Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Source: Long Island Newsday (October 15th)|
|10/16/00 at 11:40:59|
|In Israel Confusion And No Little Fear|
Edlad Levy; Dina Jaber; Amit Caraco; Naeima Hinnawy
This past summer, Arab and Israeli teenagers traveled to the United States
through Seeds of Peace, a nonprofit organization that brings together youths from
regions of conflict. They attended camp in Maine, where they canoed and swam, danced
and painted, shared meals and occupied the same cabins. They have returned home to
violence. Last week, some participants spoke to Newsday editor Valerie Kellogg
about the conflict and whether they believe that peace is possible.
Eldad Levy, 17, a Jew who lives in the town of Nazareth Illit, near the Arab city
of Nazareth: I live about two miles from where all the clashes happened. But it
was so big that I heard it from my living room window. Then I heard, "Kill the
Arabs, kill the Arabs." Some cars were on the way there, maybe to join the party.
Some kids from my class, they were so proud that they took part in the clashes.
They were talking about it in school the next day. They're still talking about it.
I felt very sad. I felt very depressed. How can they be so proud throwing stones?
Israelis like to say Arabs are so primitive. But when the Israelis want to, they
can be just as primitive.
It's something really bad that kids take the law into their hands and go out and
demonstrate. It's really negative and brings the conflict into a war situation.
Why do the kids do it? Because of frustration and fear most of all.
Trying to demonstrate, trying to show we're not afraid of you. Things like that
bring us to war.
I feel the stress and fear. I'm afraid. I'm an Israeli citizen. I'm not
invulnerable to being shot and dying. I'm still in danger. I'm not able to leave my town
for days. I see what's happening on TV. I'm part of this. When I feel like that, I
call my Palestinian friends. Talking to them-they're supposed to be the enemy,
but they're not. They're my friends. We encourage each other.
We're not alone.
I have an older sister. She's 20 years old. She serves in a base these days near
Jerusalem, inside the West Bank. The last few days were really hard for my family
and all the families that have a soldier in them-fearing, waiting to hear every
day if she's OK. She herself admits that it's really scary to pass nearby stone
The violence we're seeing is really new. Mostly we see police officers against
Arabs, the military against Arabs, in the West Bank. Now it's citizen against
citizen. It can probably become a civil war. That's what we really fear. When we have
such demonstrations, we're talking about two sides of Israel.
Teenagers have a part in it, and it's bad. For the Arabs, they do it because of
years of frustration and years of occupation for the Arabs. For the Jews, they do
it because of years of fear. Both sides are sick and tired of the situation.
We've been living with this big question mark. What's going to happen? War? Peace?
It's understandable that people who don't know where their life is heading will act
this way. They want to show power because they feel so powerless.
Dina Jaber, 17, Palestinian who lives in Nablus: I feel so frustrated and angry,
and you know for the past two weeks we've been sitting in front of the TV and
reading the newspapers and crying. No one's fine. In my city, we have Israeli tanks
on the borders. They're 15 minutes from my house. We've been hearing shooting and
helicopters 24 hours a day since the demonstrations started. Our neighbor-he's 6
years old-he was standing on the balcony of his house talking to his mother. He
was trying to see what was happening all around him. Then a helicopter shot him
from above. He was killed instantly. This happened two doors down the street.
There's a 2-year-old kid, Sarah. She lives in a village near Nablus. She had a
fever. Her father had to take her to a hospital in Nablus. On the way back home, he
was driving and he passed by Israeli soldiers. Then he heard shooting. In the
car, he had Sarah and his niece. His niece-he heard her say, "Ouch." He thought
something happened to her. The minute he got to the village, he found Sarah dead. His
niece was injured.
There's a 39-year-old man. He was kidnaped by Jewish settlers. They tortured him,
by burning him all over. They put long nails in his ears to burst his eardrums,
and then they crushed his fingertips with pliers. Threw him in front of his
village near Ramallah.
I want to do something, but I don't know what to do. I thought I wanted to go to
the demonstrations, throw stones, something, but of course my parents wouldn't
let me. I've been talking to a lot of my friends at school. Most feel the same way.
