Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Volume 2, Number 9 April 7 - 13, 2002 Quezon City, Philippines
not Arab. I am not Jewish. I am not Palestinian. I am not Israeli. I am Irish
American. Our People have no proverbial "horse in this race." What
follows is to the best of my immediate recollection:
up in the United States during the late 1950s and early 1960s while strongly
supporting the just struggle of African Americans for civil rights, I was
brainwashed at school as well as by the mainstream news media and popular
culture to be just as pro-Israel as everyone else in America. Then came the 1967
Middle East War. At that time, my assessment of the situation was that Israel
had attacked these Arab countries first, stolen their lands, and then driven out
their respective peoples from their homes. I then realized that everything I had
been told about Israel was "The Big Lie." Israel was Goliath, not
resolved to study the Middle East in more detail in order to figure out what the
Truth really was.
course by then I had already figured out that everything I was being told about
the Vietnam War also constituted The Big Lie. The same was true for U.S.
military intervention into Latin America after the Johnson administrations
gratuitous invasion of the Dominican Republic. The same for the pie-in-the-sky
"Camelot" peddled by the Kennedy administration after the Bay of Pigs
invasion/fiasco and its self-induced Cuban Missile Crisis that was a near-miss
for nuclear Armageddon. So I just added the Middle East to the list of
international subjects that I needed to pay more attention to in my life.
entered the University of Chicago as an undergraduate in September of 1968 after
having just attended the tumultuous Chicago Democratic Convention. Because of
the heavy common-core requirements there, I could not take a course on the
Middle East until the next academic year. Then I signed up for a course on
"Middle East Politics" taught by Professor Leonard Binder. To his
great credit, Professor Binder was most fair and balanced in his presentation of
the Palestinian and other Arab claims against Israel during the course of his
classroom lectures. In addition, his massive reading list forced me to go
through everything then written in English that was favorable to the Palestinian
People, as well as reading the standard pro-Israel sources. By the end of
Professor Binders course in the Winter of 1970, I had become convinced of three
basic propositions: (1) that the world had inflicted a terrible injustice upon
the Palestinian People in 1947-1948; (2) that there will be no peace in the
Middle East until this injustice was somehow rectified; and (3) that the
Palestinian People were entitled to an independent nation state of their own. I
have publicly maintained these positions for the past three decades at great
cost to myself.
particular, I have been accused of being everything but a child molester because
of my public support for the Palestinian People. I have seen every known
principle of Academic Integrity and Academic Freedom violated in order to
suppress the basic rights of the Palestinian People. In fact, there is no such
thing as Academic Integrity and Academic Freedom in the United States of America
when it comes to asserting the rights of the Palestinian People under
any event, the University of Chicago has always had a first-rate Center for
Middle East Studies that I have heartily recommended over the years to many
prospective students all over the world seeking my advice on where to study that
subject. By comparison, Harvards Center for Middle East Studies was then
basically operating as a front organization for the <C.I.A>. and probably
the Mossad as well. No point anyone wasting their time studying Middle East
Politics at Harvard.
I entered Harvard in September of 1971 in order to pursue a J.D. at the Harvard
Law School and a <Ph.D>. in Political Science at the Harvard Graduate
School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Government. The latter was the same
doctoral program that had produced Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Samuel
Huntington, and numerous other Machiavellian war-mongers trained by Harvard to
"manage" the U.S. global empire. In other words, Harvard trained me to
be one of these American Imperial Managers: "There but for the Grace of God
the next seven years at Harvard I was quite vocal in my support for the
Palestinian People, including and especially their basic human rights, their
right to self-determination, and their right to an independent nation state of
their own. Although I felt like a distinct Minority of One among the Harvard
student body at the time, I did receive the support and encouragement for my
pro-Palestinian viewpoints from several of my teachers. At the Harvard Law
School were Roger Fisher (The Williston Professor of Law), Louis Sohn (Bemis
Professor), Richard Baxter (Hudson Professor), Clyde Ferguson (Stimson
Professor), and Harold Berman (Ames Professor). At the Government Department was
my doctoral dissertation supervisor, Stanley Hoffmann, who has always been most
sympathetic to the tragic plight of the Palestinian People.
is now a University Professor, Harvard's highest accolade, and well deserved.
in residence as an Associate at the Harvard Center for International Affairs (CFIA)
from 1976-1978, I also came into contact with Walid Khalidi. I was present for
the dramatic off-the-record confrontation between him and Shimon Peres at the
standing CFIA Seminar on "American Foreign Policy" then conducted by
Stanley Hoffmann at their old headquarters on 6 Divinity Avenue. Peres refused
to budge even one inch no matter how flexible Khalidi was. A harbinger for the
Middle East Peace Negotiations over a decade later.
most loyal and grateful Harvard alumnus (J.D. magna cum laude, A.M., Ph.D.), I
must nevertheless state that it is shameful and shameless that Harvard never
granted a tenured full professorship to Walid Khalidi because he is a
Palestinian despite the fact that he is universally recognized as one of the
worlds foremost experts on the Middle East. This gets back to my previous
observation that there is no point studying Middle East Politics at Harvard.
