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Middle East violence discussed at panel Wednesday

By jasonwtemp

Section: News

January 16, 2009

<b>MIDDLE EAST CRISIS</b>: Shai Feldman (above) and Amaney Jamal (right) spoke on Wednesday at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies panal on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  While Feldman insisted that peace could not be acheived until the Palestinians stop attacking Israelis, Jamal, who has visited Gaza recently, held that the conflict is one that must be solved politically and not militarily.  Both Jamal and Feldman agreed that a solution to the smuggeling of weapons into Gaza must be reached.<br /><i>Photo by Max Shay/The Hoot</i>

MIDDLE EAST CRISIS: Shai Feldman (above) and Amaney Jamal (right) spoke on Wednesday at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies panal on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. While Feldman insisted that peace could not be acheived until the Palestinians stop attacking Israelis, Jamal, who has visited Gaza recently, held that the conflict is one that must be solved politically and not militarily. Both Jamal and Feldman agreed that a solution to the smuggeling of weapons into Gaza must be reached.
Photo by Max Shay/The Hoot

Shai Feldman, the Judy and Sidney Swartz Director’s Chair of the Crown Center for Middle East studies and professor of politics at Brandeis University argued that Israel needs a more political approach to resolve the conflicts in Gaza at the Crown Center for Middle East studies panel discussion Wednesday.

“In my opinion, there is no military solution to this problem” said Feldman. “[Israel] needs to end this politically.”

Feldman outlined Israel’s objectives and the main issues being negotiated to end the violence. Israel’s two conditions are a “stable cease-fire” and an “antimilitary buildup regime,” he said. Hamas has one condition for peace; to allow crossings into and out of Gaza through Israel, Feldman said.

He explained the Israeli’s hope to establish a “stable and total cease-fire” so that neither party will continue aerial bombings or mortar attacks. He also explained that stopping the thousands of bombings and attacks that happened around Gaza is the first step toward resolution. Feldman continued to assert for a more politically powerful Israeli authority.

“Israel is losing the political game,” Feldman said. He explained that if Israel weakens Hamas’ military, then he will gain political power because of his importance in the conflicts.

He also explained that both Hamas and Israel rejected cease-fire after their limited Ta’hdia (period of calm). However, Hamas has nothing to lose in continuing to reject a cease-fire while Israel would eventually be destroyed in the circumstance.

Amaney Jamal, assistant professor of Politics at Princeton University, took a more personal stance in the Gaza issues.

Jamal expressed concern for the hundreds of casualties being killed and took note of the poor economic conditions in Gaza. She had personally visited Gaza and found the living conditions there to be terrible.

Jamal also explained how she believes the Obama administration will take a more neutral stance to help end the conflicts in Gaza.

“The Obama administration is going to be more fair and just” said Jamal, comparing the President-Elect to the Bush administration. She commended Hilary Clinton in her compassion toward the Israeli’s, who have nowhere to flee from the bombings.

Both Feldman and Jamal agreed that the smuggling of weapons into Gaza was an issue that needed to be resolved.

The audience was also interested in considering one-state solutions, two-state solutions, and three-state solutions. Neither Jamal nor Feldman settled on a “best” solution but did mention that 72% of the Palestinians voted for the two-state solution, which would separate the region of Palestine into two separate states: one Jewish and the other Arab.

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