Brigadier John Deverell CBE on Peace in the Middle East

Brigadier Deverell (OE) has worked throughout the Middle East. He was involved in maintaining peace in Yemen following the 9/11 attacks and later worked on the WMD issue in Iraq. Most recently, he was stationed in the West Bank as Britain’s only representative in the area, working to improve conditions and promote peaceful relations

Brigadier Deverell began his talk with a historical overview, pointing out that the Israelis and the Palestinians have a great deal in common. He also showed how and why the number of attempts to reach a peace had failed. The most fascinating part of the talk, however, was his description of his own work in the region. His tone was at times optimistic, yet tinged with a wariness of the immense difficulties the work involves. He emphasised the need for a ‘bottom-up, top-down’ system in the peace process. He ended his talk with a discussion of the various ways to end the conflict, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the one-state solution, the two-state solution, and the status quo. He concluded with the following thought: ‘Humans can create and sustain conflict; they can also end it’. In all, this was a fascinating talk from a very engaging speaker with a huge amount of knowledge and experience of the region, its languages and its peoples. The maps and chronologies he handed out were also helpful as visual aids. The Middle Eastern and Wellington Societies were very pleased to have Brigadier Deverell come to speak for us, and we are delighted that he is willing to come and give other talks at Eton in the future.

John Gowers KS and Louis von Guionneau KS