Walid and I would later meet again at the Middle East Peace Negotiations in
Washington, D.C. during the Fall of 1991
after my graduation from Harvard Law School in June of 1976, the very first
public Lecture I ever gave was at the invitation of the Harvard International
Law Society. I decided to speak on the subject of The Israeli Raid at Entebbe,
during which I analyzed many of the legal and political problems surrounding
this raid that had just been so unanimously applauded by the U.S. news media.
Roger Fisher was kind and gracious enough to show up at this my first public
Lecture on anything. He also offered some words of support when I was attacked
by another professor for discussing the political motivations behind the Entebbe
hijacking by the PFLP. I had expressed my opinion that the PFLP/PLO political
claims can, must, and should be negotiated. We even got into a little debate
about who was the real "terrorist" here.
these were not a very popular point of view to take back in the Fall of 1976 at
Harvard. Clyde Ferguson would later inform me that my pro-Palestinian viewpoints
prevented him from reporting my dossier out of the Harvard Law School
Appointments Committee (upon which he then sat) despite his best efforts to get
me hired there.
any event, I decided to take my "Entebbe Show" on the road and to use
it as my standard job interview lecture in order to get hired somewhere as an
Assistant Professor of Law. Not surprisingly, I was rebuffed at the very top law
schools. But in December of 1977, I received an offer to become an Assistant
Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign,
which had just been semi-officially ranked the Number Eleven law school in the
country by an American Association of Law Schools Report. So I moved back to
Illinois on July 14, 1978 with the hope and expectation that someday I would be
able to make a positive contribution to the most desperate plight of the
American-Israel Society of International Law and Power
the same time, Clyde Ferguson was to become the first African American President
of the American Society of International Law and would preside over their 75th
Anniversary Convocation in 1981. Clyde decided to put me on their Concluding
Plenary Panel that he would personally chair: "I want you to get up there
and send those people a message!," Clyde enjoined me. And so I did, as
indicated by the text of my Speech set forth herein, The American Society of
International Law: 75 Years and Beyond, 75 Am. Socy Intl L. Proc. 270 (1981). In
particular, I publicly supported the right of the Palestinian People to
self-determination and the fact that the PLO was their sole and legitimate
representative. I also severely criticized Israels grievous mistreatment of the
Palestinian People as a violation of international humanitarian law, and soundly
condemned Israels criminal practices in Lebanon.
my Speech, I was thenceforth treated by the Members of the so-called Society as
the proverbial skunk at their yearly garden party. For the next decade I would
vigorously speak out in support of, and publicly debate, the rights of the
Palestinian People at American Society of International Law Conventions against
innumerable pro-Israel supporters. But after ten years of banging my head
against this wall, I concluded that I was wasting my time. I have not returned
since, and doubt that I ever will again return to this American-Israel Society
of International Law and Power. Standing in solidarity with the Palestinian
very next year, when Israel again invaded Lebanon in1982, I immediately tried to
organize what little academic opposition there was among professors of
international law. I drafted a Statement condemning this invasion in no
uncertain terms, and then proceeded to call up about 35 professors of
international law here in the United States to see if they would sign it. Not
unexpectedly, I could only "round-up the usual suspects": Roger
Fisher, Clyde Ferguson, Stanley Hoffmanm, Richard Falk, and Tom Mallison.
Ball personally contributed $1000 out of his own pocket to help publicize our
stand. But I could not even get this Statement published anywhere in the United
States. Tom Mallison eventually got it published in Britain as Violations of
International Law, Middle East International, September 3, 1982, reprinted here.
It was a very sad and telling commentary that only a handful of American
international law professors possessed the fortitude of soul to soundly condemn
Israels egregious invasion of Lebanon, and support the basic rights of the
Palestinian People under international law. And this by a group of professors
allegedly committed to the Rule of Law in international relations. Intellectual,
moral, and professional cowardice and hypocrisy of the worst type. Not much has
changed during the past two decades.
thereafter, I found myself speaking, writing, and lecturing all over the country
against the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and in support of the basic rights of
the Palestinian People under international law. I would later sum these
viewpoints up in an essay entitled Dissensus Over Strategic Consensus, reprinted
here from my Future of International Law and American Foreign Policy
(Transnational Publishers: 1989). This essay sets forth a comprehensive critique
of the Reagan administrations foreign policy toward the Middle East from an
international law perspective.
around the same time and in similar vein was my Preserving the Rule of Law in
the War Against International Terrorism, reprinted here from my Future of
International Law and American Foreign Policy (Transnational Publishers: 1989).
