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The petitioners aim to establish a novel principle: governments are liable for rights’ contraventions by their private companies abroad, said Michael Sfard, the Israeli lawyer representing the village. “This is really cutting-edge human rights,” he said. “There are countries in the world, and I think Canada is one of them, that do not violate human rights on a daily basis … But it is possible that these countries, just by neglect, have privatized human-rights abuse.”
As for Bil’in’s UN complaint against Canada, it’s just another example of “lawfare:” using tenuous legal arguments to do little but make headlines, charged Anne Herzberg, a lawyer with the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, a conservative think-tank. “There’s a border dispute between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and the best way to deal with that border dispute is via a peace agreement,” she said. “What they really need to do is sit down at the table with Israelis and hammer out a deal.”