Legal perspectives on Palestine and Kuwait’s firm stance against normalization with Israel

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In the heart of the Middle East, where ancient lands bear witness to both historic achievements and enduring conflicts, lies the unresolved story of Palestinian territories- a saga deeply rooted in international law and regional geopolitics. This narrative unfolds Kuwait’s steadfast resolve against normalization with Israel, a stance not just of policy, but of principle, woven with a commitment to justice and the Palestinian people’s rights.

Attorney Dr. Fawaz Alkhateeb

The Seeds of Conflict:
Over a century ago, with the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917. A single document promising a homeland for Jews in Palestine -the home of Palestinians- set the stage for decades of turmoil. The British Mandate for Palestine (1918-1948) encouraged a global Jewish diaspora to converge on Palestine, leading to the birth of Israel in 1948. This seismic event transformed the land’s essence, shifting its ownership dramatically to the Jews from Palestinians even though 93% of the land was owned by Palestinians while a mere 6% was owned by Jews as chronicled by scholars like Prof. Ilan Pappe in Ten Myths about Israel and Prof. Jeff Halper in Decolonizing Israel, Liberating Palestine. The declaration of Israeli statehood, simultaneously commemorated as Nakba Day by Palestinians and Independence Day by Israelis, paints a vivid picture of two narratives intertwined in a single historical moment.

Kuwait’s Early Defiance:
Before the ink had dried on its constitution, Kuwait’s heartbeat was in solidarity with the Palestinians. The Unified Law for Boycotting Israel, enacted on May 26, 1957, was not merely a law but a declaration of empathy and resistance, banning Israeli goods and marking the dawn of Kuwait’s active opposition to the occupation.

A Constitution with a Cause:
The Kuwaiti Constitution is more than a legal document; it is a reflection of a nation’s soul. Its Preamble and Article 1 are a testament to Kuwait’s commitment to democracy, Arab nationalism, and the pursuit of world peace. Article 1 boldly declares Kuwait as an inseparable part of the Arab Nation while Article 157 echoes the nation’s pursuit of peace and the responsibility to protect the integrity of not just Kuwait, but the entire Arab world.

Laws with a Voice:
Kuwait’s legal tapestry, woven with the threads of the pre-constitutional law of 1957 and Law No. 21 of 1964, speaks loudly against normalization with Israel. These laws are not mere texts but guardians of Kuwait’s ethical stance, prohibiting any collaboration with Israeli entities. The Kuwaiti judiciary system, particularly the Court of Cassation, breathes life into these laws, upholding them with unwavering conviction, as seen in significant rulings such as the one issued for Case number 428/2010.

Echoes in the Official Gazette:
The Official Gazette of Kuwait, Kuwait Today, has been more than a publication; it has been a chronicler of Kuwait’s unyielding commitment to the Palestinian cause. Over 24 bulletins have reasserted this commitment, a resounding chorus of solidarity against Israeli aggression.

The Global Stage:
The United Nations has been significantly involved in a major inhuman conflict, enacting resolutions like 242 (1967), 487 (1981), 573 (1985), 611 (1988), 672 (1990), 673 (1990), 904 (1994), 19/17 (2012), and 31/36 (2016). These resolutions focus on the unacceptable nature of gaining territory by force, specifically by Israel, and demand the withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied areas. They also denounce Israel’s aggressive behaviors.

International Organizations: Allies in the Narrative:
Organizations like the United Nations, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have been actively engaged in supporting the Palestinian cause, advocating for various rights such as human rights, civil liberties, and self-determination, along with peace.

A Nation’s Resolve:
In Kuwait, the law is not just a rule but a reflection of values. Anyone advocating for the Israeli occupation or normalization faces a fate sealed by law -deportation or criminal charges- underscoring Kuwait’s unwavering dedication to justice and toward the Palestinian cause.

Conclusion and Recommendations:
The Israeli occupation, marked by practices often likened to apartheid by figures such as Jimmy Carter and Ilan Pappe, presents a deeply troubling human rights crisis. The staggering death toll, exceeding 11,255 lives, including 4,630 children as reported by CNN, BBC, and the Ministry of Health in Gaza, urgently demands a resolution. The Palestinian struggle for self-determination, firmly rooted in international law, transcends mere historical accounts and stands as a living testament to resilience and perseverance. Kuwait, with its steadfast legal and ethical posture, continues to champion justice, peace, and the enduring principles of international law.

The indiscriminate killing of civilians in Gaza by Israel represents a grave affront to humanity. The bombing of refugee camps, hospitals, schools, and ambulances has led to the deaths of thousands of innocent children, women, and men, clearly violating international law. This is not a matter of self-defense. We in the Arab and Islamic world condemn any civilian killings; we do not accept the killing of Jews or any human being and believe that he who kills one person is killing humanity. Still, the 75 years of oppression against Palestinians, the killing of innocent people, and the conditions akin to an open-air prison in Gaza in which they live – impoverished and in inhumane circumstances – are neither justified nor acceptable by any means. The brutality and barbaric policies that have persisted for centuries by the Israeli government cannot be condoned. How can the West remain so blind to this reality? At this critical juncture in modern history, I urge individuals across all sectors to actively condemn these atrocities and call for an immediate cessation of hostilities. The actions of Israel profoundly contravene the values esteemed by the civilized world.

The tacit or explicit Western justification of the Israeli occupation and the associated killings cannot be perceived as anything other than a manifestation of deep-seated prejudice and discrimination against Arabs and Muslims, effectively devaluing their lives compared to others. This inequitable stance not only exacerbates the conflict but also undermines the principles of justice and equality that should form the bedrock of international relations.

In light of these circumstances, there is a pressing need for a concerted, global effort to address and resolve this longstanding conflict. Governments, international organizations, and individuals must unite in their efforts to uphold human rights, enforce international law, and seek a peaceful, just resolution that acknowledges and respects the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and sovereignty. Only through such collective action can we hope to see an end to this cycle of violence and the dawn of a more equitable and peaceful future in the region.

By Dr. Fawaz K. Alkhateeb
Attorney – Visiting Assistant Professor in Criminal Law at KILAW

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