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The historical trauma behind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

 November 6, 2023 at 5:03 PM PST

S1: It's time for Midday Edition on Kpbs. The war continues between Israel and Hamas. Today we are talking about the history that led to today , I'm Jade Hindman. Here's to conversations that keep you informed , inspired , and make you think. Holy Land and politics will talk about the issues leading up to this war.

S2: The core of the conflict doesn't have that much to do with the sacredness of the land. The conflict that we're dealing with and that we are that continues until today , has much more recent origins.

S1: Plus , we'll talk about the foundational trauma both Israelis and Palestinians faced and ways Israelis and Palestinians can end the conflict. That's ahead on Midday Edition. It's been four weeks since violence escalated into war between Israel and the militant group Hamas. The group , which has been in control of the Gaza Strip since 2006 , carried out an unprecedented attack in various Israeli communities , killing 1400 Israeli civilians and kidnapping 240 people. As Israel reacts with relentless attacks on Gaza and Palestinian residents there. The United Nations is now warning that Palestinians in the region are at grave risk of genocide. The Ministry of Health in Gaza reported that since October 7th , more than 10,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes. This conflict stems from a century long struggle over land and the people who live on it. Today , it remains one of the most divisive issues of our time. So how did we get here ? To help us understand the historical roots of this conflict ? Amidst the horrors and trauma that continue to unfold in the Middle East is Professor Farid Abdel Nasser. He is the chair of the political science department at San Diego State University. He specializes in political theory , Middle Eastern politics , and Palestinian-Israeli relations. Professor Abdel Noor welcome.

S2: Thank you.

S1: Also , Professor Suzanne Hillman joins us. She holds a PhD in modern European history with an emphasis on Jewish Germany. She also teaches the history of the Holocaust and the Middle East at Sdsu. Professor Hillman , welcome to you.

S3: Thank you for having me.

S1: So we know Palestine holds great religious significance for Judaism , Islam and Christianity. Professor Hillman , I want to start with you.

S3: Well , I would say , of course it goes back to Jews long , long relationship and connection to this land. More than 2000 years ago , Jews had a state in the region which eventually was taken over by the Romans , and eventually this led to the diaspora. But even during the diaspora , the almost 2000 year long diaspora , the , you know , the term we use to explain the dispersal of Jews into many countries outside of Palestine , Palestine has never , never quite lost its emotional appeal. So it is a religious appeal , but it's also an emotional appeal. Jerusalem is the city where the temple stood first , the First temple and the Second Temple before its destruction. And it is central to the Jewish way of thinking of being in the world.


S2: For Christianity , Palestine is sacred and for Islam , Palestine is sacred. What I'd like to point out , though , is that the sacredness of the land , while always central to its history in the last more than 2000 years , has not been a cause necessarily of conflict between these communities , that the land was sacred to all these three communities and these three communities. For the bulk of this history that we're talking about , with some interruptions during the Crusades , these three communities were able to live there peacefully in peaceful coexistence. So the the core of the conflict doesn't have that much to do with the sacredness of the land. The conflict that we're dealing with and that we are that continues until today , has much more recent origins than that and is not bound in any competing sacredness.

S1: So , as we know it today , Israel's origins are traced back to the Zionist movement , which pushed for the creation of an independent Jewish state.

S3: Zionism first emerged in the Europe towards the tail end of what historians call the age of nationalism. The age of modern nationalism really began with the French Revolution in 1789 , and Zionism was kind of a late comer to this. And here I want to emphasize that persecution or persecution of Jews in Europe , where the bulk of them lived , was a major factor behind this movement and ideology. There was the the need , the strongly felt need for a place somewhere on the globe , not necessarily Palestine initially , where Jews would be safe from persecution. Zionism , I also would like to mention is an extremely was , definitely was , and also still is to this day an extremely diverse movement. Not all Zionists aimed for the establishment of a state. The Cultural Zionists hope to establish a cultural center in Palestine , whatever that might have looked like. So the history of Zionism is definitely , um , it's far from monolithic , and that's an important point to keep in mind.

