The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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An informed opinion on Palestine

 An informed opinion on Palestine
An informed opinion on Palestine

An informed opinion on Palestine

I’ve read my share of DC articles as a former editor inchief, and I can honestly say that Laura Knapp’s work wasperhaps the most egregiously one-sided opinion article that hasever run in the paper in my time away from the campus. Commentariesare designed to convey an opinion, but they must consider bothsides.

Knapp’s annotated history of the Palestinian-Israelistruggle depicts the Jewish state as an innocent bystandersuffering from “Arabic aggressors” from the Palestinianterritories who are filled with “[mostly] terrorist groupswho want to kill the Jews, thus destroying Israel.”

And how did Knapp come to her conclusion? Her one-sided researchwas designed to give the pros and cons. How convenient of Knapp toinform us of only the cons.

Part of the problem in the Middle East arises from one-sidedviews that come from people such as Knapp who take opinions fromothers and convey them to the masses as if they were scripture.They undermine the legitimate efforts of people who are working tounify rather than divide by focusing on reconciliation as opposedto the past differences.

One of my law professors, Peter Edelman, is president of the NewIsrael Fund, which is a nonprofit organization that works withyouth in the region.

My conversations with Edelman have led me to three succinctpoints: characterizations lead to unfair stereotypes and violence,divisive comments will get you nowhere, and the past should beremembered, but not solely dictate the future.

Knapp’s article compounds all three problems. She impliesin her article that most Palestinians are terrorists. This issimply not the case. The Palestinians are a people displaced fromtheir homelands and are recognized by the United Nations asrefugees.

Ninety-nine percent of the Palestinian people are peaceful. Itis only the fringe that gets the attention because of the heinouscrimes they commit.

But every culture and religion has its fringe extremists. Toqualify a whole race as extremists based on the actions of few iswrong and unjust. It’s unfair to take, for example, DavidKoresh, as a fair representation of all Christianity. Similarly, itwould be wrong to classify all Israelis based on the past actionsof prime minister Ariel Sharon when he invaded Lebanon in 1982 andmassacred thousands of innocent refugees.

“The Iraqi and the Islamic people desire world domination,thus, creating a threat to all civilization,” Ms. Knappwrote. She also writes that the creation of a Palestinian statewould be “ludicrous.”

Her comments speak to her ignorance on the situation. Has sheever spoken with a Muslim before or read the Koran? The Koranaddresses the issue of tolerance and peace in its opening verses. Iassume her comments are based on stories of “jihad” andthe bent of evangelical Christians who brand Islam as a religion ofhate and war. We know extremists take phrases from holy books andpervert them into a radical form of the religion, but this does notmake the more than one billion followers of Islam evildoers byproxy.

Moreover, history shows us that the Muslims lived together withthe Jews throughout World War II. For generations, the Middle Eastwas the most hospitable region for Jews to live because ofpersecution in Europe and the Americas.

In her column, Knapp uses hateful slander to make her points.”The Jewish nation defeated the Arabic aggressors.” Thetrue aggressors, of course, are the fringe elements on BOTHsides.

Knapp’s classification of Arabs as”aggressors” reinforces the stereotype that Arabs areforceful, wrong and evil, while Israelis are innocent andbenevolent in the struggle for peace.

The Israelis are currently building a security fence that theyclaim will “shield” them from the Palestinianonslaught. In doing, so they are taking away land from the WestBank that is apportioned by the United Nations as the futurePalestinian state. Like the Berlin Wall, the physical barrierre-emphasizes the mental barrier between the two sides.

The great majority of Palestinians do not share the beliefs withthe fringe element of suicide bombers. This goes against theprinciples of Palestinian Muslims and Palestinian Christians— a large minority of the Palestinian people.

Knapp’s final claim that, “The Palestinians have nounique culture. They are Arabs, but there are many Arabicterritories around that area,” irritates me.

Ignorance meet Laura. Laura meet ignorance. Now that the twoparties are properly introduced, let’s examine the dichotomyof her statement.

Essentially, Knapp is denying more than 3,000 years of history.The Palestinians have been in the Middle East for at least thatlong and have perhaps the richest history in the region outside ofIraq. They have gone by many different names, but they have beenthere for thousands of years.

The second part of her comment is akin to saying that Texas hasno unique culture because there are Americans everywhere aroundTexas and many American states surrounding it, so we should give itback to Mexico and force Texans to leave.

Every culture in the Middle East is a separate and uniqueculture. Arabs are denied individual uniqueness because Americansignorantly lump them together.

The Middle East is a vast region with unique characteristics,from the Moroccans with heavy Spanish influence and the Libyanswith Italian culture to the birthplace of civilization in Iraq andIran. To lump them together would be like someone declaring thatNew Yorkers and Texans are identical.

The Palestinians are suffering, and they are desperate. Peoplein desperate situations commit desperate actions. The problem isthat there is no light at the end of the tunnel for them and byfurther denying statehood to an oppressed people who want nothingmore than to call a country home is radical and wrong. Even thestaunchest Israeli leaders will tell you that much.

“Allowing humans to live in such a poverty-strickenenvironment would be inhumane.”

Knapp says that’s what would happen if a Palestinian statewas created. Look around. It’s already happening in Palestinebecause of the ignorance of people like you who don’t takeinto account both sides of an issue to come to a coherent, fairresolution.

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