The Marwan Barghouti case has been labeled a “political trial” by Israelis and Palestinians alike. In the courtroom, Israel is trying Barghouti for terrorism. In the court of public opinion, the Israeli government is using the prosecution of Barghouti to discredit the Palestinian leadership and Palestinian resistance to occupation. Barghouti, in turn, is using the event to put Israel on trial.

Marwan Barghouti was a “wanted” man long before he was arrested by Israeli forces on April 15, 2002. When the second intifada began in late September 2000, Barghouti was one of the main leaders — or, in official Israeli parlance, “inciters” — of the protests that followed Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Haram al-Sharif. He participated in demonstrations and spoke out about Palestinians’ right to resist the enduring Israeli occupation.

Israelresponded to the renewed unrest with a vengeance, using live ammunition against demonstrators and unleashing the brunt of its high-end military hardware against Palestinian population centers. As the Palestinian death toll rose, Barghouti established the tanzim — Fatah-led militias that defend Palestinian towns and villages from Israeli military onslaughts. The tanzim also engaged in offensive strikes against Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank and Gaza. His advocacy and efforts to make Israelis pay dearly for the interminable occupation and the carnage in the West Bank and Gaza boosted his already strong popularity among Palestinians.

But for most Israelis, Palestinian violence of any kind, even defensive measures, is condemned as “terrorism.” Barghouti, one-time darling of the peace camp, was branded a “master terrorist,” and no effort was spared to get him. When Barghouti was captured, during the 2002 invasion of the West Bank termed “Operation Defensive Shield,” Israel heralded a major victory in its “war against terrorism.” He is now standing trial in Israel for charges of murder, attempted murder, accessory to murder, conspiracy and membership in a terrorist organization.

The Marwan Barghouti case has been labeled a “political trial” by Israelis and Palestinians alike. It has all the hallmarks: a high-profile and charismatic defendant, deep and clearly conflicting political stakes, and lots of international attention. In the courtroom, Israel is trying Barghouti for terrorism. In the court of public opinion, the Israeli government is using the prosecution of Barghouti to discredit the Palestinian leadership and, by extension, to justify the reoccupation of previously evacuated parts of the West Bank and Gaza, and the violence used to achieve it. Barghouti, in turn, is using the event to put Israel on trial. He is refusing to mount a defense against the charges he faces. On October 3, 2002, the first day of pre-trial motions, he issued a “charge sheet” of his own, naming himself on behalf of the Palestinian people as plaintiff versus the State of Israel as defendant. The 54 charges include “specific acts of genocide, ethnic cleansing…arbitrary arrests and illegal imprisonment…racial discrimination [and] torture.”

From the Dock at Rivonia

A political trial can change the course of history. The 1964 trial of Nelson Mandela is a classic example. Mandela was tried in a South African court for sabotage designed to “ferment violent revolution” and sentenced to life in prison. Although Mandela lost the trial, his political vindication is one of the most widely hailed achievements of the twentieth century. After 27 years of incarceration, he was released, and helped to finish the work that had landed him in jail in the first place: dismantling the apartheid regime and creating a “new” South Africa, of which he became the first president.

The trial itself was a critically important event in the history of South Africa, not least for the impact of the speech that Mandela gave from the dock at Rivonia. “I am prepared to die” is a proud and compelling assertion of the right to resist oppression, and the recourse to violence that this struggle entailed. As Mandela explained:

[A]s a result of Government policy, violence by the African people had become inevitable…[W]e felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy. All lawful modes of expressing opposition to this principle had been closed by legislation, and we were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or to defy the Government…[When] the Government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer violence with violence.

Mandela did not concede legitimacy to the court that prosecuted and convicted him. But he used the forum of the courtroom to make a case against the state. What is so remarkable about his speech is the way he used the state’s evidence against him as the narrative anchor to explain the African National Congress’s tactics and goals. He made history in a literal sense by recounting the South African state’s massacres and detailing the mechanics of disenfranchisement and impoverishment of black Africans, thereby enriching the historical record of how pivotal events had informed the evolution of resistance from non-violent campaigns to armed struggle.

The trial of Mandela offers some important lessons for the unfolding trial of Marwan Barghouti. Taking a lesson from Rivonia is not tantamount to conflating the South African past with the contemporary situation in Israel-Palestine. Although Barghouti has been nicknamed “the Palestinian Mandela,” and Mandela has expressed solidarity with Barghouti and an interest in the trial and its outcome, equating the two leaders or their organizations is not the point, either. The relevant question is how a political trial can make history.