S1: Well , does the the goal of Zionism back then reflect the goals of Zionism and the Zionist movement now.

S3: Up to a point ? One key point to make is that Zionism has evolved , right ? The political Zionists eventually , who sought international recognition of the Jewish settlement in Palestine , they eventually achieved their aim. Israel was or the establishment of Israel was decided at the United Nations in the fall of 1947 , and a bit later , David Ben-Gurion declared Israel's independence. There are , of course , Zionists more increasingly more recently since the Six-Day War in 1967 , who have espoused this , specifically Religious Zionism and this has this religious Zionism has led to widespread settlement Jewish settlement in the occupied territories of the West Bank. And this is probably something that Professor Abdel Nur could talk about. How problematic this settlement has been to Palestinian aspirations for nationhood and religious settlers , many of them not all , but many of them. They believe in a greater Israel. They completely believe in the Jewish land being sacred. Greater Israel means an Israel that would encompass all of Israel , including the West Bank , including the Gaza Strip. So I would say the initial , the early political Zionists as well as Labor Zionists , they would have a hard time recognizing today's Zionism , especially of the religious variation. Yeah.

S1: And Professor Abdel Noor , you mentioned that this conflict is not so much about the sacredness of the land.

S2: So the Zionist movement declared its goal of establishing a Jewish state , originally homeland and later state and Palestine , at a time when the people who are living in Palestine were overwhelmingly did not identify as Jewish , and they immediately recognized Zionism as an existential threat to their very being. And they resisted it. They resisted it in all kinds of ways. So the question ultimately , the conflict arises because here's this European movement that wishes to establish a state with a particular ethno religious identity on a land where the overwhelming population , a majority of the population , does not have that identity. So Zionism from the beginning faced a challenge what to do with the indigenous population ? So the indigenous population from the beginning recognized that Zionism was probably going to try to get rid of them. And unfortunately , the history of this conflict has been the history of the encounter between an indigenous population and a movement from Europe with the support of Britain , especially during World War one , and immediately after , in the decades after , of the slow dispossession and dispersion eventually of of the Palestinian people , eventually culminating in what Palestinians call their Nakba or their catastrophe. Really the worst thing that has happened to them in their modern history , which is when the State of Israel was established in in 1948 , the same set of events that led to its establishment were actually the same set of events that led to the destruction of Palestinian society. Prior to that , Palestine was a thriving society of more than 1000 towns and villages. Palestine was a thriving economy. Much of its life was focused around the holy city of Jerusalem , but it had many cities , hundreds of villages. And it is that society that ended up being destroyed in the process of establishing the State of Israel. So that's the set of events that led to that led to the idea that once the State of Israel was established on 78% of the land of historic Palestine , 80% of the Palestinian inhabitants of that land were made into refugees. They were expelled from their homes or fled for their lives. And this is the echo that you're seeing today , and we can talk about that later.

S1: We'll continue our conversation about the historical context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the trauma this violence evokes today.

S3: My hope had always been that perhaps this awareness of having a trauma and the other group also having a trauma , that this might provide the ground to build from.

S1: You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. Welcome back. You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. We're continuing the conversation about the historical roots behind Palestinian-Israeli relations and how the region , which includes Gaza , the West Bank and East Jerusalem , came under Israeli occupation. So , Professor Abdel Noor , I want to make sure we understand this correctly. Great Britain pledged the land to the Zionist movement in Europe. So tell us more about that and their role in this occupation.

