ELNET and thinc. partner to offer a leadership training program to all organizations which advocate for Israel. The program comprises 5 sessions. On this page you will find the course agenda, recordings, summaries and other course related materials, organised per session.
The objective of the course is to empower professionals and the leadership of civil society and non-profit organisations to discern lawfare from the fair application of international law to Israel and the Israel/Palestine conflict, and to defend Israel in the international political arena.
The program is open to anyone who wants to champion the fair application of international law to Israel, the Jewish people and the peoples of the Middle East generally.
The course will also make clear that the way Israel is treated, by the UN and others, has ramifications and implications for other peoples and territories in the Middle East and beyond – positive and negative.
This online program is developed by thinc. in cooperation with ELNET. It comprises 5 sessions. The first session took place on 23 September. Session 5 is scheduled for 9 December. In each session, a panel of experts will give short presentations. These will be followed by Q&A and discussion.
All sessions start at 4 pm CET.
Duration: 90 mins.
Click here for a complete course overview including dates and speakers.
The program follows the outline of the book Israel on Trial by Dr Matthijs de Blois and Andrew Tucker. Participants may order the book directly by email to firstname.lastname@example.org for the special price of € 25 including postage.
Session 1, 23 September – The UN, international law and issues of legitimacy
Session 2, 27 October – What is the Jewish State of Israel?
Session 3, 10 November – Two States for two peoples?
Session 4, 24 November – Lawfare
Session 5, 9 December – A new approach
Click here for a detailed program description including the list of speakers.
Session 1 - The UN, international law and issues of legitimacy
Session 1 – an introduction to international law. What is international law? Why do so many people and organizations refer to international law to support their political positions? Who makes international law? What is the relationship between international law, religion and politics?
Dr. Dov Jacobs: Human Rights and International Criminal Law (ICL)
- the intertwining of law and politics
- Human Rights and international law: the shift in the NGO’s discourse
- ICL, the International Criminal Court and the notion of double standards
Andrew Tucker: the EU approach to international law
- international law and legitimacy
- Europe, international law and the approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
- How should international law be applied?
Question 1: Is it correct that UN resolutions are only legally binding under Chapter 7 of the Charter re. international peace and security. If so, are these resolutions ever legally adhered to by states?
Click for the Answer to Question 1.
Question 2: How is it even possible that the International Criminal Court can open an investigation into Israel? Is it taken seriously? Who abides by it?
Click for the Answer to Question 2.
Question 3: One emeritus professor of International Law argued that the illegality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank/Judea-Samaria is in accordance with international law, because it is a customary opinion in the UN and in other international fora. How do you respond?
Click for the Answer to Question 3.
Session 2 - What is the Jewish State of Israel?
Session 2 – How, when and why did the Jewish State of Israel come into existence? What does international law say about the legitimacy of the State of Israel? How is the Jewish character of the State expressed and in what way is Israel a democracy? Do Israeli Arabs and Jews have equal rights?
Yitzhak Sokoloff gave an overview of Zionism, from Abraham to Herzl. He argued that Jewish national identity is different from European national identity, and Judaism is more than a religion. Jewish nationhood cannot be separated from the land. No other nation in history has maintained its national identity, whilst being separated from its land, for so long.
Dr. Matthijs de Blois explained the unique character of the Mandate for Palestine which expressly recognised the “historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine”. The core purpose of the Mandate was to enable the immigration of Jews. The rights of the Jewish people under the Mandate are expressly preserved by article 80 of the UN Charter.
Prof. Amichai Cohen described the way in which Israel is both a Jewish and democratic state. There is a tension between these two aspects but Arab Israelis have all the same rights as Jewish Israelis. The State of Israel enables the Arab Israelis to retain their Arab identity and Israel promotes Arab participation in Israeli society.
Question 1: Does Israel still have a claim to all the territories of the British mandate under uti possedetis juris – or does the acceptance of the UN 1947 Partition plan forfeit the remaining lands?
Click for the Answer to Question1.
Question 2: What about the illegal Arab immigration from 1920 of hundred thousands Arabs to Palestine? The Balfour Declaration only spoke of the rights of existing non-Jewish population.
Click for the Answer to Question 2.
Session 3 - Two States for two peoples?