Barghouti the Defendant

Like Mandela in 1964, Barghouti-the-defendant knows that he will lose his case in court. Indeed, this outcome is so assured that his lawyers plan to withdraw themselves from direct participation after their pre-trial challenges to the legality of his arrest and the jurisdiction of an Israeli court to try him. These challenges turn on the fact that Barghouti is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and thus should have immunity from prosecution in a “foreign” legal system, and that he was abducted from the territorial jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority (Area A) when he was taken into custody. His legal team is relying on international humanitarian law and the Oslo accords to make these jurisdictional challenges. But the court inevitably will dismiss them because Israeli law accords Israeli courts jurisdiction to prosecute Barghouti — or anyone who can be captured or extradited —  because he is accused of “crimes against the state or against the Jewish people.” This wording comes from Section 13 of the Israeli penal code, a law reform enacted in 1994 to strengthen the extra-territorial jurisdiction of Israeli criminal law.

Although Barghouti’s legal fate is a foregone conclusion, as a history-making event this trial is shaping up as a serious contest with broader ramifications. In August, a meeting of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers was convened in Cairo to discuss ways of channeling international legal expertise to assist Barghouti and the thousands of other Palestinians who have been arrested by Israel over the last two years. This signals a desire to move beyond the conventional approach of monitoring and reporting violations to provide substantive legal aid to Palestinian defendants and their attorneys. Another development is the small but growing number of Palestinian prisoners who are following Barghouti’s example to boycott Israeli courts by refusing to participate in their own defense as a form of resistance. The strategy to charge the Israeli state for crimes against the Palestinian people is a creative gesture to capitalize on the legalization of political conflicts. It follows an initiative by the Israeli organization Gush Shalom to collect information about Israeli war crimes, and to warn the government that this information would be passed on to international tribunals and courts if not handled in domestic courts, thereby reminding Israel (and the world) that the power and impunity of states are not what they used to be.

Wanting Barghouti

The buildup to this political trial began in 2000 with the start of the second intifada. On September 23, 2001, Israel’s Ministry of Justice, acting on a warrant from the Jerusalem Magistrate Court, issued a “request” to the PA to extradite Barghouti to stand trial in Israel. This request was indicative of the demise of the Oslo framework. [1] It negated the authority of the PA and the division of (prosecutorial) labor and jurisdiction by asserting Israel’s unilateral prerogative to judge and punish Palestinians. Moreover, because Barghouti is a leader of Fatah, it also indicated the recriminalization of the Palestinian nationalist mainstream, harkening back to the era before Oslo.

But Israel was not limiting itself to the legalistic approach to try to get Palestinians suspected of engaging in attacks on Israel. Extra-judicial executions, or “targeted killings,” had become an increasingly frequent and deadly tactic of reprisal since October 2000. [2] Barghouti feared that he would be assassinated, and made his own vulnerability an element of his rejoinder to this threat. In a Washington Post op-ed titled “Want Security? End the Occupation,” published on January 16, 2002, Barghouti wrote:

I am not a terrorist, but neither am I a pacifist. I am simply a regular guy from the Palestinian street advocating only what every other oppressed person has advocated — the right to help myself in the absence of help from anywhere else. This principle may well lead to my assassination. So let my position be clear in order that my death not be lightly dismissed by the world as just one more statistic in Israel’s “war on terrorism.”

When Israel launched its West Bank offensive on March 29, 2002, considerable effort was expended to get Barghouti who, by then, had gone into hiding. The Israeli state’s case against him was bolstered by the confiscation of documents from raided PA offices, including Yasser Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah. Israel publicized the contents of some documents, making much of a letter dated January 7, 2002 from Raed Karmi, a Fatah tanzim leader from Tulkarm (who was himself assassinated), requesting financial assistance for armed operations. The letter bears Barghouti’s signature. Publicizing this evidence boosted the stakes and benefits of his capture.

During the invasion of Ramallah, Israeli forces located Barghouti in the home of Ziad Abu ‘Ain, a Fatah official. Fearing that everyone inside the house would be killed in a missile attack, Barghouti made a few phone calls to alert people that he was surrounded, then came out with his hands up and was taken into custody.

