Israeli professor outlines solutions to Gaza issue

A crowd of nearly 100 filed into the Union Ballroom last Wednesday to listen to this year's annual Birx Scholar, a visiting scholar-in-residence program sponsored by a former Geneseo faculty member.

The lecture "Prospects for Peace in Israel/Palestine," one of several stops on a tour across America's universities, was hosted by Neve Gordon, chair of the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University in Israel.

Gordon, who resides in Beersheba, Israel, witnessed the recent Hamas rocket strikes firsthand during the 2008 Gaza War and, like all Israelis over the age of 18, has served time in the Israeli Army.

The theme of Gordon's lecture was to outline possible solutions for the state of Israel and Palestine.

The first solution he addressed was known as the one-state solution, which calls for either full blown apartheid between the state of Israel and Palestine or the emigration of the Palestinian population from the West Bank and Gaza Strip into the neighboring countries of Jordan, Lebanon or Egypt. This solution, despite the negative reaction it will garner from the international community, is the one Gordon believes to be most likely in the near future.

The second solution, known as the two-state solution, is outlined as the creation of a Jewish-Palestinian democracy. This solution would call for the destruction of the barriers separating Israel from the Palestinian territories. Gordon said, however, that this solution "will bring about the demise of the Jewish state and therefore suffers from ideological weakness."

The last solution that Gordon outlined was a variation on the two-state solution that entails a reversion to the borders that were established in 1967. This solution, according to Gordon, is the one most agreed upon among Israelis and Palestinians. He said the problem is "external pressure on Israel by the international community."

The lecture ended with a number of inquiries from Geneseo students and faculty about the details of the different solutions.

"The lecture offered more insight into the conflict from a relevant perspective," said freshman international relations major Theo Wilson. "It's important for Americans to understand the intricacies of such a conflict."