Diana Buttu

Hey Brandeis! I know I am a little late, but here are my thoughts on last week’s speaker Diana Buttu “who has negotiated for the Palestine Liberation Organization and will address the legal aspects of the occupation ” .

She arrived early last Wednesday, November 10th, in Pearlman lounge to greet students and enjoy some Palestinian sweets!

Diana Buttu was born and raised in Canada, in what she called a “depoliticized” household. She wasn’t heavily involved in the Israeli Palestinian Conflict until she was a student at Stanford in the year 2000 during the Camp David negotiations. She recalled how Israel would undo Israeli control over Palestine and undo colonization… which still hasn’t occurred ten years later.

Buttu moved to the Middle East and lived in Palestine under Israeli laws. While she lived in Palestine, she observed two goals of Israel and made them a focus of her speech: Israel wants to “take away Palestinian land and confine Palestinians into a small space”.

Buttu described the West Band and Gaza Strip from the Oslo Accords to present day. She gave emphasis on the illegal Israeli settlements and outposts, military zones, and nature reserves. She suggests all three types of structures are strategically placed in between Palestinian neighborhoods to keep Palestinians separated. The roads which connect Israeli settlements create further barriers around Palestinians and the Wall (and other fences) segregates communities entirely. Buttu emphasized the increase of Israeli settlements and reduced supplies to Palestinians. She recalled cheese, yogurt, bread, and even shampoo shortages.

To end her presentation, Buttu called on the international community to hold Israel accountable. Ever since the international law ruling which declared the wall illegal, she hopes the US and other countries will make a stand. She believes the following actions will help:
1. Boycott Israeli goods
2. Divest from holdings
3. Sanctions

She also believes a large part of the problem is that Israeli’s do not accept Palestinians as equals. However, she offered no solution to help bridge equality between the two communities.
When questioned as to the violent reactions of Palestinians, she said “lack of freedom equals lack of security”.

I personally highly enjoyed her presentation. She gave a legal and detailed account spotted with personal reflection. Her arguments were easy to follow and clearly demonstrates where the law falls in this particular circumstance. I do wish she was able to offer better solutions for the reconciliation for the two communities. However, she did approach the question and answer potion as an open conversation and listened intently to everyone’s point of view.

I hope this recap was helpful to anyone who missed her talk, and feel free to ask any questions! I took notes!