During the last decade of the British Mandate for Palestine (1939–1948), Arabs and Jews used the law as a resource to gain leverage against each other and to influence international opinion. The parties invoked "transformational legal framing" to portray the essentially political-religious conflict as a legal dispute involving claims of justice, injustice, and victimisation, and giving rise to legal/equitable remedies.
Employing this form of narrative and framing in multiple "trials" during the first 15 years of the Mandate, the parties continued the practice during the last and most crucial decade of the Mandate. The term "trial" provides an appropriate typology for understanding the adversarial proceedings during those years in which judges, lawyers, witnesses, cross-examination, and legal argumentation played a key role in the conflict. The four trials between 1939 and 1947 produced three different outcomes: the one-state solution in favour of the Palestinian Arabs, the no-state solution, and the two-state solution embodied in the United Nations November 1947 partition resolution, culminating in Israel's independence in May 1948.
This study analyses the role of the law during the last decade of the British Mandate for Palestine, making an essential contribution to the literature on lawfare, framing and narrative, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
Table of Contents
Part I: Theoretical Framework
1. Framing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Part II: The London Conferences -- Zionism on Trial and the One-State Solution
2. Prelude to the London Conferences
3. The London Conferences
4. The White Paper
5. Appeal to the Permanent Mandates Commission
Part III: The Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry -- British Policy on Trial and the No-State Solution
7. Enter America; Formation of the Anglo-American Committee
8. Committee Hearings
9. Deliberations and Verdict
10. The Morrison-Grady Plan; Britain's Attempt to Undermine the Verdict
Part IV: UNSCOP and the UN Ad Hoc Committee -- Palestinian Nationalism on Trial and the Two-State Solution
12. UNSCOP Hearings and Verdict
13. Ad Hoc Committee Hearings and Verdict
14. The General Assembly and the Two-State Solution
Part V: Legal Consequences and Implications
16. Legal Consequences of the Palestinian Rejection of Statehood
Steven E. Zipperstein, a former US federal prosecutor, is a Senior Fellow at the UCLA Center for Middle East Development and a Lecturer in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the UCLA Global Studies program, and in the Department of History at UC Santa Barbara. Zipperstein is also a Visiting Proefssor of Law and Tel Aviv University, and is the author of Law and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Trials of Palestine (Routledge, 2020).