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DIALOGIC@ACJC: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
On 21 April 2015, ACJC hosted a guest lecture on the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by Professor Peter Sluglett, Director of the Middle Eastern Institute at the National University of Singapore. The guest lecture is the second for the year, being organized as part of DIALOGIC: The ACJC Distinguished Guest Lecture series under the auspices of the College’s West Zone Centre of Excellence in the Language Arts programme. More than 300 students and teachers from ACJC and other institutions around the island filled up Lecture Theatre One to listen to Professor Sluglett.
Our distinguished guest, Professor Sluglett
Professor Sluglett commenced the lecture with a narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from its origins in the deeper Arab-Israeli conflict, an investigation that commenced from the aftermath of the Great War. From that point of origin, he took us into an overarching analysis of the growth and development of Palestinian nationalism in the West Bank and Gaza Strip from the debris of discredited Arab nationalism. A process he explicated through descriptions of the various Arab-Israeli wars in the Middle East. Finally, he traced the origins of Islamic Fundamentalism in Palestine as a consequence of both the failure of Palestinian secular nationalism and Arab nationalism to bring restitution to the Palestinians as well as the rise of militant Jewish Fundamentalism to counter Islamism. Following which, we had a Q&A session in which students sought clarification on a wide variety of issues, but the most significant question posed to Professor Sluglett was: ‘Is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a religious war or a political dispute?’ The dialogue also questioned the enforceability of international law and critically examined the idealistic premises upon which it was found.
The intent audience
The Professor noted that there is little optimism for resolution to the conflict in the near future due to the abandonment of even-handedness by the United States that had positioned itself as the sole honest broker of the conflict. While this conclusion may appear to have ended the session on a somber note, it nevertheless deepened our understanding of the political realities of the situation and fostered within us a desire to fervently pursue knowledge about the intractability of conflicts in the region, the broader community, and specifically, the Middle East.
Mr Vincent Goh, SH (Humanities) presenting Professor Sluglett with a token of appreciation
We would like to express our thanks to Professor Sluglett for gracing the event as well as to the ACJC History Department for organizing the event. We look forward to more such piquant DIALOGIC talks from eminent luminaries in the field of history.