Student VoicesBack to student voices archive August 26, 2014
Viewpoint from the West Bank: ‘We are all humans’
Alma is a 19-year-old Palestinian living in the West Bank while studying to be a journalist. She and her friends enjoy traveling and camping around the West Bank. Alma is interested in becoming a political reporter, and in the West Bank where she lives, “everyone is interested in politics,” she said.
Alma attended the Seeds of Peace summer camp, where both Israelis and Palestinians gather to find a common bond. It was an experience that changed her understanding of the conflict.
My journey with politics started a long time ago when I was a kid. My parents would take me for peace camps that include both Israelis and Palestinians. I had to talk about politics since I was young.
I’m kind of a peace activist. I’m not pro-any violence. I see what is happening here, and I see many people suffering, including myself. I have suffered from the occupation since I first opened my eyes to this world.
We used to have clashes behind my house when I was young. We lived near a settlement and there was a small mountain behind us where some teenagers clashed with settlers.
When the Israeli occupation or Israeli soldiers came to break up the fights, we used to hide in another apartment downstairs. We had two apartments, one for our ordinary life and another for when the occupation gets in the city. We used to move a lot from one apartment to another because of the clashes that happened in the area.
My parents just worried about our safety. They didn’t care about my political awareness, they just cared for my safety and they tried their best to cover us during the hard times.
I have a lot of friends in Gaza. We always keep in touch with them. They always post statuses and what they’re going through on Facebook or Twitter. We always check on them or talk to them about the situation. Thankfully, they are all safe so far. If we didn’t have Facebook or Twitter it would be really hard to contact them because the electricity sometimes cuts off in Gaza and the connection is really bad so we can’t talk to them on the phone most of the time.
I want people to know that violence won’t solve anything because we’re not equal sides. The Israelis and the Palestinians are never equal sides. They have power. They have support from all over the world. We don’t have power, we don’t have anything. All these resistance movements, what they do, I think is a waste of other victims’ lives. Most of the people who died are civilians; they had nothing to do with the conflict. Ordinary people are the ones who are paying the price.
When I first arrived at camp I was such a closed-minded person. I used to that think violence was the only way to get back our rights. I used to just ignore what the other side said. I didn’t hear anything. I had beliefs that were in my mind since I was young and I couldn’t accept the other side.
But my eyes have been opened recently. I was such a closed-minded person. I didn’t accept the other side. I didn’t accept peace. I thought it was just stupid to have peace with people who wanted to kill us.
But then I realized that they have peaceful people just like us. They were born there. They didn’t choose to be Israelis. And we also were born here, and we didn’t choose to be Palestinians. I believe that at the end of the day we are all humans. We deserve dignity, rights and equal lives, so I don’t care if you’re Israeli or Jewish, I care about what you think, and I care about your humanity.
I just want to let people in the United States and in other countries know that Palestinians are also people who love to live. We’re not terrorists. We’re just looking for a way to have a better future. I’m just looking to have a simple life, like yours and anyone else in the United States.
Interview by Corinne Segal. Names have been changed. Interview was conducted over Skype and the transcript has been edited for clarity.
Tooltip of related stories
More Student Voices
Tooltip of more video block
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of related content
Tooltip of RSS content 3
- Ottawa shooting leaves unanswered questions
Many questions remain following a shooting in Ottawa, Canada that left two people dead and several wounded. Continue readingCanadashooting
- “Bigger than landing on the moon” – paralyzed man walks after new surgery
A formerly paralyzed man is walking again, in the first-ever case of recovery from complete paralysis. Continue readingHealthmedicineScienceSTEM
- Ebola 101 for the classroom – Q & A
With the recent outbreak of Ebola in Western Africa and the confirmed case of Ebola…AfricaEbolaHealthSocial Issues
- Will Voter ID laws affect voter turnout?
New voting laws in North Carolina and other states are raising concerns about voter turnout in advance of the Nov. 4 midterm elections. Continue readingCivicsGovernmentGovernment & CivicsPoliticsvoting
- Boko Haram and Nigeria reach reported cease-fire
The Nigerian government and Boko Haram have reached a cease-fire after years of fighting and thousands of civilian deaths, according to reports from the region. Continue readingAfricaBoko HaramNigeriaSunni