I am currently studying in Jerusalem with five other UCSB students. As you can imagine, this year has not been easy.
Days after most of us arrived, a pizza parlor was demolished by a terrorist who was under the impression he was going to Paradise for his deed of murdering 15 innocent people. This past weekend, 25 innocent people were murdered and over 200 injured in the triple-suicide attack in Jerusalem and terrorist suicide attack on a bus in Haifa. One of the 200-plus injured was in my Hebrew class over the summer and is now the owner of two severely broken legs and a bandage around her head.
Let me relay part of one rescue worker’s story. “We lifted the first dead body onto the stretcher. Moshe shouted to me that there was only one arm on the dead boy with the velvet black kippa. We looked around us and found an arm three feet away from the body … Suddenly, the dead person’s cell phone rang. We did not answer it, as we are not allowed to give any information until family has been verified and notified in a terrorist attack.” The call was most likely from a concerned parent. How would you feel?
Most of the 110 students brave enough to study in Jerusalem this year have been at the exact location at the exact time the bombs went off on previous Saturday nights. Luckily the UC students were on their way home from a late Thanksgiving trip to Eilat for turkey and snorkeling. Strangely, most other students stayed away from this location last weekend. If this had happened three weeks earlier, I might not be able to relate this story to you.
Some may call these acts of terror over the past 14 months legitimate forms of resistance, but they are not. There can never be justification for the killing of innocent people to advance a cause. Period.
Just as America is hunting down bin Laden and the al-Qaeda network, Israel is hunting down terrorist members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Hezbollah and others. Yasser Arafat, the father of the hijacking in the 1970s, is currently harboring these terrorists groups. Would you want him in the international coalition against terror? How can Israel be expected to negotiate with a group while under fire from that same group and groups they support?
More relevant to you is what are the Israelis doing while Israel attempts to work with Arafat to bring terrorists to justice? Living life! This is a lesson that most Americans need to learn before airlines go bankrupt and the economy turns to mush. Walking past mourners tonight at the location of the terrorist attacks that took place just 48 hours ago, I know that the surrounding restaurants, shops and money changers will be open tomorrow with plenty of customers. While mourning is necessary, life must go on – or else the terrorists have succeeded.
Jarad Bernstein is a junior global studies major studying in Israel.