The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies recently had the privilege of hosting Jean-Pierre Filiu, Professor of Middle East Studies at Sciences Po, Paris School of International Affairs, for his talk “The Twelfth Israeli War on Gaza.” At the standing room-only event on January 22, Professor Filiu traced the history of Gaza in order to contextualize the events that led up to Israel’s onslaught on Gaza during the summer of 2014.
In his historical overview, professor Filiu described Israel’s devastating transformation of Gaza from a vibrant, fertile region into an open-air prison. He discussed contemporary challenges facing the Gaza Strip, including Israel’s isolationist policies toward Gaza, and highlighted that even though Israel’s total blockade of Gaza began in 2006, the settler colony had been pursuing policies of closure since 1993.
Professor Filiu went on to discuss possible alternatives and outcomes to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and stressed the need for an immediate and unconditional lifting of Israel’s blockade on Gaza. He stated, “It is not something you do because you are nice. It is something you have to do to avoid catastrophe.”In closing the event, Filiu impressed upon the audience the urgent need to address the political and humanitarian crisis facing Gaza. He argued that it is not a question of whether there will be another attack on the small strip of land, but when, and how severe.
Professor Filiu’s talk was also featured in Georgetown University’s newspaper, The Hoya.