Although my lecturer was excellent I found that the course wasn’t quite what I had hoped for. IR theory attempts to provide a conceptual framework upon which International Relations can be analysed and rationalised, but with its dominant and narrowly defined paradigms of it ultimately serves to valorize salient events that are only relevant to the theory.
Inhibited by the study of power relations, economic actors and institutions, IR theory fails to account for the human dimensions of the conflict. Through a process of abstraction, IR theory fails to articulate the human suffering and oppression that many have faced throughout the post-War period. In order to obtain a greater understanding of the conflict outside the confines of IR theory, the politics section tried the Palestine Society.
Goldsmiths Palestine society has organised various meetings throughout the year which have centred on the history of the conflict, with a particular focus on human suffering. At a recent meeting, we discussed US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the city that is at the heart of the conflict between the two sides – a move that will stall peace talks and has already resulted in violence.
On 8 December, two days after the announcement, Israeli troops clashed with thousands of protesters in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Thousands were injured in the clashes while four people lost their lives.
Thankfully the fighting in the area has not been as sustained as it has been in the, past. Palestinians are reportedly now feeling despair and fatigue, rather than rage and anger which is understandable given that the conflict has now spanned six decades. Memories from the violence of the Second Intifada are still fresh in the minds of many older Palestinian’s in the community, with many sceptical about how much the demonstrations can achieve and at what cost to human life.
In December last year Hazem Jamjoum, a current PhD candidate at New York University, spoke at a meeting of the society. It was great to have the opportunity to speak to someone who was not only interested in the conflict but also an expert in the field.
The meeting enabled me to deepen my understanding of the history of the conflict and brought into sharp focus just how many lives and livelihoods have been affected and continue to be affected. Attending the meetings also meant that I was able to meet like-minded students at Goldsmiths that I could talk through the issues with – which I think is extremely important.
Those wishing to get involved with the society can reach them here:
@GSUPalSoc / [email protected]
Words: [SMITHS] Politics Team
Image: AFP PHOTO / Musa AL SHAER