S2: Britain made a promise called the Balfour Declaration in 1917 to the Zionist movement that the Zionist that Britain would support the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. And at that time Britain did not consult the people who lived in Palestine , the indigenous population of Palestine , and in fact did everything to sideline them. And one of the one of the most important things that Britain did was that it deprived the Palestinians who lived on the land of political rights. It said that they have civil and religious rights , but reserved political rights , which is the light right to self-determination for the Jewish people only. Now , at the time , the Jewish population of Palestine was still a tiny minority , but it was that tiny minority that had political rights , the right to self-determination , and the overwhelming majority was deprived of that right by Britain. When Britain came to control Palestine after the League of Nations gave it mandatory power over Palestine at the end of World War One , and after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire , the Balfour Declaration was incorporated into the mandatory document that gave Britain that power , and then Britain proceeded to try to realise that goal of helping establish a Jewish homeland , later a Jewish state in Palestine , while sidelining and really downgrading the status of the indigenous Palestinian population.

S3: One thing I would like to mention is that it is my understanding that under the mandate , which of course Britain did gain and impose , Britain made certain attempts to create governing institutions that would have involved both Zionists and Arabs. But the Arabs , the local Arabs , did refuse to accept the mandate. So while the Jewish settlers were able to establish a sort of proto government institutions that would subsequently morph into the government of Israel , there was no such attempt on the Palestinian side also , and I'm sure Professor Abdul Nur knows a lot more about this. But there were divisions among leading Palestinian families which didn't help the situation. So I wanted to throw that in. One more thing that I always find problematic when I hear accounts like the one just given , is that it completely seems to occlude the fact that we're talking about the 20s and the 30s , that Zionist settlers in Palestine , many of them were actually not pioneers who adamantly wanted to settle on this new land. They were refugees. Hitler came to power in 1933 , and increasingly he implemented measures that made life in Nazi Germany intolerable and eventually lethal to Jews and Palestine was one of the few destinations across the world that did accept settlers starting in 1939 , and this was after three years of the Great Arab Revolt. Britain actually did kind of cave in a little bit to the Arab side and restricted Jewish emigration. So I would generally like to be to see a little bit more nuance. I would suggest we shouldn't look at the time period from the beginning of the mandate to the end of World War two as as unchanging. So I think we do need to keep this in mind , although it does not change the fact that , of course , Palestinians ended up suffering from the arrival of these European Jews.

S2: I'd like to think about it that the suffering doesn't have to do with the arrival of European Jews. The suffering has to do with the political program that they had. Palestine had room for Jews to come. If Jews were coming to Palestine to live in Palestine , to be part of the society , that would be one. One way to think about it. Unfortunately , what Britain and the mainstream Zionist movement at the time were planning for Palestine was something different. And that's why it was so difficult , really impossible , for the Palestinian Arab population to accept the mandate , because to accept the mandate would be to accept their future dispossession. It would be to accept that they would there would be a state in that land in which they don't have political rights. So part of part of why it was so hard for Palestinian Arabs to cooperate with the British to establish self-governing bodies was that the British always insisted on the terms of the Balfour Declaration as part of what's involved , and the Balfour Declaration was , of course , completely unacceptable to the Palestinians. So I think it's very important point that Dr. Hillman points out about the mandate. There is a real turning point in 1939 , but really the turning point is 1936 , because it is in 1936 that the Palestinian Palestinian rebellion that you mentioned takes place. That's when the Palestinians start with a general strike against Britain. Britain suppresses this rebellion brutally. It arms and trains Zionist paramilitary groups to suppress this rebellion and imports into Palestine. During those three years , from 1936 to 1939 , stations more British troops in Palestine than it had stationed in India to crush this brutally , that ended up decimating the Palestinian political leadership , which ultimately what was either killed or exiled during these three year period. But one other thing , one very important thing happened in 1937 was that when the British investigated , well , what's the cause of this rebellion ? And the outcome of that was something that's called the Peel Commission proposal. The Peel Commission concluded that one way to solve this problem was to partition the land. But one key thing about this proposal was that it revealed , and it revealed with great clarity , a clarity that nobody can deny in retrospect , that there was no way to carve up the country , no matter how you carved it up , to establish a Jewish majority state in any part of it , that would have been acceptable to the Zionist movement without doing severe harm to the Palestinian population , and in that proposal , expelling hundreds of thousands of them. So in 1937 , it became clear how incompatible the ideas of the Zionist movement were. The mainstream Zionist movement with the rights and interests of the indigenous population , that they were in direct conflict , and that this project could only be realized by harming them severely and decimating them , decimating their society and their rights.


