University of Swansea, Public Lecture 30 January 2014
‘Those to whom evil is done/ Do evil in return’, wrote WH Auden on the outbreak of the Second World War.
He could have had in mind the current, seemingly intractable Middle East conflict, the bitterness, horror, and the failure to secure both security for Israel and justice for Palestinians.
For close to seventy years the cycle of violence and hatred has ripped the region apart. Stop-start negotiations to achieve a two-state solution – an Israel with secure borders, not living under siege from its neighbours, and alongside an independent Palestine – have led nowhere, despite the fact that a majority of both peoples (Palestinian and Israeli) continue publicly to support it.
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