Putting the PA on Trial

Why did Israel opt to arrest rather than kill Barghouti? This is the question that some enraged Israelis, including relatives of those killed in Palestinian suicide operations for which Barghouti is being charged, are asking their government. The answer points to what the state hopes to achieve through a political trial. Barghouti is the highest- ranking Palestinian official taken into Israeli custody to date. By trying rather than killing him, Israel hopes to strengthen its hand internationally by using a legal forum and process to prove that the Palestinian national movement is, in Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s words, “a gang of murderers and terrorists.” The aim is to draw a direct connection from attacks on Israeli civilians through Barghouti, who allegedly ordered and abetted them, to Yasser Arafat, thereby putting the PA on trial. To these ends, the decision was taken to try Barghouti in a civilian court in Tel Aviv rather than a military court in the Occupied Territories, because the former is open to the public and the standards of evidence are relatively higher.

For the Israeli government, the potential political gains from the conviction of Barghouti derive from his status as a “representative” of Palestinians. This extends broadly and symbolically to encompass the PA, Fatah, the tanzim and the al-Aqsa Brigades, small cells that carry out attackson Israeli targets, including suicide attacks insidethe pre-1967 border of Israel. Although Barghouti deniesany direct involvement in the al-Aqsa Brigades, hehas hailed some of their operations and been named insome of their statements as theirleader.

The state’s case against Barghouti builds on an array of sources, including captured documents, “secret evidence” from informers and security agents, and confessions by close associates, the latter being the most legally damaging. Under Israeli law, a thirdparty confession is sufficient to produce a conviction as long as there is a scintilla (dvar ma) of corroboration. Indeed, thousands of Palestinians have been sent to prison on the basis of third-party confessions alone because they are difficult to contest successfully in court, can outweigh contradictory testimony or even exculpatory evidence of another sort, and bear minimal standards for corroboration (i.e., any indication that the confession could be true, such as whether the event in question actually occurred). The confessions that implicate Barghouti and factor into the charges against him include those by Naji Abu Hamid, Nasir Aweis and Ahmad Barghouti; the charges against all four are easily accessible through the Israel Defense Forces website.

This evidence features prominently in the case that Israel is making to the court of public opinion. Not only will it ensure and legitimize the conviction of Barghouti. It is offered up for public display as proof that the harshness and violence of the Israeli military’s activities during the second intifada are necessitated and justified by the pervasiveness and organization of Palestinian terrorism. Prosecuting Barghouti constitutes a defensive political strategy.

But the state’s case against Barghouti also constitutes a political offensive. For the present Israeli government, which seeks to terminate the framework of territorial compromise and the prospects of a future Palestinian state, convicting Barghouti for terrorism would delegitimize the two-state solution Palestinian camp to which he is aligned. While some commentators initially suggested that the arrest and trial of Barghouti was the Israeli government’s means of grooming him for future leadership á la Mandela, no one seriously entertains such an idea any longer. Convicting Barghouti, the Israeli right hopes and assumes, will cripple Palestinian politics by removing a popular potential successor to Arafat, one who is (or at least was) acceptable to the Israeli center-left.

This aim is already bearing fruit. While Barghouti consistently polled second to Arafat as a favored choice for leader throughout the summer of 2002, by October his popularity had fallen behind Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, spiritual head of Hamas, thus indicating the eroding appeal of moderation in the Palestinian political spectrum. The political trial of Barghouti is being used to “prove” to the Israeli public and the international community that there is no moderate Palestinian camp. This tactic could become a self-fulfilling prophecy by enlarging the appeal and the political space for Hamas at the expense of the PA and, especially, Fatah.

However, within Israel, the broader political implications of conflating Fatah with Hamas as equally and irredeemably “terroristic” are the subject of debate. Following a high-level meeting on October 10, a dispute was reported between the Israeli military and the General Security Services (Shin Bet) over whether Fatah continues to advocate operations inside the Green Line. Such an “internal” Israeli dispute, to which the geography of the Green Line is central, suggests a lack of consensus at the highest levels of government about the state’s goals and interests in the West Bank and Gaza. Although the Barghouti case does not bear directly on this internal dispute, it raises similar issues. To the extent that the Israeli center and left imagines that the only way out of the current crisis is to “go back” — back to negotiations and interim boundaries — destroying Fatah would foreclose that option. Such a foreclosure is the goal of the Israeli right in order to resurrect the older Likud agenda of permanent occupation as the final settlement of the conflict. For Israelis, the Barghouti case symbolically puts on trial (and convicts) everyone who invested political capital in the negotiations and the framework of separation.