S3: By and large , I would have to say not much. There were some minor efforts to establish. Well , there were some minor efforts , such as the group breach alone , which means Covenant of Peace , which included philosophical luminaries like Martin Buber. Efforts to think what it would mean to have to coexist peacefully. The problem with these efforts , and they were never very large , is that they were rejected by the dominant Zionist society as well as the Arab society. So , by and large , my answer has to be no. Some Zionists definitely recognized that what was happening would be , well , a great hardship to Palestinians. To put it that way. Even the Revisionist Zionist , Ze'ev Pinsky , he recognized that ultimately this conflict was probably not solvable. He understood that from if he were a Palestinian , he would reject this immigration into his country as well. He recognized that. But he of course , he felt that he had. He was concerned with the Jewish situation , not with the Palestinian situation. And so nothing really was done to to address the problem of coexistence. I would also like to just go back to the beginning of the Zionist movement. From the beginning , there were a few voices , such as Asher Ginsberg. He was an Eastern European cultural Zionist. He did not believe in the establishment of a state , just a cultural center. He visited Palestine in the late 19 19th century , and he observed that some Jewish settlers or Zionist settlers were well dismissive and worse towards the local Arab. And he was concerned about that. But this was always a minority position. And again , I want to reiterate that from the Zionist perspective , what mattered was to renew Jewish life , to become normalized half a state eventually , and also to escape persecution.

S2: And I jump in on this because I think this is also an opportunity to think about the future. Sometimes people look at the past and say , a minority movement , you know , why should we pay attention to it ? But actually , this minority movement. Had it right. Co-existence was possible within the framework of that minority movement. It's the mainstreams that got it wrong. And my dear colleague Jonathan Robert has recently written a book on this called Jewish Self-Determination Beyond Zionism , and it's a book that reflects on how one can retrieve the promise. That was dismissed as utopian or as impractical of of this minority movement within Zionism , as in fact the hope for the future , because these people can coexist. Their lives are intertwined. Their attachment to the land is deep , both of them to all of the land. Their attachment is deep , and somehow we have to imagine ways in which there coexistence can be dignified and equal. Of course , this isn't what happened , and I know I hear myself as I'm saying this , as if I'm living in la la land while what's happening in Gaza is happening. But I don't feel like I am. I feel like we have to dare to think outside of the the strictures of what we are told. We have to think.

S1: In all of this. And I'm not surprised by Britain's involvement. And and what you're saying sounds very familiar and that it's happened across the globe. So my question is what role does the dehumanisation of Palestinians play in this.

S2: If I may sort of jump in on this. You can see that from Lord Balfour himself. Lord Balfour , when he was questioned , simply said that , you know , the Zionist movement had world historical goals. These cannot be compared to the interests and rights of of these , a few hundred people living on the land , that those can be dismissed. So this this is the age of colonialism we're talking about. It was the age in which Europeans could think of themselves as genuinely superior. At best , they thought of themselves as coming to civilize the barbarians , and that it would be a favor to the Palestinians living on the land that Europeans were coming , and that they didn't think like at some point , many of the British and other European thinkers just thought the Palestinians should just get out of the way. They don't understand political rights anyway. What would they know about a political right ? So there is a I don't like to throw around words that have very deep emotional valence here , but there is a racism , a deep racism to which Palestinians were subjected. Now , I'm not saying it was intentional. But they were treated as racially inferior. And that their rights don't matter. Ultimately , they were an obstacle. They were an impediment to a grand and beautiful dream and a project. And as an impediment , they could be treated as dismissible and disposable. And the way they experience they hid their history is that's exactly how they were treated. They were just treated like you can sweep them away. To make way for a more worthy. Political entity.

