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New book examines roles of British, UN commissions to Palestine from 1919 until 2011

By Saeb Rawashdeh - Jul 08,2021 - Last updated at Jul 08,2021

AMMAN — US anthropologist Lori Allen’s book, “A History of False Hope”, which the Kenyon Institute in Jerusalem launched last week, sheds light on the British and UN commissions to Palestine from 1919 until 2011.

Lori Allen, from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, noted that, “The book is a critique of International Law and liberalism, which promised justice and equality”, but she stated, “we can see that today these promises are yet to be fulfilled.”

An important premise of the book is how the investigative commissions have presented the liberal values that are the base of today’s International Law, Allen said.

Allen mentioned four commissions: King-Crane Commission from 1919, Anglo-American Commission of Enquiry from 1945-1946, Mitchell Commission from 2001 and Goldstone Commission from 2009.

“Each commission has consisted of a group of experts — academics, lawyers, judges and diplomats — and each is charged by a government or by a coalition of governments to investigate specifics and circumstances of human rights violations,” Allen said, adding that the Goldstone Commission was “the most controversial” of all that she studied.

According to Allen, the commissions are “a tool of intervention and global governance, whose aim is to legalise the occupation of Palestine and advocate for the status quo”.

“Palestinians hoped that the international community would respect their rights,” Allen said, noting that the book also deals with the Palestinian political history and examines international commissions that have investigated political violence and human rights violations.

Allen underlined that Palestinians sought a just and democratic solution to the ongoing crisis, adding that the Palestinians had planned constitutional rights for Muslims, Christians and Jews who resided in the Palestinian territory in 1919.

Allen quoted Arab-British historian and political activist Albert Hourani’s (1915-1993) address to the Anglo-American Committee: “The Arab people… have again and again emphasised that the only just and practicable solution for the problem of Palestine lies in the constitution of Palestine, with least possible delay, into a self-governing state, with its Arab majority, but with full rights of the Jewish citizens of Palestine. A state which should enter the United Nations organisation and the Arab League on the level of equality with other Arab states; a state in which questions of general concern, like immigration, should be decided by the ordinary democratic procedure in accordance with the will of the majority.”

 “The history of commissions is the history of refusals and the liberal excuses given to them,” Allen concluded.


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