Free Palestine; From the Ohio State South Oval
Oct. 30, 2014
The Israeli-Palestinian debate and conflict never gets old because well, it never seems to end. On my way to class today I spotted a rather inconspicuous landmark on the South Oval. This landmark is a mock wall of the wall that separates the Gaza Strip from Israel. I thought to myself that hearing the opinions on the matter from a group of university students would be interesting and what side of the story they wanted to show.
When I first walked up nobody was around, which is odd for a scenario of this scale on university grounds but eventually I was able to find somebody I could ask some questions and get some answers from. I first asked what this was in my best attempt at naivety and he then began to describe the analogy that this wall makes. I asked some basic questions and I couldn’t really get any good answers out of him other than the basic plight of the Palestinian peoples. He tells me that Palestine is cut off from the rest of the world and are being squeezed by the Israeli military and the Israeli ‘occupation’. I was never really able to understand from them what exactly Israel was occupying; Gaza or the region in general. He skirts my next question about the rocket attacks and walks away.
I stand alone at the wall deep in my thoughts of conflict, oppression and justice when I find myself with someone who comes across to me as the leader of the group. This person is super engaging and is really laying out their mission well. The mission is completely biased and naive. He never wanted to talk about applying numbers to lives because thats terrible yet he always brought attention to the fact that there are disproportionate losses among the Israelis and the Palestinians. He tells me then that 2000 Palestinians and 500 children were murdered by the Israelis but he won’t even answer my question about the rocket attacks or the tunnel attacks from Gaza. Most of what he says are talking points. After spending three years highly involved in politics I know what a talking point sounds like and no thank you, I don’t want to see the pictures of children gored by Israeli bombs. I know what a bomb does and I know exactly why Israel is bombing Gaza in the first place and why that child was injured or killed by one. Hamas. Hamas the cowards who use their people as human shields to fight a war of propaganda and mass media against Israel. He tells me in this conversation that Israel holds the power to stop the conflict and that Hamas is a group of radicals fighting against the Israeli genocide of the Palestinians. He calls it genocide. He says the bombings of women and children is systematic.
I’m listening respectfully. We are discussing this like respectful adults and I seriously commend him for that. That is until Nazad, a Jewish Israeli, joins the conversation. This guy is a stud. He goes after the guy in a now full blown debate on the rocket strikes and the Israeli retaliatory response and Palestine Man is only left with incredulity and his talking points as his defense. Nazad and I are on the same wavelength and he picks everyone of their genocide, apartheid, oppression arguments apart. At this point the liberal begins to show and the pro-palestine camp start making snide comments, disrespecting his argument, interrupting him while demanding he not interrupt them when they speak and just being dicks overall. One of the pro-Palestine group members brings up an Israeli soldier that was kidnapped and Nazad says he was traded for 1000 Palestinian terrorists back to Israel and this new guy says, “ Screw him”, about the Israeli soldier.
Eventually they all gradually have enough and begin to disperse from our conversation group with Nazad and Palestine Man still going at it. Palestine Man finally ran out of talking points and proceeded to leave but still trying to get the last word in. It was beautiful and the highlight to it all was when one of the Palestinian group members said to Nazad that she had friends in Palestine. He replied, “You mean Israel?”.