The Clarke Forum on Monday April 24th was a talk about the Israel-Palestine conflict, and the so-called “two state solution.” The presentation began with a discussion of how the date, April 24th, was appropriate for the content of the talk. April 24th is Memorial Day in Israel, where individuals who were lost in the Israel-Palestine conflict are mourned. Recently, there has been an increasing number of Palestinians who celebrate this same day of memorial for their lost peers as well. Although this was just the first thing that was brought up in the discussion, I found it incredibly interesting. However, there was controversy surrounding that this year, as the Israeli government fought over whether or not Palestinians should be allowed to attend memorial services in Israel. While they were eventually allowed to attend the memorial service, the fact that this was something that was argued over, is, in my opinion, incredibly telling about the relationship between the Israeli government and the people of Palestine. Admittedly, I am not very well educated in the Israel-Palestine conflict and I could probably stand to learn a little bit more, even after watching this Clarke forum. However, I think this one instance of Palestinians simply not being allowed to mourn their lost loved ones is a relatively eye-opening example for those who may not understand what exactly Palestinians are facing at the hands of the Israeli government.
The gist of the presentation seemed to be that there is no way to end the Israel-Palestine conflict other than absorption, meaning that Israel would fully absorb Palestine and Palestinians would become citizens of Israel. While I do not personally know how realistic this would be from a political standpoint, I can only imagine the social and cultural impacts this would cause. I think that Palestinians would be unwilling to give up their individual identity, and would likely refuse to call themselves Israeli people. As I said, I do not know too much about this conflict or it’s origins, but I think it would be safe to say that it could serve as a primary example of how the identity perspective could be applied to modern conflicts.