Israel and the Question of International Accountability

From Defending Palestinian Rights, to Defending Rights Defenders. How effective is international law, without strong international backing for existing accountability mechanisms? 


Rachel Stroumsa, Executive Director at the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel

Rina Rosenberg, Co-Founder and International Advocacy Director of Adalah

Nada Kiswanson van Hooydonk, Head of Al Haq’s Europe office

Chaired by

Hugh Lovatt, Policy Fellow, ECFR

Israel’s actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are subject to continued scrutiny at home and abroad. Following its last war with Hamas in Gaza in 2014, the UN launched an Independent Commission of Inquiry into possible international law violations. The International Criminal Court (ICC) also opened a preliminary investigation into Israeli actions in Gaza, as well as settlement activity in the West Bank. These measures have not, however, translated into credible deterrence or accountability. At the same time, Israel is accused of discriminating against its Palestinian citizens, constraining the activities of human rights organisations advocating and tolerating right-wing incitement against them.  

How effective is international law, without strong international backing for existing accountability mechanisms? What impact will the shrinking space for anti-occupation voices within Israel have on local human rights groups? How have these organisations been effected by Israel’s “anti-BDS” campaign, and what response should we expect from the EU and its member states?

Rachel Stroumsa has been the Executive Director of the Public Committee against Torture in Israel since January 2016. Previously, she set up and directed PCATI's Medical-Legal Documentation project, leading a group of physicians and psychologists in conducting assessments in and out of detention centers, and working to insitutionalise the Istanbul Protocol on torture in the Israeli legal and medical establishment.

Rina Rosenberg is the co-founder and International Advocacy Director of Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. Previously, she worked with the Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA), the Galilee Society, and the Working Group on the Status of Palestinian Women in Israel. She has been a Schell Fellow at Yale Law School in 2005-2006 and 2012-2014.

Nada Kiswanson van Hooydonk is Senior Legal advocacy officer and Head of Al Haq’s Europe office. She is currently based in the Netherlands as a Senior Legal Advocacy Officer and representative to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Hugh Lovatt (@h_lovatt) is Policy Fellow and Israel/Palestine Project Coordinator for ECFR's Middle East and North Africa Programme. He is the author of “EU differentiation and the push for peace in Israel-Palestine” (October 2016).