Law and the Arab-Israeli Con­flict: The Tri­als of Palestine

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2019
Dur­ing the ear­ly years of the Arab-Jew­ish con­flict in Pales­tine, the par­ties repeat­ed­ly used the law to gain lever­age against each oth­er and influ­ence inter­na­tion­al opin­ion. By the late 1920s and 1930s, the con­flict had become as much a bat­tle fought in the court­room as in the streets, play­ing out in three sep­a­rate tri­als, focus­ing pri­mar­i­ly on two issues: the legal­i­ty of the Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion and the Man­date for Pales­tine; and the par­ties’ rights and claims to the Wail­ing Wall. In two instances — the Shaw Com­mis­sion in 1929 and the Lof­gren Com­mis­sion in 1930 — Arabs and Jews faced off against each oth­er in full-blown tri­als before British and inter­na­tion­al judges. Out­side coun­sel made open­ing state­ments and clos­ing argu­ments, intro­duced exhibits, and cross-exam­ined each other’s wit­ness­es under oath. In a third instance, the 1936 – 37 Peel Com­mis­sion, the par­ties used wit­ness tes­ti­mo­ny and exten­sive writ­ten sub­mis­sions to con­tin­ue their legal advo­ca­cy. The argu­ments the par­ties made in those three tri­als con­tin­ue res­onat­ing in the con­flict today, near­ly one hun­dred years later.

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