This essay provided a detailed critique of the Reagan administrations
self-styled "war against international terrorism" from an
international law perspective, with a special emphasis on the Middle East. Not
much has changed two decades later with the Bush Jr.
bogus "war against international terrorism." Plus ca change, plus, ca
reste la meme chose--especially when it comes to American foreign policy towards
the Middle East.
bogus "war against international terrorism." Plus ca change, plus, ca
reste la meme chose--especially when it comes to American foreign policy towards
the Middle East.
for Sabra and Shatilla
the legal charge against the Israeli invasion of Lebanon would ultimately result
in my filing a lawsuit against Israeli General Amos Yaron, who bore personal
criminal responsibility for the massacre of about 2000 completely innocent and
unarmed Palestinian women, children and old men at the Sabra and Shatilla
refugee camps in Lebanon. To the best of my knowledge, this was the first time
ever that any Lawyer had attempted to hold an Israeli government official
accountable for perpetrating a massacre against the Palestinian People. I lost.
But for historical purposes my key court papers are reproduced here from 5
Palestine Yearbook of International Law (1989).
surprisingly, when General Ehud Barak became Israeli Prime Minister, he
appointed Yaron to serve as Director-General of the Israeli "Ministry of
Defense." Truly Orwellian! But of course only fitting for Israel to have a
major war criminal and genocidaire serve in this high-level capacity in order to
inflict more heinous war crimes against the Palestinian People during Israels
repression of the Al Aqsa Intifada that was instigated on 28 September 2000 by
General Ariel Sharon, the architect of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
From this demented perspective, it made perfect sense for the genocidaire Sharon
to continue the appointment of the genocidaire Yaron when he became Prime
Minister of Israel. Needless to say, the United States government under
Reagan/Bush, Clinton, and Bush Jr. fully supported Begin/Sharon/Yaron, Barak/Yaron
and then Sharon/Yaron in perpetuating their serial massacres upon the
Palestinian People. Some things never change.
the Palestinian State
decades after Israel launched the June 1967 Middle East War that first sparked
my concern for the plight of the Palestinian People, the U.N. Committee on the
Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People scheduled a 20th
Anniversary Commemorative Session at U.N. Headquarters in New York for June of
1987. The PLO asked former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and me to speak on
their behalf. Seated right next to us at the speakers podium was Professor
Ibrahim Abu-Lighoud, while behind us sat the entire Palestinian Delegation at
that time: Ambassador Zuhdi Terzi; his Deputy, now Ambassador Nasser Al-Kidwe;
and Counsellor Riyad Mansour. The rest of the hall was occupied by Ambassadors
from supposedly pro-Palestinian U.N. member states.
Ramsey spoke, I proceeded to state quite forthrightly that the time had now come
for the Palestinian People to unilaterally proclaim their own independent nation
state under international law and practice. I then proceeded to sketch out
precisely why and how this could be done. I argued that the Palestinians must
not go to any International Peace Conference to ask the Israelis to give them
their State. Rather, the Palestinians must unilaterally proclaim their own
independent nation state, and then attend an international peace conference
where they would simply ask Israel to evacuate from Palestine.
spoke for about half an hour along these lines. Needless to say, Abu-Lighoud
stared at me throughout this period as if I had just descended on a spaceship
from Mars. At that point in time the most the PLO had contemplated was to
declare themselves a "government-in-exile." By contrast, I was
explaining to the PLO and to the United Nations Organization both why and how
the Palestinians must unilaterally create their own independent nation state,
and then have Palestine become internationally recognized, including by the
United Nations itself. There must be a Palestinian State first before there
could be a Palestinian governmentsomething I had learned from Louis Sohns final
examination in his United Nations Law course at Harvard Law School back during
the 1974-75 academic year. And less than eighteen months after my U.N. speech,
the Palestine National Council would determine that the Executive Committee of
the PLO constitutes the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine--not a
so-called "government-in-exile." But that is jumping ahead of the
I had concluded my U.N. speech, the Jordanian Deputy Ambassador immediately
demanded from the President of the Conference the so-called "right of
reply." He reprimanded me that as a professor of international law I should
know better than to publicly propose the dismemberment of a U.N. member state at
U.N. Headquarters in New York. Of course he was referring to the West Bank and
East Jerusalem, which had been illegally occupied and annexed by Jordan after
the partition of the Palestine Mandate up until the 1967 war, when the West Bank
and East Jerusalem were then illegally occupied and the latter illegally annexed
I was speaking at the United Nations Headquarters as a guest of the PLO, I had
to be most diplomatic in my response to the Jordanian Deputy Ambassador. So I
chose my words quite carefully:
has been as helpful as it can to the Palestinian People--under the
circumstances. But the entire world knows these lands are Palestinian."
