Letters to the Editor 10/25

Palestinian life is hard, discriminatory in Israel

Matthew, how can you scold the Palestinians like that (in your Wednesday letter to the editor)? Have you ever been to Palestine? I have been there and let me tell you, it’s half of what the media projects. The media fails to cast the Palestinian side.

The only times the Palestinian side is cast is in small documentaries on ABC. Even that sometimes doesn’t reach the public eye. The Israelis mistreat the Palestinians.

Yes, I said the Israelis mistreat Palestinians much like the United States discrimination in the 1960s of the blacks. Let me tell you what it is like over there.

I have been to Israel five times and all in the summer: 1986, 1987(the year the intifada started in September), 1996, 1998 and 2001. In 1986 and 1987, I was too young to understand the politics. I did not understand the politics until 1996 when I was 16 years old.

My family lived and still lives in a village four miles north of Jerusalem, the Israeli side. They have blue I.D.s so they can travel without restriction. But when I was there, it was different.

Ramallah, the Palestine’s version of New York, is in the Occupied Land. Just going to and back from there was a nightmare. There were two checkpoints (of course under Israeli control): one outside the occupied land (near my village) and one three miles in to the occupied land.

I had an American passport, so I was not treated badly, but the Palestinians who had the green I.D.s (denoting residents of the occupied lands), were treated like crap. On Friday, the holiest day of the week, Palestinians (I am talking about 50 to 80-year-old people) were not allowed to pray.

As another example, my grandmother, who was 60 at the time, went to Ramallah with the family to shop for the house. She forgot her I.D.

The guards made my grandmother (remember, she was 60) wait in the mid-afternoon heat (about 95 degrees Fahrenheit, like high noon in the movies), until my uncle could return with her I.D.Tell me, would you treat an old lady like that? Things like this happen regularly over there. This is what leads to Palestinian uprisings.

Another example happened at the Dome of Rock this past summer, which is the third holiest mosque in Islam. I could not pray there on Friday. Men only 40 years and older could, but any other day I was permitted. Even that was hell; I was given 20 questions testing my faith by Israeli guards. I understand why they put them there, but why start restricting the flow to a holy site like that?

Everyone can thank Mr. Ariel Sharon (You know the guy who has war crimes. The same guy who is responsible for going into a Palestinian village and massacring almost all the people there.) who went to the Dome of the Rock and said that it all belongs to Israelis for Friday Prayer.

How would you feel if someone went to a holy site and said it belongs to someone else on Sabbath or on Sunday Mass? The Israelis make the same remarks or actions to aggravate the Palestinians.

As I wrote earlier, the media publishes one side of the story and never the other half. There are so many things, if only you knew the injustice going on there.

Just to tell you of another thing. My family has land over there. For them to build on their own land, it takes about 10 to 15 years to get a permit (might be off a couple of years), but for an Israeli, like an American, it is given without hesitation.

  • Mustafa Ideis is a senior majoringin chemistry.

    Palestinians deserve peace, but so do Israelis

    In response to Eman Ottallah’s letter in the Oct. 10 Oracle, as much as we may want it, there will be no resolution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict until there is a radical change in the vision and leadership on the part of the Palestinians.

    May I remind you that Israel was established in 1948 in a land that had Arabs and Jews? Jews who had been there for generations and some who had never left during the diaspora. The strong bond between the Jews and Israel and Jerusalem is not something that popped up in 1948.

    Israel became a nation with Jerusalem as her capital in 1312 BCE, two thousand years before the rise of Islam. The large influx of Jews at the turn of last century was a result of European and American Jews buying and reviving land that had lain fallow for centuries. Tel Aviv was a malaria-infested swamp that was cleared and built up.

    The only time the Palestinians had a nation to call their own was when Israel was established.

    Instead of making peace, the Arabs were encouraged to leave Israel and join the anticipated slaughter of the Jews. To the Arab leaders’ surprise, the Jews did not go quietly into the sea. The surrounding Arab nations went to war against Israel five times and lost. This created a refugee situation.

    These refugees were intentionally not absorbed into the lands they fled to, but rather, kept in squalid camps in order to be used as a weapon against Israel. Meanwhile, the refugees and the Israelis continued to suffer.

    Do not forget that Jews living in Arab regimes have also suffered brutality and oppression.

    As for as the limited resources of the Palestinians – what has happened to the billions of aid dollars? Ask Arafat. He sits on a big wad of money that he skimmed off the top. He also encourages anti-Israeli and anti-western sentiment.

    The Associated Press released a well-documented report in September of this year on the appalling exhibit at an-Najah National University in Nablus.

    It included displays of the Sbarro pizzeria horror, suicide bombers and encouraged those attending to walk on the American flag at the entrance. Candy is given to Palestinian children whenever a suicide bomber kills Israelis.

    A group of French journalists filed a grievance because they were roughed up and their film confiscated by the Palestinian Authority when they photographed Palestinians celebrating on Sept. 11.

    And let us not forget the disgust that was evident on former President Clinton’s face and in his voice when, after Barak made an outrageously generous offer for peace, Arafat rejected it. The PLO charter still calls for the destruction of Israel.

    I want to make something clear: The Palestinians deserve a home and peace, and so do the Israelis. But if the Arab leadership continues to use their people as cannon fodder and demand all or nothing – they will get nothing.

    The Palestinian people deserve leaders with vision and the courage to make peace. Their leaders need to come to the understanding that the Israelis are not going to be led to the slaughter and that a genuine peace with Israel will mean a better life for all in the region.

    They need to instill that vision into their people instead of filling them with hate and false promises.

  • Eve Royffe is a program assistant for the School of Mass Communications.