al-Majdal, issue 55 : The Paradox of Using the Law of the Oppressor

Al-Majdal is the quarterly magazine of the BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights. This issue contains contributions from a range of Palestinian NGOs responding to the paradox of utilizing Israeli law and courts for challenging abuses while these courts are the judicial arm of the very government that is responsible for the abuses.  Contributors consider the dilemma from different perspectives, outlining ways in which litigation before Israeli courts can be a tactic for struggle, even though the outcomes are so often disappointing. The magazine seeks to gauge the im/possibility of a holistic law-based and, at the same time, extra-legal strategy.

The first third of the magazine hones in on the uses of and limitations to engaging with an oppressive legal system. The second third discusses the Palestinian experience in the Israeli legal order more broadly. Finally, the issue hosts three commentaries that focus on specific theoretical areas of importance. From a reparation perspective, the most interesting contribution is the piece by Allegra Pachecho (p.46), calling for the establishment of a database of Israeli judicial complicity in International Law violations. According to Pachecho, compiling a public database analyzing Supreme Court justices’ roles in court decisions affecting Palestinian human rights would expose judicial complicity in a great number of violations. The analysis would weigh up court rulings against the standards of International law and could support future accountability litigation, especially on the international level, as well as universal jurisdiction cases against the justices.

Knowing that they are being ‘monitored and tracked’ would have the effect of encouraging Israeli judges to implement international law and put an end to sanctioning and legalizing violations of Palestinian rights. You can download the whole issue via this link.