Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Comment on A Constitution for "Palestine"

There's now an academic take on this-

Drafting a Constitution for a 'Country of Words' : The Palestinian Case

It's by University College London's Sylvie Delacroix from the Faculty of Laws.

From the Abstract:

Can words - rather than a State (or army) - constitute a country? It may be made of land, rivers, forests or deserts - yet without its inhabitants’ words there would be no map to draw, no tale to sing, no country to speak of. Palestinian tales abound. They speak of departed lands, vanished homes, forfeited livelihoods. They lament internal wrangling, squeal occupational anger, seek to whisper away those quotidian checkpoint humiliations. Yet they also speak of hope. If there ever were such a thing as “authoritative hope”, the ongoing Palestinian constitution-drafting process may be it. But hope cannot be formalized, let alone authorized. And there is some danger in pretending otherwise.

As I am not a constitutional lawyer, I looked for items I do know something about and found this

...the early stages of the first intifada. While it may never have managed to be completely non-­‐violent (it took a definite, violent turn during the Kuwait Crisis), the seeds of what may properly be termed “embryonic self-­‐rule” were there nevertheless.

The Kuwait Crisis was, if I presume this is what she is referring to, Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 (or perhaps the late 1989 talks between Kuwait and Iraq to break the deadlock between the two over Iraq repaying its $14 billion debt). In any case, since the first intifada broke out in December 1987, and since it was violent from the start and even Mubarak Awad she quotes had nil influence over the violent character of the intifada, Delacroix is on shaky legal grounds here for writing what she did.

One source writes on this:

The intifada was violent from the start. During the first four years of the uprising, more than 3,600 Molotov cocktail attacks, 100 hand grenade attacks and 600 assaults with guns or explosives were reported by the Israel Defense Forces. The violence was directed at soldiers and civilians alike. During this period, 16 Israeli civilians and 11 soldiers were killed by Palestinians in the territories; more than 1,400 Israeli civilians and 1,700 Israeli soldiers were injured.

She seems to favor federalism as a solution but approvingly quotes Sari Nusseibeh rather uncritically especially as regards his historical narrative.

Another matter was, as far as I can tell, a complete refusal to compare with Israel's constitutional laws ("Basic Laws") and comment on whether the Arabs had learned something or nothing or even had borrowed language or concepts or not from Israel.

P.S. Her note 73 is interesting but incomplete. I wonder what she meant to write about "Palestine" first being used.


1 comment:

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