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Noura Erakat


Permission to Kill in Gaza

[Damaged UN school and remmants of the Ministry of Interior in Gaza City, December 2012. Image by Wikimedia Commons User Grahaa.]

In the summer of 2014, Israel unleashed unprecedented violence against the Gaza Strip. Although it was third such large-scale attack since 2008, the fourteenth military offensive since Israel’s unilateral disengagement in 2005, and the twenty-second since former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced plans for disengagement in April 2004, Operation Protective Edge (OPE) was by far more violent and merciless than any of its predecessors. In large part, this shift reflected ...

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If Israeli Tactics in Gaza Are Legal, No One is Safe: Response to Michael N. Schmitt and John J. Merriam

[IDF's Nahal Brigade conducting a search in the Hebron area. Image by Israeli Defense Forces.]

In their forthcoming paper, The Tyranny of Context: Israeli Targeting Practices in Legal Perspective, Michael Schmitt and John J. Merriam examine Israel’s targeting practices against the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. Their purpose is to scrutinize the context in which these attacks take place as well as the Israeli Army’s relevant legal standards regulating them. Their findings are based on two visits to Israel in December 2014 and February 2015. During those visits, the Israeli ...

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Palestine Becomes a State Party to the ICC: An Occasion to Return to the Register of Israel’s Racialized Violence

[ICC Headquarters. Image from Wikimedia]

Today, Palestine will formally become a member of the International Criminal Court. This will give it the authority to refer a situation in its territory for investigation as well as give the Office of the Prosecutor the authority to initiate an investigation based on her discretion (propio motu). When Palestine, or the representatives of a shadow of a state, submitted an application for ad-hoc jurisdiction as well as acceded to the Rome Statute in late December 2014, ...

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New Texts Out Now: Noura Erakat, Palestinian Refugees and the Syrian Uprising

[Cover of

Noura Erakat, “Palestinian Refugees and the Syrian Uprising: Filling the Protection Gap During Secondary Forced Displacement.” Oxford International Journal of Refugee Law 26.4 (2014). [Full text available online until June 2015.] Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Noura Erakat (NE): I began to write this article as an LLM student in National Security at the Georgetown University Law Center. In the spring of 2012, I was enrolled in a research seminar on ...

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Who Is Afraid of the International Criminal Court?

[The International Criminal Court in The Hague (ICC/CPI), Netherlands. Image by Vincent van Zeijst.]

Can the International Criminal Court (ICC) deliver the justice Palestinians have struggled to realize for well over a century? The pursuit of accountability at the ICC is one venue of this struggle. But any sustainable vision of Palestinian liberation must account for the confines of the courtroom in particular international law more broadly. As should be clear to all observers of international law, the odds are stacked against Palestinians in that courtroom. The challenge ...

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Aloha Aina: Notes From The Struggle in Hawai’i

[Image by Ed Greevey. Photo of attendees and participants at Closing Event 1 December 2014.]

In late November 2014, I had the honor of visiting the occupied Kingdom of Hawai’i as an invited guest. I prepared for the trip with ample readings J. Kehaulani Kaunaui both wrote and shared with me, along with book recommendations that my hostess, Cynthia Franklin, passed along. (It merits writing a separate article just about Cindy and her phenomenal skills as an organizer and her generosity as a friend. She is fire.) I thought my greatest challenge would be unraveling the ...

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Arab Bank Case Sets Limited Precedent

[Arab Bank Headquarters in Amman, Jordan. Image by Wikimedia Commons User Jean Pierre X.]

On Monday September 22, 2014, a jury in the US District Court of Brooklyn found that the Arab Bank is liable for financing terrorism. This is the first jury trial to find a bank liable for financing terrorism under the 1990 Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). The Arab Bank contends that the case was riddled with errors that should be rectified upon appeal before the Second Circuit. The Central Bank of Jordan has come out in support of the Bank, whose earnings constitute a quarter ...

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After The Ceasefire: Searching for Accountability

[View from Nablus side of Howwarah checkpoint people waiting to travel south. Image by Harry Pockets.]

