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Lawfare News & Analysis: Conference call on UDI, The Defense Department and China, Updating the Geneva Conventions, and Palestinian action at the UN
Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Save the Date!

Conference call briefing on Palestinian UDI/UDS (Unilateral Declaration of Independence/Statehood)

The Lawfare Project will be hosting a conference call briefing on the issue of Palestinian UDI/UDS. There seems to be as yet relatively little expert discussion regarding legal challenges that may arise following a UN vote on Palestinian Statehood, and the briefing will address the following questions, among others:

  • What steps should be taken to prepare for the possibility of a wave of legal actions against Israel or Israelis in the ICJ, ICC or European courts?
  • Should think-tanks and law-related organizations begin preparing briefs to the ICJ/ICC prosecutor against the PA in a preemptive counter-lawfare campaign?
The briefing will be conducted by LP fellow David Benjamin (Israel-based attorney specializing in International Law, the Law of Armed Conflict and Counter-Terrorism) and Jeremy Rabkin (Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law), and will be moderated by Michael Schwartz (Of Counsel, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz). A Q&A will follow.

Date: Thursday, September 15, 2011

Time: 12 PM - 12:45 PM

Please RSVP to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  if you would like to participate. The call-in number will be provided upon receipt of your RSVP on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is very limited.

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Lawfare News & Analysis

Blog: The Defense Department and China

The U.S. Department of Defense recently released its annual report on Chinese military and security developments, and in the course of the report, considered lawfare and other forms of modern asymmetric warfare. Writing for the LP blog in "Lawfare Analysis in Defense Department Report on China," Research Director Aaron Eitan Meyer noted that the report paid only cursory attention to the strategic interests served by lawfare. Specifically, the Report cites only two such strategic interests, namely "claim[ing] the legal high ground" and assert[ing] Chinese interests," which are by no means the only strategic interests that can be furthered by lawfare, whether by China or any other nation. Positively, the 2011 Report contains slightly more analysis of lawfare than the 2010 Report, and it is to be hoped that the 2012 Report will continue this trend.

21st Century Warfare and The Need to Update The Geneva Conventions

The Lawfare Project has consistently noted that one of the main reasons lawfare is successfully deployed against democratic nations fighting terrorism lies in the fact that liberal democracies are bound by the laws of armed conflict and Geneva Conventions, while their terrorist enemies act with impunity. In his recent article for The Australian, “Irregular warfare blows hole in Geneva rules,” law professor Gregory Rose commented on a recently dismissed case against the commander of an elite Australian SAS team who was facing charges after soldiers under his command threw a grenade into a building that was being used by terrorists, and which apparently contained five children. In particular, he noted that had the commander been convicted, it would have “undoubtedly flash[ed] a big green light for more extensive use of children as human shields.” He also pointed out that, “Tactical use of lawfare includes the defensive use of civilian shields and unfounded claims to legal protections, and aggressive use of false surrenders, faked reports of massacres and of war crimes.” The article is well worth reading.

Lawfare Implications of Unilateral Palestinian Action at the United Nations

After the United States made clear that it would veto any Security Council Resolution recommending a state of Palestine for membership in the United Nations, the Palestinian Authority began rethinking their strategic options. The strategy has shifted away from attempting to achieve any real form of statehood to the attainment of additional lawfare capabilities to use against Israel and its allies, including the United States. In a Washington Post article entitled “Did the Palestinian Authority think through its U.N. gambit?” Jennifer Rubin termed the decision to pursue unilateral action at the UN “disastrous” for the Palestinians, but also that “the PA can go to the General Assembly, get an impressive vote and then have a club to use against Israel in its lawfare operation to discredit and delegitimize the Jewish state.” Similarly, the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise Jewish Virtual Library recently posted a Fact Sheet on “Palestinian Unilateral Declaration of Independence,” explaining that such action could not result in a Palestinian state, but would a) circumvent negotiations; b) violate international law and frameworks for peace; and c) intensify the conflict, demonize Israel and set dangerous precedents. Finally, Nicole Gaouette and Bill Varner reported at in "Republicans to Unveil Bill to Force Major Changes at the UN," that House Republicans have begun introducing bills to condition US funding for the UN on actual UN reform, including a drastic reduction in aid to Palestinian refugees.

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