I was very pleased to see the MAROON’s well-balanced coverage of “Crisis in Gaza: The U.S., Israel, and Palestine” (“Panelists Probe Gaza Conflict at Mandel Hall Forum,” 1/09/09). However, the article misrepresents the event as an open forum, as the article’s title suggests, and it fails to mention the unacceptable comments articulated by the panelists and inappropriate behavior of both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian supporters alike.
The panelists, for the most part, did not constructively criticize Israeli policies; they attacked and condemned Israel’s government and its actions altogether. While many points expressed were valid, most seemed intended not to provide an opportunity for discourse, but to drum up popular support for the Palestinian cause. Similarly, pro-Israeli students incongruously shouted out and interrupted panelists as they gave their remarks. I must say, I was horrified that Mandel Hall erupted with applause when Mr. Abunimah suggested that the “Israeli leaders should be tried and convicted of crimes against humanity,” as well as when pro-Israeli audience members accused Palestinians of being “terrorists who are unwilling to accept peace.”
If our ultimate goal is peace in the Middle East—and I’m assuming it is—we must stop behaving like five-year-olds playing the blame game. The path to peace does not begin with the creation of a solution, nor does it begin at the negotiating table. It begins with the minds and attitudes of the global community. Both Israelis and Palestinians are guilty of countless atrocities, and each side must acknowledge that it has done wrong. Then, and only then, can we hope to come together to peacefully arrive at a solution. The more we fire accusations at each other the more we allow this horrible thing to continue and worsen. After decades of murder, terrorism, and war, let us for once not point fingers at each other but instead come together in the realization that both sides are to blame for this conflict and work to ensure that generations after us do not inherit the same destruction and chaos we have.
Class of 2011