The Best Defense Is a Good Offense

For Barghouti, his lawyers and supporters, this is a “political trial” because the charges against him are inextricable from the politics of the conflict, and because he is a political representative of the Palestinian people. As an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Barghouti is literally a representative, and this status has motivated European Union parliamentarians to lend their support to his lawyers’ efforts to argue “immunity” to challenge Israeli jurisdiction. Barghouti is also symbolically representative of the plight of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. In a statement issued to accompany his charge sheet against Israel, Barghouti wrote:

My crime is not “terrorism” — a term apparently only used to describe the deaths of Israeli civilians but never the deaths of Palestinians. My crime is that I insist on my freedom, freedom for my children, freedom for the entire Palestinian people. And if indeed that is a crime, I proudly plead guilty.

The political strategy of the “Free Marwan Barghouti” campaign has been to go on the offensive, using publicity and international networking to put the Israeli government on the defensive. Khader Shkirat, one of Barghouti’s lawyers, garnered a couple of major public relations coups, meeting with Mandela in August and obtaining a public statement from him comparing Barghouti’s case to his own, and securing the involvement of Gisele Halimi, a French Jewish lawyer who defended Algerians in French courts during the Algerian war of independence. The political value of their support banks on their moral stature and on the parts they played in struggles against South African apartheid and French colonialism in North Africa. That the South African and Algerian conflicts included armed struggles and cost thousands of civilian lives is vital to the utility of invoking the comparisons to the Israeli-Palestinian here-and-now, and that they were ultimately victorious in defeating their state adversaries is the political coup de grace.

Another shrewd play for the moral high ground, this one appealing to the Israeli rather than the international public, was the recruitment of Shammai Leibowitz onto Barghouti’s legal team. Leibowitz, the grandson of the late Yeshayahu Liebowitz, [3] is an orthodox Jew, a conscientious objector (refusenik) and a critic of the occupation. On the first day of hearings for pre-trial motions, Leibowitz reportedly “stole the show in the courtroom,” comparing Barghouti to Moses. “Moses escaped to Midian after killing the Egyptian because he knew the occupied could not get justice in the occupier’s courtroom. On the other hand, Pharaoh did not put him on trial because he understood that he did not have the authority to judge the leader of a people seeking their freedom.” [4] While the judge, Zvi Gorfinkel, dismissed this line of argument as “political,” and told him to “talk to me about that on Pesach,” Leibowitz’s intervention was tactically disruptive. His presence on the Barghouti legal team disrupts an image of “Israelis” as united behind the prosecution, and his use of the Moses analogy disrupts the narrative of who is “good” and who is “evil” in public Israeli discourse about the case.

Soliciting public statements of support for Barghouti, recruiting internationally and locally renowned “moral agents” to work on his behalf, and issuing a charge sheet against Israel are all political strategies for a political trial. These strategies utilize the rhetoric of justice and oppression to affirm that Palestinians have rights that are routinely denied and rampantly violated. But they will do nothing to persuade those who are not already inclined to sympathize with and support Palestinians in their struggle for an end to Israeli occupation and an independent state of their own. The educative value of these strategies is low because they reinforce rather than transcend the polemics of “good versus evil” that characterize public discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

To use this political trial more effectively, Barghouti would have to do what Mandela did at Rivonia — address, squarely and substantively, the charges for which he is being tried. The Palestinian death toll over the last two years, which is triple that of the Israeli toll, may explain Palestinians’ use of violence, but violence has to be explained, and some forms warrant condemnation. While people struggling for self-determination have a legal right to use violence, [5] neither “self-defense” nor “reprisal” justifies the politically debauched and legally indefensible use of suicide bombings. The deliberate targeting of civilians is always and everywhere illegal, and because Palestinians rightly condemn Israel for indiscriminately targeting their civilians, they cannot wink away or ignore that some Palestinians have done the same.

Barghouti could contribute to the discussion taking place within Palestinian society by addressing the substance of the charges against him, rather than asserting that they are fabrications. Whether the charges that he ordered suicide bombings are fabrications or not, they are based on confessions by colleagues, they refer to actual events, and in an Israeli court he will be convicted for them. Barghouti is forfeiting an opportunity to use the political trial to make history by speaking to the goals — and the mistakes — that Palestinians have made in their struggle.

