U6265: Environmental History of the Israeli-Arab Conflict | D. Rabinowitz

International and Public Affairs
Graduate Seminar
W 11AM-12:50PM

This course looks at the environmental connections of the century-long Israeli-Arab conflict. Focusing on the core element of the conflict – the territorial contest over historic Palestine – it also looks at environmentally pertinent events and processes along and across Israel’s frontiers with its other Arab neighbors Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Relatively small in size, historic Palestine was defined in the 20th century by two opposing demographic transformations: the arrival of millions of diasporic Jews driven by a desire to ‘return’ to a historic homeland from which, they believe, their ancestors had been banished 2000 years ago; and the forced departure in early 1948 of 750,000 Palestinians refugees. Fleeing a war which ended with a sovereign  Israel and the demise, for many decades, of hopes for their own self-determination, Palestinian refugees, their descendants and Palestinians generally harbor a powerful persuasion of their own of an imminent return. This two-pronged demographic upheaval coincided with a relentless drive for modernization and rapid economic growth, first in Israel, later in Palestinian nation-building and state-building efforts. Interlocked in a dual of nationalizing territorial projects, the two communities developed important public institutions which, while inherently committed to development and growth, are equally preoccupied with an external nemesis. It is a struggle in which Israel has so far had the upper hand, with consequences also for its relations with its other Arab neighbors.

Link to Vergil
Note: only courses offered during the two previous semesters have active Vergil links.