Palestine Awareness Week is an effort to educate the campus on the Israeli- Palestine conflict. The group seeks to present the truth on the ongoing conflict and present the withheld facts to the public; to promote justice, human rights, liberation, and self-determination for the Palestinian people.
The group advocates:
• An end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip.
• The establishment of either a fully independent and viable Palestinian state in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, or of one secular, democratic state over all of modern-day Israel and Palestine.
• An end to Israel’s system of apartheid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as its system of discrimination against the Arab population within its own borders.
• A solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.
Monday, May 2nd the group presented Ambassador Edward Peck to speak on the ongoing Israeli- Palestine conflict. Ambassador Peck spoke at length about U.S. relations with Middle Eastern countries. He focused on U.S. Foreign Policy toward the Israeli- Palestine conflict and how it has had a detrimental effect on peace-making in the region.
Peck stressed that due to several factors the American public is largely unknowledged in regards to the Middle East. Everything is based on “perception” and American preception of the Middle East is largely far from veracity.
He argued Americans lack knowledge about the Middle East because we live in isloation and we are powerful country, which leads the population to feel secure and self content and extremely ethnocentric. Consequently, U.S. foreign policy looks out for its own national interests, not the best interests of another state.
In the context of peace, Ambassador Peck stated “If you were to look at a map of wars over centuries and millenia you would see that virtually every part of the world has been over-run, invaded and occupied by peoples of different languages, histories, cultures and religions. Up until WWII many countries were stilled pacified such as Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, only within the past few decades attaining independence and ‘peace’”.
Ambassador Peck argued that you cannot logically have peace while being occupied it is simply unattainable, the situation is Palestine a prime example of this phenonmenon.
As far negotiating Ambassador Peck claimed this as virtually non-existent between Israel and Palestine. He stated, Al-Haq who works with the Palestinian negotiation team claimed there is no negotion going on only begging on the side of the Palestinians.
Peck maintained that Israel has no intentions of negotiating with Palestine and never has. There are currently “526 obstacles” in the West Bank, their main purpose: Security? No, harassment.”
On Wednesday, May 4th Rabbi Yisroel Weiss spoke on the Palestine and Israel conflict.
The Rabbi made it a point to discern between Judeaism and Zionism. Rabbi Weiss claimed that Judeaism has existed for thousands of years while Zionism is a fairly new ideology created in the past 100 years.
Zionism, Rabbi Weiss argued that Zionism was created by a non-religious European faction that sought to create a Jewish state. Zionism is a form of nationalism, a political ideology not a religion, and particularly unrelated to Judeaism.
Zionists use the Torah, the Rabbi claimed, as its deed to the land; continually, they turn to the holy text as a legitimization for their right to the territory.
In actuality, the larger Jewish population rejects Zionism and the legitimacy of the state. He explained that Jewish communities have in fact thrived in practically every Arab country in the past, until about 100 years ago with the creation of Zionism.
Ultimately, Rabbi Weiss urged the peaceful dismantling of the state of Israel as the logical and moral solution to the conflict.