Toward an understanding of the other

Norman Shamas — University student

I appreciate David Axelrod’s response, “Dehumanize the terror, not the people” on Nov. 27, to my Nov. 21 letter “Dehumanizing Israelis and Gazans” and commend his attempt to provide a perspective of humanity. While I believe that Axelrod’s presentation is a selective narrative that is biased and at times misleading, I would like to focus on a movement toward understanding.

Both the Israelis and Palestinians have committed acts of terror. The recent onslaught of rockets into Israel aimed at civilian populations and for the first time hitting the two most populous cities is just the most recent example of terror from Gaza. Israel’s use of white phosphorous during the last military campaign into Gaza four years ago is also certainly an act of terror.

However, both sides have organizations that are working toward peace. One of the most commendable organizations is the Peace Research Institute in the Middle East. For six years, PRIME worked on a history textbook in both Arabic and Hebrew that provided both Israeli and Palestinian narratives entitled “Learning the Historical Narrative of the Other.” This textbook was banned in both Israel and Palestine. Just this year, the book was published in English as “Side by Side: Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine.”

PRIME is a non-governmental organization composed of both Israeli and Palestinian scholars. They attempted to foster peace through a mutual understanding, an attempt to humanize the other. This approach epitomizes the rhetoric of humanization.