Peace should be the most important goal

Although the United States is one of Israel’s largest allies, it seems many American’s have an extremely vague idea of what took place Sept. 23. However, this event was a life changing experience for Israeli-American Mati BeKoach and Palestinian-American Dana Balboul.

The United Nations accepted an application for Palestinian statehood from Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) President Mahmoud Abbas. Currently, the Palestinian Authority (PA) occupies the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem and is seeking to have that area declared Palestine, giving them an official government and voice recognized by the UN.

The 15 members of the UN council plan to have their answer early this week.

History between the Palestinians and Israelis clearly shows that allowing Palestine to be recognized as a state would be (a bad idea).  Doing so would nullify all previous peace treaties Israel and the PLO had already made which would result in pushing Israel back to its 1967 borders, losing West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, there has been conflict between surrounding Arab nations and the newly founded Jewish state. On the second day of its existence as a state, Israel was attacked by Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. Hostility towards Israel has only slightly tempered off since 1948.

These new borders leave Israel vulnerable to attack from these countries that have been problematic and threatening. Two such countries are Egypt, who attacked the Israeli Embassy just last month, and Turkey, whose Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan kicked out Israeli diplomats this month.

Mati BeKoach shared, “You have to be careful while traveling in the Middle East. Some countries wont even let you in if they see you have an Israeli passport or your passport has a stamp from Israel.“

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Another country that has lined up against Israel is Iran, whose President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a holocaust denier, gave an anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli speech at the UN.

His words led to the walkout of more than 30 countries on Sept. 22 and included the likes of 27 European Union Members, Australia, New Zealand, Somalia, Liechtenstein, Macedonia and the two U.S. diplomats who specialized in the Middle East.

Faced with the threat of war yet again, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have already begun to call up its reserve members in preparation for revolt in coexisting communities. Abbas has publically declared his intent to expel all Jews currently living in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Balboul feels that this would never happen.

“Everyone knows, even the Palestinians, that it’s not rational to expel the Jews out of the land. The PA cannot do anything without the consent of their people or else the Palestinian people will revolt,” Balboul said.

Regardless of any stated goals for peace by Abbas, the control he has over groups like Hamas is virtually non-existent. With an on edge Israel, there is considerable potential for violence being sparked on both sides.

Abbas’s speech had already been greeted with defiance there, and Israel’s army said it had gone on high alert for what it was calling an imminent Hamas attack along its border with Egypt.

Hamas, the governing body in Gaza, has been labeled a terrorist organization in many countries.  They are responsible for the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli-French soldier being held in Gaza since 2006.  Shalit’s capture is commonly referred to as a kidnapping because he has been denied any aid from Red Cross or communications with family members. Hamas has stated they will return Shalit if Israel releases 1,000 Arab prisoners, all female and underage prisoners and Marwan Barghouti who is serving five life sentences for murder.

When asked her thoughts on Hamas demands for the release of Shalit, Balboul responded with a question “Do you see a difference between a man who kills a human dressed in civilian clothing and a man who kills a human wearing a uniform? Because both are murderers to me.”

BeKoach surprisingly agreed with Balboul in regards to her statement about murder but he stated that he feels a civilian murder is different than one from a soldier defending his country.

BeKoach expressed his thoughts on IDF calling up its reserves in preparation for the bid.

“Throughout history, the Jews have been pushed and pushed, whether it be Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Germans, or Palestinians and now that we are finally pushing back people are getting upset,” BeKoach said. “Being the underdogs in this, it is amazing what we have accomplished since the creation of the state.”

For Alaskans, the vote might seem far away and, for some, inconsequential.

But imagine leaving Alaska for school in another country. While you are away, a bunch of other countries decide that Alaska will become its own country with new authority (for the sake of this we will say Russia takes control because it is so close).

So now your homeland, the place that your family is from, you can no longer return to because Russian government is pushing out American settlements slowly but surely.  The argument could easily be made that this land is not Americas since they weren’t the original occupants, even though it’s all you have ever known.

Even though they were from opposing sides, it seemed that in the end both parties wanted the same thing.

BeKoach ended by saying “I pray for the best in the creation of two states so when I’m done with school I can go home safely.”