The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday January 22nd

Israel-Palestine PanelWas Not BiasedIn Favor of Palestinians

TO THE EDITOR:

As outsiders to the Israel-Palestine conflict, we feel that last Thursday's panelists in the Palestine-Israel discussion were not necessarily pro-Palestine.

We agree it is a fact that the historical presentation lacked Israeli perspective. There were also individual panelists who spoke with great emotion against the action of the Israeli government.

But to say the panelists were pro-Palestine is grossly simplifying the issue into only two sides, pro-Palestine and pro-Israel, which is utterly untrue.

There are many people such as Palestinian civilians, Jewish settlers, Israeli Arabs, women and children whose views are not necessarily represented by one of the two sides.

But they are the ones who are caught in the violence.

If the panelists were advocates to one particular side, they were surely pro-human rights, pro-peace, pro-justice and not pro-Palestine - as accused by some people. The panelists condemned the excessive use of force by the Israeli government, but they also detested the violence used by Palestinian radical groups against Israeli civilians.

The neutrality became very evident when Rania Masri and Majd Aburabia talked about their views on a possible solution to the issue.

They demanded the right of return of the Palestinian refugees but at the same time they recognize that the Jewish settlers could not be forced to leave the homes they already settled in.

Rania suggested a bi-national state, which will be truly responsible to all of its citizens, Palestinian and Israeli alike. This illustrated the fact that they spoke with everyone's well-being in mind, not just Palestinians.

One reason that some people felt even the fair statements of Rania and others to be pro-Palestine is the fact that American mainstream media is strongly biased toward the Israeli government due to many factors, including the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobby.

After daily influence by lopsided media reports, one will feel even true neutrality to be off-centered. It is unfortunate that even The Daily Tar Heel's article on Friday ("Talk on Conflict Angers Pro-Israel Panelist" Nov. 10) re-enforced the off-balanced reporting method.

Finally, we encourage anyone to participate in future discussion - even if they disagree with me and feel that their opinion was under-represented in Thursday's event.

After all, dialogue and communication is the only way that we can move forward as a society.

Last Thursday night's historical panel with an audience of 125 people from all parts of UNC and the Triangle community was a great beginning. Anyone who would like to get a cassette tape of the event can contact SURGE.

Tung Siu

Freshman

Dennis Markatos

Senior

SURGE Organizers of the Event

The length rule was waived.


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