Daphna Golan, director of the partnership for social change at the Hebrew
university in Jerusalem tackled the subject by providing a detailed
overview of the situation in Israel and the occupied territories by
contrasting the conflict there with that in South Africa.
She argued that people within both the Israeli and Palestinian communities
are in denial. Israelis still deny that Arabs were dispossessed of their
homes and land when the Israeli state was founded in 1948 while
Palestinians deny the historic connection of the Jewish people to the land.
From these denials spring misunderstandings throughout the last 60 years
that have resulted in four wars - not to mention continual acts of
terrorism - making the act of reconciliation infinitely more difficult.
She argued that Israelis imagine they are living in a democracy in spite of
the rights denied to the Palestinians living in the West Bank and in Gaza.
She appeared to suggest that there was little hope for internal
reconciliation, concluding: "We need the help of the international
community to solve this problem." Though she didn't say so, I felt she
meant that there was also a role for the media too.