When will the fighting and violence in Israel end? What is the solution to the issues faced? Is there even a solution?
Yesterday afternoon, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Penn Political Science department and the Christopher Brown Center for International Politics held a forum discussion entitled "The Arab-Israeli Conflict: Is there Really a Solution?" in Houston Hall's Hall of Flags to answer these questions.
The presentation included brief addresses by former director of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University Zvi Shtauber and Penn Political Science professor Ian Lustick.
Eileen Doherty-Sil, associate director of the Political Science department's undergraduate curriculum, opened the discussion by welcoming the speakers and saying that the purpose of the event was "to highlight the areas of similarities and explore the differences in opinions presented by the two speakers."
Shtauber kicked off the discussion. In addition to his work with the Institute for National Security Studies, Shtauber worked with the Israel Defense Force for 25 years, served as Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom and was present at the Middle East Peace Summit at Camp David in 2000.
Shtauber started his speech by saying there are "no shortcuts and no quick fix" to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
He explained the delicate balance of power in the Middle East, focusing on the ever-increasing role of Iran in this balance since the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Shtauber attributed the failure of past peace efforts to a lack of support by world powers like the United States, Israel's inability to understand the Palestinians and Hamas's and Hezbollah's mission to destroy Israel.
The conversation was then taken up by Lustick, the Bess Heyman chairman of Political Science and graduate chairman of the department.
Lustick offered a number of solutions to the conflict, including the democratization of the Middle East, an equal two-state solution in Israel and Vladimir Jabotinsky's Iron Wall Theory - the need to create an "iron wall" between Arabs and Jews. However, he also explained that none of these responses are feasible.
Lustick attributed today's problems in Israel to missed opportunities in the past, when Palestinians were more likely to cooperate.
"The world doesn't stand still for anyone," he said.
Nevertheless, he remained optimistic.
"History has a way of finding a solution to all problems," he said, although he did warn that sometimes these solutions are not good.