“We are the only people in the world held responsible for the security of its occupier.”
- Hanan Achrawi, Palestinian Legislator
On this day, May 17th, the Forum began with a moment of silence for the dozens of lives lost, including those of children, amid the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14th, 2018. Occurring during a critical turning point in the history of Israel-Palestine relations, the opportunity to discuss their fate, and what must be done, has come.
“What Happened in 1948?”
The forum began with a panel of speakers who specialize in Palestine and Palestine-Israeli relations, specifically in their history. Panelists informed the stakeholders and observers of the series of events that caused the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes, the occupation of Palestine by Israeli communities, and ultimately the discrimination of the Palestinian people from 1947 until today. The speakers stressed the importance of understanding history in order to change the future, but that change required responsibility.
Historian Ilan Pappé:
“Any peace process that ignores what happened in 1948 must involve these three components: acknowledgement, accountability, and acceptance”
The forum continued on the topic of displacement within and outside of Palestine. Pointed out by In January 2018, there were a total of 230,000 displaced Palestinians and of those, 60% of them have been displaced more than once. As a result of the occupation, 50,000 infrastructures in Palestine have been destroyed, including schools and humanitarian aid buildings.
International Lawyer Francesca Albanese:
“No status and no rights were guaranteed to refugees in general without the case of the Palestinian refugees. It didn’t really exist before.”
Speakers compared the situations between Palestine and Namibia, noting that it took 20 years for Namibia to gain recognition from South Africa. Professor Susan Akram pointed out that without a similar strategy to that of Namibia, Palestine won’t be able to obtain their right to self-determination. There are several factors to consider for the creation of a Palestinian state, especially concerning those born in exile.
Israeli Politician Yossi Beilin:
“We have more and more Arab doctors, Arab professors. We want an Arab minister and the move is too slow.”
The Forum on the Question of Palestine informed us about the intersecting factors that challenge the Palestinian people on a daily basis. Each panelist shared their insight, highlighting the importance of education in matters in order to work toward a sustainable future without neglecting a crucial past.