On 26 August 2014, Israel and Palestinian resistance groups  entered into a long-term ceasefire agreement. The agreement looks almost exactly like the November 2012 ceasefire, including a lack of implementation mechanisms. The vague terms leave to question whether the Gaza Strip and its besieged population will be adequately rehabilitated. Worse, if the parities fail to make the agreement more precise, it will be no more than a holding position until the next Israeli ...

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U.S. Should Stop Funding Israel, or Let Others Broker Peace

[Image from Wikipedia]

As Israel’s primary patron of economic, military and diplomatic support, the United States has a duty and the capacity to help resolve the Palestinian-Israel conflict. It should either comply with its domestic laws and cease military aid to Israel or simply step aside and allow international mechanisms to function without obstruction. Ending aid will either restrain Israel and facilitate a political resolution or encourage a backlash that induces the global community to ...

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تفنيد خمس نقاط إسرائيلية مثيرة للجدل حول غزة


تزعم إسرائيل أنها تقوم بممارسة حق الدفاع عن النفس فقط، وأن غزة لم تعد محتلة من قبلها. إليكم ما تحتاجون إلى معرفته حول هذه النقاط المثيرة للجدل وما هو أكثر من ذلك. قتلتْ إسرائيل ٨٠٠ فلسطيني تقريباً في الأيام الواحدة والعشرين الماضية في قطاع غزة وحده، وما يزال عدوانها متواصلاً. وقدّرتْ الأمم المتحدة أن أكثر من ٧٤٪ من الذين قُتلوا مدنيون. وهذا ما يجب توقعه من عدد سكان يبلغ ١،٨ مليون نسمة، فيما يبلغ عدد أعضاء حماس ١٥،٠٠٠ تقريباً. لا تنكر إسرائيل أنها قتلت أولئك الفلسطينيين ...

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Sa forsvarar Israel sitt angrepp mot Gaza – fem argument som inte haller


Israel har dödat över 1300 palestinier i Gazaremsan bara under de senaste tre veckorna. Dess angrepp fortsätter. FN uppskattar att tre fjärdedelar av de dödade är civila. Det kan förväntas med en befolkning på 1,8 miljoner, där antalet Hamas-medlemmar är cirka 15 000. Israel förnekar inte att man dödat dessa palestinier med hjälp av modern teknik och precisionsvapen, tillhandahållen av världens enda supermakt. Faktum är att Israel inte ens förnekar att de är civila. Men ...

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Cinq points de discussion israéliens sur Gaza: démystifiés

[Les fumées des frappes israéliennes s’élèvent au-dessus de la bande de Gaza (AP – Hatem Moussa)]

The Nation – 25 juillet 2014 Israël prétend qu’il ne fait qu’exercer son droit à la légitime défense et que Gaza n’est plus occupée. Voici ce que vous devez savoir sur ces points de discussion, et plus encore. Israël a tué près de 800 Palestiniens dans les vingt-et-un derniers jours, dans la bande de Gaza seulement ; son attaque se poursuit. Les Nations-Unies estiment que plus de 74 % des tués sont des civils. Ce qui n’est pas surprenant avec une population de 1,8 million ...

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Five Israeli Talking Points on Gaza—Debunked

[Gaza bombardment. Image by Amir Farshad Ebrahimi from Flickr.]

Israel has killed almost 800 Palestinians in the past twenty-one days in the Gaza Strip alone; its onslaught continues. The UN estimates that more than 74 percent of those killed are civilians. That is to be expected in a population of 1.8 million where the number of Hamas members is approximately 15,000. Israel does not deny that it killed those Palestinians using modern aerial technology and precise weaponry courtesy of the world’s only superpower. In fact, it does not ...

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Jadaliyya Co-Editor Noura Erakat Debates Whether Diplomacy Can End the Conflct in Gaza on Al Jazeera English’s “Inside Story”

[Screenshot from video below.]

