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31st December 2009

Talk & Book Launch at Dubai School of Government

From Coexistence to Conquest: International Law and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1891-1949


Victor Kattan


Teaching Fellow at the Centre for International
Studies and Diplomacy at the School of
Oriental and African Studies (SOAS),
University of London

Dubai School of Government
Convention Tower, 13th Floor

Sunday, January 17, 2010
6:00 - 6:30 Reception
6:30 - 7:00 Lecture
7:00 - 7:30 Q/A

RSVP: Policyforum@dsg.ac.ae
Tel: +971-4-329-3290 +971-4-329-3290
Fax: +971-4-329-3291

About the Lecture
In December 2008, Israel claimed that its military assault on the Gaza Strip in Operation Cast Lead was a justifiable act of ‘self-defence', a plea that was rejected by over two dozen international lawyers in a letter published in The Sunday Times. In order to place the war in Gaza and the wider Israel-Palestine conflict in its historical context, Victor Kattan revisits the justifications advanced by Israel for the 1948 conquest of Palestine, and successive Arab-Israeli wars, in order to explain why the Israeli Government has a tendency to invoke its right of ‘self-defence' as a cover for attacks against the Palestinian people and the surrounding Arab states. Kattan argues that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians will not be peacefully resolved unless the lessons learned from the 1948 war are fully addressed. Accordingly, a more robust diplomatic response from the Arab world to repeated Israeli infringements of international law is necessary which should include further recourse to international political and legal institutions.

About the Book
This is an elegant and forceful narrative by a young Palestinian scholar.

--Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations

From Coexistence to Conquest as a piece of scholarship is a welcome addition to the search for a peace in the Middle East with human dignity for all its peoples at its centre.

--His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan

Kattan's book constitutes an exceptionally important contribution to the literature on the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

-- Lex Takkenberg, General Counsel, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

This is a well researched and extremely informative and well argued book. It is one of the best, if not the best, on the subject.

Dr. Anis al-Qasem, Barrister-at-Law, Lincoln's Inn, and formerly Chairman of the Legal Committee of the Palestinian National Council

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. The book contains the most detailed legal analysis of the 1915-6 Hussein-McMahon correspondence, as well as the Balfour Declaration, and 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.

About the Speaker

Victor 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 studying towards a PhD at SOAS on partition for which he was awarded a scholarship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. 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. Prior to this, he was a Director with the London based media watchdog Arab Media Watch where he also worked as a journalist, an adviser and a researcher.

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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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