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A True Story By Faisal Al-Hatib
I am a Palestinian Arab from Hizmeh, a village between Jerusalem and Ramallah. When I was 15 years old I fought against the Israeli Occupation in search of freedom. At that time I thought every Jewish person, whether soldier or citizen, man or woman, young or old, should be killed. I rejected the right for any Jew to live and every Jew was a target. I was just a kid, believe me, and I didn’t understand anything about politics or the Arab-Israeli conflict. I was arrested and sat in jail for 12 years. This was during the first intifada from 1987. At that time nobody talked about peace but only of violence. I matured during my time in jail. I started studying and reading books on politics, literature, poetry, and about the Madrid Conference.

It gave me hope to live in peace and dignity. I learned that violence only breeds violence and that peace is the only solution for the two nations, the only way for both to have a respectful and beautiful future. We live on the same land. We are neighbors. We drink the same water and both pray to a monotheistic God. We must live in peace on the basis of religion for God and land for everyone.

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One would like to see a swing in axis away from the medieval and violent toward the modern and mutually accommodating and obligating (bilateral social process). Today, my impression, that stance faces overwhelming impedence that starts within language cultures, educational curriculum and materials, and the management of the press in a broad sense and ends, unfortunately, with rocks, belts, rockets, and Kalashnikovs on one side and large and rightly sensitive defenses on the other.

The development of healthier cultural norms, wherever helpful, comes about through what gets into the head and when, for the mind turns out the most contested real estate. If the original poster knew at, say, age 15, what he now knows, what could be done to chalenge disinformation, mispresentation, and misrepresentation all around?

We have the good fortune of having turned out a gregarious species.

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