S3: Professor Abdel Nur mentioned how the Jewish and Palestinian destiny , although that's not the word you used , was intimately intertwined. And of course that's true. Just listening to you about the dehumanization of the Palestinians made me think that , of course , this is exactly what happened in the worst possible way to the Jews of Europe under Hitler and collaborators in non-German countries. The Jews were literally , well , eventually singled out for extermination. Right ? There was supposed to be no spot on on the globe where they were allowed to live. Of course , we do know that some Jews escaped the Holocaust. Some had emigrated to the United States before that. But so my hope had always been that this common experience of profound dehumanization , which of course , it was different. Historically speaking , the Nakba is not the same as the Holocaust , but they're both. They were foundational traumas for both peoples. My hope had always been that perhaps this awareness of having a trauma , and the other group also having a trauma , that this might provide the ground to build from. And you mentioned Professor Roberts book before. I too , I would like to see the , you know , the tradition of an organization like Brit Shalom to be revived. These were people , smart people who were thinking about what it would mean to actually coexist. And it is a tradition worthy of rescuing because it has been largely forgotten.

S1: Coming up , we continue this conversation with Professors Abdel Noor and Hillman on the historical trauma of war and what they see as an end to conflict in the region.

S2: It can serve as a moment of clarity that these two people. Have to find a way of living together that involves their agreement to live together and the conditions under which they can agree to live together.

S1: You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. Welcome back. You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. I'm continuing the conversation with Sdsu professors Fareed Abdel Noor and Suzanne Hillman. So you've both spoken about this , but how is the violence today evoking historical trauma for Palestinians and Israelis.

S3: For better or worse ? Well , mostly for worse. In my mind , this violence is conjuring images of the Holocaust. And unfortunately , over the decades , one Israeli government or another has used and abused the Holocaust for its own purposes. The Holocaust occupies a very strong place in Israeli consciousness , and it has sometimes this. Yeah , this has been abused. I've been struck by how often I have read in various media. This is the worst , the bloodiest day for Jews since the Holocaust. Factually , this is true , but what's been going on cannot in any meaningful way. I'm speaking as a historian , cannot in any meaningful way be compared to the Holocaust. During the Holocaust , the Jews literally were friendless and hopeless and helpless , and 6 million ended losing their lives. They had no state of their own. They had no allies , nothing of the sort. The way the situation stands today. And I'm not an expert on this , but Israel , Israel's existence does not seem to be threatened to me. However , in the mind of Israelis and Jews elsewhere , this attack , which should not have happened because Israel has a powerful military good intelligence service and so forth. So it came as such a profound shock that it did raise the specter of the Holocaust in people's mind. And again , I think while as a historian , I strongly reject analogies between what is happening now with what was happening during the Holocaust , psychologically speaking , I can understand up to a point why people are making these comparisons , but it is not helpful. Ultimately , it is not a helpful analogy.

S1: And Professor Abdel Noor.

S2: The echoes for Palestinians are the echoes of the Nakba of 1948. When you think that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were pushed out of their homes , they were dispossessed , dispersed , made into a people of refugees , concentrated in ever smaller pieces of land. Just to give you the example of Gaza. Gaza City was a flourishing city before 1948. It was the center to which the people from the villages and towns in the entire neighboring area they went to to do all their necessary administrative work. ET cetera. The Gaza City and its immediate surroundings in 1948 had to host for every Gazan , had to host more than two 2 to 3 Palestinian refugees , which made Gaza such an overcrowded place. So. Here is this place in which Palestinians have been concentrated and similar processes have been taking place in the West Bank , where Israel is increasingly moving people out of the area and the area called area C and pushing them out of area C , concentrating them into what's called area A into smaller and smaller , denser areas of Palestinian population and surrounding them by Israeli settlements. So this this sense that the Nakba actually never stopped , that the dispossession never stopped. And that Palestinians have for 75 years been pushed into smaller , like the land is taken away from them , and they're pushed into smaller and smaller and smaller pieces of land. We see it in front of our eyes when God , when half of Gaza , is immediately told by the Israeli military to evacuate into the southern half of Gaza , one of the most densely populated places on earth , suddenly was made doubly dense and then put under siege. In the midst of this war. So this is the Nakba in front of us. Gaza has been the northern part of Gaza is being partially depopulated. And then we hear credibly. That the Israeli government has actual plans now. Whether it will act on them or not has actual plans. In place. For pushing the Palestinian people out of Gaza into Egypt. Thereby , if you will , completing their ethnic cleansing from Palestine. As we hear that the United Nations saying that they are in grave danger of genocide. These are absolutely terrifying moments for Palestinians. This is this is a moment in which Palestinians feel like their entire history is getting condensed into this moment.


