George Bisharat

George Bisharat

IPS Senior Fellow since 2009, and a professor of law at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.

George Bisharat is a professor of law at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, where he teaches criminal procedure and practice, law and anthropology, Islamic law, and law in Middle East societies.  His research and writing focus on international legal aspects of Palestine/Israel and on U.S. policies toward the Middle East.  He is a frequent commentator for media in the U.S. and abroad, and his op-ed pieces have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Ha'aretz, and other newspapers.  He is a member of the editorial committee of the Journal of Palestine Studies, and a board member of the Transnational Arab Research Institute.

MEDIA

Litigating Palestine
In this installment, Institute for Palestine Studies Senior Fellow George Bisharat discusses Judge Richard Goldstone's April 1, 2011 op-ed in The Washington Post in which he reconsidered elements of the report that he and three other...
Palestinian Considerations for Accession to the Rome Statute
Institute for Palestine Studies Senior Fellow George Bisharat spoke with Jadaliyya's Status Audio Journal on 20 October 2014. Good afternoon everybody. Thank you, Noura, for the introduction. Also, I would like to say that it has been an...

ARTICLES

Alternative Strategies for Realizing Justice in Palestine

(Photo Credit: www.shutterstock.com ) Between 13-15 December, the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, Mada al Carmel, the Birzeit University Institute of Law, the Stop the Wall Campaign, the Trans-Arab Research Institute (TARI), and the Arab Studies Institute (ASI) will be convening a conference under the banner: Alternative Strategies for Realizing Justice in...

No to the Iran deal means no to U.S. credibility

This op-ed appeared in the Los Angeles Times on 1 September 2015. Co-authored with John V. Whitbeck, a Paris-based international lawyer. A striking feature of the debate raging among American politicians over the Iran nuclear agreement is the virtual absence of references to international law. Republican presidential candidates compete as to who among them, if elected...

What the $655.5 Million Terrorism Judgement Against the Palestinian Authority Really Means

This article was published in The Nation on 24 February 2015. Nearly fourteen years ago, an international fact-finding commission led by former United States Senator George Mitchell was charged with identifying the causes of a then-raging Palestinian uprising against Israeli military occupation and...

Verdict Was a Death Blow to Image of American Even-Handedness

This article was originally published in The New York Times' Room for Debate on 24 February 2015. The jury's judgment should finally extinguish any hope Palestinians may have harbored that their people could expect justice from any branch of the U.S. government. Congress invites Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to give an address just months after Israel forces...

US Veto Power Ensures Israel's Impunity from Int'l Law

Institute for Palestine Studies Senior Fellow George Bisharat was interviewed by the Fars News Agency on 27 July 2014. Prof. George Bisharat, a renowned Palestinian-American professor of law, is of the opinion that without the US moral support, the Israeli regime would not have been able to massacre the Palestinian people so ruthlessly. "The United States’ veto power in the...

Israel Has Overreacted to the Threats It Provoked

This column appeared in the New York Times' Room for Debate on 23 July 2014. All nations have a right of self-defense, including Israel. But that right may be exercised lawfully only in limited circumstances. Israel cannot validly claim self-defense in its recent onslaught against Gaza for two main reasons. First, despite its 2005 withdrawal of ground forces and settlers from...

FAQ: Misperceptions About the Conflict in Gaza

George Bisharat, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies, appeared in a forum alongside Nadia Hijab, director of Al-Shabaka and also a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies, and Diana Buttu, h uman rights attorney and former advisor to Palestinian negotiators. This forum was hosted by the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) and addressed...

International Court Should Take Up Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

This column originally appeared in the San Jose Mercury News on 18 July 2014 Israel, in the latest of its now almost biennial killing sprees in the Gaza Strip, again appears to be committing war crimes. The toll as of Friday exceeded 270 Palestinian deaths, more than 2,000 wounded, and untold destruction of property. The majority of victims, as usual, are civilians -- 77...

A One-State Solution for Israel and Palestine

This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post on 10 April 2012. The international community has struggled for two decades to navigate Israelis and Palestinians toward an oasis of peace and stability. Yet it is increasingly clear that this oasis -- the two-state solution, whereby each of the two peoples would exercise sovereignty within their own state -- is in fact a...

Israel Stacks the Legal Deck

This column was published in the Los Angeles Times on 7 March 2012. Palestinian baker and activist Khader Adnan captured headlines recently for a 66-day hunger strike that led him to the brink of death. His ordeal began in the dead of night on Dec. 17, 2011, when Israeli soldiers broke down the door of his West Bank home. Adnan was arrested before his terrified wife and...

