The Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University is pleased to announce the first recipients of the inaugural Palestine & Law Fellowship, Suhad Bishara and Jamal Nusseibeh. The Fellowship is designed to both deepen the scholarly understanding of the complex ways in which law and legality are implicated in Palestine, and to provide a supportive environment for scholars of Palestine to conduct research. The Fellow will participate in the rich interdisciplinary environment of the Center for Palestine Studies, Columbia Law School, and Columbia University more generally.
Suhad Bishara is a senior attorney and the Head of the Land and Planning Unit of Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. She has litigated numerous constitutional rights cases before the Israeli Supreme Court concerning the land rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). She is an Editor of Makan - Adalah's Journal of Land, Planning and Justice, and she co-authored a report entitled "Nomads Against Their Will", in 2011 about the State of Israel's attempt to expel Arab Bedouin citizens of the state from their village in the Naqab (Negev) desert.
Bishara's research project will focus on challenging the applicability of the rule of law and constitutional protection on the Palestinian citizens of Israel by examining the case of the unrecognized Palestinian Bedouin villages in the Naqab (Negev) desert in southern Israel. Due to the lack of recognition, these villages lack basic infrastructure and services, and the residents live under constant threat of home demolition and eviction orders. She will examine whether and how today's judicial policy towards the unrecognized villages, is a continuation of the historical, judicial policy used in Palestinian land confiscation cases in the aftermath of the Nakba in 1948 and through the 1950s, when the Israeli judicial system suspended the rule of law and constitutional protections. Bishara will also investigate the connection between the past and the present by examining the contribution of the law and the judiciary to the continuation of the Nakba on territorial matters in Israel.
Dr. Jamal Nusseibeh is an Assistant Professor of Law at Al Quds University (AQU) in Jerusalem, where he developed and taught courses on Human Rights Law and on Domestic and International Arbitration. He also devised and taught a course on Jerusalem for graduate students enrolled in AQU's Jerusalem Studies program, analyzing the city from a legal and political perspective. From Fall 2010 until 2013, he also served as Vice President of AQU, in which capacity he was responsible for managing the legal and development strategy of the University in Jerusalem, navigating the unique legal and political challenges faced by what is one of two remaining major Palestinian institutions in the city.
Nusseibeh obtained his initial degrees from the Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) in Paris, and worked as speechwriter and aide to the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council before going to England to study postgraduate law at City University and become a Barrister, as a Queen Mother Scholar at the Middle Temple. He obtained his LL.M. (Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar) and J.S.D. (Joseph V. Heffernan Fellow) from Columbia University, with a dissertation entitledInternational Economic Dispute Settlement: Morality and Authority in Investment Arbitration and at the WTO . Nusseibeh is interested in questions of law, morality, sovereignty and authority, and the multiple novel interactions of these concepts in the Palestinian context. At CPS, he plans to write specifically on Jerusalem, using the course he developed at AQU as a framework for an empirical analysis of the city, and relying in part on his practical experience of the University's struggle to survive in Jerusalem as a case study of the complexities of long-term occupation and the increasingly dire situation in Jerusalem in the years since Oslo. He will be looking at questions such as how people do, and are supposed to, behave in the absence of (acceptable/accepted) law and (acceptable/accepted) sovereignty, and whether there may be practical solutions to improve the situation for persons (people, institutions) in the absence of macro-level political decision-making (is this a transitional justice situation, or is it no longer transitional?). By re-viewing Jerusalem empirically, he hopes also to reach some normative/prescriptive conclusions as to how Palestinians (and others?) in and from Jerusalem can/ought to interact with the multiple (quasi-) legal/political systems that vie for control over their lives.