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Israel’s Attack on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip Explored at Public Forum

January 21, 2013
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Birzeit University’s Faculty of Law and Public Administration held a public forum on November 20, 2012 on the repercussions of Israel’s recent attack on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Faculty Dean Asem Khalil moderated the forum, which featured three speakers: Saleh Abdel Jawad, political science professor, Yassir Amouri, professor of international law, and Basim Al-Zubeidi, professor of political science.


Professor Abdel Jawad kicked off the forum, saying that Israel appeared to be trying to eliminate the Palestinian resistance from the scene. This explained its assassination of Ahmad Al-Ja’bari, a leader of the Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, he said, and recalled the assassination of the leader Kamal Odwan in 1973, through which Israel negated the resistance movement in Fateh. Hamas should be wary, Abdel Jawad said. He also asserted that negotiations with Israel have proven to be a failure due to the fact that Israel always tries to put its interests first.


Professor Al-Zubeidi also spoke of the driving forces behind the attack on Gaza: Israeli general elections and Israel’s desire to assess Gaza’s strengths as well as the outcomes and effects of the Arab Spring in the region.


“We cannot, in the short run, measure the results of the attack both positive and negative. They need more time to be clearer,” he argued.



Offering the legal view, Professor Al-Amouri said that “what Israel has carried out is a crime against humanity, a crime punishable by international law.” He also stated that Israel’s excuse of self-defense is void, with no legal conditions existing that give it the right to defend itself. For example, there was a lack of parity in the action and reaction between attacker and defender.


All speakers were in agreement that the Palestinian resistance was able to attain a large and undeniable achievement. They also concurred that one of the hidden motives for the Israeli attack was to prevent Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas from going to the United Nations to request an upgrade in status, as he has said he will do in late November.


The speakers closed the meeting with a question and answer session, engaging the large audience in attendance.

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