Session 3 – When did the idea of two states in Palestine originate? Has it a basis in international law? Why has it proven impossible so far to create an Arab/Palestinian state west of the Jordan River? On what basis do the Palestinians claim a ‘right to self-determination’, and does this amount to a right to statehood?
- Brief historical overview of plans to partition Palestine since 1920
- the EU’s Two-State Policy
- Does the “State of Palestine” exist? – The discussion in the ICC about Palestinian statehood and territory from the perspective of international law
Dr. Einat Wilf
- the Palestinian claim to a “right of return”
- why this claim is unfounded under international law
- why it is preventing a peaceful solution
Question 1: Is Gaza still occupied as long as no peace deal is agreed between the parties or an international accepted border established?
Question 2: the ”Palestinian Loss of Land” slide is a dangerous map, as it sticks to people’s minds very easily. An easy way to challenge it is to ask, what does the green color mean? In infographics the meaning of the colors should always remain the same in order to draw conclusions from graphics. The meaning changes all the time. Do you want to comment on this?
Question 3: Given that the Palestinian leadership continues to refuse to recognise the right of the Jewish State of Israel to exist − as the PLO Charter (1964/8) and the Hamas Charter (1988) clearly state, why is it the international community (the UN, the EU and the Biden Administration and the British Foreign Office) continue to force the “Two-State Solution”? Why is it not abandoned?
Given what Einat Wilf is saying − why doesn’t the international community insist that the Palestinians change, or their right of self-determination won’t happen?
Click for the Answers to these questions
Session 4 - Lawfare
Session 4 – How has the international legal system been manipulated over the past decades to undermine the sovereignty of the State of Israel. In what way has law been used as a weapon to undermine, delegitimize or even destroy the Jewish State of Israel. Who are the main players in this lawfare?
- the Arab/Palestinian 3-pronged campaign since 2000: public opinion, lawfare, and terrorism
- the use of terror as a weapon to force Israel to change its political and legal positions
- the use of violence since 2000 in the context of the delegitimisation of Israel
Recommended reading material: tbd
- the history of the “Zionism is racism” concept since the 1970’s
- what are the elements of the crime of “apartheid”?
- how does the recent Human Rights Watch Report deviate from the legal norms?
- the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) – how this organization has developed into an anti-Israel platform
- the UNHRC blacklist, and the recently-appointed Commission of Inquiry
- the roles of the Office of the High Commissioner and Special Rapporteurs
Session 5 - A New Approach
Session 5 – The Middle East changes; what are the challenges facing international law in the pursuit of peace and security in the Middle East? What is the way forward, what are the implications of the Abraham Accords for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Does international law provide answers to this intractable conflict?
Dr. Daphné Richemond-Barak
- international law of armed conflict and the ending of wars; the “End of War” Project
- what are the limits of the law of war? Do we expect too much of law?
- the Abraham Accords
Yael Vias Gvirsman
- why the ICC is no panacea in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
- Transitional justice as an alternative to international (criminal) intervention
- Sheikj Jarrah: a case study for transitional justice in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Recommended reading material:
- Prof. Eyal Benvenisti’s amicus curiae to the ICC re. the “situation in Palestine”
Amb. Daniel Taub
- reflections on the obstacles facing Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution
- the Abraham Accords – implications for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
- do the Abraham Accords offer a model for peaceful resolution of conflicts in the ME?
Question: Could the Oslo Accords be described as ‘transitional justice’?
The Oslo Accords or the 1990s Interim Agreements in their present state are not ‘transitional justice’ means per se. They are preliminary peace agreements or road maps for peace agreements with fundamental principles for the way ahead, in view of putting an end to conflict and as agreed between the Parties (the State of Israel and the PLO).
Transitional justice entails dealing with past injustices with a forward-looking approach. Transitional Justice means include, inter alia, recognition, justice mechanisms (including criminal procedure wherever relevant), pardon and memory. The Colombian peace treaty with the ‘Special Jurisdiction for Peace’ or the South African post-apartheid ‘Truth and Reconciliation Committee’ are excellent examples of justice or ‘para justice’ mechanisms which can serve to promote peace. The ‘Or Committee’ preamble following the October 2000 violent repression of demonstrations of Arab/Palestinian citizens include recognition of both narratives in an authoritative official Israeli document, perhaps for the first time.