On the 12th of November, Professor Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Representative to Britain addressed Durham University students about the current situation in the conflict between Israel and Palestine that is causing massive violence and bloodshed in the Middle-East.
Professor Hassassain is a professor, politician and diplomat who has represented Palestine in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. His time is dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of Palestine in order to help change its future. In addition to diplomatic work, he has spoken at every university in the UK and is a self-proclaimed ‘unconventional diplomat’ with an academic background.
The professor began his lecture by outlining the poignant issues surrounding the Israel-Palestine war, strongly advocating a peaceful, political negotiation tactic over the deployment of arms. His strong, and of course inevitable, bias towards the Palestinian side was apparent throughout. He passionately outlined the human rights violations Israel has committed as a result of military deployment in the West Bank and criticised the leadership strategies used to tackle the issues in the conflict.
In addition to providing thought-provoking critique of past decisions and current policy, Professor Hassassain discussed the outlook for the future of the war-torn arears, warning that Israeli occupation of Palestine cannot last forever and that the geopolitical climate is a constantly changing field that should not be taken for granted.
The audience was then invited to ask the professor questions which often called into question the professor’s anti-Israeli stance on the debate. These included the subject of rockets launched against Israel, the question of diminishing Judaism’s rights in Jerusalem and the role of Netanyahu in the conflict. Professor Hassassain was able to answer every question in a confidently educate manner and certainly opened everyone’s mind to the Palestinian side of the debate, but hopefully not swaying them to neglect the opposing side of the conflict.
By Kate Dean