Viewpoint: Peaceful citizens provide hope in overseas conflict

By David McLane
Staff writer

Israel or Palestine? This has been a recurring question on the international docket and is one that has returned to center stage this month.

Palestinian plans to submit an application of membership to the U.N. Security Council at this month’s United Nations General Assembly have resurrected the never really dormant 60-year feud.

Most people I know have made a quick decision about the conflict, a conflict that is so far from any immediate impact in the daily life of a Wacoan.

Honestly, it’s not as cut-and-dry as just Israelis or Palestinians, Jews or Arabs. It never is.

Israeli guerrilla forces took land by force that was later annexed into the state of Israel in the late 40s, but all is fair in war, right? If the Palestinians couldn’t defend their land, they should lose it, right?

Let’s flip the coin.

Palestinians were quickly marginalized and taken advantage of by the newly declared state of Israel. We’re supposed to protect the weak, right?

If Palestinians had a state, wouldn’t the radical actions just be wartime acts?

Israeli settlers are just radicalized land grabbers with government backing, right?

As with any small-scale argument, there are valid points to both sides. There are also vile acts committed by both sides. In fact, there are so many factions within both Israel and Palestine that to reduce the conflict to two unified enemies is a grave misrepresentation of reality.

There are so many ways to approach the Israel/Palestinian conflict. So many individual acts that have impacted both communities as a whole. They all should be addressed somehow, and no crime should go unpunished.

I cannot choose a side.

I have met teenage Palestinian boys who hate the Israeli police because they have seen their families dealt with at gunpoint.

I have seen Israeli buses scarred by the fires of bus bombs.

I have no idea the implications of a Palestinian bid of recognition to the United Nations.

Will their appeals to international organizations to hold Israel accountable for alleged crimes carry weight?

Will international recognition of Palestine as a state force peace talks toward a viable solution?

The future has yet to be written.

Whatever the outcome and implications of this month’s vote, there is ground-level hope.

I have also met an Arab teenager who hangs out with Arabs and Jews. His says his family can’t understand why he loves his Israeli friends.

I have met an old Jewish woman in east Jerusalem who teaches Hebrew to Arabs in the Old City and is fearless in her relations with anyone.

There are real people, Israelis and Palestinians, who want to live in peace, and they interact with one another on a daily basis.

Bottom line, there is hope for a peaceable interactive community in the little strip of land called Israel/Palestine.

David McLain is a senior journalism major from The Colony and is a staff writer for the Lariat.