[This video and post were originally published by Al Jazeera English.] US President Barack Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he was worried fierce fighting with Hamas in Gaza could escalate, and offered help to broker a ceasefire.   Obama spoke to Netanyahu after Israeli jets pounded Gaza for a fourth consecutive day but did not stop its fighters from launching more rockets. The situation is causing global concern over the ...

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No, Israel Does Not Have the Right to Self-Defense In International Law Against Occupied Palestinian Territory

[Smoke over Gaza following an Israeli airstrike. Image by Scott Bobb. From Wikimedia Commons.]

[In view of Israel's assertions that its current attacks on the Gaza Strip are an exercise in legitimate self-defense, Jadaliyya re-posts an analysis of this claim by Co-Editor Noura Erakat initially published in 2012.]   On the fourth day of Israel's most recent onslaught against Gaza's Palestinian population, President Barack Obama declared, “No country on Earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.” In an echo of Israeli ...

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Jadaliya Co-editor Noura Erakat and Ali Abunimah Weigh In on Fatah-Hamas Unity Agreement in The New York Times

A First Step, but Israel and the U.S. Stand in the Way, Noura Erakat By giving Palestinians greater strength when dealing with Israel, a Fatah-Hamas unity government is a necessary first step toward a viable solution. But continuing obstacles make it insufficient toward achieving that goal. Since Hamas’s electoral victory in 2006, Fatah has spent tremendous financial and diplomatic resources to defeat Hamas at the expense of combating Israel’s apartheid regime and military ...

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Structural Violence on Trial: BDS and the Movement to Resist Erasure

[An Israeli soldier near an unfinished section of the Barrier in the West Bank. Image by Justin McIntosh via Wikimedia Commons.]

Walking to Rifqa (Umm) Al Kurd's home is a journey into violence. To visit the ninety-two-year-old matriarch, one must enter through a narrow walkway past a dwelling she owned until 2009. She built a concrete two-bedroom home for her eldest son and his family adjacent to her own. She envisioned a residential space for her family adorned by green grass, a garden of plants and flowers, and an outdoor patio. Today that grass is mostly dirt with yellowed shrubs, the walls are ...

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What Role for Law in the Palestinian Struggle for Liberation?

[Protestor puts flag on top of separation wall in Bethlehem on Land Day, 2012. Image by Palestine Solidarity Project via Flickr.]

Is international law part of the solution in the Palestinian quest for self-determination and human rights – or part of the problem as a number of voices now argue? Al-Shabaka Policy Advisor Noura Erakat provides insights into the positions of those who argue the law is the problem and then discusses the ways in which law can be made to work for the Palestinian people. She shows why the “triumph of human rights does not necessarily lead to justice” and argues for a political ...

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Demanding Equality: Interview with Steven Salaita on the ASA Academic Boycott

[Steven Salaita]

The American Studies Association (ASA) recently became the second US-based scholarly association to endorse the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The 800-member Association of Asian American Studies (AAAS) was the first. A group of ASA scholars proposed the boycott resolution to the ASA’s Community and Activism caucus in November 2012 after visiting Palestine and Israel on a delegation organized by the US Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI). After ...

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Toward an Ethic of Legitimate Dissent: Academic Boycott at the American Studies Association


At its 2013 annual conference, the American Studies Association (ASA) considered a resolution to endorse the academic boycott of Israel. Several professors proposed the resolution to the ASA’s Academic and Community Activism Caucus after participating in a 2012 US Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) delegation to Palestine and Israel. If passed, the ASA will join a steadily growing movement among members of American academic associations to support Palestinian ...

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Personal Posts

The Right to Development & The Arab Uprisings

[Cairo, Graffiti, Tahrir Square, November 2011.]

  In mid-December 2010, a young street vendor set himself on fire after his ill-treatment by Tunisian police. Mohamed Bouazizi set himself ablaze in Sidi Bouzid and inspired an entire region to revolt against decades of authoritarianism. Mass protests in Tunisia led to the ouster of its autocratic head of state Zine Abidine Ben Ali. This revolutionary fervor then spread to neighboring Egypt, where eighteen days of protest removed Hosni Mubarak from the helm ...

