Nearly a year after the Unity Intifada, the international community is once again bearing witness to the intensification of Israel’s military assault on Palestinians across historic Palestine. This systematic pattern of violence is a symptom of Israel’s settler colonial and apartheid regime. Yet, each wave of home demolitions, shootings of Palestinians, and restrictions on their ability to pray and access sacred grounds, is accompanied by headlines, interviews, and articles that depict the outcomes of Israel’s policies and practices as ‘clashes’ and misconceptualises the situation as an intractable, age-old, religious conflict between two equal sides. This problematic framework not only informs how international grassroots and social organisations come to understand Palestinian experiences but also shapes their strategies and approach towards the Palestinian struggle for liberation.
This talk will focus on the recent revival of normalisation, dialogue and co-existence initiatives by international grassroots and social organisations focusing on Palestine-Israel, and will explore why these approaches are problematic both in theory and in practice. Makan’s Outreach Officer Sarona Bedwan will be in conversation with Al Shabaka’s Senior Analyst Dr. Yara Hawari and University of Exeter’s Palestine Studies lecturer Dr. Nadia Nasser-Najjab. Together they will discuss the ways in which normalisation, dialogue and coexistence function in grassroots advocacy on Palestine-Israel both in Britain and internationally, and how these strategies have historically repressed the demands of the Palestinian community.
Dr. Yara Hawari is the Senior Analyst of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. She completed her PhD in Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter, where she taught various undergraduate courses and continues to be an honorary research fellow. In addition to her academic work, which focused on indigenous studies and oral history, she is a frequent political commentator writing for various media outlets including The Guardian, Foreign Policy, and Al Jazeera English. She is also the host of the podcast 'Rethinking Palestine' and the author of 'The Stone House' by Hajar Press.
Dr. Nadia Naser-Najjab is a lecturer in Palestine Studies, European Centre for Palestine Studies - Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. Prior to this, she was an Assistant Professor, Birzeit University, Department of Philosophy and Cultural Studies and the MA program in Arab Contemporary Studies. Nadia holds a PhD in Middle East Studies form the University of Exeter. Her recent book is entitled 'Dialogue in Palestine: The People-to-People Diplomacy Programme and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict'.
Her research is based on first-hand experience and original data collection and focuses on Palestine-Israel peace process, Palestinian education and Palestinian resistance. She publishes newspaper and online magazine articles in a regular manner on issues related to political events.
She was a visiting scholar at The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies in 2010, Georgetown University. The same year she was awarded AMIDEAST “Teaching Excellence Award” that recognizes teaching commitment to teaching and non-traditional class methods. In 2022, she became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).