32 Harv. Int'l. L. J. 129 (1991)
Relevance of International Law to Palestinian Rights in the West Bank and Gaza: In Legal Defense of the Intifada, The

handle is hein.journals/hilj32 and id is 135 raw text is: VOLUME 32, NUMBER I, WINTER 1991

The Relevance of International Law to
Palestinian Rights in the West Bank and
Gaza: In Legal Defense of the Intifada*
Richard A. Falk**
Burns H. Weston***
When demonstrations against Israel's occupation of the West Bank
and Gaza erupted in Gaza in December 1987, and shortly thereafter
spread to the West Bank, few perceived that what was in the making
was a resistance quite unlike the sporadic riots that had aggravated
Israeli-Palestinian relations since the Six Day War and the beginning
of the occupation in 1967. By late February 1988, even the Israeli
General Staff had adopted the Arabic word intifada, I the term preferred
by the Palestinians themselves to define what was happening.2 As
Middle East expert Don Peretz wrote in the summer of 1988: De-
cember 1987 may have been a Palestinian version of the 1916 'Easter
Rising,' a revolt which opened a struggle that lasted years before its
goals were approached.3
In the last year, however, the intifada has suffered at least temporary
setback. An acknowledgment in November-December 1988 by the
Palestine National Council (P.N.C.) and the Palestine Liberation Or-
* Copyright 1991 Richard A. Falk and Burns H. Weston. This article is revised and updated,
with permission, from a paper presented to the Conference on the Administration of the Occupied
Territories, sponsored by AI-Haq/Law in the Service of Man (West Bank affiliate of the Inter-
national Commission of Jurists) in East Jerusalem, January 22, 1988, and forthcoming from
Oxford University Press in INTERNATIONAL LAW AND THE ADMINISTRATION OF OCCUPIED
TERRITORIES: THE WEST BANK AND GAzA 1967-1987 (E. Playfair ed.).
* Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice, Princeton University.
*  Bessie Dutton Murray Professor of Law, The University of Iowa.
1. From the Arabic verb to shake loose.
2. Persons sympathetic to the uprising have seen it as the functional equivalent of a civil
war relative to the whole of Palestine (Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza) or, alternatively, as a
war of national liberation against a colonial oppressor, leading to the birth of a new Palestinian
state. Critics have seen it as the outward manifestation of an unseen, generation-long battle
between the P.L.O. and King Hussein of Jordan for control of the Palestine Arab nation.
3. Don Peretz, Intifadeb: The Palestinian Uprising, 66 FOREIGN AFF. 964, 980 (1988). The
Easter Rising of 1916 crushed the last English illusion that Ireland could be pacified as a
colony, yet the subsequent grant of sovereignty to the Irish people has nor ended the struggle
over the eventual status of the six northern counties, so-called Northern Ireland.

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