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US Strike on Syria & the Futility of Military Intervention

[U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Kerry delivers a joint press statement with Syrian Opposition Council Chairman Mouaz al-Khatib and Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi , not pictured, in Rome, Italy, on February 28, 2013. Image from US Department of State.]

The death toll in Syria has exceeded 100,000. The refugee population approaches two million, including one million Syrian children and excluding the Palestinian refugee population which is enduring secondary forced displacement as a result of the Syrian conflict. The horrors of the conflict which began two and a half years ago, reached new heights amid reports of a chemical weapons attack that killed 1,000 civilians in Douma on 21 August 2013. The attack ...

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The Battle of Authoritarianisms & Recommended Readings on Egypt

[Egyptian workers march to Shura Council on May Day, 2013. Image by Gigi Ibrahim.]

Since the military removal of Mohammad Morsi from office on July 3, the situation in Egypt has rapidly become intensely polarized. The entrenchment of two broad camps - for the military-led take-over or against the coup - obscures the complexity underlying Egypt's dramatic transformation. Millions of Egyptians converged on Tahrir Square in January 2011 to remove the US-backed authoritarian regime of Hosni Mubarak. They demanded a new relationship to the state including a ...

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For the Revolution or Against the Coup? My Two Cents On Egypt & Recommended Readings

[Women march in Tahrir, January 2013. Image by Gigi Ibrahim.]

As we bear witness to one of the most dramatic junctures in Egypt's history, it is easy to take a stark position, with the revolution or against the coup. As we think about these events, we need to be much more militant (no pun intended) about sparing nuance from our analytical chopping block. Although there is something undeniably troubling about the coup, there seems to a reactionary defense of "electoral democracy" in Egypt that does away with a context ...

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My 2MAS [Two-Minute Audio Sense] on Eltahawy's "Why Do They Hate Us?"

[Image from foreignpolicy.com]

Foreign Policy Magazine's latest edition is a special issue on Sex. Unfortunately, the Magazine considers sex in the Middle East mostly with a single article on China and a mention of it every where else across the Globe. Jadaliyya co-editors Sherene Seikaly and Maya Mikdashi wrote a stellar piece evaluating the issue and Mona Eltahawy's controversial piece, "Why Do They Hate Us?"    Below, I respond to Eltahawy's piece in a two-minute audio ...

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Noura Erakat


Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and writer. She is currently an Assistant Professor at George Mason University. She has taught International Human Rights Law and the Middle East at Georgetown University since Spring 2009. Prior to joining GMU's faculty, Noura was a Freedman Teaching Fellow at Temple University, Beasley School of Law. She is a member of the Legal Support Network for the Badil Center for Palestinian Refugee and Residency Rights. She served as Legal Counsel for a Congressional Subcommittee in the House of Representatives, chaired by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich. Noura has helped to initiate and organize several national formations including Arab Women Arising for Justice (AMWAJ) and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN). She is a board member of the Institute for Policy Studies, the Arab Studies InstituteTrans-Arab Research Institute (TARI); a Policy Advisor of Al-Shabaka; a founding member of the DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival; the development consultant for Legal Agenda; and a contributor to IntLawGrrls. Noura has appeared on MSNBC's "Up With Chris Hayes," Fox’s “The O’ Reilly Factor,” NBC’s “Politically Incorrect,” Democracy Now, BBC World Service, PBS News Hour, NPR, and Al-Jazeera Arabic and English and published extensively in mainstream press media. Her scholarly publications include: "Overlapping Refugee Legal Regimes: Closing the Protection Gap During Secondary Forced Displacement," in the Oxford International Journal of Refugee Law; "New Imminence in the Time of Obama: The Impact of Targeted Killing on the Law of Self-Defense," in the Arizona Law Review; and "Whiteness as Property in Israel: Revival, Rehabilitation, and Removal," forthcoming in the Harvard Journal of Ethnic and Racial JusticeShe is a Co-Editor of Jadaliyya.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @4noura. 

(Noura's personal Jadaliyya page can be accessed here, and her website here)

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