This piece was written by Lauren Barney and originally published in the school newsletter, Pitt News, on February 12, 2014. Lauren is a CAMERA Fellow and a proud Israel activist dedicated to speaking the truth. 

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To the Editor,

This past Friday the Global Studies Center hosted a lecture titled, ”The Settler Movement: History, Impacts, and Perceptions” by Luke Peterson. According to the announcement dis- tributed from the Global Studies Center, “The lecture [examined]e the politics, history and impact of this movement (settlements) from its inception in the early 1970s through to the present day:’ However, Peterson’s speech did not address these issues factually. Instead, his lecture demonized Israeli settlements as a tool of the Netanyahu administration to remove the possibility ofa future two-state solution and the key issue in resolving the conflict.

Peterson claimed that the settled land comes from Palestine’s possession. However, in 1967, the West Bank was captured from the Jordanians during the Six-Day War. This war was a strike on Israel by multiple Arab countries. Miraculously, Israel was able to defensively push back the Jordanians out of the Jordanian-annexed West Bank. In July of1967, Israeli Cabinet Minister Yigal Allon drafted a plan to maintain military control over a strip comprising less than half of the West Bank from the Dead Sea to Jerusalem and west of Ramallah. Over the years, many historical pre-modern State of Israel Jewish land was settled once again in the West Bank. The settlements in the West Bank account for 5 percent of total land. All other security measures, such as checkpoints, are for the sole purpose of protection and do not inhibit the existence of Arab neighborhoods.

There are far greater dangers in the region than settlements. According to Palestinian Media Watch, Al-Khansa, a mother of four terrorists, is the namesake of eight schools under the Palestinian Authority. As I saw on my trip to Bethlehem, maps cease to recognize the existence ofthe State of Israel.

In order to truly bring peace, universities around the world should educate students, faculty, staff and the greater community through unbiased, accurately informed and open dialogue events.

Lauren Barney

Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America campus representative-fellow 

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