Abu-Lighoud chuckled at my diplomatic formulation since he knew full well that I
was never one to mince words. There was some more diplomatic sparring back and
forth between the Jordanian Deputy Ambassador and me about the right of the
Palestinian People to unilaterally establish their own independent nation state
on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as their Capital. But
eventually he gave up the ghost arguing with me--just as his boss King Hussein
later would in July of 1988.
after my U.N. speech, the members of the Palestinian Delegation asked me a large
number of questions about why and how they could go forward and unilaterally
proclaim their own independent nation state under international law and
practice. Zuhdi Terzi then asked me to prepare a formal Memorandum of Law on
this entire matter for formal consideration by the Palestine Liberation
Organization. I readily agreed to do so--and free of charge. Standing in
solidarity with the Palestinian People.
spent the entire summer researching and drafting this Memorandum of Law. In the
Fall, I gave it to my incoming research assistant in order to research,
document, and add the footnotes for the Memorandum.
returned the footnoted draft Memorandum to me in December of 1987just on time
for the outbreak of the first Palestinian Intafada in Gaza.
original Intifada was a spontaneous uprising by the Palestinian People living
under the boot of Israels racist, colonial, and genocidal occupation. The PLO
leadership then headquartered in Tunis were taken completely unaware by the
outbreak of the Intifada in occupied Palestine. The PLO did not order the
Inifada, the PLO did not direct the Inifada, and the PLO had to constantly
scramble in order to try to keep up with the Inifada. Quickly the leaders of the
Intifada living in occupied Palestine established their own Unified Leadership
of the Intifada. And in the late Winter of 1988, the Unified Leadership of the
Intifada issued a Communiqui in which they demanded that in recognition of the
courage, bravery, and suffering of the Palestinian People living in occupied
Palestine during the Intifada, the PLO must create an independent nation state
for all Palestinians around the world. It was just about at that time when I
transmitted my revised Memorandum of Law to the PLO on this precise subject,
which was entitled "CREATE THE STATE OF PALESTINE!" Then nothing
happened on this project for several months.
was a deafening silence from the PLO.
was clear that the creation of a Palestinian State would generate too many
internal political problems for the PLO, which at that time operated upon the
principle of consensus. Back in those days the Palestinian Independence Movement
was a genuine democracy. The creation of a Palestinian State would have forced
the PLO to make some very difficult political decisions that could have produced
a terrible division among the different groups composing the Palestinian
Independence Movement at the very time when the Palestinian People were being
massacred by the Israeli Army. So I bided my time in silence.
July 31, 1988 I was teaching Summer School when King Hussein of Jordan announced
that he was severing all forms of legal and administrative ties between Jordan
and the West Bank. Later that afternoon in class, my students asked me what I
thought would happen as a result of this decision:
speaking, I really do not know." When I returned to my office at the end of
teaching that very class, there was a message sitting on my desk from Zuhdi
Terzi asking me to come to New York immediately in order to discuss my
Memorandum of Law.
