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7th December 2009

Book Launch at SOAS

From Coexistence to Conquest: SOAS book Launch

Date of event: 9 December 2009

Time: 19:30

Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS

The Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy and Pluto Press cordially invite you to the launch of


Chair:  Laleh Khalili


Speakers:  Victor Kattan, Ilan Pappé, Catriona Drew, and Brian Klug.



About the Book

From Coexistence to Conquest seeks to explain how the Arab-Israeli conflict developed by looking beyond strict legalism to the men behind the policies adopted by the Great Powers at the dawn of the twentieth century.  It controversially argues that Zionism was adopted by the British Government in its 1917 Balfour Declaration primarily as an immigration device and that it can be traced back to the 1903 Royal Commission on Alien Immigration and the Alien's Act 1905.


The book contains the most detailed legal analysis of the 1915-6 Hussein-McMahon correspondence, as well as the Balfour Declaration, and takes a closer look at the travaux préparatoires that formed the British Mandate of Palestine.  It places the violent reaction of the Palestine Arabs to mass Jewish immigration in the context of Zionism, highlighting the findings of several British commissions of inquiry which recommended that Britain abandon its policy.  The book also revisits the controversies over the question of self-determination, and the partition of Palestine.


The chapter on the 1948 conflict seeks to update international lawyers on the scholarship of Israel's 'new' historians and reproduces some of the horrific accounts of the atrocities that took place from newspaper reports, UN documents, and personal accounts, which saw the expulsion and exodus of almost an entire people from their homeland. The penultimate chapter argues that Israel was created through an act of conquest or subjugation. The book concludes with a sobering analysis of the conflict arguing that neither Jews nor Arabs were to blame for starting it.



About the Speakers

Victor Kattan is a Teaching Fellow at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He has an LL.B (Hons.) from Brunel University, an LL.M from Leiden University and is working on a PhD at SOAS on a history of partition in international law.


Victor was a Research Fellow in Public International Law at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law on their Human Rights in International Law and Iran project from 2006-8. In 2003-4, he worked in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a UN Development Programme consultant on secondment to the BADIL Resource Center, a non-governmental organisation specialising in Palestinian refugee rights.


Victor is the author of more than half a dozen scholarly articles on the Arab-Israeli conflict in international law journals. He compiled an edited collection of legal articles in The Palestine Question in International Law, which was published by The British Institute of International and Comparative Law in May 2008. Kattan was assistant editor of the Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law from 2005-8.


You can read Victor's blog, and his articles at his website


Ilan Pappé is Chair in the Department of History, University of Exeter and a co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies and the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Studies.  He was formerly a Senior Lecturer in Political Science at Haifa University (1984-2007), and chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian and Israeli Studies (2000-2008) in Israel.


Dr Pappé graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1978, and in 1984 obtained his PhD in history from the University of Oxford, under the guidance of Arab historian Albert Hourani and Roger Owen.


He is the author of The Bureaucracy of Evil:  The History of the Israeli Occupation (forthcoming, 2010), The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006), The Modern Middle East (2005), A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples (2003), The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1947-51 (1994), and Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (1988).


You can visit Pappé's website at


Catriona Drew is a lecturer in International Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London where she teaches at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy and the School of Law. She is co-director of the Centre for the study of Colonialism, Empire, and International Law.

Dr Drew holds a LLB from the University of Aberdeen, and a PhD from the London School of Economics. She has been a Visiting Fellow at the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School (1999-2000), and was Global Crystal Eastman Fellow at the Hauser Global Law School, New York University (2006-2007).

She is currently completing a book for Cambridge University Press, which examines the international legal history of the relationship between self-determination and population transfer.


Brian Klug is Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at St Benet's Hall, Oxford; a member of the philosophy faculty at Oxford University; and Honorary Fellow of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, Southampton University.


His book Offence: The Jewish Case (commissioned by Index on Censorship) has just been published, while Being Jewish and Doing Justice is in preparation. Dr Klug is co-editor of A Time to Speak Out: Independent Jewish Voices on Israel, Zionism and Jewish Identity. His writing on Zionism, antisemitism and Jewish identity has appeared in numerous periodicals, such as Foreign Policy, the Journal of Jewish Studies, the Journal of Palestine Studies, Political Quarterly, and The Nation.


Dr Klug has contributed essays on these subjects to several books, including Israel, Palestine and Terror (2008), Antisemitism and Islamophobia (2007), and The Anti-American Century (2007).


He is currently teaching tutorial and seminar courses on 'Zion and Zionism' (Oxford), 'Philosophy after Auschwitz' (Oxford) and 'Israel or Palestine? The British in Palestine 1917-1948' (Southampton). Dr. Klug is Associate Editor of the journal Patterns of Prejudice, and co-founder of Independent Jewish Voices.



Laleh Khalili is a Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics at SOAS. Her main research areas are policing and incarceration, gender, nationalism, political and social movements, refugees and diasporas in the Middle East.


Dr Khalili has an MPhil and a PhD from Columbia University and is the author of Heroes and Martyrs of Palestine: The Politics of National Commemoration.  She is currently working on a genealogy of incarceration and detention practices in counterinsurgencies.


All welcome, this event will be followed by a reception

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“This is an elegant and forceful narrative by a young Palestinian scholar.”

— Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations (1992-1997)

From Coexistence to Conquest

Read more advance praise for From Coexistence to Conquest: International Law and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1891-1949

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