• Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine

Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine

The struggle for Palestinian sovereignty has been a quest for inclusion in—and recognition from—a world order that left them behind. Sovereignty has become a trap for Palestinians and getting out is a matter of political vision and will. The law does not determine any particular outcome, it only promises the contest over one. While Jewish and Palestinian sovereignty are incommensurable, their belonging is not. The law is not just and justice is not rule-based.

Justice in the Question of Palestine is often framed as a question of law. Yet none of the Israel-Palestinian conflict's most vexing challenges have been resolved by judicial intervention. Occupation law has failed to stem Israel's settlement enterprise. Laws of war have permitted killing and destruction during Israel's military offensives in the Gaza Strip. The Oslo Accord's two-state solution is now dead letter.

Justice for Some offers a new approach to understanding the Palestinian struggle for freedom, told through the power and control of international law. Focusing on key junctures—from the Balfour Declaration in 1917 to present-day wars in Gaza—Noura Erakat shows how the strategic deployment of law has shaped current conditions. Over the past century, the law has done more to advance Israel's interests than the Palestinians'. But, Erakat argues, this outcome was never inevitable.

Law is politics, and its meaning and application depend on the political intervention of states and people alike. Within the law, change is possible. International law can serve the cause of freedom when it is mobilized in support of a political movement. Presenting the promise and risk of international law, Justice for Some calls for renewed action and attention to the Question of Palestine.

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