Students Conduct Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Field Study

By Trevor Nozell ’17

Near Hebrew University, part of a tour of Jerusalem

Near Hebrew University, part of a tour of Jerusalem

This May, six Norwich Cadets were accompanied by two Canadian students to conduct a field study to analyze the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through three distinct perspectives. Students heard international, Israeli and Palestinian narratives from a variety of sources. Dr. Travis Morris, assistant professor of criminal justice and Director of the NU Peace and War Center at Norwich University, and Dr. David Last, from the Royal Military College of Canada, oversaw the field study. The purpose of the trip was to expose students to a process of “how” to analyze conflict, while also increasing their knowledge of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Students participating were Liam Carroll ’17, Trevor Nozell ’17, Zachary Scalzo ’17, Brian Serafin ’17, Kyle B. Vu ’17, and Zackary White ’17 from Norwich University, and Leah Lauersen and Marissa Young from the Royal Military College of Canada.

 

On a tour with Temple Mountain in the background

On a tour with Temple Mountain in the background

Traveling throughout Israel, the delegation visited Jerusalem, Haifa, and Tel Aviv. During the field study, students met with various government officials, political activists, and military personnel, and attended conferences in an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of the complex Israeli and Palestinian conflict. Students focused on political, economic, military, and social aspects of the conflict and used varying techniques in gathering information. Students met with representatives from NATO and OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), researchers from Israel’s INSS (Institute for National Security Studies), Palestinian activists from PASSIA (The Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs), and the Egyptian ambassador, Hazem Khairat. Data collected from interviews, open forums, and conferences were intended to illustrate how different narratives are constructed around the conflict. At the end of each day, students analyzed the day’s meetings and shared their insights. The multi-faceted conflict was highlighted through the widely varying political views held by each side. It became clear to the students that the conflict was deeply sewn into the fabric of both Palestinian and Israeli lifestyles.

 

Each student stated that this trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They were immersed into subjects that adversely affect their lives, even though they live thousands of miles away from the conflict. Trevor Nozell ’17, a future Army officer said, a future Army officer, “the clash of cultures and history in the region was an experience like no other. I never expected to visit the Mediterranean during my time as a cadet at Norwich. However, through this field study, I was able to see firsthand the implications of international and local efforts contributing to the conflict that you simply cannot find in a textbook. Needless to say, I will take the knowledge and lessons learned from this incredible field study into my military career and for the rest of my life.”