Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Conference: Future Scenarios in Israel-Palestine

Thursday, April 12 –
Saturday, April 14, 2018

Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street

Registration is required.  Please register here.

This is the sixth and final event of the multi-year project on "Israel-Palestine: Lands and Peoples," directed by Omer Bartov at the Watson Institute. Unlike the preceding five workshops, which were closed events, this will be an open conference in which papers will be presented to a larger audience.

The main goal of this conference is to explore the manner in which several generations of Jews and Palestinians have imagined the future since the beginning of Zionist settlement in the land in 1882. Speakers will consider three types of future scenarios:

I. The future of the past: Pre-state Zionist visions of a future Jewish community in Palestine; Arab-Jewish interactions in the late Ottoman period as a model for a multiethnic and multi-religious society; the transformation of Jewish-Palestinian coexistence during the British Mandate into ethnic conflict alongside ongoing efforts to envision a common future.

II. Ideal Futures: The radically different ideal futures sketched and in part implemented by ideologues, decision makers, politicians and the military, ranging from attempts to create a bi-national state to partition, from violent fraternal conflict to ethnic cleansing, and from the creation of a Jewish nation-state to the emergence of a seemingly intractable struggle over the same land perceived by both Jews and Palestinians as their homeland.

III. Feasible Futures: The multiple ways in which activists on the ground and other observers are imagining or forging alternative futures, through reinterpretations of national and political goals, creative ways of overcoming challenges on the ground, and mutual encounters despite the constraints of separation, fear and suspicion. Several speakers will present specific proposals to put an end to the conflict and to share a common homeland.

Thursday, April 12

4:00 – 6:00   Omer Bartov, Welcome Remarks

Session 1: Coexistence and Futures Past

Dmitry Shumsky, A State Within the State? Zionist Political Imagination Before & During World War I

Abigail Jacobson, Shared Futures: Oriental Jews and Arabs in Mandatory Palestine

Gil Rubin, 1939 – Palestine as an Arab State

Friday, April 13

8:00 – 10:00 Session 2: Past Potentials and Potential Futures

Marcello Svirsky & Ronnen Ben Arie, research fellow at the Minerva Humanities Center at Tel-Aviv University, From Shared Life to Co-Resistance in Historic Palestine

Ali Abu Awwad, (presenting virtually)

Menachem Klein, Three Option Not Taken and One that Unexpectedly Returns

Ian Black, visiting senior fellow at the Middle East Centre of the London School of Economics,  Moderator and Commentator

10:00 – 10:15 Break

10:15 – 12:15 Session 3: Dreams, Nightmares, and Interpretive Paradigms

Alon Confino, Some Dreams and Nightmares in Palestine and Israel

Ilan Pappé, Decolonizing Israel/Palestine

Sam Fleischacker, Three Models for Understanding the Israel/Palestine Conflict

Nancy Jacobs, Moderator and Commentator

1:30 – 3:30 Session 4: Together and Apart

Eyal Sivan, Common State, Potential Conversation

Hanan Schlesinger, The Perspective of a Religious Peace Activist – The Centrality of Religion, Narrative &

Identity in the Search for a Way Forward Toward a Shared Future

Yakov Nagen, The Abrahamic Union: A Confederate Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Susannah Heschel, Moderator and Commentator

3:30 – 3:45 Break

3:45 –5:45 Session 5: Confronting the Past, Repairing the Future

Eran Tzidkiyahu, One Jerusalem: Past, Present and Future

Debby Farber, curator of the gallery of Zochrot NGO ("Remembering" in Hebrew), From Nakba to Awda, From Non-Place to Place

Salman Abu Sitta, Founder and President of Palestine Land Society, London,  Demography of Return for Palestinian Refugees

6:30 Musical Ensemble: “Following His Footsteps with the Wing – New Melodies Infused by Tradition”

Saturday, April 14

8:30 – 10:30 Session 6: Separate Visions, Shared Futures

Guy Ben Porat, Three Visions of Territoriality: The New Middle East, Oslo, and Unilateralism

Chaim Gans, Jews, Palestinians, and Israel: Three Historiographies, Three Moralities, and Three Roadmaps

Majd Kayyal, author,  The Guarantee for Hope: Thoughts on Rebuilding the Liberation Movement

Elias Muhanna, Moderator and Commentator

10:30 – 10:45 Coffee Break

10:45 – 12:45 Session 7: The End of the Two-State Paradigm

Ian Lustick, Two National Homes in One State: The Balfour Declaration as an Accidentally Relevant Vision for the Future

Rami Nasrallah, The Future of Palestine: Scenarios and Strategies

Jonathan Kuttab, Palestinian attorney and human rights activist  & Robert Herbst, human rights lawyer, The Collapse of the Two-State Paradigm and a Future Addressing the Needs of Both Communities (provisional title)

Nina Tannenwald, Moderator and Commentator

2:30 – 4:30 Session 8: Feasible Futures?

Said Zeedani, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Al- Quds University, Two States, One Country: The Divide and Share Approach

Meron Rapoport, award-winning journalist, Awni Al-Mashni, & Nasri Barghouti, Confederation: A New Approach to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Shahzad Bashir, Moderator and Commentator