Free Forum: POOF! The Israeli Occupation Goes On


POOF! The Israeli Occupation Goes On … And On … And On

A Free Forum
Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History and Professor of Middle East History
Stanford University

Friday, May 9, 7:00 PM
Community Media Center, 900 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto [map]
Free and open to all. Wheelchair accessible.

“In the afternoon when they were about to maybe get there, 700 settlement units were announced in Jerusalem. And poof! That was sort of the moment.”
~ Sec’y of State John Kerry, Testifying Before the Senate

As John Kerry’s deadline for a “framework” peace agreement between Israel and Palestine was drawing near, the latest months-long round of peace talks screeched to a halt when Israel slammed on the breaks by refusing to release Palestinian prisoners — as previously promised — while at the same time announcing the issuance of permits for 700 new Israeli settler units to be built on occupied land.


We had planned on this month’s forum being an analysis of the framework deal that was supposed to concluded by April 29. Instead, we will analyze how and why peace talks failed yet again. Is there any hope left? Can Israel possibly sustain the status quo and continue occupying Palestine with no end in sight? How will the Palestinians react to being denied their aspirations … yet again? How will the world react?

“Today’s status quo absolutely, to a certainty, I promise you 100 percent, cannot be maintained. It’s not sustainable. It’s illusionary. There’s a momentary prosperity, there’s a momentary peace.” ~ John Kerry

In reaction to the collapse, the Palestinian Authority announced it was applying immediately for membership in 15 international institutions. What is the significance of this announcement? What might these international institutions be able to do to influence the stalemated situation?

Earlier in the process, when the talks were clearly floundering, Kerry made reference to the growing international Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement …

“You see, for Israel there’s an increasing de-legitimization campaign that has been building up. People are very sensitive to it. There is talk of boycotts and other kinds of things.” ~ John Kerry

We’ll examine this growing movement, similar to the international boycott and divestment campaign that successfully challenged South African apartheid. What is it? Who’s behind it? What are its chances for success?

forum-joel-200Joel Beinin is Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History at Stanford University, and a past president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America. His most recent book is Social Movements, Mobilization, and Contestation in the Middle East and North Africa (co-edited with Frédéric Vairel).

He lived in Egypt in 1969, 1980-81, 1985, 1986, 1994, 2004-05, and 2006-08 and in Israel in 1965-66, 1970-73, 1987, 1988, 1993, and 1993. He has taught Middle East history at Stanford University since 1983. From 2006 to 2008 he served as Director of Middle East Studies and Professor of History at the American University in Cairo. His research and writing focuses on workers, peasants, and minorities in the modern Middle East and on Israel, Palestine, and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In person … Online … On TV

Join us for this live TV broadcast and take part right in the studio with us. We devote a substantial portion of every forum to dialogue with our audience members. So come with your questions, comments and ideas and be a part of the conversation! It’s free and wheelchair accessible.

OTHER VOICES TV can be seen live on Mid-Peninsula cable TV channel 27 or online at the Community Media Center website (select channel 27). The program is rebroadcast seven times each week for the rest of the month. Check listings for times. The full video will be available on our website two days after the original broadcast.

Photo credit: Adam Nieman – Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0