Israel and Palestine (Part 2)

One theme. Two semester. Two narratives. Various perspectives.

Academic Responsibility

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Joachim Mayer

Central Facility for Electron Microscopy (RWTH)
Ernst Ruska-Centre for Microscopy and Spectroscopy with Electrons (FZ Jülich)

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Ghaleb Natour

Director of the Central Institute of Engineering, Electronics and Analytics (ZEA-1), (FZ Jülich)
Welding and Joining Institute (RWTH)

Univ.-Prof. Dr. theol. Simone Paganini

Chair of Biblical Theology (RWTH)

Contact Person






Monday, 6:30-8:00 pm


Some sessions will take place in the Otto Fuchs Hörsaal (H03), C.A.R.L. and some via Zoom. Details will be announced at the beginning of the semester.

Building 1385 C.A.R.L.

Address Claßenstraße 11, 52072 Aachen

Disclaimer: This course is part of two-semester lecture. We recommend to register for both lectures on Israel and Palestine. Participation and examination is possible for both lectures induvidually.



The region west of the Jordan River has been a cradle of human culture for thousands of years. Today, Jews, Muslims and Christians, Israelis and Palestinians with the most diverse historical, cultural and political backgrounds live side by side there. All too often, this diversity is overshadowed by the Middle East conflict, but it is worth looking at the two sides and societies in all their facets and not reducing them to the conflict alone.

The project “Leonardo” offers a two-part series of events for the winter semester 21/22 and summer semester 22, which deals with Israel and Palestine.

The framework is the so-called Middle East conflict, which began with the founding of the state of Israel and the expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs (Nakba) in 1948 and continues to this day. Keywords of this conflict are: Refugee problems, Six-Day War 1967, occupation, Intifada 1987, Oslo Peace Agreement 1991, settlement construction, Jerusalem. The basis for a long-term solution to the conflict was a fair two-state solution, which was already envisaged in the UN partition plan of 1947, but is not feasible today in view of the prevailing situation. The main points of contention are the Palestinian West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which the one side is using for Israeli settlements or sealing off, while the other claims it for an independent Palestinian state.

From a German as well as a historical perspective, the question arises as to how one can simultaneously guarantee the existence of Israel as a national state and, on the other hand, critically accompany events in the region and safeguard the right of the Palestinians to their own state.

We dare to take a differentiated look at the region in the Middle East: landscape and economy, society and science, politics, culture and history. We cordially invite you to join us. The program includes not only scientific lectures from a wide range of disciplines and professional cultures, but also impulses from literature, art and journalism.

This course on Israel and Palestine, designed for two semesters and related to each other, is led by Professors Simone Paganini (Biblical Studies), Joachim Mayer (Rectorate Representative for the Cooperation of RWTH with TECHNION Haifa) and Ghaleb Natour (Analytics and Electronics Jülich/RWTH Aachen and Association for the Promotion of Peace in Israel and Palestine e.V.).

Teil 2: Palästina

The Palestinian perspective: For many centuries, the Arab population of Palestine lived as the majority population under different political systems, including during the Ottoman period, the British colonial period and Jordanian rule, in historic Palestine, which corresponds to the current area of Israel including the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This historical continuity despite change became unbalanced when the State of Israel was established on 80 per cent of the area and some 700,000 Palestinians were displaced and forced to flee. 

The subsequent occupation of the remaining Palestinian territories, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as the settlement policy and the two different systems under which Palestinians and Israelis live in the West Bank are an obstacle to peaceful coexistence. 

Existential questions arise from this:

  • What does Palestinian life look like today?
  • How can the UN resolutions and international law be realised, how can the Palestinians exercise their right to self-determination and to the land? What roles are conceivable in the discursive triangle of Israel, Palestine and Germany?

Learning Outcomes

The students know the historical background and the current political situation in Israel and Palestine as well as the diversity of Palestinian life beyond expulsion and occupation. They are able to analyse and discuss this complex problem situation on the basis of selected insights and critically reflect on their own professional and political standpoint.



Organisational session (optional)

u.A. examination


Early History of Palestine

Prof. Sherene Seikaly
Associate Professor, Department of History, Director, Center for Middle East Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
Author, Men of Capital: Scarcity and Economy in Mandate Palestine
Co-Editor, Journal of Palestine Studies,
Co-Editor, Jadaliyya


Disclaimer: The public event will not take place for organizational reasons.  

Modern History of Palestine: Revisiting the Nakba

Prof. Ilan Pappe, Historiker
Historian, Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies
Institut of arab and Islamic studies University of Exeter


The Palestinian Conflict and the Crisis in the Middle East

Politics in the Field of Tension between Nationalist Emotions, Religious Ideology and State Interests

Prof. Udo Steinbach, Islamwissenschaftler und Nahostexperte
Universität Hamburg; Universität Marburg; Maecenata Stiftung, Berlin


The Palestinians in Israel between Democracy and Ethnocracy

Prof. Ghaleb Natour FZJ, RWTH Aachen University, Verein zur Förderung des Friedens in Israel u. Palästina e.V.


Disclaimer: The event will unfortunately not take place for.  

Introducing Palestine: Literature & Culture 

Prof. Hala Nassar Ph.D.
Department of Education Bethlehem University


What’s next in Israel_Palestine? A Perspective on International Law

Dr. Nahed Samour 
Integrative Research Institute Law & Society, Humboldt University Berlin


Filmvorführung und Diskussion: Heimat am Rande

Wisam Zureik, Filmemacher aus Aachen, Palästinenser aus Israel



Disclaimer: This event will take place in the aula of the main building of RWTH Aachen University. 

Concert and Lecture: Palestinian culture art/music

Aeham Ahmad, Pianist


Closing event

Procedure/Working method​

Depending on the course of studies, module and examination, credit points can be achieved through participation.

Certificate of achievement

Certificate of participation (0 CP)
Questionnaire (2 CP, ungraded)
Blog entry (2 CP, ungraded)
Term paper (10-15 pages, 3 CP)
Term paper (15-20 pages, 4 CP)

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