Ros-Lehtinen Wrong to Call for U.N. Revocation of Goldstone Report

This column was published in the Palm Beach Post on 28 April 2011. Friends don't let friends commit war crimes. That is why Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's sponsorship of legislation to "make it U.S. policy to demand that the United Nations General Assembly revoke and repudiate the Goldstone Report" is so misguided. The 2009 report authored by South African jurist...

Israeli Intimidation Brings Shift in Gaza Report

This column was published on SF Gate on 6 April 2011. Justice Richard Goldstone dropped a bombshell last week by appearing to repudiate parts of the 2009 report that bears his name. The 575-page report, compiled under United Nations mandate by Goldstone and three highly esteemed experts, investigated 36 incidents during Israel's 2008-2009 assault on the Gaza Strip, including...

Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem Intolerant?

This column was published by the SF Gate on 5 September 2010. Four decades ago, the state of California purchased land in Carmichael, a suburb of Sacramento, and built Casa de los Gobernadores to replace the aging downtown governor's mansion. Few realized at the time that it was also the site of a Native American burial ground. Successive California governors refused to move...

Israel and Palestine: A True One-State Solution

This op-ed was published by the Washington Post on 3 September 2010. "Where is the Palestinian Mandela?" pundits occasionally ask. But after these latest Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Washington fail -- as they inevitably will -- the more pressing question may be: "Where is the Israeli de Klerk?" Will an Israeli leader emerge with the former South African president's...

Second-Class Citizens

This article was originally published by The Miami Herald on 15 August 2010; co -authored with Nimer Sultany, a civil rights attorney in Israel and doctoral candidate at Harvard Law School. Should Israel be encouraged to enact legislation guaranteeing equal rights for all of its citizens as part of any peace agreement with the Palestinians? Israel's systematic discrimination...

Israeli Raid 'Illegal,' its Acts 'Unconscionable'

This op-ed was published in USA Today on 4 June 2010. Israel must believe that it can get away with murder. That conclusion is hard to escape following the Israeli military's forceful boarding of a civilian fleet bearing 10,000 tons of humanitarian supplies to Gaza 's besieged Palestinian population. Israeli commandoes killed at least nine civilian activists, including a U.S...

Gaza Occupation and Siege are Illegal

This op-ed was published by the SF Gate on 4 June 2010. Israel's deadly attack on the Gaza "Freedom Flotilla" was flagrantly illegal. The flotilla, carefully searched for arms before disembarkation, enjoyed the right of free navigation in international waters, and Israel had no legal justification to interrupt its peaceful mission. Flotilla passengers were entitled to defend...

Israel Does Not Yet Deserve A Place In the OECD

This op-ed was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 10 May 2010. Australia missed a chance to defend international law and human rights by voting this week to support Israel's application for membership to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD was founded in 1960 by states practising democracy and free market principles to discuss and...

Israel on Trial

This column was originally published by the New York Times on 3 April 2009. CHILLING testimony by Israeli soldiers substantiates charges that Israel’s Gaza Strip assault entailed grave violations of international law. The emergence of a predominantly right-wing, nationalist government in Israel suggests that there may be more violations to come. Hamas’s indiscriminate rocket...

Israel is Commiting War Crimes

This column was originally published in the Wall Street Journal on 10 January 2009. Israel's current assault on the Gaza Strip cannot be justified by self-defense. Rather, it involves serious violations of international law, including war crimes. Senior Israeli political and military leaders may bear personal liability for their offenses, and they could be prosecuted by an...

JOURNALS

Palestinian Strategic Options: An Attempt at Analysis to Inform Action

In March 2005, a group of independent intellectuals and community leaders engaged in a roundtable discussion of the current challenges facing the Palestinian people and possible strategies for realizing Palestinian rights. This report presents a synthesis of the discussions; the views expressed do...

Violence's Law: Israel's Campaign to Transform International Legal Norms

Commonly law is seen as an alternative to violence, although it relies on violence or its threat for enforcement. Through a study of Israel’s campaign to transform international humanitarian law (IHL) by systematically violating it, this essay considers the possibility that violence precedes and...

Talbiyeh Days: At Villa Harun ar-Rashid

My paternal grandfather, Hanna Ibrahim Bisharat, built a home in the Talbiyeh quarter of Jerusalem, outside and to the west of the Old City, in 1926. This was the same neighbourhood where Edward Said was born in 1935. I’m not aware that my family and Edward’s crossed paths during those years,...

SPEECHES

Ending the Palestinian Nakba

Institute for Palestine Studies Senior Fellow George Bisharat delieved the following lecture at the University of Melbourne's Carrillo Gantner Theater on 6 May 2010.