Norman G. Finkelstein lectured on December 11, 2013 about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and spoke about the prospects for a final settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians. He also commented on the 2013 military coup that took place in the Arab Republic of Egypt. Finkelstein’s final comments on the military coup prompted a protest by the Egyptian diplomats present, including the Egyptian Ambassador to Ecuador, which resulted in a heated exchange on the events that took place in Egypt.
The lecture on the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict by Finkelstein was part of a seminar organized jointly by the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry and the School of International Relations at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (IAEN) of Ecuador, which is a national institute responsible for graduate studies and the training of civil servants. The seminar was about the “New Geopolitics in the Middle East” (La Nueva Geopolítica en Oriente Medio). The events main objectives, which Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño outlined during its inauguration, were to contribute to the training and education of current and future Ecuadorian diplomats and specialists dealing with the Middle East.
Members of the Ecuadorian diplomatic corps and, among other foreign diplomatic representatives, the embassies of Russia, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, and the Palestinians were present at the event and interacted with the different speakers.
Finkelstein and the other keynote speakers were panelists later on at a table moderated by the parliamentarian Fernando Bustamante, the presiding president of the Ecuadorian National Assembly’s International Relations Committee, to discuss the direction that the Arab Spring had taken, where Finkelstein continued to speak about Egypt and the role that violence had played in the Arab Spring.
The other panelists at the table were the following individuals: Libya Ishtay, the Representative of the General Union for Palestinian Women in Latin America and the wife of the Palestinian Ambassador to Ecuador; Rodolfo Bueno, columnist and mathematics professor; Nagham Salman, a Syrian writer; and Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya.
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