attendance as this meeting convened at the PLO Mission to the United Nations in
New York were Zuhdi Terzi, Nasser Al-Kidwe, and Ramsey Clark, as well as Tom and
Sally Mallison. Since I had already drafted a comprehensive Memorandum of Law on
how to create a Palestinian State, I had to do a good deal of the talking. The
Palestinians had a list of questions from PLO Headquarters in Tunis that they
wanted us to answer for transmission back to the PLO Leadership. The first
question was: "Why should the PLO create an independent Palestinian
state?" My answer was characteristically blunt and succinct: "If you
do not create this State, you will forfeit the moral right to lead your
people!" So that there was no misunderstanding during the process of
transmission, I personally faxed that message to the highest levels of the PLO
in Tunis. At the end of this meeting, I agreed to serve as Legal Advisor to the
Palestine Liberation Organization on the creation of the state of
Palestine--again free of change. Pro bono publico in the true sense of that
hallowed legal tradition. Once again, standing in solidarity with the
Memorandum of Law would serve as the PLOs position paper for their right to
create the Palestinian State. Although originally provided to the PLO under
attorney-client confidence, Ibrahim Abu-Lighoud arranged to have my Memorandum
published in American-Arab Affairs, Number 25(Summer 1988). It is reprinted here
from my book The Future of International Law and American Foreign Policy
(Transnational Publishers; 1989), together with some additional explanatory
Palestinian Declaration of Independence
November 15, 1988, the Palestine National Council meeting in Algiers proclaimed
the existence of the new independent state of Palestine. On that same day, after
the close of prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the crowd came out of the
Mosque into the Great Courtyard in front of the Dome of the Rock, where Mohammed
(May Peace Be Upon Him) had ascended into heaven. Then one man got up and read
the Palestinian Declaration of Independence right there in front of the
was my advice to the PLO that the Palestinian State must also be proclaimed from
their own capital in Jerusalem; that since this State would be proclaimed
"In the Name of God"(which it was), the State must be proclaimed in
the Grand Courtyard in front of the Al-Aqsa Mosquethe third Holiest site in
Islam--at the close of prayers on Independence Day. I told the PLO that although
I would very much like to be the person to do this job, it would be
inappropriate for me because I was not a Palestinian. I likewise declined their
request to write a first draft of the Palestinian Declaration of Independence
for similar reasons. But some of my suggestions can be found there and in the
attached Political Communiqui. So much for a "government-in-exile." We
had Leadership on the ground in Palestine!
tribute to the leading role played by Palestinian Women during this original
Intifada, the Palestinian Declaration of Independence established full legal
equality between women and men. But upon my return to Palestine in 1997, I was
told by two Palestinian feminist human rights leaders from Gaza and the West
Bank, respectively, that male-chauvinist Palestinian judges had dis-interpreted
this basic requirement of international human rights law to be
non-self-executing and thus non-enforceable in court.
will have to countermand this patriarchal chicanery in the Constitution for the
Republic of Palestine.
after 15 November 1988, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat sought to travel to
the United Nations General Assembly in New York in order to explain these
extraordinary developments to the entire world at its Official Headquarters. But
the Reagan Administration illegally deprived President Arafat of the requisite
visa. Abu-Lighoud called to ask my advice: "If Mohammed can not come to the
mountain, then bring the mountain to Mohammed. Have the General Assembly
adjourn, and then reconvene at U.N.
in Geneva." So it was done. President Arafat addressed the U.N. General
Assembly meeting in a Special Session at Geneva. This was the real start of the
Middle East Peace Process--by the Palestinian People themselves, not by the
United States government, and certainly not by Israel.
had predicted to the PLO, the creation of Palestinian State became an
would eventually achieve de jure diplomatic recognition from about 130 states.
The only regional hold-out was Europe and this was because of massive political
pressure applied by the United States Government. Nevertheless, even the
European States would afford the Palestinian State de facto diplomatic
following the strategy I had worked out for the PLO, the Provisional Government
of the State of Palestine would repeatedly invoke the U.N. General Assemblys
Uniting for Peace Resolution (1950) to overcome U.S. vetoes at the Security
Council in order to obtain for Palestine all the rights of a U.N. member state
except the right to vote. In other words, Palestine eventually became a de
facto, though not yet a de jure, U.N. member state. The votes were and still are
there for Palestines formal admission to U.N. membership. Only the illegal
threat of a veto by the United State Government at the Security Council has kept
the State of Palestine out of formal de jure U.N. membership. That latter
objective is only a question of timeand unfortunately more bloodshed by the
summarized all of these legal, political, and diplomatic developments in my
essay The International Legal Right of the Palestinian People to
Self-Determination and an Independent State of Their Own, which was accepted for
publication by the exact same American-Arab Affairs around the early Summer of
1990. And then Iraq invaded Kuwait. The Provisional Government of the State of
Palestine refused to join the so-called Coalition put together by President Bush
Sr. to attack Iraq, but instead did its best working in conjunction with Libya
and Jordan to produce a peaceful resolution of this dispute. For this policy of
principle and peace, the Palestinian People were and still are unjustly but
predictably vilified by the world news media.
the crisis over Iraq was unfolding in the Fall of 1990, I corrected the
page-proofs for my essay that was then scheduled to be the lead article in the
next issue of American-Arab Affairs coming out around the turn of the new year.
