Exploring Palestine Past and Present: A Talk with Zeina Jallad and Salim Tamari

Dr. Safwan Masri with Zeina Jallad & Salim Tamari_

Dr. Safwan Masri, the dean of Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), recently hosted two scholars for a thought-provoking exploration of the past and present as part of GU-Q’s  Palestine Speaker Series. The event featured two renowned experts on Palestinian history and culture: Zeina Jallad and Salim Tamari.

Dean Masri noted, “We were pleased to host such preeminent scholars and thinkers for an evening of education and cultural exchange to explore the rich and complex history and identity of Palestine.” 

The speaker series is one of many opportunities for dialogue about the topic of Palestine at GU-Q, which includes course assignments and discussions about the country’s political, economic, and social history, often informed by publications on Palestine authored by the faculty, and student-organized events. “At GU-Q, we hope to advance knowledge and understanding of one of the most enduring struggles for justice in modern history, as well as to offer hope for a more peaceful future,” said Masri.

Zeina Jallad, an international lawyer and scholar of Palestinian history and identity, presented her research examining the ways in which Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and decision to extend Israeli citizenship to the country’s ethno-religious minority, the Samaritans, is politically motivated. 

Mobility, access to health care, and human rights are not what drove the decision to offer citizenship. Rather, she explained, it was to nationalize their Palestinian identity as part of the ongoing effort to annex illegally occupied land.

Salim Tamari, a researcher, sociologist, and professor at Birzeit University, discussed his recent book that explores the role of photography in documenting and shaping the history and identity of Palestine from the late 19th century to the present day. 

Presenting a collection of photos taken during British Mandate Palestine by famed Jerusalemite Wasif Jawhariyyeh, Tamari highlighted the cultural, political, and social aspects of Palestinian life and identity, illuminating the rich heritage of the Palestinian people. Historical archives of the city’s diverse history and heritage, he explained, offer glimpses of hope for a more peaceful future.

Led by Associate Professors Abdullah Al-Arian, Karine Walther, and Visiting Assistant Professor Nadya Sbaiti, and with the support of GU-Q dean Safwan Masri, the Palestine Speaker Series is part of a larger project at GU-Q which aims to provide a platform for dialogue and analysis of the historical and contemporary issues facing Palestine.