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The Daily Wildcat


UA talks solutions on Israeli conflict

Shane Bekian
Shane Bekian / The Daily Wildcat An audience listens to Professor Asher Susser speak about the current Palestinian crisis at the Hillel Center on Wednesday, Sept. 10.

A UA professor said at a talk Wednesday evening that Israel must end its occupation of Palestine to resolve the ongoing conflict in the region.

The UA Hillel Foundation hosted the talk, called “Israel, Hamas and the Palestinians; Conflict Resolution or Conflict Management.” The speaker was Asher Susser, professor of Israel studies.

A joint event between the foundation and the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies, Susser’s talk presented his view on the best course of action for Israel in light of the most recent hostilities with Hamas.

Susser said he believes that the only way to bring an end to the current hostilities is for Israel to end its occupation of Palestine.

“There can be no long-term cessation of hostilities if the occupation continues,” Susser said. “So there must be, I would argue, a middle of the road, whereby Israel does withdraw with an agreement with the Palestinians towards the ending of the occupation.”

Susser views this as a pressing issue of the utmost importance for Israel.

“Israel as a legitimate member of the family of nations and Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people is endangering itself seriously,” Susser said. “Even though conflict resolution is not at hand, Israel must seek a rational form of managing the conflict, which is not via the continuation of the occupation. That will not bring Israel any closer to a secure, non-belligerent future.”

If the Israeli government does not take action soon, Susser said he believes it is risking its future legitimacy and security.
“The present government of Israel, by sitting on its hands and not making any decision, is making a decision which is detrimental to Israel’s interest,” Susser said.

Susser’s opinion is that Israel must refrain from meddling in Palestinian society.

“It is fundamentally wrong, not only in the moral sense, but fundamentally wrong politically, to try to engineer other people’s societies for them,” Susser said. “It just doesn’t work.”

Susser stressed the importance of communication as a tool for the de-escalation of the conflict.

“I think Israel should say, ‘We are willing to talk to anyone who is willing to talk to us,’” Susser said.

Isaiah Barker, a psychology junior, appreciated Susser’s viewpoint about conflict resolution.

“It’s a different perspective,” Barker said. “It’s something that you don’t hear in the media from someone who’s involved in the process.”

Michelle Blumenberg, executive director of the UA Hillel Foundation, said that the goal of the talk was to present one idea out of many on how to handle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On Oct. 27, the foundation will host another talk on the same issue, featuring Khalil Shikaki, who holds a doctorate and is a senior fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University.

“This is a huge issue,” Blumenberg said. “It’s so complex. It’s so nuanced. There’s no easy answer.”

—Follow Thomas Hayworth @ThomasHayworth

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