Then I received a notification from the American-Arab Affairs editorial office
that the issue was at the printer and would soon be distributed. The next thing
I heard was that the executive director of their parent organization had
resigned. It was well known that American-Arab Affairs and its parent
organization were heavily subsidized by Gulf Arab funds.
next thing I knew I was informed that this entire issue of American-Arab Affairs
with my essay as the lead article had been suppressed, withdrawn, and would
never be published. This issue never saw the light of day. Apparently the Gulf
Arab funders of American-Arab Affairs and its parent organization did not want
to see a lead article arguing that the Palestinian People had a right to
self-determination and an independent nation state on the verge of their war
against Iraq without the support of the Palestinians. I would later get this
essay published in Volume 12 of the Scandinavian Journal of Development
Alternatives (June-September 1993), from which it is reprinted here.
course during the past 25 years of my public advocacy of the rights of the
Palestinian People under international law, I have lost track of the number of
times when my lectures, panels, publications, and appearances have been killed
outright. But this was the first time that my pro-Palestinian viewpoints had
been suppressed by an Arab source. It would not be the last time. This
inexcusable instance of anti-Palestinian censorship by a leading Arab-American
organization should make it crystal clear how truly desperate the plight of the
Palestinian People really is. The Palestinian People have been repeatedly
abandoned and betrayed by Arab Leaders. The Palestinians are on their own, and
they know it full well.
East Peace Negotiations?
suppressed essay provided an excellent snapshot of the legal, political, and
diplomatic situation that confronted the Palestinian People just before the
United States and its so-called Coalition launched their genocidal war against
Iraq. In order to get the support of the Arab Leaders for that slaughter, U.S.
of State James Baker promised them that when the war was over the United States
Government would do something for the Palestinians. Eventually the Middle East
Peace Negotiations would open in Madrid in the Fall of 1991. At that time I was
invited by the PLO to come to Tunis in order to speak at a Conference being held
there in support of and in solidarity with the Palestinian Delegation then in
Madrid. I also conducted consultations with PLO leaders in Tunis who had been
illegally barred from the Middle East Peace Negotiations by the United States
acting in conjunction with Israel despite the fact that the United Nations had
long ago recognized the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the
my return home, I was asked to serve as Legal Advisor to the Palestinian
Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations headed by Dr. Haidar Abdul-Shaffi.
He is a person of great courage, integrity, and principle. I would fight the
devil himself for Dr. Abdul-Shaffi. The work that I did as the Lawyer for Dr.
and the Palestinian Delegation can be found here in my unpublished essay The Al
Aqsa Intifada and International Law (30 August 2001). A substantially revised
and edited revision of this essay was published as Law & Disorder in the
Middle East, 35 The Link, No. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 2002), by the Americans for Middle
East Understanding (AMEU). Dr. Abdul-Shaffi expressly waived all attorney-client
confidences with respect to my work as Legal Advisor to the Palestinian
Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations in the hope and expectation
that it might do some good for me to substantiate the fact that the so-called
Oslo Agreement of 13 September 1993 called for the imposition of a Palestinian
is a matter of public record that the Oslo Agreement was signed at the White
House against the most vigorous objections by Dr. Abdul-Shaffi acting in
reliance upon my advice and counsel. Indeed, a year prior thereto, Dr. Abdul-Shaffi
had instructed me to draw up the Palestinian counteroffer to Israels Bantustan
Proposal. This I did in a Memorandum of Law entitled The Interim Agreement and
International Law, which was later published in 22 Arab Studies Quarterly,
Number 3(Summer 2000), that is reprinted here. My Memorandum of Law was approved
by the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations as well as
by the Leadership of the PLO then headquartered in Tunis. In other words, my
Memorandum of Law was the Palestinian alternative to Oslo, which is now dead as
a dodo bird. Nevertheless, after the Oslo Bantustan was signed, I bided my time
in silence for the next four years.
it was only fitting and appropriate that I had the opportunity to return to
Palestine in December of 1997 in order to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of
the original Intifada. I visited the very street where the Intifada had
commenced. I then gave a Lecture before a Human Rights Conference convened by
the Palestine Center for Human Rights headquartered in Gaza. The title of my
lecture was Palestine Must Sue Israel for Genocide Before the International
Court of Justice!, which is reprinted here from 20 Journal of Muslim Minority
Affairs, Number 1 (2000). My thanks to the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs
for permission to reprint this article here.
then personally met with President Arafat in his recently bombed-out
headquarters in Gaza. I discussed this proposed World Court Lawsuit against
Israel for genocide with him. I then personally placed my written proposal for
this World Court Lawsuit against Israel for genocide into President Arafats
our last meeting in December of 1997, I have repeatedly asked for his authority
to file this lawsuit for genocide against Israel on behalf of Palestine and the
Palestinian People before the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
Perhaps some day I shall receive this authorizationInshallah!
