‘Lawfare’ in the Conflict between Israel and Palestine?
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, NL
Dr. Kenneth Manusama is Assistant Professor of International Law at the Transnational Legal Studies Department at the Faculty of Law. In addition, he is also the co-founder of the Vitoria Institute for International Law and Policy.
On November 29th, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted to grant Palestine non-member observer State status. The core question is whether this newly found status for the Palestinians will be beneficial or disadvantageous to both the Palestinians and the peace process. Non-member observer State status at the UN signifies recognition of Palestinian statehood, and as such introduces a host of legal issues into one of the most entrenched and protracted conflicts in the world. Was it the birth of a new state that inaugurates the beginning of the end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or did the acceptance of Palestine as a non-member observer State merely introduce a new phase and battlefield? The term ‘lawfare’ comes to mind. The notion of ‘lawfare’ can be either defined as “the use of the law as a weapon of war”, “the abuse of Western laws and judicial systems to achieve strategic military or political ends”, or “the negative manipulation of international and national human rights laws to accomplish purposes other than, or contrary to, those for which they were originally enacted”.1 It has, therefore, a definite negative connotation. But it is the use of the law in the relationship between Israel and Palestine, which may be the most important consequence of Palestinian statehood...