Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Reconciliation a Necessity for Middle East Conflict

As the Al-Aqsa intafada rages on in the Middle East, the Young Arab Leadership Alliance, the Muslim Student Association and their supporters, inflame tensions here at Georgetown with bellicose political remonstrations against Israel.

On any given day, Georgetown students entering their dormitories or Healy Gates are greeted by anti-Israel posters and inflammatory epithets scrawled across the pavement. Despite university policies expressly prohibiting organizations affiliated with Campus Ministry from sponsoring political events, MSA has joined YALA in broadcasting “Israel Accused,” a BBC documentary about Israel’s alleged mistreatment of a Southern Lebanese 14-year-old, Ali Kashmar, and other teenagers. Some of the teenagers reputedly had family ties to the Islamic terrorist group Hezbollah; others clearly were victims of egregious Israeli intelligence errors.

What YALA and MSA neglected to condemn, however, was the equally heinous lynching of two young Israeli soldiers by an angry Palestinian mob and, more recently, the targeted killing of a 10-month-old Jewish infant, Shalhevet Pass, by Palestinian snipers. Concentrating on unfortunate and horrific acts, whether committed by Israel or by the Palestinians, must not remain the focus of YALA’s energies or become part of the Georgetown Israel Alliance’s future plans. Those who engage in an exposition of assault rhetoric become part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Finger pointing obfuscates a complex international problem and exacerbates existing tensions on this campus. Both peoples have endured much suffering throughout the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Continuing the excesses of the past mires us in that past and effectively prevents constructive exploration of potential breakthroughs to end the escalating violence. A more productive approach would be to provide balanced educational programs that include a dialogue sensitive to the grievances of Palestinians and Israelis. This does not imply that both parties should turn their backs on their history or suffering; on the contrary, it reinforces the urgency for Palestinians and Israelis to return to the negotiation table. As U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan told the Arab League Summit in Amman, Jordan on March 27, “There is no solution to be found in violence …” and “Israel has a right, enshrined in numerous U.N. resolutions, to exist in safety within internationally recognized borders.”

Regardless of how many rocks or Molotov cocktails are hurled, no matter how many rubber bullets are fired, no matter how many suicide bombers strike, and no matter how many Palestinian Authority members are assassinated, the only solution for the current crises will be derived through exchanging ideas – not live fire. It is therefore incumbent upon all parties involved to open the channels of communication between Israelis and Palestinians rather than continue to aggravate the situation through violence.

This past Sunday marked the end of the Jewish Passover holiday celebrating the Jews’ exodus from Egypt and deliverance from slavery. It is customary during the ceremonial Passover seder to take 10 drops of wine from one’s cup to commemorate each of the 10 plagues that brought us closer to liberation. In so doing, we are reminded that just as the wine from our cups is diminished in the symbolic celebration of victory over our enemies, so too must everyone’s joy be diminished because of the suffering of others. In this same spirit, let us go forward so that together we may establish a dialogue of reconciliation rather than recrimination.

David Gold is a freshman in the McDonough School of Business, Joshua Levin-Epstein is a freshman in the School of Foreign Service and Zach Wasserman is a sophomore

in the School of Foreign Service. All three are members of the Georgetown Israel Alliance.

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