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Behind the Struggle (Multimedia)

News Feature

News & Events

April 4, 2012

As part of BSU's Middle East Educational Weeks, Shai Bazak, consul general of Israel to New England, visited campus to discuss the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

(Check out the full video below.)

The third annual Middle East Educational Weeks, sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, is featuring a comprehensive and eclectic program of lectures and events investigating a variety of topics currently making news in the region. It concludes with a Passover celebration on Thursday April 12.

Mr. Bazak's talk, "Palestinian-Israeli Peace Negotiations: The Current Situation on the Ground and the Future," focused on the roots of the decades-long conflict, possible peaceful resolutions, and the state of unrest throughout the Middle East.

Israelis have in the past offered a two-state solution, where an independent Palestinian state would exist alongside a State of Israel, but Palestinians have refused negotiations, said Mr. Bazak. Although the reason for their refusal is unclear, Mr. Bazak offered some ideas. "I guess the leadership there is afraid that they cannot pass this kind of agreement among their own people," he said. "Because of that, they avoid coming to the table to sit with us and discuss it.

"And this is a shame," he added, "because each one of us [Israelis] prays for peace many times a day. We educate our children for peace. And the other side [Palestinians], unfortunately, still educate their children to hate."

Violence resulting from the conflict has prompted international actions and human rights concerns.

Mr. Bazak said his country's relationship with the United States is crucial in addressing the conflict and other issues worldwide. "We are friends, we are partners," he said. "We all together try to bring light to darkness, to bring justice to a place we see injustice."

Additional lectures and discussions for Middle East Education Weeks will take up issues, such as the current situation in Kurdistan, the Middle East in the media, the effects of social media in the region, relations between Turkey and Iraq, and the Iranian nuclear threat. The program will feature some lighter topics, such as the making and tasting of a Yemeni coffee and instruction in rhythmic literacy and dancing.

Click here for a full schedule of events.

Middle East Educational Weeks is sponsored by Academic Affairs, External Affairs, and the departments of Music, Communication Studies, U.S. Ethnic Studies, MSA, and CIE. (Story by Rob Matheson, '07, University Advancement; video by Moakley TV Studio)

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