Hi Guys. I wanted to share with you a project I am doing with an organization called soliya. Soliya is a non-profit that connects students from the West with the Middle East. Each Tuesday I have a conference with people from Egypt, Palestine, Italy, and other countries to discuss many important issues. This is for a Middle East Media seminar and it has been a rewarding challenge.
This week we have to do a project with a partner from the Middle East called Perspective. The goal is to discuss a common issue and learn the other’s side perspective. I am working with a colleague from Palestine and we are discussing the US role in the conflict between Gaza and Israel. Here is the first post:
By doing the project this past month, I have learned and become more involved about the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. I think that before we talk about the role of third parties in the conflict, we need to discuss the facts about what is happening. By watching different debates and dialogues between the Palestinian side and the Israeli side, I see that both parties are hearing but not listening to each other. There was an interesting debate I watched in YouTube which was transmitted by Al-Jazeera English in a program called Riz Khan. In it, college-age students were discussing the conflict. At first the dialogue was civilized but it quickly became heated. I think that because there are so many emotions in this conflict, we impede from seeing the other’s side version of the truth. Anyways, after the students started arguing, it was obvious that they were not trying to listen to each other but state their position.
I wanted to write the things which I think are facts and allow other to correct them, support them, or criticize them in a logical manner. For instance, when I watched some comments about the video in YouTube, most of them used stereotypes and clearly show a lack of insight about the intricacy in the region.
I’m going to start in the 20th century because, from what I researched, it is when the conflict started. Due to Zionism ideology, many Jews started migrating to the region of Palestine. This region has some historical and religious importance for Jews as well as Muslims. After WWI, the British acquired the region. During that time, tensions between “Israelis” (not yet a country) and Palestinians increased and as a result in 1947 Britain gave the land to the U.N.
The U.N. tried to partition the land by issuing a two-state solution which divided the land in approximately equal area. This infuriated the Arab population because between the Arab people and Arab government, they possessed the majority of the land. In 1948 Israel declared independence and some Middle Eastern countries invaded it. Israel won an annexed more territory and in 1967 some more. Israel occupied the land until 2005 when they pulled out. In the process, there has been two intifadas, numerous conflicts, and thousands of deaths.
Palestinians are currently living among unemployment, poverty, and economic strangulation. Israelis are living a comfortable lifestyle with a GDP per person of about $19,000. Israeli’s argue that they have the economic and military pressures to stop attacks against their infrastructure and to ensure national security. Palestinians argue that Israel is responsible for their situation due to their actions (I.e. building a wall, closing, discrimination.)
I wanted to get some input on my ideas and wanted to see on the things we agree and on what we disagree. With your input I would like some support for your ideas.
I hope you enjoy it,