Thursday evening, the Center for Middle East Studies will be showing the film “Terrorism and Kebab” at the MultiCultural Center. The film itself is a dark comedy about Egyptian bureaucracy, centering on a man who “accidentally” becomes a terrorist. However, the review of the film included in the e-mail advertisement sent out by the Center for Middle East Studies includes a few lines that are simply deplorable. Sent by Tarech Reheem was this jewel of absurdity: “When … children are shot on their way to school … what else can ordinary Palestinians do? What else would drive educated young Arab boys and girls to turn themselves into human bombs as a weapon of last resort against an enemy intent of destroying the very fabric of their existence?”
Why is it that the Center for Middle Eastern Studies feels it is acceptable to take a jab at Israel when they are co-sponsoring a film about an Egyptian man’s misadventure? The department is shamelessly using this opportunity to take a blatant and uncalled for jab at the only democracy in the Middle East.
But instead of just complaining, let’s address the issue they raised. What could lead Palestinians to commit suicide-homicide bombings against innocent Israeli women and children in shopping malls, like the one three days ago in the Israeli city of Kfar Saba? The Palestinians blame it on occupation.
If there ever was an occupation, it would have ended in 1993 with the signing of the Oslo Accords. Under these agreements, 98 percent of Palestinians came under Palestinian Authority control – not Israeli control. Israel respected the territorial integrity of the P.A. So why are Israeli troops there now? In 2000, at peace summits hosted by President Clinton at Camp David and at Taba, then Israeli Prime Minister Barak offered P.A. Chairman Yasser Arafat a Palestinian state, and that was a more generous offer than had ever been previously discussed. Without a counteroffer, Arafat returned to the Middle East and organized this war of terror. Why? He thought that if Israel was willing to part with as much territory as was just offered to him, imagine how much they would part with if they were under the gun. Occupation is not the problem, because it does not exist. The problem is, Arafat cheated his people and turned to them and told them to blame Israel.
In 2000, 14 Palestinian textbooks were published – not one has Israel on any of the maps – they replaced it with Palestine. The PLO emblem shows a map of Israel – not the West Bank and Gaza. Their charter still calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. In light of these facts, I argue that Israel is fighting for the very fabric of its existence.
Israel wants peace. Israel has offered peace and has gotten war in return. It is absurd that the Center for Middle East Studies would use this opportunity to take a swing at Israel, even more so because it is cosponsoring an event at the MultiCultural Center.
Eli Raber is a senior geography major.