With nearly 900 Palestinians and Israelis dead since the bloodshed resumed in Gaza last month, the Daily Nexus sat down with two individuals deeply concerned with the conflict.
Sharar Azani is a representative from the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles who visited Isla Vista this weekend to discuss the conflict with the Jewish organization Hillel. Nabil Alshurafa is the Public Affairs Representative for the Muslim Student Association on campus.
The interviews were conducted separately, and each respondent was asked the same set of questions. Their answers are laid side by side.
Q: What is your take on the overall situation in Gaza right now?
Alshurafa: “Fundamentally, Americans are responsible for the disparity between the conditions of the Jews and Palestinians. The U.S. supports Israel financially with weapons, and by being its ally. Israel has formed blockades, settlements and checkpoints that are unfair to the Palestinians.”
Azani: “Hamas is completely at fault. It is Hamas that is suffocating Gaza, not Israel. If it were not for Hamas and the terrorism that Hamas provokes, Israel would not feel the need for checkpoints. There would be peace.”
Q: Do either Hamas or Israel have a choice in their current military actions?
Alshurafa: “The fundamental problem is whenever [Israel] uses military force it is inevitable that resistance groups will form. I’m not condoning Hamas’s behavior, but it is inevitable [for them] to feel the need to retaliate.”
Azani: “Of course they have a choice. Hamas has a choice not to shoot missiles from Palestinian homes into our country, and Palestinians have the right to condemn Hamas’s behavior, whatever the cost. Until Israel can trust the Palestinian population to negotiate in peace, she will not stop defending herself.”
Q: Who is attacking whom, and why?
Alshurafa: “Israel is provoking this war, and the Israeli government is as much a terrorist as Hamas. We don’t have the guts to tell Israel when it’s doing something wrong, and we’re creating a monster. I want the U.S. to come out and condemn Israel.”
Azani: “Israel is not shooting missiles into Gaza for anything other than self defense. And unlike Hamas, Israel understands the value of a life. Hamas does not care for the Palestinian population, for they are willing to blow up their innocents to kill us. Once being attacked upon, Israel has no choice but to counter fire with fire.”
Q: Is Hamas a democratically elected party, or a terrorist group?
Alshurafa: “Hamas is only a terrorist group as defined by America, but it is really democratically elected.”
Azani: “Hamas might have been democratically elected, but so was Hitler.”
Q: If the Middle East ever reaches such a point, are you in favor of a one or two state solution?
Alshurafa: “One state solution.”
Azani: “Definitely a two state solution. With a one state solution, the Jewish voice will be drowned in government, politics and society. Until they recognize our right to exist, there will be no peace.”