Palestinian and Israeli youth met last Tuesday night in the Marvin Center to discuss a peaceful coexistence that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Rami Rabayah, a Palestinian youth leader, said peace would not come from the division of resources between Palestine and Israel.
“Making an agreement is not about who gets what,” Rabayah said. “It’s about both sides coexisting, which is what my main goal is.”
He said the high tensions between Israel and Palestine make hixs professional life particularly tough.
“As an olive oil producer for my farm, a lot of my olive oil spoils when it sits for hours upon hours at the checkpoint,” he said.
Yaniv Sasson, an Israeli youth leader, discussed life in a country where there is an overwhelming fear of terror.
“When I am on a bus in Israel, I fear what’s next to me will be a bomb and explode,” Sasson said.
He then described his first time going into a New Jersey shopping mall.
Sasson said he walked in and opened his book bag and unloaded its contents to the woman at the front desk. When he realized that this was not a custom in an American mall, he said he was shocked to discover that people were treated so fairly in the U.S.
Both men agreed that the violence needs to stop, but stood behind the action of their countries.
“The Israeli military must leave Palestinian territories,” Rabayah said.
Sasson snapped back, “We need our security!”
Rupita Chaurabury, a sophomore and programming director of the event, said she hoped it would educate the audience about the real day-to-day problems people in the two countries face.
“There are a lot of issues with Israel and Palestine and not everyone is educated properly on the matter,” she said. “Therefore what I want the audience to take away is knowledge from authentic sources and discussions of real issues that go on in that area.”
The event is part of a series that is touring colleges and universities around the country, and is sponsored by One Voice, an organization that works with youth leaders to increase public awareness and promote peace in the Middle East.