Using the Master’s Tools to Dismantle the Master’s House: International Law and Palestinian Liberation

26 May 2022

It is commonplace to seek to enforce international law as a means of vindicating the rights of the Palestinian people, including, fundamentally, the right to liberation. Legal “tools” deployed to dismantle the “master’s house” of colonial oppression, to borrow from Audre Lorde. But the international legal system is embedded with the ideology and techniques of imperialism and colonialism. Is international law not, then, part of the “master’s house”? Would the implementation of international law necessarily bring about Palestinian liberation?

The lecture, based on a new article in the Palestine Yearbook of International Law, provides a critical evaluation of what is at stake when international law is invoked in the context of the Palestinian struggle. How and to what extent does it speak to the fundamental question of Palestinian liberation?


About the speaker: 

Dr Ralph Wilde is a member of the Faculty of Laws at UCL, University of London, where he teaches and researches on international law and convenes the “‘decolonizing’ law” public lecture series. He is currently at Residential Fellow at the CBRL Kenyon Institute in Al Quds.  His current research focuses on the extraterritorial application of international human rights law and the international law aspects of the Israel-Palestine situation. His previous work on the concept of trusteeship over people and territorial administration by international organizations includes his book International Territorial Administration: How Trusteeship and the Civilizing Mission Never Went Away (OUP), awarded the Certificate of Merit of the American Society of International Law.  He previously served on the Executive bodies of the American and European Societies of International Law, and the International Law Association.  He is a past winner of the Philip Leverhulme Prize by the UK Leverhulme Trust.

Damascus Gate, Eid Al-Fitr 2022. ©Ralph Wilde

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