of the most important issues I have dealt with repeatedly for the Palestinian
People is Jerusalem.
example, I helped to launch a campaign to prevent the United States Government
from illegally moving the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In
order to head off this abomination, I prepared Memoranda of Law on the
<U.S.-Israel> Land-Lease and Purchase Agreement of 1989, which I sent to
Congressman Lee Hamilton who was then Chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe and
the Middle East of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House of
Representatives. These Memoranda are reprinted here from American-Arab Affairs,
Number 30 (Fall 1989). The Israel Lobby and its supporters in Congress are still
attempting to pressure the United States government to move the U.S. Embassy
from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Of course this would be a political, legal, and
be sure, there would certainly be no problem under international law and
practice for the United States government to move its Embassy from Tel Aviv to
Jerusalem as part of a comprehensive Middle East Peace Settlement whereby the
Embassy would be simultaneously accredited to Israel and Palestine, with
Jerusalem being recognized as the shared Capital of both States. Why and how
this can be done is fully explained in my essay The Al Aqsa Intifada and
International Law, which has already been commented upon above. Years ago the
PLO had approved my proposal set forth therein on the Final Status of Jerusalem.
But Israel wants this entire Baby for itself. And the United States has never
been solomonic when it comes to Palestine and the Palestinian People.
Mideast Policy v. International Law
the past two decades I have written many other publications dealing with
Palestine, Palestinians, and International Law. For obvious reasons I do not
have the space to reprint them all here. But in order to facilitate research
into these heavily censored and outrightly suppressed subjects, I have included
an incomplete Bibliography on this and some of my other writings on the
"Middle East and International Law" in general. These other topics
include Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, and Syria, inter alia. For reasons that
should be obvious by now, it is almost impossible to get published on these
subjects here in the United States of America"the land of the free, and the
home of the brave ." It has been a real struggle for me just to get these
meager offerings into print somewhere.
summing them all up into a nutshell it can be fairly said that U.S. Mideast
Foreign Policy has not shown one iota of respect for international law. Of
course the same can be said for the rest of American Imperial Policy around the
world. In order to substantiate that latter proposition, the reader will have to
consult the rest of my opera that are not listed here. But to return to
Palestine, Palestinians, and International Law.
after General Sharon instigated the Al Aqsa Intifada on 28 September 2000, the
United Nations Human Right Commission condemned Israel for inflicting a war
crime and a crime against humanity upon the Palestinian People. The Nuremberg
crime against humanity is the historical and legal precursor to the
international crime of genocide as defined by the 1948 Genocide Convention.
Israels criminal conduct against the Palestinians has been financed, armed,
equipped, supplied, and politically supported by the United States.
Nevertheless, the United States is a founding sponsor of, and a contracting
party to, both the Nuremberg Charter and the Genocide Convention, as well as the
United Nations Charter. But these legal facts have never made any difference to
the United States when it comes to its criminal mistreatment of the Palestinian
world has not yet heard even one word uttered by the United States and its NATO
allies in favor of "humanitarian intervention" against Israel in order
to protect the Palestinian People from Israeli war crimes, crimes against
humanity, and genocide. The United States, its NATO allies and the Great Powers
on the U.N. Security Council would not even dispatch a U.N. Charter Chapter 6
"monitoring force" to help protect the Palestinians, let alone even
contemplate any type of U.N. Charter Chapter 7 "enforcement action"
against Israel. Shudder the thought! The doctrine of "humanitarian
intervention" clearly proves itself to be a joke and a fraud when it comes
to stopping the ongoing Israeli campaign of genocide against the Palestinian
matter of fact, in the case of Israel genocide has paid quite handsomely to the
tune of about $5 billion per year by the United States government, the U.S.
Congress, and the U.S. taxpayers, without whose munificence this instance of
genocide would not be possible. Proving the validity of the proposition that
genocide pays so long as it is done at the behest of the United States and its
de facto or de jure allies. Dishumanitarian intervention by the United States of
America against Palestine and the Palestinians.
before the September 13, 1993 Oslo Agreement signing on the White House Lawn, I
commented to a high-level official of the P.L.O.: "This document is like a
straight-jacket. It will be very difficult to negotiate your way out of
it!" This P.L.O. official readily agreed with my assessment of Oslo:
"Yes, you are right. It will depend upon our negotiating skill."
have great respect for Palestinian negotiators. They have done the very best
they can negotiating in good faith with an Israeli government that has been
invariably backed up by the United States. But there has never been any good
faith on the part of the Israeli government either before, during, or after
same is true for the United States.
