Concept Note

Ever since the advent of the Zionist movement towards the end of the nineteenth century, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become one of the most intractable struggles in modern times. The Zionist movement has been successful in establishing a settler-colonialist state in the historical land of Palestine by implementing several strategies and employing varying tactics to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians starting in 1948, establishing a system of military control in the West Bank, and imposing a complete siege over Gaza to deny the Palestinians basic political and human rights. Such tactics included the forced expulsion of millions of Palestinians and the denial of their return as well as for their descendants, the confiscation and annexation of territories and holy shrines, the establishment of a security state where over half of the population in the historical land of Palestine are subject to military rule and discriminatory practices protected by unjust laws, the institutionalization of an ID system based on ethnicity, the establishment of Jewish only colonies/settlements, the construction of separate roads for Israeli citizens around many of these colonies, the use of hundreds of military checkpoints, erecting the separation wall around the majority of the Palestinian communities, thus creating Palestinian West Bank enclaves, the use of Palestinians as cheap labor, sanctioning inequities in infrastructure, legal rights, and access to land and resources, instituting a discriminatory legal structure including marriage law, the passing of citizenship and Jewish nationality law, the continuous Judaization of Jerusalem and denial of religious rights for Muslims and Christians, the use of assassinations as a tool to eliminate thousands of Palestinians and other supporters around the world for resisting the brutal occupation, as well as countless other tactics to usurp Palestinian territories and exclude as many of the Palestinians from their historical land as possible. Such strategies and tactics used by Israel over decades have resembled, even surpassed many aspects of the South African Apartheid regime of a bygone era, and constitute blatant forms of neocolonialism and a new form of an Israeli Apartheid system, contrary to international and humanitarian laws.

The Second International Conference on Palestine is organized by the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul Zaim University (IZU) under the theme: “Challenging Apartheid in Palestine: Reclaiming the Narrative, Formulating A Vision.” It is also co-sponsored by several non-profit academic, educational and charitable organizations from inside and outside Turkey including the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Turkey, the Kudüs Platformu of the Istanbul Association for Wisdom and Civilization, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter in the UK, Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver in the US, the Global Coalition for Quds and Palestine (GCQP) in Beirut, Lebanon, and the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The conference will examine many aspects of the Palestinian issue with emphasis on how to challenge and dismantle the racist system of structural colonization and control in the historical land of Palestine. The conference will also attempt to present a comprehensive analysis of the many dimensions of the Israeli Apartheid regime implemented in Palestine. It shall also discuss some of the most pertinent issues related to the Palestinian issue, including Jerusalem, the right of return, the illegal construction and expansion of settlements in the West Bank, the suffocating siege on Gaza, the denial of the Palestinians’ political and human rights, the future of the Palestinian national project, as well as the future of the conflict. The presentations will also examine the geopolitics of the conflict, and the essence of the struggle, namely the land and the people. In addition, the strategies and actions needed to confront repressive and exclusionary policies, dismantling the repressive and racist system, and empowering the oppressed and occupied, shall also be explored and discussed. 

Some of the most renowned academics, speakers, and voices of conscience from around the world are invited to address the conference, and engage the students, experts, and the public at large on these important issues. They will not only present enlightened and informed views on how to analyze the problems and unlock their complexities, but will also explore novel and practical ideas regarding how to empower people––in Palestine and around the world––toward ending the Israeli Apartheid system and achieving the vital goals of justice, freedom, equality, and lasting peace.