The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

This article is not for everybody

What I am going to say to you now you may find too heavy for a student's magazine - maybe. It may be early morning and you may still be in your pajamas waiting for the last drop of coffee to drop down in your cup that has “keep calm and carry on” printed over. Or it may be late night and you are at the library, taking a break from reading that kill-me-now kind of boring article for one of your classes. You may also ask yourself why you would want to hear my opinion at all.

In that case, you don't want to read this. Carry on with something else. I wrote it to spare myself from orally presenting my view on the Israeli – Palestinian conflict, anyway. A conflict that sometimes I feel I am expected not just to debate on but solve, just because I lived in Israel for two years. And I should not complain about some people assuming that I have an expertise knowledge of it, after all I totally understand, I have asked my neighbor's nine year old whether Iceland should become an EU member or not.

You know Iceland recognized Palestine, right?

Writing this article, based on what I have experienced when meeting new people in Iceland, I recall the following scenario:

            Random person: “Really, you lived in Israel?”

            Me: “Yes, for two years.”

            The random person: “Are you...”

The “u” that the person forms with his or her mouth lasts forever.

I know what the person wants to know and I volunteer to answer, even though I do not understand why people find it so hard to ask about what religion one belongs to, and why is it important for them to know that.

Me: “No, I am not Jewish. I consider myself agnostic, or maybe Bahá'í. Doesn't matter, aren't all religions just mythologies, anyway?”

The random person: “You know...” Again I get just a half of a sentence, which I am supposed to finish.

            Me: “What?” I say.

            The random person: “You know Iceland recognized Palestine, right?”

And this is where I get this article on paper and give it to the person that posed the question, which, let's be honest, it's not really a question, but something more complex than that, just as the subject of this article itself. I imagine the person taking the hard copy with him, or her, and reading it over a coffee some other time so we can move on with the conversation to some happy place, like Disneyland.

Yes, I do, but why are you telling me this?

Dear new friend,

If you think about the question from above you will find that what really lies behind it is that either you are warning me that in case I declare myself pro- Israeli I should expect strong reaction from the people around, or you yourself have strong opinion on the subject and you are simply inviting me to debate on it. Nonetheless, here is what I have to say.

You may not know, but you are asking me to take a side

That's right. You are asking me to take a side, but what if I don't want to? Okay, I know, then I am ignorant. The truth is, the Israeli – Palestinian conflict is not my own conflict, if I would start dealing with it, it would just mean that I were the worst kind of ignorant. I would be putting aside the problems that Macedonia has, the country where I come from, and dealing with the problems of others. Plus, there are so many wars happening right now around the world, in Syria, Afghanistan, Chad, and Iraq that people don't really know about. You can open Wikipedia (simple as that) and search for the list of ongoing armed conflicts, and you'll find that the Israeli – Palestinian conflict is not the only one, yet it is the one that is most loudly-spoken of in media and there is rarely anyone without an opinion or a side taken on this one. Somehow people are forced to take a side. Otherwise they are ignorant. Lastly, (this applies to me) why take a side when I am fully aware that whatever I do my decision would be biased. I had a wonderful time in Israel and I have Israeli friends that I love.

Who started first, or whose fault it is?

It was the Homo sapiens 1 and the Homo sapiens 2. They started first – it's their fault. They probably both had their own good reasons for fighting over whatever they were fighting for. These fights have not stopped ever since, not throughout history, nor today. In every nation’s history there is probably something they should apologize for, to another nation, and some already have. And they probably have a good explanation for what made them do what they did. If we ask why, there would always be because… A legitimate kind of “because.”

The solution then?

You see, when it comes to the Israeli – Palestinian conflict, when one starts to listen he finds that they both have their own side of the story. Both of them are sad, utterly sad. To whom we give our compassion, or which one we justify, it can depend on the way each story is presented to us, and our ideology as well. When things get to a point where laws and rights are not applicable it is time to reexamine the rules. The solution then is in the hands of the one that makes the rules. Our job is to ask ourselves who is the one that makes the rules, and can he make them in a way that will make them applicable to the ideologies of both sides.

EnglishElena Ilkova