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Saturday, June 12, 2021

International

Research fellow shares implications, conflict on Israel


A senior research fellow at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem knows first hand the plight of the Palestinians in Israel.

Adel Manna spoke Thursday to students and members of the UH student group Students Supporting Israel about the survival of Palestinians in Israel following the 1948 war, the implications of this conflict on modern day Israel and the question of Palestinian statehood.

Manna’s upcoming book, “Nakba and Survival: The Story of Palestinians who remained in Haifa and the Galilee, 1948-1956,” addresses why certain Arab communities were left during the expulsions of 1948 in Israel on a more comprehensive scale than other published works.

“There are other historians who have written on Nakba and these communities,” Manna said. “But there were none who took both a macro and micro level approach.”

Manna’s passion for the Palestinian plight comes from his upbringing in an Arab community in Israel and stories of the mass expulsion from his father.

“I knew I wanted to write this book since I was 10 years old, hearing my father talk about having to move so that his family would not be forced to leave,” Manna said. “I was always curious to why some villages were spared.”

Some of these Arab communities in cities like Nazareth were most likely spared because they were Christian holy sites, and Israel didn’t want to incite the wrath of the Vatican or the larger international community, Manna said.

 

Manna said the question of Palestine and the persecution of the Arab people within Israel is still a concern today.

“Many Palestinians learned that if they left, they would not be allowed back,” said Manna. “So they stayed in Gaza and the West Bank, and that’s where the majority still are today.”

Manna said he believes the institutional persecution of Palestinians continues today and a new generation has been born into the struggle.

“These young people today have only known war (and they) have no hope,” said Manna. “They are willing to die to change things.”

Students attending the speech were surprised to hear an alternate perspective.

“I’m new to challenging the typical views of the Middle East and the conflicts there,” communication senior Priscilla Cuellar said. “This is an entirely new way of looking at things for me.”

Cuellar said that students shouldn’t blindly accept the narrative of only one side.

Students in attendance of the lecture like political science junior Samuel Orrell agreed with Cuellar and added that more members of the community should be versed in these controversial issues.

“It’s a relevant issue, and I think it’s a really important issue,” Orrell said. “We need historical context.”

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