SUMMER: Pressman to teach Arab-Israeli Conflict (Storrs)

Prof. Jeremy Pressman will be teaching POLS 3464, “The Arab-Israeli Conflict,” during the May 2011 term at UConn (Storrs). It is a 3-credit course. For further information, email jeremy.pressman at uconn.edu . He talked about the course and the conflict:

Can the Arab-Israeli conflict ever be solved?

There is a lot of pessimism these days. After decades of negotiations, many observers have given up hope. I am not sure which direction we area headed, but in this course we make an effort to solve it. We simulate an Israeli-Palestinian peace conference and grapple with Jerusalem, settlements, security, refugees, and borders. We get a taste of the real complexities and tradeoffs.

Do grassroots efforts make a difference?

We watch the film Arna’s Children about an effort to use dramatic arts to tell the Palestinian story. It is a hard film and past students have had conflicting views about its meaning. The film is especially poignant this term because its maker, Juliano Mer Khamis, was murdered on April 4, 2011. (Mer Khamis was supposed to visit UConn last fall but he had to cancel at the last minute.)

Does the Arab spring affect Arab-Israeli matters?

Israel is nervous with so much changing around it. Just in recent days, Egypt has said it will open the Rafah crossing into Gaza and Hamas and Fatah have negotiated a unity deal. These changes were both made possible by Hosni Mubarak’s fall as president of Egypt. The tumult in Syria only adds to the mix. These are exciting times!

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