S3: And and now we may see the culmination or this is how people feel on the ground. And I was thinking for Israelis , the establishment of the state kind of provided breathing space , if I can put it that way , at least for several decades , the the belief that now we are safe , there is a place from which we can no longer be forced out. And I think what October 7th has done is to kind of it has laid open this , this , this confidence to be an illusion. Again , I'm trying to summarize what I hear people saying , both from Israel but also Jews in America. And it's the situation cannot be compared to what the Palestinians are undergoing currently in Gaza , which I think is absolutely horrifying , inhumane. I don't have enough words. But for the traumatized population of Israel , this is this seems to be how many of them are processing what's happening. We are now there is no more safe Israel for us. So I see another sort of even a distorted commonality here , if that makes sense.

S2: I hope can I just add here , I hope and I know this is not what's happening around us , because we all see what's happening around us. But I'm an eternal optimist. I hope that this moment can also serve as a moment of clarity. It can serve as a moment of clarity. That these two people have to find a way of living together that involves their agreement to live together and the conditions under which they can agree to live together. Rather than finding ways of one side , imposing terms of coexistence on the other , that the other is either free to accept or reject. The inability of one of the largest armies in the region , one of the most sophisticated security services in the region , the Israeli one to foresee and to stop the what happened on October 7th. Is a reminder that living behind an iron wall should not be the aspiration. The aspiration is to live as an accepted welcome. Who habitant of the land. Rather than one who imposes oneself on the others.

S3: Yeah , although I am , I'm a European. I'm pessimistic by nature. Not that all Europeans are , but so I have less optimism. But what could give me optimism up to , well , a certain degree is especially young Jews , young American Jews who have come out in countless numbers in recent years and especially also since October 7th , basically recognizing that things cannot continue or they should not continue the way they are , because Palestinians continue to suffer in ways that are not compatible with the way young Jews think. Well , they're not compatible with with moral consideration. They are , frankly , immoral , the conditions. So I think that is the new generation , younger people , people who are part of an organization like J Street , for example , or Jewish Voice for peace , which is more on the left. And some people in the Jewish community would not accept J Street as a legitimate organization. But these are organizations attracting many young people that are deeply committed to a peaceful coexistence and justice for the Palestinians. So that that would give me hope. On the other hand , pessimists that I am , I'm thinking of the increasing power of religious settlers. We have heard , Fareed , you mentioned that briefly. What's been going on in the West Bank , more settler attacks on Palestinians. And unfortunately , I think this fairly small number of extremist settlers , about 20,000 , they have the ear and the support of some far right figures in the Israeli government , and they are vocal and not willing to compromise. So I'm I guess I'm both pessimistic and optimistic , depending on where on the globe I look at currently.

S1: You know , the reality of what's going on weighs heavy , and it's very real for so many people.

