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February 9, 2011
Topic: Is it Wrong or Illegal? Situating the Gaza Blockade between International Law and the UN Response
Speaker: Noura Erakat
Israel has imposed a debilitating blockade upon Gaza since June 2007 catapulting the Gaza Strip into what some humanitarian professionals have deemed a "humanitarian catastrophe." This lecture will examine the blockade in international law and demonstrate its illegality for violating the Laws of Occupation, including but not limited to, the prohibition on collective punishment enshrined in Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The lecture will then demonstrate that the UN Security Council's failure to highlight the blockade's legal nature, choosing to deal with its as a political matter instead, and will conclude with the implications of such treatment as well as recommendations for addressing them.
Noura Erakat is a Palestinian attorney and activist. She is currently an adjunct professor of international human rights law in the Middle East at Georgetown University and the Legal Advocacy Coordinator for the Badil Center for Palestinian Refugee and Residency Rights. Most recently she served as Legal Counsel for a Congressional Subcommittee in the House of Representatives. Prior to her time on Capitol Hill, Noura received a New Voices Fellowship to work as the national grassroots organizer and legal advocate at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation where she helped seed BDS campaigns nationally as well as support the cases brought against two former Israeli officials in U.S. federal courts for alleged war crimes. Noura has appeared on Fox’s “The O’ Reilly Factor,” NBC’s “Politically Incorrect,” MSNBC, and Al-Jazeera Arabic and English. Her publications include: "Litigating the Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Politicization of U.S. Federal Courts" in the Berkeley Law Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Law and "Arabiya Made Invisible: Between the Marginalization of Agency and the Silencing of Dissent" in a Syracuse Press anthology. Noura spent the Spring 2010 academic semester in Beirut, Lebanon where she is working with a human rights attorney on a several issues including administrative detention of Iraqi refugees.
Background article (pdf)