An Open Letter to the President of the Palestinian Authority

Received by email – 7 Oct 2009

[To be published in Arabic in the Arab press]


We are Palestinian international lawyers and law professors concerned with justice and peace in Palestine. It was with great sadness that we learned of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s decision to defer a vote on the Goldstone Report in the United Nations Human Rights Council until March 2010. We understand that great pressure was exerted on the Palestinian leadership to bring about this result, in the interest of preserving the peace process. Yet negotiations since 1991 have often served as a cover for Israel’s continuing colonial expansion into Palestinian territories. Moreover, the PLO, as the internationally recognized voice of the Palestinian people, has a legal responsibility to represent the interests and perspectives of Palestinians, not American and Israeli interests. The decision to defer justice in order to gain peace involves a grave misjudgement that we believe will ultimately harm the interests of the Palestinian people. Sustainable peace can only be built on human rights, on justice, and the rule of law. If the rule of law is to be respected it must be enforced. We strongly urge the leadership to reconsider its decision, and to begin to forge an independent path of diplomacy based on respect for nternational law that can lead to genuine justice and durable peace.


Yours sincerely,

George Bisharat, University of California Hastings College of Law
Victor Kattan, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Anis Qasem, former Chairman of the Legal Committee of the Palestinian National Council
Omar Dajani, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
Lama Abu Odeh, Georgetown University Law Centre
Ahmad Amara, Adv., Human Rights Program, Harvard University Law School
Diana Buttu, lawyer
Mary Nazzal-Batayneh, Human Rights Legal Aid Fund
Lena el-Malak, freelance legal consultant
Zaha Hassan, Esq. Portland, Oregon
Noura Erekat, Esq. Washington, DC
Reem Al-Botmeh, Bern University
Samera Esmeir, UC Berkeley

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