S3: Of course , a historian would say this , but I do strongly , strongly believe that first of all , we need to. This is not an immediate term solution. But if we want to understand what is happening , why there is such a sense of fear and mistrust , distrust on all sides , the first thing we can do is actually educate ourselves on maybe beginning with the history of Jews in Europe or Zionism , and then their arrival in Palestine , and then also the Palestinian Palestinian resistance. To this , I firmly believe that to move forward. We need to. People need to see that there is. We're not talking about one foundational trauma. We're talking about two. And so I think there is space. This is more of a sense , a vague sense that I have. I haven't conducted any surveys , but I think there is space , maybe a small one for people who really would like to learn more. And that includes students to come together , Palestinian students , Jewish students , or just anybody who wants to to learn more about this , who would like to support those who are currently suffering and afraid. So education , not rely on the soundbite approach , you know , and not rely on , well , news sources that are not reliable. And that brings me to a point I wanted to make at the beginning. I think it is wonderful that you are offering this forum for an extended conversation of something that is a really very , very complex history , and it's rare these days that you get that kind of thing. So thank you.

S1: Oh , we are more than happy to do it. And so glad that you both are willing. Before we go.

S2: I agree with everything that that Suzanne Suzanne just said. I feel like this is a moment in which universities have to rise to the occasion , and for universities to be able to rise to the occasion , they have to be very vigilant about protecting academic freedom and the freedom of expression and protecting the space in which people can dare to disagree on matters that , that are very emotionally significant for them. For example , on the question of Zionism. Right. People should be able to disagree. About whether they think it's a worthy movement. It's not a worthy movement. Was it dangerous ? Is it a. Is it an important movement ? What we can't have is people shutting down debate by tainting certain directions of argument as unacceptable and therefore silencing them. It is in the American academic context , it's really the the voices that are that speak from understanding the Palestinian experience that often find themselves in danger of being silenced , silenced , I mean , by either governmental entities , sometimes by university administrations. Thankfully , we haven't had that at San Diego State this time or silenced by colleagues. So it's important not to taint people , but to actually engage in the kind of open conversation that begins from the assumption that you are talking to somebody in good faith. How do you ensure that people talk in good faith ? I only know one way to speak oneself in good faith , and then just hope that the other person is also speaking on faith. Always assume the other person is speaking in good faith. That's always the beginning. You begin with the assumption of equal humanity. You begin with the assumption that there is nothing to distrust about the other person. If they misspoke , it's because maybe they don't understand and you can help them understand rather than jumping down their throat. I don't know what else we can do other than just begin with these places. One more thing to keep in mind. We must be cognizant that the communities on our campuses and elsewhere also feel an affinity to their siblings back home in the old country , and they're going to want to organize in in ways that show solidarity to their siblings back home. And we should leave room for that. We shouldn't hold that against them. We should allow them to do that , and in some ways , perhaps encourage it , as long as it's done in a way that does not impinge on the ability of others to do the same.

S1: It's all great advice. I've been speaking with San Diego State professors Fareed Abdel Noor and Suzanne Hillman. Thank you so much for joining us and for educating us and having this conversation.

S3: Thank you.

S2: Thank you for having us.

S1: Thanks for joining us today. Don't forget to watch Evening Edition tonight at five for in-depth reporting on San Diego issues. We'll be back tomorrow at noon , and if you ever miss a show , you can find the Midday Edition podcast on all platforms. I'm Jade Hindman. Thanks for listening.

Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City, Monday, Nov. 6, 2023.
Abed Khaled
Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City, Monday, Nov. 6, 2023.

It's been four weeks since violence escalated into war between Israel and the militant group Hamas. The group, which has been in control of the Gaza Strip since 2006, carried out an unprecedented attack in various Israeli communities, killing 1,400 Israeli civilians and kidnapping 240 people.

As Israel reacts with relentless attacks on Gaza and Palestinian residents there, the United Nations is now warning that Palestinians in the region are at grave risk of genocide. The Ministry of Health in Gaza reported that since Oct. 7, more than 10,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli air strikes.

San Diego State University professors Farid Abdel-Nour and Susanne Hillman sat down with Midday Edition to talk about the decades-long struggle over land, as well as the historical trauma the conflict continues to evoke for Palestinians and Israelis.


  • Farid Abdel-Nour, professor of political science at San Diego State University
  • Susanne Hillman, professor of modern European history at San Diego State University