At USF Norman Finkelstein offers solution to Israel-Palestine conflict

10/13/11 Josh Holton
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The United Nations Security Council has yet to vote on Palestine’s bid for statehood. Political scientist Norman Finkelstein spoke to students at the University of South Florida in Tampa last night, and said supporting a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict shouldn’t be controversial.

A self-described atheist, Finkelstein told a crowd of about 50 at the Marshall Center that “God helps people that help themselves.” He proposed a two-part formula to resolve the the Israel-Palestine conflict.

But he said that would still leave about 194,000 settlers in formerly Palestinian territory. He laid out a solution based upon that border that would provide incentives for Israeli settlers to leave Palestinian territory.

If that were to happen, he calculated that about 5,000 settlers would remain. Finkelstein said that if the Israeli military left the area, the settlers would follow. He also pointed out that major human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch are in favor of letting Palestinian refugees return to land that Israel captured in 1967.

And he said that until such an action begins to take place, there are no possibilities for effective negotiations. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and others have said that a Palestinian state is useless without ongoing negotiations. But Finkelstein is hopeful that nonviolent resistance continues to grow. He said the Palestinian uprising in the First Intifada in 1987 lays the groundwork for change.

Nabil Saleh has family in Palestine, and he hopes that the UN Security Council votes in favor of a two state solution.

Finkelstein hopes that a Palestinian movement of nonviolence can stand its ground against the Israeli state, which he said is currently backed by an empire of even greater size: The United States.

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