Lawfare Project Condemns Palestinian Bar Association for Honoring Terrorist After Wave of Violence Against Innocents

October 14, 2015, NEW YORK – The Palestinian Bar Association (PBA) has announced that it will award an honorary law degree to the 19-year-old Palestinian student who murdered two Israeli civilians in Jerusalem’s Old City on October 3. Muhannad Halabi is considered by the PBA to be a “martyred hero” and the Association’s next swearing-in ceremony will be held in his honor.

The PBA receives financial backing from both the European Union and the United Nations, and is led by members of Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction. According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), the EU has given more than €7 million to the PBA since 2010 for support and development.

There is no greater hypocrisy than a lawyers’ association blatantly celebrating any clear violation of the law, let alone a murderous terror attack. The PBA is rejecting the basic responsibility that all legal professionals share with the global legal community to uphold the rule of law. The glorification of murder as “martyrdom” is patently antithetical to this objective. Lawyers and bar associations worldwide, as well as the EU and the UN, must condemn this exaltation of terror in accordance with our fundamental duty to promote adherence to the law.

Halabi is responsible for the stabbing deaths of Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Bennett, as well as the injuries suffered by Bennett’s wife, Adele, and their 2-year old son. The attack occurred at the Lion’s Gate entrance to the Old City as the family walked to the Western Wall to conclude Shabbat. Before murdering these innocent civilians, Halabi made reference to a “third intifada” on his Facebook page, calling for a violent uprising against Jews.

The Association’s members take the following oath: “By the name of God I swear to be loyal to our home land, to conduct my job honestly in related to the law and legislations and to perform confidential attorneys’ career in accordance with its laws and traditions.” It seems that the PBA is more committed to violence “in the name of God” than the “laws and traditions” of the civilized world.

Benjamin Ryberg