What has been happening on the Palestinian side of the Israeli-Palestinian divide over the last two years is an historic shift. Armed attacks and suicide bombings are a reality, but what is shifting is the narration of this reality in the form of confessions. Lawyers who have spent their professional lives representing Palestinian prisoners in Israeli courts have expressed amazement (and, as their advocates, consternation) at the volume, detail and content of confessions in the recent period. That confessions are extracted through interrogation from people in custody does not diminish the significance of what is coming out: autobiographies of a resurgent armed struggle by people who regard themselves as “prisoners of war.” In Israeli interrogation rooms, under conditions of duress and deprivation that (still) constitute torture, [6] Palestinian prisoners are making history by narrating the failures of politics.

The Politics of Boycott

“Boycott” is the term that Barghouti and his lawyers use to describe their refusal to mount a legal defense. There are many good reasons to opt for such a strategy: Barghouti stands no realistic chance of acquittal and therefore, the logic holds, defending himself and losing would legitimize his conviction as the “just” outcome of a fair fight. Conversely, refusing to mount a defense aims to spotlight the illegitimacy of the Israeli legal system. Since 1967, well over half a million Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza have been prosecuted in Israeli courts; 95-97 percent of them have been convicted. Of those, the overwhelming majority (approximately 95 percent) have been convicted on the basis of plea bargains because of the difficulty — nay, impossibility — of successfully contesting charges at trial. Plea bargaining is, inherently, a concessionary strategy in which the defendant concedes to his/her guilt, often in order to obtain a lower sentence than would be the outcome of defeat at trial.

The politics of plea bargaining is a stark contradiction to the politics of Palestinian resistance. Not only does it concede guilt; it concedes law. Plea bargaining reinforces the Israeli state’s authority over Palestinian subjects by validating Israeli military and emergency laws, and empowering the state’s legal institutions to pass judgment on Palestinian defendants. During the first intifada, when tens of thousands of Palestinians were being arrested, prosecuted and convicted every year, the idea of boycotting the courts was floated as a potential strategy to try to cripple the legal-incarceral process. But it never took hold because Palestinian prisoners were unable to mount a collective stance on the legal terrain, and were unwilling to put their individual lives on the line in that way, risking higher prison sentences by refusing to “make a deal” with prosecutors. In this regard, Barghouti’s public stance to boycott his trial, and the influence this decision is having on other prisoners, is a political achievement. To date, only a handful have opted to boycott their trials, but discussions and petitions are circulating through prisons to promote this stance as a collective Palestinian position. [7]

Barghouti will be convicted whether he boycotts or not, so he has much to gain politically and nothing to lose legally by doing so. But what about his lawyers? For the lawyers, boycotting means leaving their client without legal counsel in the courtroom once the trial begins. The logic of absenting themselves is to reinforce the point that Israel has no jurisdiction — that there is “no case” to try. It also serves the purpose of unfettering Barghouti in the courtroom; if his lawyers were there, they would be obligated to constrain their client. They gave this strategy a first run during the hearing on September 5 when the charges were read. Barghouti’s lawyers —  Jawad Boulos, Khader Shkirat and Riad Anis —  were at the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem, 100 kilometers from the melee that erupted in the Tel Aviv courtroom where Barghouti and his family members and supporters argued and scuffled with Israeli relatives of victims of Palestinian attacks and other protesters.

Boulos has been functioning as Barghouti’s lead lawyer, and he has a few reasons of his own to regard the boycott as a preferable option. He represents at least two people who have confessed against Barghouti, and therefore has a professional interest in avoiding a trial in which he would have to tear into the testimony of one client for the sake of another. As noted, confessions are virtually impossible to contest successfully anyway, and this goes a long way toward explaining why plea bargaining has been the strategy of choice. Boulos, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, has made a career defending Palestinians from the Occupied Territories. He has amassed the largest practice in the West Bank because he is renowned as a plea bargainer par excellence. He earned his big reputation and his huge clientele because he has been able to give most of them the best they could hope for under the circumstances.