I believe in peace, but there's a difference when we're talking about the Israeli
soldiers and when we're talking about the citizens. I mean, the Israeli soldiers
are using guns, tanks and helicopters. They've been using bullets that are
forbidden in other countries. And they've been pointing their guns at people's heads,
eyes and necks. That means they're killing. If you want to shoot at protesters to
get them to stop throwing stones, you should shoot at their hands and arms.
We don't have the power. We don't have the guns. We don't have anything.
These stones show the world that we're against what they're doing.
I can't do anything. I cry. That is the only thing I can do. I mean, I wish I had
guns and all the methods they're using against us. But I have nothing. To be
honest, I've lost my baith in the peace process. Prime Minister Ehud Barak says he
wants to sit at the table and negotiate with Palestine. But then whenever anything
happens, he uses guns against us. And he kills. And he doesn't just kill
demonstrators; he also kills innocent people.
There are plenty of young people who've given up. It's bad. Before all that
happened, I really believed in peace. I still believe in it, but not the way they're
dealing with it. If you want peace, you're supposed to go on negotiating-not the
minute something happens to do all this.
What has happened in the last two weeks, I will never forget. I have a feeling
that those Israeli friends I know, they will be ones, the soldiers, and I could be
one of the people throwing stones and I could be killed.
I'm not sure if I will be alive for one minute. I'm not sure if I will be alive
Amit Caraco, 16, a Jew who lives in the Jerusalem suburb of Gilo, right outside
the West Bank: Young people are very, very easily influenced-by older people and
each other. I'm talking about Palestinians, but it works everywhere. It's sort of
different with Israelis. Please don't forget that the Israelis have the army.
It sort of matures the young people.
Obviously the whole Palestinian nation is very frustrated, but I believe the
younger ones took that feeling and put it into action. Inside the Palestinian home,
there is not enough education. I believe they don't take care enough of their
children in the sense that you can find a lot of them out there demonstrating. I'm
not saying they teach them to go out and throw rocks. They teach them to be
determined-that religion and their beliefs and their land might be more important than
I'm going into the Israeli army in two years. It's a very big subject with my
Palestinian friends. After a long time, when we knew each other and have talked a
lot about the situation, they understand that soldiers aren't what they see. Most
of my Palestinian friends, they understand my need to serve my country, even
though they might have a hard time seeing me being part of an army that is so
threatening to them.
Peace is a lot more about the people than about the leaders. The leaders are not
doing their jobs, and I'm disappointed. But I believe it has to start between the
people-between the two nations. The leaders are only going to sign an agreement.
Peace is something that has to be worked on.
I'm not sure we deal with the stress. We can all feel it. No one's going to the
movies and just hanging out in the restaurants most of the time because of the
situation. No one wants to put themselves at risk. That's why the anger is all
bundled up inside and growing.
Naeima Hinnawy, 16, an Arab citizen of Israel who is Roman Catholic and lives in
the village of Deir Hanna in the lower Galilee: As a person who lives in a
democratic country, I think it's right for us to protest. But I'm against the
protesting the way the Arabs did last week. Most did not use violence, but some are so
young. They don't care. They just see it as a game. They're not taking it seriously,
as a problem. They just want to go to kind of like be "in." To throw stones, or
I think that a lot of Palestinians think that we're cheaters because we live in
Israel and we're the same kind. So these actions, the protesting, were to support
the Palestinians and also to express our feelings. I know it's not the right way.
Personally, I'm sick of this situation. But you have to understand. We can't find
the right way to deal with the situation because no one will listen to us.
It hurts, and it's not fair being treated this way and to also be separated from
the Palestinian nation. We're Palestinian. But this is my land. My family was
born here. Israel is not just a Jewish country. Being in Israel, most of the time I
talk Hebrew. Most of my friends are Jewish. I'm going to go to the university,
It's my daily life, and I just can't give it up. I've been living this life for 16
years. It's so difficult to say, OK, I'm going to move to Palestine and be a
Palestinian without having any connection to Israel-the people.
I think the discrimination against me is going to be worse. I really think I'm
going to have a tough time. Not all the Jewish are bad. I know there are a lot of
people who are good. But when I'm going to see the pictures of the people who were
killed-when I see anything that has a connection to the Jewish-I really can't
tell you that I won't remember my best friend, who was killed. I'm not going to
forgive and I'm not going to forget.
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