The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Presenter – Dr. Paul Chamberlain, PhD

It is widely believed that the most practical solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict is a two-state solution. Israeli hardliners would argue that the reason this has not come about is because of Arab rejectionism. Palestinians would counter this by pointing to the number of Jewish settlers now living on the West Bank as proof of Israel’s own rejectionism. Israeli hardliners would simply reply that the only reason they populated the ‘Palestinian Territories’ at all was to ensure their security, noting that if there was no Arab rejectionism to begin with the Palestinians could have had a state 60 years ago. Palestinians would then point out that Palestine should not have been partitioned in the first place! Both sides have a compelling argument to support their position, but a successful endgame will only be achieved if massive compromises are made by both parties. Unfortunately, neither side has ever been willing to make the sacrifices necessary to make these compromises a reality, although each side uses its spin doctors to blame the other for failure. It remains to be seen if the recent decision to recognize Palestine as a Non-voting Member of the UN will untie the Gordian knot. Of interest to secular humanists is that one of the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is religious extremism, an ideology that tends to regard compromise in its beliefs as anathema. The proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East only fuels the eschatological tension.

Some Questions:

  1. What are the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
  2. What solutions have been proposed in the past?
  3. Why did the Oslo Accords fail?
  4. What part do Christian Fundamentalists play?
  5. Why does Israel need to be on the West Bank?
  6. Will a resolution to this conflict put an end to violence in the Middle East?
  7. How might the Arab Spring impact the peace process?
  8. What should Canada’s role be in promoting peace?
  9. Why does America provide so much financial support to Israel?
  10. How does the recent decision to admit Palestine to the UN as a
    Non-Voting Member change the conflict?
  11. How might the proliferation of nuclear technology change the dynamics of the region?
  12. What solutions seem to offer the best prospects for a lasting peace?

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Dr. Paul G. Chamberlain is a historical geographer who has taught in Continuing Studies at the University of Victoria for 21 years; for the past ten years he has focused almost exclusively on the Middle East. Paul spent his childhood in Kuwait, and over the last decade has traveled extensively in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan and Yemen. He was invited to Iran in 2008 by the University of Tehran and traveled throughout the country. His interests range from archaeology and history to comparative religion and current events. He has studied at the University of Victoria, the University of Manitoba and was a scholar in residence at Cambridge in 1992. He has published research in regional, national and international academic journals on a variety of topics, and has written several articles in newspapers on Middle East affairs, as well as giving a live radio interview.


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