But putting a master plea bargainer at the head of Barghouti’s legal team is perhaps not the most logical choice. This political trial has taken shape as a confrontation. But for Boulos’ career, which succeeds as it does because of his effectiveness with Israeli authorities – getting breaks and making good deals for his clients – taking a politically confrontational stance could put this at risk. For example, after Barghouti was arrested, Boulos initially rebuffed the advice of other lawyers to petition the High Court to challenge the incommunicado detention, and after he alone (excluding other lawyers) was granted permission from the Shin Bet to meet on May 3 with Barghouti, he gave a public statement that Barghouti was not being “tortured,” [8] even though human rights organizations regard painful shackling and protracted sleep deprivation as forms of torture. These issues suggest that, at least initially, Boulos was playing to his own strengths. Moreover, the fact that Boulos also represents people who confessed against Barghouti might be a factor in the refusal to respond publicly to the substance of the charges. In this light, boycott looks more like an escape than an assault.


What is happening to Barghouti personally is symbolic of what is happening to thousands of Palestinians. According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, as of October 2002 2,755 Palestinians were incarcerated in Israeli prisons. Notwithstanding Barghouti’s stature as a national leader and the selection of a civilian rather than a military court for his trial, he is an icon of the Palestinian “everyman”: vulnerable to arrest, interrogation, prosecution, conviction and imprisonment by Israel. From the official (and mainstream) Israeli point of view, the vulnerability of the Palestinian “everyman” to such measures is a legitimate and necessary response to the pervasiveness, popularity and menace of Palestinian “terrorism,” a concept that encompasses not only the obvious attacks against civilians but any actions that impact upon the state’s expansive view of “security.”

Under the current circumstances, Palestinians cannot avoid the reach of Israeli force or the grip of Israeli law. The trial of Marwan Barghouti draws attention to this reality, and to the array of conflicting interests at stake in the process and its outcome.

Marwan Barghouti is a man of convictions. It was his conviction that the occupation was wrong and must end that started him off as an activist when he was a teen. It was his conviction that peace with Israel was possible that made him a proponent of the negotiations, and it was his conviction that the Oslo process had failed that turned him into a critic. It was his conviction that Palestinians deserve an honest and accountable government that inspired him to take a stand against corruption. And it was his conviction that Palestinians have a right to fight for their freedom and to defend themselves with force when fought against that prompted him to help create the tanzim. Those convictions have convicted him in an Israeli court before, and they will convict him again.

To be a leader who can really make history, in the mold of Mandela, now is the time for Barghouti to explain to a watching world, in Palestinian terms, why violence was a recourse to injustice. It would be a brave and honorable use of his power, honoring those — all those, Palestinians and Israelis — who have suffered and died in this intifada by explaining why.



[1] Between 1995 and 2001, 50 extradition requests were issued by Israel to the PA. Ellis Shulman, “Israel Demands That Palestinians Extradite Militia Leader,” Israel Insider, September 24, 2001.

[2] According to an October 2002 report issued jointly by LAW and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, between November 2000 and January 2002, there were 53 assassinations that killed an additional 19 civilian bystanders. Since January, there have been 51 more assassinations and an additional 27 bystander casualties.

[3] Yeshayahu Leibowitz, a professor at Hebrew University and a leading Israeli intellectual in a number of fields including religion and philosophy, was a vocal critic of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. He argued that the occupation was unjust and would inevitably lead to the oppression and subjugation of the Palestinians, and to the corruption if not destruction of Israeli society. He refused to accept the Israel Prize, the country’s most prestigious honor, when it was awarded to him in 1992.

[4] Ha’aretz, October 3, 2002.

[5] Palestinians’ right to resist occupation has also been asserted by prominent international law experts. See Richard Falk, “International Law and the al-Aqsa Intifada,” Middle East Report 217 (Winter 2000).

[6] Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Flawed Defense: Torture and Ill Treatment in GSS Interrogations Following the Supreme Court Ruling, September 6, 1999-September 6, 2001 (Jerusalem, September 2001).

[7] Ha’aretz, October 3, 2002.

[8] Ha’aretz, May 22, 2002.

How to cite this article:

Lisa Hajjar "The Makings of a Political Trial," Middle East Report 225 (Winter 2002).

For 50 years, MERIP has published critical analysis of Middle Eastern politics, history, and social justice not available in other publications. Our articles have debunked pernicious myths, exposed the human costs of war and conflict, and highlighted the suppression of basic human rights. After many years behind a paywall, our content is now open-access and free to anyone, anywhere in the world. Your donation ensures that MERIP can continue to remain an invaluable resource for everyone.


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