Students from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University traveled to Israel over Spring Break for a dispute resolution course taught by professors Art Hinshaw of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and Andrea Schneider of Marquette Law School. The course covered dispute resolution issues from the most basic settlement conferences in civil courts to negotiations over current political issues in the Middle East. Specific highlights included visiting the Israel Supreme Court, the Museum on the Seam (looking at all people’s claims to Jerusalem), participating in a cross-cultural negotiation class at Tel-Aviv University, visiting several Jewish and Christian holy sites, and learning about traditional Arab mediation practices.
The blog post below was written by College of Law student Mykil Bachoian, who was on the trip (center back row in photo below.) Photos are by College of Law student Matthew Binford.
My trip to Israel with Art Hinshaw and Andrea Schneider, Professor of Law at Marquette Law School, was the most educational and inspirational trip abroad that I have ever experienced. In just a week’s time, I gained a deeper insight into Israel’s many conflicts. A Taglit alum biased towards the endurance of a Jewish state, I was able to see with my own eyes some of the effects of Israel’s domestic policy on its Arab population. I learned about the different legal statuses of Palestinians in Israel and how each has different interests. As such, I see a potential issue with a future solution for some factions of Palestinians (e.g., a Palestinian state in the West Bank) being a potential problem for others (e.g., Arab citizens in Israel proper and Arab non-citizens in East Jerusalem). During my favorite lecture of all-time since entering higher education, Professor Moty Cristal of Tel Aviv University made me completely re-evaluate my understanding of negotiation theory, and inspired me to add more strategies to my repertoire and dedicate myself to preparing for every possible angle of a negotiation. In doing so, Moty also illuminated some of the roadblocks to a resolution of the conflict in Israel but highlighted why peace may be achieved in the future. Like many of the speakers we visited with, I am optimistic about a zone of potential agreement and areas for the relationship between Israelis and Arabs in Israel proper to improve in the future.
Some of the highlights of the trip, among others, were: three days in Jerusalem, including a tour of Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, an intense emotional session with the Parent’s Circle, and a gripping visit to Yad Vashem; one night’s stay at a Kibbutz on the Sea of Galilee near Yardenit to see a buddy get baptized in the River Jordan; short day trips to Nazareth and the holy city of Zefat, and a day in Haifa and Tel Aviv. In the meantime, I managed to stuff my face with delicious food the entire trip (I’m a total foodie). Some of the highlights were: a Biblical feast at Eucalyptus, lunch at a Jewish Iraqi kitchen in the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, a heavenly falafel at a hole-in-the-wall in Zefat owned by an orthodox Jewish man (I was scared to catch his hairs in my food but pleasantly surprised not to see any), dinner at a Druze village, a home cooked dinner at former “Chief Justice” Barak’s home, lunch in Jaffa with 15 different salads, and an end-of-trip celebration at Dr. Shakshuka in Jaffa. Needless to say, I will need to hit the gym for pick-up basketball games to shed some weight.
All in all, I have never been so exhausted in my life. The trip was jam-packed with activities, tours, lectures and excitement. I am now substantially more informed on the issues involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. I returned to the States with a new perspective on conflict in the Holy Land and a reinvigorated sense of passion for peace. I am dedicated to using my newly acquired knowledge and experience in the future to help out in any way that I can to try to improve the situation in Israel.