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September 2009 Issue
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Is Middle East reconciliation possible?

Palestinian-American author and academic Professor Saree Makdisi will deliver the annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture at the University of Adelaide on Saturday 19 September.

Professor Makdisi comes from a distinguished academic family and is also the nephew of the late Edward Said, considered one of the most famous Palestinian intellectuals in the world until his death in 2003.

The Washington-born academic is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California in Los Angeles. He is also a regular commentator on contemporary Arab politics and culture and is widely published in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle, London Review of Books and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Professor Makdisi will address many of the issues raised in his 2008 book Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation when he delivers the fifth annual lecture this month, titled "From Occupation to Reconciliation".

"We have a current impasse in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians because the notion of a two-state solution has broken down beyond repair," he said.

"A one-state solution, in which Israeli Jews and Palestinians would share and live as equals in a single, democratic and secular state is the way to go, I believe. This solution was also championed by Edward Said.

"It's an act of futility trying to separate people according to religion or ethnicity. Israelis and Palestinians are already bound together historically and geographically and we should find ways to turn that into a positive future," Professor Makdisi said.

"The two-state solution would preclude the possibility of finding justice for those Palestinians and their descendants who were ethnically cleansed from their homes during the creation of Israel in 1948," he added.

"By contrast, a one-state solution would allow those Palestinians who were expelled in 1948 to exercise their moral and legal right to return. It would also grant full and equal citizenship to Palestinians living inside what is today Israel; and it would end the misery of life under military occupation."

Professor Makdisi is the fifth guest speaker to deliver the Edward Said Memorial Lecture since its inception in 2005. Previous lectures - delivered by Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk, the late Professor Tanya Reinhart, Palestinian-British author Dr Ghada Karmi and Harvard scholar Dr Sara Roy - have all sold out.

The lecture will be held in Napier 102 at 5pm on Saturday 19 September.

Tickets are $15 if pre-purchased online at or at Digimob Australia, 246 Pulteney Street, Adelaide (cash only), or $20 at the door.

For more information visit:

Story by Candy Gibson

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Soldiers of the Israeli Defense Force stand watch along the Security Barrier during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Bil’in
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Soldiers of the Israeli Defense Force stand watch along the Security Barrier during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Bil'in
Photo by iStock

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Professor Saree Makdisi

Professor Saree Makdisi
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