Phil opts out of debate on Israel and Palestine in favour of panel discussion on the topic

In light of the renewed conflict in Israel and Palestine, the Phil has altered its schedule to be more “appropriate and constructive”

The University Philosophical Society (the Phil) has today altered its scheduled weekly debate, under the motion “This house has no faith in the two-state solution”, a collaboration with the Society For International Affairs (SOFIA).

They will instead tomorrow host a panel discussion in lieu of the debate on the future of the Israeli-Palestinian situation. Phil President Jack Palmer credits this decision with being “the most appropriate and constructive form of discourse in this current moment”.

This decision comes days after a Hamas terror attack killed some 1,400 Israeli citizens, with a further 200 taken captive. Following this attack, the Israeli state began a bombardment of Gaza, killing over 2,700 Palestinian civilians, and injuring close to 10,000.

Palmer wrote in a statement: “Given the sheer volume of information and misinformation emerging online from a variety of sources, we feel that a panel discussion can help provide our members with a clearer and more informed understanding of the underlying historical context fuelling the conflict”.

Examples of misinformation spread online include a staged photo of a murdered child’s bloody bedroom posted by the Israeli State’s Twitter account, and reports of decapitated babies on either side of the conflict. 

They further recognised that “the current moment is not the time to decide upon hypothetical solutions from the comfort of Trinity. Rather, it is a time for us to learn about what is happening to civilians on the ground, and gain a greater awareness of how we as individuals and a student collective can contribute to aid efforts”.

Speakers organised for the panel discussion include Richard Boyd Barrett TD, a vocal and notable supporter of the Palestinian cause. Mr. Hugh Lovatt, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, and Mr. Zaid Al-Barghouthi, the current Vice President for campaigns in the Union for Students in Ireland (USI).

Those also to be invited include “several student activists who have direct experience with the conflict”, amongst others. The Phil hopes to “spread awareness about what exactly is happening right now, provide some context to the conflict and humanitarian abuses in the region, and perhaps [hold] some discussion about possible future solutions”.

The panel discussion will take place this Thursday at 19:30 in the Graduation Memorial Building (GMB).