Israel/Palestine again in focus at the upcoming General Assembly

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict will again be an intensely debated issue at the upcoming General Assembly in Portland. Presbyterians for Middle East Peace will be hosting a breakfast meeting on Saturday, June 18. If you are attending GA, we hope you will join us. Registration information is available at General Assembly information.

We are excited to have two very special guest speakers at the breakfast: noted Palestinian human rights activist Bassem Eid, and Arab-Christian Israeli scholar and diplomat George Deek. 

Bassem Eid is a Jerusalem-based political analyst, human rights pioneer and expert commentator in Arab and Palestinian affairs. In 1996, he founded the Jerusalem based Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. In 2016, he assumed the role of chairman of the Center for Near East Policy Research.

George Deek, currently a Fulbright Scholar at Georgetown University, is an Arab-Christian Israeli that hails from the city of Jaffa, where his family has lived for over 400 years. He graduated with two degrees, LL.B. in Law and B.A. in Government, at the Interdisciplinary Center of Herzliya. After having worked as a lawyer in a private firm in Tel-Aviv, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2008.

Mr. Eid was born in the Jordanian-occupied Old City in East Jerusalem, and spent the first 33 years of his life in the Shuafat refugee camp adjacent to East Jerusalem. He rose to prominence during the first Intifada, the Palestinian uprising and was a senior field researcher for B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. 

Mr. Eid’s work focused on both Israeli and Palestinian human rights issues. He publicly condemned the widespread murder of Palestinian dissidents, often for reasons unrelated to the Intifada. In 1995, following his report about the Palestinian Preventative Security Service, he came under attack by some Palestinian leaders for revealing human rights violations committed by the Palestinian Authority (PA). He continued his criticisms of human rights policies of both Israeli and Palestinian armed forces. Arrested by Arafat’s Presidential Guard (Force 17), he was released after 25 hours following widespread international condemnation. 

Mr. Deek previously served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Israel in Norway between July 2012 and January 2015, where he also served as Chargé d’Affaires between February and September 2014. Previously he served as Israel’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Nigeria (2009-2012).  

Mr. Deek was involved from a young age in the promotion of mutual understanding and co-existence between Jews and Arabs in Israel. He was the co-editor of the first local newspaper of Jaffa “YaffoSheli/ Yafati” (“My Jaffa” in Hebrew and Arabic); He led various Arab-Jewish delegations and programs to the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom; He was the manager of the “Arab-Jewish” debate forum of Israel’s leading news website Ynet. He lead the youth movement of the Arab-Christian community in Israel, while also managing the musical school of the community, where over 120 children and youth of the ages 7-25 years received education and music lessons for free.

Both of our speakers are uniquely qualified to share their insights into the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and both will share their ideas for peacemaking and coexistence. We hope you will join us in Portland. For those who cannot, we will have videos of their presentations available on the PFMEP website.