University News

SUU Convocation to Explore the Palestinian Perspective

Published: April 17, 2008 | Category: Special Events

Southern Utah University’s Convocation Lecture Series has added an extra presentation as this season’s final Convocation. Mr. William Van Wagenen, who lived in the Palestinian Territories, will share some of his experiences as a student at Bir Zeit University.

His lecture will be Tuesday, April 22 at 11:30 a.m. in the Sharwan Smith Center Theater, across the hall from the University’s bookstore.

Mr. Van Wagenen contends that in the United States, the media does an excellent job of explaining the conflict from the Israeli government point of view, namely that Israeli government violence is motivated by a desire to provide security to Israel’s Jews in a hostile world dominated by Anti-Semitism. Thus Palestinian violence against Israelis is viewed as motivated by an inherent hatred of Jews, while Israeli violence is viewed as a defensive response to these Palestinian attacks, whether suicide bombings or the firing of Qassam rockets from Gaza.

Such a discussion comes at an important time in the American discussion concerning international relations. Now, more than ever, even casual observers in the U.S. are familiar with this explanation for the necessity of Israeli military operations in Palestinian villages, and the building of settlements in the Palestinian occupied territories to be inhabited by Jews only. In contrast, few observers in the U. S. are familiar with explanations about the conflict from the Palestinian point of view.

For Palestinians, the cause of the conflict is not an inherent hatred of Jews, but rather Israeli Jews’ attempts to colonize and confiscate Palestinian territory for the sake of realizing the aspirations of the Zionist movement. Understanding both Palestinian and Israeli perspectives on the conflict is important in understanding the dynamics of the violence and how to solve it.

In addition to explaining the conflict from the Palestinian perspective, Mr. Van Wagenen will share some experiences from when he was living in the Palestinian Territories as a student at Bir Zeit University. From those experiences he hopes to give some insight about what it is like to live under occupation as Palestinians have for decades.

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