if Oslo had succeeded, it would have resulted in the permanent imposition of a
Bantustan upon the Palestinian People. But Oslo has run its course! Therefore,
it is my purpose here to sketch out a New Direction for the Palestinian People
and their supporters around the world to consider as an alternative to the Oslo
We must immediately move for the de facto suspension of Israel throughout the
entirety of the United Nations system, including the General Assembly and all
U.N. subsidiary organs and bodies. We must do to Israel what the U.N. General
Assembly has done to the genocidal rump Yugoslavia and to the criminal apartheid
regime in South Africa. Here the legal basis for the de facto suspension of
Israel at the U.N. is quite simple:
condition for its admission to the United Nations Organization, Israel formally
agreed, inter alia, to accept General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) (1947) (on
partition and Jerusalem trusteeship) and General Assembly Resolution 194 (III)
(1948) (Palestinian right of return). Nevertheless, the government of Israel has
expressly repudiated both Resolution 181 (II) and Resolution 194 (III).
Therefore, Israel has violated the conditions for its admission to U.N.
membership and thus must be suspended on a de facto basis from any participation
throughout the entire United Nations system.
Any further negotiations with Israel must be conducted on the basis of
Resolution 181(II) and the borders it specifies; Resolution 194 (III);
subsequent General Assembly resolutions and Security Council resolutions; the
Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949; the 1907 Hague Regulations; and
other relevant principles of public international law.
We must abandon the fiction and the fraud that the United State government is an
"honest broker" in the Middle East. The United States government has
never been an "honest broker" since from well before the formal outset
of the Middle East peace negotiations in 1991. Rather, the United States has
invariably sided with Israel against the Palestinians, as well as against the
other Arab States. We need to establish some type of international framework to
sponsor these negotiations where the Palestinian negotiators will not be
subjected to the continual bullying, threats, intimidation, lies, bribery, and
outright deceptions perpetrated by the United States working at the behest of
We must move to have the U.N. General Assembly adopt comprehensive economic,
diplomatic, and travel sanctions against Israel according to the terms of the
Uniting for Peace Resolution (1950).
thereto, the General Assemblys Emergency Special Session on Palestine is now in
recess just waiting to be recalled.
The Provisional Government of the State of Palestine must sue Israel before the
International Court of Justice in The Hague for inflicting acts of genocide
against the Palestinian People in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention.
We must pressure the Member States of the U.N. General Assembly to found an
International Criminal Tribunal for Palestine (ICTP) in order to prosecute
Israeli war criminals, both military and civilian, including and especially
Israeli political leaders. The U.N. General Assembly can set up this ICTP by a
majority vote pursuant to its powers to establish "subsidiary organs"
under U.N. Charter article 22. This International Criminal Tribunal for
Palestine should be organized by the U.N. General Assembly along the same lines
as the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) that has
already been established by the U.N. Security Council.
Concerned citizens and governments all over the world must organize a
comprehensive campaign of economic disinvestment and divestment from Israel
along the same lines of what they did to the former criminal apartheid regime in
South Africa. This original worldwide disinvestment/divestment campaign played a
critical role in dismantling the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa. For
much the same reasons, a worldwide disinvestment/divestment campaign against
Israel will play a critical role in dismantling its criminal apartheid regime
against the Palestinian People living in occupied Palestine as well as in Israel
the course of a public lecture at Illinois State University in
Bloomington-Normal on 30 November 2000, I issued a call for the establishment of
a worldwide campaign of disinvestment/divestment against Israel, which I later
put on the internet. In response thereto, Students for Justice in Palestine at
the University of California at Berkley launched a divestment campaign against
Israel there. Right now the city of Ann Arbor Michigan is also considering
divesting from Israel. And just recently the Palestinian Students at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (whom I am privileged to advise)
launched an Israeli divestment campaign here. This movement is taking off.
seven steps taken in conjunction with each other should provide the Palestinian
People with enough political and economic leverage needed to negotiate a just
and comprehensive peace settlement with Israel. By contrast, if the Oslo process
is continued, it will inevitably result in the permanent imposition of a
Bantustan upon the Palestinian People living in occupied Palestine, as well as
the final dispossession and disenfranchisement of all Palestinian People living
in their diaspora. Consequently, I call upon all Palestinian People living
everywhere, as well as their supporters and friends around the world, to
consider and support this New Direction that is sketched out here. Bulatlat.com
Boyle is Professor of International Law Legal at Illinois University, an advisor
to the Palestine Liberation Organization on Creation of the State of Palestine
(1987-1989) Legal Advisor to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace
Negotiations (1991-1993) Sometime Legal Advisor to the Provisional Government of
the State of Palestine.