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Carenen gives history lesson on Arab-Israeli conflict

Published on October 24, 2023

Carenen gives history lesson on Arab-Israeli conflict

audience at talk
Eastern students and community members packed the Science Building auditorium for a special lecture by historian Caitlin Carenen.   

History Professor Caitlin Carenen presented on the historical context of the Israel-Hamas War during a heavily attended “flash talk” on Oct. 18 in the Science Building. Carenen emphasized that the Arab-Israeli conflict is literally rooted in ancient history, “a history that is real and deeply painful for a lot of people, most importantly Palestinians and Israelis.”

Carenen has lived in Jerusalem, traveled throughout Israel, Jordan and the West Bank, and written books and published research about the Arab-Israeli conflict and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

After years of studying the region and speaking with people on both sides of the conflict, she has learned two important lessons — the first being intellectual humility: “This is a very hard topic, very complex ... I’ve learned over the years that I will never be able to understand all aspects of this conflict.” The second lesson is “to have respect for the complexity of this situation.”

Starting with Abraham, the patriarch holy to Jews and Muslims, Carenen outlined thousands of years of history, tracing the ownership and settlement of the Israel-Palestine region through wars, occupations, failed peace accords and the current situation in Gaza.

Carenen’s full presentation and Q&A session can be viewed via the YouTube video below.

Written by Michael Rouleau