Your turn: Conflict interpreted wrongly by student

I was impressed with Mark Lasota's "Your Turn" opinion on a very timely and controversial subject that was published in Friday's edition of the DAILY NEWS. However, I do feel compelled to address his interpretation of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Obviously the history of Israel precedes November 1947 when the United Nations voted to create an Arab and Jewish state in the area of Palestine. It would be a mistake to assume that the Arab nations' rejection of the plan was the beginning of Israel's controversial and turbulent existence. In addressing the subject, I find that it is almost overwhelming to comprehend how enormous the "conflict" truly is.-á

I believe Lasota's assessment that many Palestinians have lived in the Palestinian/Israeli area for centuries (probably longer). However, what I do take issue with is his statement that Israeli soldiers have "brutally killed" innocent people. The reason I take issue with this is that I find it appalling that an entire column can be written about Israel and Palestine and not mention suicide bombers but state that Israeli solders "brutally" kill. Logically a balanced discussion on the issue would unveil and examine the killings committed by both parties. Certainly most rational human beings would agree that the terrorism that suicide bombers have inflicted on Israel is "brutal" and unjustifiable. It has also been almost uniformly targeted at innocent people ... those who happen to be shopping, riding busses and eating at restaurants.

In April 1994, 13 people were killed in bombing attacks on busses. On Oct. 19, 1994, another bus bombing killed 22 people. In November of the same year three people were killed by a suicide bomber that detonated explosives while riding a bike. Nineteen people were killed in January 1995. Eight were killed in April 1995. In July and August of 1995 10 were killed by suicide bombings again involving buses. In 1996, 1997, 1998 ... the suicide bombings continued. This year alone there were two bombings in January, three in February, 12 in March, three in April, seven in May ... need I go on?-á

Last Monday, Nov. 4, two people were killed and approximately 70 others were wounded in a suicide bombing at a shopping mall. Tragically, in June 2001, an opinion poll released by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion stated that more than 76 percent of Palestinians support suicide attacks against Israelis.

Like Lasota I would like to see that "both sides of the story" in the Middle East are acknowledged. By no means do I believe that Israel is without fault. Neither do I buy into the innocence of Palestine. But as a people, as human beings, we need to condemn terrorists tactics whether or not they seem politically strategic. The individual who approached Lasota asking why Palestinians don't stop throwing rocks seems rather gracious to me. I would be more compelled to question why Palestinians don't clearly and emphatically condemn their countrymen who find honor in the horror of blowing up the innocent.

I know the arguments that are used to defend those who choose to kill themselves in order to more effectively kill others. I've heard that it is a tactic of war. I've read that some believe it to be their "only means" to "defend" themselves. I also understand that many believe it to be a religious act of martyrdom (even though some say that the Qur'an forbids suicide). My hope is that we, as a nation, never become so embittered with rage that we also stoop to a level where we find pride in having our children dress in explosives in order to kill our neighbors.-á

Simple? No, the conflict is far from simple. It's one that is beyond our control and beyond my comprehension. But it is hundreds if not thousands of years old, and my beliefs are that it will ultimately be resolved by One who is greater than we are.

Thanks, Mark Lasota, for writing about something that matters.


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