Seminar|A Just Outcome for Palestine? Don't Look to International Law


5:00 PM - 6:30 PM



Date:8 November 2023
Speaker:Dr Mohsen al Attar, Department of International Studies



Israel's brutal bombing of Gaza has provoked much introspection amongst scholars around the world. International lawyers are no exception, with many looking upon the devastation with dismay, now questioning the effectiveness and morality of the regime they have submitted to. In this presentation, I wish to explore international law's mythological status amongst its interlocutors. In opposition to claims of the canon, the regime has a long history of sanctioning the very violence we are witnessing in Palestine today. Drawing inspiration from the Third World Approaches to International Law movement (TWAIL), I will demonstrate how the myth of international law serve(d)(s) as a convenient pretext for an ambitious Europe. TWAIL challenges traditional narratives about liberalism and the rules-based order, offering an alternative perspective that centres on the experiences of those marginalised by the prevailing euro-centric legal structures. Using the context of Palestine, I will emphasise the value of local narratives in assessing both historic and contemporary events and, more importantly, when imagining paths forward in Palestine.



Dr Mohsen al Attar is a Reader at the Department of International Studies at XJTLU. His research explores international law and political economy from a critical perspective. He argues that many foundational principles are epistemically biased, reflecting a predominantly European viewpoint. This bias limits our understanding of human growth and well-being. His most research delves into the complexities of decolonisation. He suggests that while the debate on decolonisation appears to advocate for diverse cultural voices in international law, it also acts to solidify its Eurocentric foundations.

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