Southwest Asia speakers at UM draw new urgency from Israeli conflict

Wednesday’s 20th annual International Conference on Central and Southwest Asia at the University of Montana has gained new urgency after violence erupted in Israel and the Gaza Strip over the weekend.

Conference organizer Bob Seidenschwarz said Israeli Consul General Marco Sermoneta’s keynote speech Wednesday evening remains on the schedule, although its content is likely to change. Sermoneta’s speech was titled “Charting a new course: Israel’s engagement in the Middle East and Beyond.” Montana Commerce Department Director Scott Osterman will join Sermoneta for a facilitated discussion starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the University Center’s third-floor theater on the UM campus.

Mehrdad Kia, shown here in a 2016 file photo.

TOM BAUER, Missoulian

Hamas militants launched a surprise rocket attack on Saturday from both inside and outside the Gaza Strip on the cities of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and several smaller cities. The initial attacks killed an estimated 700 people and saw at least 100 Israelis taken hostage, reportedly including military personnel and American citizens. 

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