12-year career as a UN official in the Middle East, first with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and then with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Shawan Jabarin is the general director of Al-Haq and a secretary general of the International Federation for Human Rights. He also serves on Human Rights Watch’s Middle East advisory boar, and as a commissioner for the International Commission of Jurists. Jabarin was the first Palestinian to be recognized by Amnesty International as a ‘prisoner of conscience’ after having spent years under administrative detention in Israeli jails without charge or trial. He is a recipient of the Reebok Human Rights Award in 1990 for his defense of the freedom of expression and human rights.

Michael Lynk is the UN Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights Situation in the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967, a position he has held since March 2016. He is also associate professor of law at University of Western Ontario where he taught courses in labour, human rights, disability, constitutional and administrative law. In January 2015, Lynk was named to the Mayor of London’s Honours List for his work on humanitarian issues.

Raji Sourani is a human rights lawyer in the Gaza Strip. In 1995, he founded the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and is its director. In 1985 and 1986, he was an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, and served as a member of the International Commission of Jurists and Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights. Sourani has won many awards for protecting and advancing human rights, including the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 1991.

Mandy Turner is professor of conflict, peace and humanitarian affairs at HCRI. From 2012-2019 she was the director of the British Academy research centre, the Kenyon Institute, in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem. She has published widely on the Israel/Palestine situation, including most recently the edited collection From the River to the Sea: Palestine and Israel in the Shadow of ‘Peace’ (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019).