chapter  13
13 Pages

War of Wor(l)ds – clashing narratives and interpretations of I(H)L in the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict

WithAlexandra Hofer

By applying the social concepts of collective memory and social identity, this chapter explores how parties in an intractable conflict appropriate and interpret international law where existential issues are at stake. It does so by using the dispute on the legal nature of the occupied Palestinian territories as a case study and by analysing the arguments put forth by Israel and Palestine during the proceedings before the United Nations General Assembly and the International Court of Justice in the context of the advisory opinion on the “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” The paper concludes that in intractable conflicts where existential issues are at stake for both parties, law is appropriated and integrated into group narratives, enabling them to extend their conflict-based policies by other means. If law can help channel and frame the dispute, it cannot impose peace upon either party.