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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Officials to debate state of Israel, Palestine conflict

Photo by File

Tensions arose between the students supporting Israel when the Aggies for Palestine peacefully protested an SSI display in March. 

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Liberation Organization Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi will come to campus Wednesday to discuss Israeli-Palestinian relations.
The MSC Wiley Lecture Series will host Barak and Ashrawi in a discussion titled “In Pursuit of Peace: An Israeli Palestinian Dialogue.” Tranae Felicien, a political science sophomore and the main program director for the Wiley Lecture Series, said the dialogue will cover past conflicts between the two nations, as well as potential solutions for the facilitation of peace.
“We’ve talked about certain things that the speakers want to hit on, which is the power differences between Palestine and Israel; what things can be done so that peace can actually be sustained? Various things like who should foster these peace talks, how should it be approached — should this be unilateral or multilateral?” Felicien said.
The conflict between Israel and Palestine has a long history, igniting tensions between supporters across the globe. Such was the case on the A&M campus earlier this semester in March when a disagreement arose between Students Supporting Israel and Aggies for Palestine.
Tensions arose between the two groups while the Aggies for Palestine peacefully protested an SSI mural display. The conflict was ultimately resolved peacefully, but serves to highlight the need for further discourse on peace between Israel and Palestine.
“I’m thrilled that these two leaders are coming together at A&M,” said Rabbi Matt Rosenberg, executive director of Hillel at Texas A&M University. “I have so much respect for each of them and their willingness to come together in open dialogue to help some of the most significant challenges of our day. Everyone wants peace in the Middle East and coming together through forums such as this help pave the way to understanding and peace.”
The event will be moderated by Janine Zacharia, a professor from Stanford and former Jerusalem Bureau Chief and Middle East correspondent for The Washington Post.
Zacharia’s guided discussion and some open discourse between Barak and Ashrawi, MSC Wiley hopes to provide students with a largely unprecedented opportunity to hear critical discussion between two foreign world leaders.
“To have somebody who is a strong leader from both Israel and Palestine, not only on the same stage at the same time but already agreed to speak together, that’s a really big deal because it’s a very divisive issue,” said international studies junior and Wiley Chair W Lander.
Civil engineering junior Yazan Zakaria, former president of Aggies for Palestine, says the conversation between two polarizing figures, Barak and Ashrawi, will bring to light new perspectives for attendees to consider.
“Attending discussions such as this one will allow Aggies to create a more well-rounded opinion of the conflict, leading to the creation of individuals that can converse and give well-thought-out opinions with people whose lives have been directly affected by this conflict,” Zakaria said.
The discussion between Barak and Ashrawi will be held Wednesday in Rudder Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.

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