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herjihad View Drop Down
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    Posted: 22 November 2007 at 4:54am
By Rebecca Harrison and Haitham Tamimi

JERUSALEM/HEBRON, West Bank, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Israeli Yfat Alon and Palestinian Radi Abu Eisha both view themselves as victims of hatred. And both scoff at talk of peace.

Alon's mother and niece were killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber. Abu Eisha watched his sick brother die when an ambulance was blocked by Israeli soldiers running just the sort of security controls Alon says are vital to prevent more attackers reaching Israel.

As their leaders prepare for a conference next week that is meant to help end 60 years of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Alon and Abu Eisha are still coming to terms with their losses, and neither harbours much hope for a more tranquil future.

Mutual security will be key issue in any peace deal.

One evening in June 2002, Alon's mother Noa, sister and 5-year-old niece Gal stopped in Jerusalem to change buses. Minutes later, a Palestinian detonated a bomb, killing himself, Noa, Gal and five others.

"I remember thinking my life would never be the same," said Alon, now 28 and working in Jerusalem as a civil servant.

Alon tries not to think about the man who killed her relatives. She doesn't understand why he did it. She doesn't know much about Palestinians and never visits Palestinian towns, which are effectively off limits for Israelis.

But she is very clear on one thing: if Israel had not relaxed restrictions on Palestinians' freedom of movement around the West Bank city of Ramallah that day in June, her mother and niece would still be alive.

"My life is more important than convenience," she said. "It's not easy for any of us but...I'm talking about living or dying."

"I TRIED MY BEST"

Israel has erected hundreds of checkpoints and is building a barrier in and around the West Bank which it says is needed to prevent attacks like the one that killed Alon's relatives.

Palestinians, who want an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, say checkpoints and the barrier amount to collective punishment that hurts civilians like Abu Eisha's brother.

One Friday in 2005, Abu Eisha returned from his local mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron to find his brother Mohammed sprawled on the bed gasping for breath. He called an ambulance, but it was stopped at an Israeli roadblock and never made it.

Abu Eisha carried his brother to the nearest roadblock and spent more than half an hour begging the Israeli soldiers to either let him out, or let an ambulance in. Mohammed had suffered a heart attack and, while his brother pleaded, he died.

"It's hard to see someone dying in your arms when you can't help," said Abu Eisha in Hebron, a flashpoint town that is home to sites sacred to both Jews and Muslims. Mistrust runs deep for both Abu Eisha -- who sees Israelis as "racist occupiers" -- and Alon -- who admits that since the attack, she has trouble seeing Palestinians as human beings.

Both struggle to imagine an independent Palestinian state alongside an Israel that feels secure -- the stated goal for the negotiators headed for talks in Annapolis, Maryland next week.

"I don't have hope," said Abu Eisha, a merchant. "There is no chance for hope in this country."

(Additional reporting by Lianne Gross in Jerusalem, Editing by Diana Abdallah)

Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.
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Daniel Dworsky View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Daniel Dworsky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 November 2007 at 7:32pm
I don't judge people directly affected by terror (ours or theirs) from being
apathetic- even those who "scoff at talk of peace"

My wife and kids and I just had a day late Thanks giving dinner in Tel Aviv
with friends among them-a returning Palestinian American family from
San Francisco Who have taken up residence in Jerusalem.

We had a great time as the children played together after the meal and we
mercilessly washed dishes at the pointless protests of our hosts.

We agreed that the current peace talks are probably pointless. Everyone
here knows that. The upside is that this time no one will be disappointed
as there are no expectations.

We are all hoping that Obama or Hilary will make a difference in the
future.

The eldest Palestinian girl and my youngest son are both heart stopping
they were discretely checking each other out. It was completely normal.





Edited by Daniel Dworsky
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