Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Mideast voices

Teens: war or peace?

In interviews at schools in Gaza and Israel, 11th-graders talk about their views of the future.

February 08, 2009|Marjorie Miler

As the war in Gaza was drawing to a close last month, Times editorial writer Marjorie Miller traveled to Israel and the Palestinian territories to discuss prospects for peace in the region. Today, in the first of two parts, she reports from Ramallah Friends School, which educates many children of West Bank Palestinian elites, and Hebrew University Secondary School in Jerusalem, one of Israel's best high schools. Many of the 11th-graders she interviewed were born in 1993, the year the Oslo peace accord was signed. But they came of age during the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising. Their points of reference are suicide bombings, rocket attacks, gunships and tanks, and a concrete and barbed-wire barrier separating Israelis and Palestinians.

What follows are edited excerpts from the interviews.

--

Ramallah Friends School

Q. Why was there a war in Gaza, and did it change anything?

"I think Israel chose this time to attack Gaza when Gaza is under the control of Hamas so that all the blame would be put on Hamas, not on Israel. Maybe they proved the point that they can go wherever they want."

-- Hend Younis

"No one won. We just showed them we could resist them. We have no weapons, none of those tanks, aircraft; they've got everything. We have a right to resist the occupation. The Jews want to see Fatah and Hamas fight; they want to see us break out into civil war and fight each other."

-- Jalal Jibril

--

Q. Do you think that negotiations between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel will lead to peace?

"There can never be peace between Israelis and Palestinians."

-- Ahmad Abdullah

"I wasn't born when the peace process was going on. I was born when the war process was going on. When I was 9, they destroyed my house, they arrested my brother in front of my eyes. I was living near the mukatah [the late Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's compound, in 2002] when the bombing and shooting was going on, which made me change my opinion toward peace. I realized there was no peace. ... We've been trying to make peace since 1990 or even before, and every time we are trying to make peace with Israelis, they find a way to destroy the peace. For example, in 2000 [when Israeli leader Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount], they started the second intifada. Every time there's a meeting between Abbas and [Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert, the Israeli airplanes are killing, slaughtering people while they are having a meeting. ... Every member of Israeli society becomes a member of the army. They are prepared to kill us, to make Palestinians vanish."

-- Yazan Barahama

"It's going to end up like all the other times that they tried to make peace. ... There's no use trying to negotiate, but there's also no use to stop trying. That's one of our only options."

-- Majd Darwish

"Why do we have to negotiate peace? Peace would be nice, but it's our land. Peace for Israel is just time to get stronger."

-- Manar Bargoothy

--

Q. Might a two-state solution be possible?

"I think it's possible, but not satisfying. In the first place, it's our land and they took it. The solution is to get it back. Not to get half."

-- Hend Younis

"I'm sure if someone would present us with that option, we would take it. But we tried, and you have the wall."

-- Youad Darwish

"It's the only way to solve this now. There's no other possible way."

-- Iyad Boulos

--

Q. Do you think President Obama will have a different approach to the Mideast than President Bush did?

"Maybe there will be a slight change. Obama said you must respect Muslim society. No other president said that. His dad was a Muslim. He went to a Muslim school."

-- Saber Farhud

"He said he was pro-Israel."

-- Manar Bargoothy

"Whatever."

-- Youad Darwish

--

Q. So what happens now?

"I think the perfect plan now is to establish two states, one Palestinian, one Israeli, and with the help of time, the Palestinian state is going to be strong and we'll do to the Israelis the same thing they did to us."

-- Hend Younis

"We just keep fighting. How? By not giving up."

-- Youad Darwish

--

Hebrew University Secondary School

Q. What are the prospects for peace, and do you believe a two-state solution could work?

"A two-state solution will happen someday because it's the only solution that can happen. That's the only way there will be peace. But I'm not sure it will happen soon. I'm not even sure if it will happen in my lifetime."

-- Tuval Danenberg

"[At a peace camp last summer for Palestinian and Israeli kids,] I saw they really hate us. And in Israel there are a lot of people who hate them, who say, 'Death to the Arabs.' They treated me as though I were a soldier who carried a gun against them. I was very angry with them."

-- Itay Harel

"I think the only time in which peace is possible is in the next four years with Obama as president of the United States. Israeli political views are getting more and more right wing with time, and it will be harder to achieve peace in the future. The best time for it is now."

-- Iddo Gat

--

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|