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Tel Aviv University

 October 19 (M): Invited Guest Speaker: Anat Biletski

Excerpts from Tolan, The Lemon Tree (e-reserve)


ANTH-WOST295L-Fall09 - Anat Biletzki's lecture (powerpoint)
Anat Biletzki's lecture (powerpoint). UMASS - Palestine, Israel, and HR.pptx

To download powerpoint presentation click here:




Notes from Anat Biletski’s Lecture- October 19, 2009

“History is a myth agreed upon”

Timeline of Israeli/Palestinian Situation

1897-Beginning of Zionism which was a movement that endorsed the belief amongst Jews that they should seek and establish their own homeland. Palestine was the chosen site. The Zionist movement arose after a rise in anti-Semitism in Russia and Eastern Europe during the late 1800’s.

The idea of Jews settling in Palestine was viewed by some as being similar to white colonialism, which was the practice of European nations taking over the land in far-off countries. In the case of Palestine, 15,000 Jews settled amongst 300,000 local Palestinians.

1917-Balfour Declaration was a British mandate that stated that the Jews
were deserving of this state.

1920, 21, and 29- Arab riots protesting the Jewish settlers.

1930’s-Before the Holocaust there were many Jews arriving in Palestine after
fleeing from Germany, Russia and Poland.

1939- Many more Jews arrived before the outbreak of WWII.

1947- The UN General Assembly, which had 50 members,
with Egypt as the only Arab nation, agreed to divide Palestine, giving 55% the land to Jews and 45% to the Palestinians

. 1948- Jews declare their share of the land as the state of Israel. The
Palestinians consider it to be the NAKBA or a catastrophe as they feel
that their land has been taken away from them.

1967- Six Day War- Israel makes a pre-emptive military strike against
surrounding Arab countries. As a result, Israel takes control of areas
outside of its territory. These included the Gaza Strip, West Bank,
Golan Heights and Sinai.

UN Security Council Proposes: Resolution 242 which never mentions that Israel has wrongly acquired the land formerly occupied by the Palestinians. Also, this resolution implies that Arab states must give recognition to Israel. In addition, it does not mention Resolutions 181 or 194 and turns the Palestinian situation into a refugee problem. The right to self-determination is a Human Right to which Palestinians assert that they are entitled to. The PLO is given political legitimacy.

1970- Black September- Palestinians begin to use more radical measures to
confront its enemies. Underground war.
1973-Yom Kippur War- Egypt goes over the Suez into the Sinai Peninsula
and captures the land

1975-Zionism is determined to be racism.
1979- Israel declares peace with Egypt.

1982- War with Lebanon
1987- First Intifada (or uprising) which is called a popular uprising: the uprising of stone throwing
1988- UN decision on Resolution 242 (land for peace)
1993- Oslo Accord- political deal which does not recognize Human Right
Number of settlements doubles after Oslo
2000- Second Intifida- Suicide bombings and terrorist attacks
2006- Hamas victory in election
Second Lebanon war
2008- Operation Cast Lead- Many Palestinians were murdered

Israelis now occupy 78% of the land and Palestinians occupy only
22% of the land in the West Bank and Gaza

Since 1967, opinions have existed that consider it to be morally wrong for outsiders to come in and occupy someone’s land. Opposition has been up and down depending on current political climates.

There are many political parties that exist in Israel with the leftist wing that
opposes occupation

Peace Movements- Fighting powers that be and promote peace.

Human Rights Organizations- Look into International Law regarding civil and political rights. Also, consideration of humanitarian law and what can be done during wartime.

Palestinians living in West Bank and Gaza have suffered from identity crisis and feel marginalized and ostracized.

Israelis who fight for HR’s for Palestinians are considered to be “treasonists” Those working for these HR’s for Palestinians want Israel to be a just society and treat others fairly. HR’s are not universal and are unique to the beliefs, customs and traditions of each separate state.

There are many HR organizations that are working for the HR’s of the Palestinian people.

1989- B-Tselem was established as the information center regarding HR’s in the occupied territories. The organization has operated as a legal but non-political organization. Humanitarian law says that occupying powers cannot move their own people in to occupied territories. Violated rights of movement, to property and education. Have built roads that only Jews can travel on forcing non-Jews to travel many miles out of their way to get from one place to another, even to their workplace.

A security barrier has been constructed but the reason for the “wall” is questionable. Is it really a barrier to secure against such acts as suicide bombers or is it a method to ensure further Israeli expansion?

The Israeli/Palestinian situation has been equated with South African apartheid where the black population had not shared in the equal rights afforded to the white population.

Notes from Leila Farsakh’s lecture on October 22

Enlightenment Period- “ We are all equal citizens of the world.” One group should not be discriminated against and not afforded the same rights as others.

Israeli/Palestinian conflict has existed for over 100 years since the early Zionist movement in the late 1800’s which lead to the idea that Jews needed their own homeland state.

In 1917, the British controlled Palestine and believed that Jews and Muslims should live together in one country. In 1947, the problem is given to the UN and back to legal consideration. A UN commission made up of 11 judges (there were no British, US or Arab representatives but 3 judges from the “developing world”) spent 9 months in Palestine It was a majority that decided that a single state would not work thus resulting in resolution 181 that divided the area into and Arab and Jewish state. However, 56% of the land went to Jews who only comprised 1/3 of the population and 43% of the land went to Palestine that comprised 2/3 of the population. The partitions kept the Jewish population in the coastal areas while the Palestinians that were not removed from the country were settled in the West Bank and Gaza. 2/3 of the Palestinian population was expelled from their homeland.
The UN resolution 194 is concerned with the Human Right principle that refugees have the right to return to their homes and that no one should be expelled from their land in the first place. However, Israel has not permitted the return of the Palestinians.

West Bank divided into 3 distinct areas:
A- Full Palestinian control- 20%
B- According to the Oslo Accords, Israel has security control of territory in Area B, which includes many villages and towns in the West Bank, but the Palestinians are responsible for civilian law enforcement activities. - 22%
C- Israel has full control- 68%
Jerusalem cuts the West Bank in half:

The following create barriers that make it very difficult for Palestinians to get to work, hospitals, schools, etc:

1- The Israeli Settlements
2- The construction of a wall
3- Bypass Roads
4- Checkpoints
5- Road and tunnel schemes



[Tel Aviv University, Philosophy] Anat Biletzki's lecture, October 19, 2009 at UMASS Boston "Palestine, Israel and Human Rights"

[Biletzki, Anat anatbi@post.tau.ac.il 03-6407247 Philosophy of Language; Political Philosophy, Logic; Hobbes; Wittgenstein

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