Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Live Blogging Palestine and Palestinians: Lecture By Karam Dana, Ph.D.

I decided to go to a nearby talk on Palestine that's being put on by the local University for reasons, and they have wifi here so why not live blog this biz? Not that anyone is going to be tuning in but whatever, here we go!

The full title of the lecture is Palestine and Palestinians: Exploring Public Opinion After the Oslo Accords.

Should be good. Lecture starts at 7 pm PST.

6:57 - Not a lot of young people here. Mostly middle age and up, mostly white.

7:02 - Dean of the local branch of UW is introducing Dr. Dana.

7:07 - Recent foreign policy recap: Israeli occupation continues to violate Palestinian rights and makes their lives more and more difficult daily without repercussions from the U.S. Trump's calling Jerusalem as the capital of Israel means that the U.S. position on Palestine/Israel is no longer ambiguous. What can Palestinians do?

7:12 - History refresher - 1917: England foreign minister promised that the state looks in favor of a declaration of a Jewish state. 1948: Largely immigrant Jewish population in Palestine declared a state. 700-900 thousand Palestinians became refugees and were violently forced out. Palestinians lose 77% of their land. 1967: Israel carries out preemptive war against Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq. This lasts 6 days and Israel gains land to become three times its side. 1987: The first intifada (uprising) occupied Palestine and in Palestinian communities in Israel. Israel now controls every aspect of Palestinian lives.

7:16 - 1993: First intifada ends with the signing of Oslo Accords - agreement to start talking about what can be done to make both Israel and Palestine happy. The idea was that in 5 years, Palestine as a state would be up and running. That didn't happen, lol. Israel says "give us land in exchange for peace." At some point Israel is ordered by the UN to withdraw from Palestinian land, I think.

7:21 - 2000: The Oslo Accords have failed. The second intifada starts. This is when Israel starts moving their citizens into Palestine with the goal of "maximizing their outcome." (Sounds like getting as much as they can and fuck Palestine). Palestinian Authority arises to police within Palestinian cities, but outside of small areas, Israeli military rules, surrounding Palestinians. "Withdrawl" from Palestinian land was really just Israel "redeploying" outside of city limits.

7:26 - Dr. Dana breaks out That Graphic. If there was a car accident between an Israeli and a Palestinian, Israeli police would be in charge and Palestinian police would not even be allowed to show up. This is where the comparison to apartheid comes up.

7:28 - Dr. Dana shows different graphic showing that the occupation is much more complex than That Graphic. I hope I can find it later. It must be so confusing and terrifying to be a Palestinian. Dr. Dana prefers "colonization" to "occupation," because it's really just a military force going in and taking land and Palestinians have no legal recourse.

7:31 - Now on to the public opinion survey - West Bank attitudes on the peace process 20 years after the Oslo Accord signing, approval ratings of the PA, and President Abbas. 832 surveys done in 2013. Over 18 only. Self-administered exit-pole style survey.

7:33 - Substantial amount of Palestinians think of the PA as "doing the dirty work of the occupation." They want the PA dismantled.

7:35 - Palestinians understand the importance of spreading knowledge of their struggle and PR. Over the years, American views of Palestinians have become more positive. After 2nd intifada, BDS emerges (boycott, divestment, and sanctions). It's international, but focused on Western countries. BDS is committed to non-violence, or at least stresses its importance. They boycott companies made in Israel, built by Israel on Palestinian land, and that enable Israeli occupation. It's a social movement, decentralized.

7:40 - "Palestinians exist and live in a transnational setting." Palestine refugees live all over the world. This makes for effective communication across different cultures and opinions. Refugees can educate the local population. The effectiveness of specific strategies for resisting Israel will determine the next courses of action.

7:43 - Palestinian views on Western countries: They like the people and don't like the governments or don't like both. They rarely like our governments and don't like our people. At least 57% of Palestinians have positive feelings toward our people. 38.5% have negative views of our governments. They know that we didn't all vote for Trump. Thanks, folks. People living under oppressive governments get that governments often don't represent the people.

7:48 - Palestinians generally believe that what happens to Palestinian refugees outside of Palestine affects their lives. Mostly "somewhat" or "a little," few "not at all." They are split on whether Oslo was a failure. 52.6% think it was "sometimes" a success. 27% say it's a success. They largely did not think that John Kerry's efforts to find a solution to Palestine/Israel question would be successful. 62.6% think the PA should stay, 37% say it should be dismantled. Even if the PA police are problematic, it's better to have something of their own.

7:53 - Palestinians are more dissatisfied with President Assad than satisfied. 29% think there will never be peace between the two nations. Only 11% think it will take 5 years, 31% think 10, 29% think 20. They don't feel like they're in control of their own fate. They don't see a way out.

7:55 - 71.6% of Palestinians on West Bank don't think they should continue to seek peace with Israel. That route has only led to them losing more and more. I don't blame them.

7:57 - Palestinians are leaning toward using "any means necessary," including violence, as being an effective method to fight the Israeli occupation. Yet they seem to think non-violent methods will be equally effective. Older people depend to be more supportive of non-violence, as well as the "secular nationalist" party, according to Dr. Dana.

8:01 - They seem to be a bit more likely believe the BDS movement will be effective. Again, older individuals favor this more than younger. "Lobbying" and PR efforts are viewed even more favorably than BDS methods, with the same age trends again.

8:06 - Dr. Dana is summing up previous points. Other methods of resistance include music, solidarity with other oppressed people like BLM, and engaging with anti-Zionist Israelis. Ferguson to Palestine. Holocaust survivors' support. There was an ad in an Israeli daily newspaper early this year calling for a BDS-style boycott. BDS movement was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Barnard College just voted for BDS. Natalie Portman speaks out against violence against Palestinians. Police forces in U.S. are banning police training exchanges with Israel.

8:10 - End of lecture, question time.

8:12 - Obama increased financial aid to Israel, fast-tracking a billion smackers.

8:13 - White man asks annoying question about demographics that is clearly only asked to sound smart. I guess people never grow out of this shit. Dr. Dana went over the demographics that were important, why do you care about others? If you did you'd be more specific.

8:15 - It is interesting to learn that demographics in Palestine end up being pretty much like those in the U.S. when you're out in public collecting random opinions from passers-by. Guess what, we're not so different from anyone else.

8:19 - How can we convince our government to stop supporting Israel? Dr. Dana says be an informed citizen. (Overthrow the fucking U.S. government and end capitalism, Peter).

8:23 - UW student asks boring, pointless question about some book he read.

8:24 - If Israel and Palestine had an equal amount of power, could they coexist? Why ask this question when that's not how it is? Dr. Dana points out that in 1967, Israel could have made the decision to give everyone equal rights, and instead came up with colored ID system that allowed them to discriminate. Israel claims that Palestinians are better off than they would have been without them, *17-minute long fart noise*

8:29 - Finally a woman gets to ask a question. She wants to know about more companies to boycott. Google it, lady.

8:30 - I have a terrible time understanding accents. My parents didn't raise me with enough diverse media. The educational system in Palestine has gone through changes. When Dr. Dana was a kid, the word Palestine was scratched out of textbooks and replaced with Israel. Books were banned. There's a public opinion that Palestinians don't like their children? That's some racist nonsense. Dr. Dana thinks that education is doing pretty well in Palestine. Sounds better than us, despite the constant harassment they endure.

The end!

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