My life

Alice Fodor, 18, struggles to make sense of Western beliefs
about the Middle East crisis.

When I was little being Jewish was all about dressing up and
colouring in. We lit candles and told stories and said strange
things in strange languages. We went to Israel every year at
Passover and went to the sea and ate falafel and now we can’t
go because we might die.

How can we think about peace like this? Zionism being compared
with Nazism. “Thou shalt not kill” but don’t worry, it
doesn’t include Israelis. The US with its list of nations to
bomb, in the name of “peace”.

Suicide bombers. It’s their desperation that gives them
the right to kill innocent people. But of course, Israelis
can’t be innocent. But what are they guilty of? Supporting
Sharon and his government?

But it’s not so simple, is it? The Israelis aren’t
the “goodies” and the Palestinians the “baddies” any more than the
other way round. The Palestinians should not be living in refugee
camps with no electricity or running water while down the road
there are fountains and flowers. They should not have to appeal to
charities in Britain and the US to get health care. And Israelis
should not fear being blown up every time they get on a bus.

I used to unconditionally support Israel; my mum’s friends
lived there, they are nice people so why should other Israelis not
be? The land had been given to the Jews after the Second World War,
at a time when the West was taking in few refugees from the
remnants of European Jewish communities destroyed during the

But the creation of Israel created another set of refugees, who
are similarly desperate. You’d think that a nation made up of
people who’d fled persecution would try to avoid making
others into refugees, wouldn’t you? Suddenly it got really
hard to reconcile my support of Israel with my disgust at its

I am still emotionally attached to Israel but I am now more
critical. I hope that the suicide bombings will come to an end but
also hope that Israel will make the political and territorial
sacrifices necessary. This is the only way that the Israelis and
the Palestinians can build a lasting peace.

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