Cursus Globalism, Terrorism and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Deze week is de cursus “Globalism, Terrorism and the Arab-Israeli Conflict” weer van start gegaan aan het University College Utrecht. Ik verzorg de colleges samen met Dr Leonard Suransky.

Over de cursusinhoud:

“Conflict is ubiquitous. It exists at all levels, within and between individuals, communities, countries and cultures. We encounter it every day. Conflict is in itself neither bad nor good, but a sign that change is needed. The question is: does the way it is dealt with allow for positive or negative change? Does it allow for growth, development, and understanding, or rather destruction, confusion, and polarisation?

The management of the Arab-Israeli conflict has resulted in much negative change. It is one of the most intractable and dangerous conflicts of our era that has resisted resolution by generations of regional and international politicians and conflict experts. It has been characterised as the kernel of instability in the wider region and beyond.

In the context of the current global disposition, the United States has acted as a guardian of Israel as well as the leading mediator in the conflict, sometimes shutting out initiatives from other important regional and international actors such as the EU, Russia and the UN. In this course, we will examine the geo-strategic significance of the Middle East in an age of globalism, and look at the opportunities and limitations that this macro-dimension places on finding a ‘road map to peace’ that works.

We examine the underlying causes of the ongoing failure to find a resolution to the conflict. In addition, the course will examine the painful consequences of the wars and intifadas that have hardened resistance to change, precipitated hatred and revenge-seeking, and have entrenched negative views of the identities of ’the Other’.

In order to be able to examine the present significance of the conflict in international relations, or to try our hands at conflict management in a diplomatic simulation, we must fully appreciate the history of the conflict. The Arab-Israeli conflict has not only been fought in wars, but also in the historical narratives presented by historians, (ex-) journalists and a variety of social scientists. The narrative that informs us necessarily shapes the framework that we apply to view the conflict. Historiography plays an essential role in the shaping of the often conflicting narratives. The course will therefore begin with an overview of the heated historical debate over the establishment of the state of Israel.¬†We will examine the arguments, sources and methods that inform this debate on the origins of the conflict, after which we will follow the major developments in the conflict to the present. We will subsequently address core issues and themes that, in addition to allowing the recognition of narratives, will prepare us for the simulation exercise, where we will live the conflict for one weekend.”

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