Fine column not helpful to Israeli-Palestinian discussion

I want to respond to the Oct. 16 column “Israeli people are tired of death” by Omri Fine, which was biased and ignorant.

Fine began by saying Palestinians have made no steps toward peace. Anyone who has been following international politics over the last decade, however, would disagree with such a statement. Fine might not personally like the Palestinian peace efforts, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. Fine said the Israeli government has released thousands of terrorists from prisons in a step he claimed the Israeli government compromised on. According to CNN, only 440 Palestinians were released and more than 6,000 remain imprisoned. The majority of the prisoners are civilians and many of them children under the age of 18 who have had neither legal representation nor simple human rights while imprisoned. Also, the very few who were released already spent their time or were soon due to be released.

Another step Fine claimed to be a compromising one is the slight pull back of the Israel Defense Forces in the Palestinian territories. I don’t know how a power would illegally occupy other land and then say they are compromising by moving their forces around occupied land. Why are they there anyway?

This is the reason of the Intifada. The Israeli troops have no right to be there in the first place. The Palestinians have been struggling for their freedom, which is a right by birth. Fine said the Israeli government has been building the separation wall to prevent the Palestinians from attacking. The numbers of attacks haven’t shown any decrease, and the wall has proved not to be an obstacle to whoever really wants to get to the other side. Then this wall symbolizes discrimination and segregation similar to the Berlin Wall that was put down in the early 1990s. How are we to expect peace and love between both sides when there is a wall separating them that puts all kinds of barriers to communication and so forth? Also, the wall has annexed some Palestinian lands in a clear attempt to permanently confiscate more territory to build illegal settlements on.

Fine accused Arafat of being a terrorist, which is insulting to most Palestinians and many more. Arafat was democratically elected by his people and will always be their symbol of the honorable freedom struggle. Israeli forces have been putting him under siege for the last two years in two rooms, and then they ask him to crack down on Palestinian militants. They have banned him from travel in his own territories and then claim he is a part of the problem and not the solution. To be clear, the Palestinians believe there will be no solution without the approval of their democratically elected leaders, and the biggest problem that exists and stands in the way of their independence and freedom is the Israeli occupation.

On a different topic, Fine said Israel broke international law and made a pre-emptive strike on Syrian lands because Syria was supporting terrorist groups and it occupies Lebanon. Since when is Syria occupying Lebanon? The two are neighboring countries enjoying a premium status of relationship and cooperation, but Fine still described that as occupation. Even if there was occupation, then in Fine’s eyes the occupiers should be punished, but he doesn’t mention anything about Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Fine accused Arab countries of wanting to murder innocent people. How lame is this?

It is funny that brainwashing sometimes still works in this day and age. Both sides need to stop pointing fingers at each other and accusing one other of everything wrong happening. Objective discussions and writings would be much more valuable and interesting.

Ayman Balshe is a third-year student in the School of Dentistry and is the Arab Student Association spokesman. Send comments to [email protected]