I appreciated Julie Gordon’s April 8 (“Students debate Mideast solutions”) attempted even-handedness in her report on the variety of perspectives GW students hold regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unfortunately, the article contained several discrepancies of a serious nature.
Of the 11 people interviewed for the article, only Mira Browne and I were referred to by ethnicity. The ethnicities of the other nine people were not mentioned, which seems to imply that our views are somehow colored because we are Palestinian. It would have been more informative, for example, to refer to me as a journalist at the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.
Also appropriate would have been to note that the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan allotted 55 percent of historical Palestine to the Jews, who at the time comprised only 23 percent of the population. The remaining 45 percent of the land was to be given to the majority Arab population. It was this inequity that prompted Palestinians to reject the plan – contextual information that is crucial to understanding the conflict.
And while freshman Whitney Schaffer maintains that Israel targets only militants, I would note that Israel’s policies of home demolition, agricultural destruction and restriction of movement are all evidence of collective punishment, which affects the lives of all Palestinians, militant or otherwise. According to United Nations figures, 80 percent of the more than 1,400 Palestinians killed so far have been civilians, and 30 percent of the dead were children – a far cry from Israel’s alleged terrorists.
I would finally like to point out that I urge leaders on both sides to promote calmness.