Event Dates: 14 – 16 March 2015
Room B01 Clore Building and Room B34 Main Building
Birkbeck, University of London
London WC1E 7HX
Equal Rights for All – A New Path for Israel-Palestine
The failure of the Kerry peace plan, the devastating bombardment of Gaza in July and August 2014, and the annexation by Israel of more land in the West Bank have delivered another setback to both the prospect of Palestinian statehood and an end to the Israel-Palestine conflict. More broadly, 47 years of military occupation have denied the Palestinians inhabiting these territories almost every basic civil and human right. It is time therefore for an objective appraisal of the reality of life for Palestinians, a thorough understanding of the nature of the Israeli-controlled military and civil regime that prevails in the entire Israel-Palestine area, and a recognition that there will be no solution that can secure the viability of a peaceful life for Israelis and Palestinians unless it is grounded in the principles of universal human rights and international law. Shifting attention from discussions focused solely on a one-or-two-state agreement, the fundamental question this conference seeks to address is how to achieve equal rights for all who live in Palestine-Israel.
In pursuit of these objectives, the conference will also aim to highlight the real impact of occupation and ask how it may be brought to an end; seek to facilitate co-operation between Palestinians and like-minded Israeli Jews; and issue a rallying call for the international community.
Saturday 14 March
Welcome by Professor Costas Douzinas (Birkbeck):
Introduction to the conference by Professor Jacqueline Rose (Birkbeck):
Why Now is the Time for Rights – Avrum Burg and Sam Bahour in Conversation
Chair: Jaqueline Rose
Sunday 15 March
Panel 1: Mapping the Balance of Power and Control in Israel-Palestine
Speakers: Avi Shlaim (Emeritus Professor of International Relations, Oxford University), Taghreed el-Khodary (Journalist and Visiting Scholar with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), Mustafa Barghouti (General Secretary, Palestine National Initiative)
Chair: Lynne Segal (Birkbeck)
Panel 2: Prioritizing rights: can it supplant failed international peace diplomacy and lead to the end of occupation? What does attaining full civil and political rights for all mean in practice?
Speakers: Bashir Bashir (political theorist, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute), Phillipe Sands QC (Matrix Chambers), Sam Bahour (Palestinian-American business consultant, policy adviser to Palestinian Policy Network Al-Shabaka, and writer)
Chair: Tony Klug (Oxford)
Panel 3: National self-determination and belonging: reconciling competing nationalisms
Speakers: Moshe Behar (Middle East historian, University of Manchester), Yossi Rapoport (Islamic historian, Queen Mary, University of London), Leila Farsakh (Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts)
Chair: Gertraud Auer Borea d’ Olmo (Kreisky Foundation)
Panel 4: International pressure to achieve change: International law, diplomatic pressure, BDS, new media and diasporas
Speakers: Salma Karmi-Ayyoub (criminal barrister, former litigator with Al-Haq, Ramallah-based human rights NGO), John Strawson (colonial legal historian, co-director, Centre on Human Rights in Conflict, University of East London)
Chair: Geoffrey Bindman QC
Monday 16 March
Panel 5: What role for the EU?
Speakers: Michelle Pace (Professor of Politics, project leader in research on the EU and the Middle East, Roskilde University), Leila Shahid (General Delegate of Palestine to the EU), Alon Liel (former Director General, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Israel)
Chair: Avi Shlaim (Emeritus Professor of International Relations, Oxford University)
Panel 6: What state-based constitutional structures might most successfully enshrine and protect equal rights for all?
Speakers: Brenna Bhandar (postcolonial legal theorist, SOAS), Nimer Sultany (SOAS), Limor Yehuda (former director, Human Rights in the Occupied Territories Dept, Association for Civil Rights in Israel)
Chair: Leila Shahid (General Delegate of Palestine to the EU)
Concluding remarks with Lynne Segal, Giles Fraser and Jacqueline Rose: