This is just first part of our unique story. its not completed. However, I would like you to read it and give us your opinion. My friend was a memeber of Peres Peace Centre, and we both would like to share our story. we believe that there are probably other people with the same stories. however, our story is unique, because I was the only Jewish-Israeli in this isolated Island, dealing with Large community of Muslim from different Arab countries.
I would like to share with you my story with what has become my best friend, a Muslim Palestinian who was born in Jerusalem and raised in Bethlehem (West Bank). We both came from the holy land to Newfoundland (Canada) in the same year, same semester and same ESL (English as a Language) class. I have never thought that I would meet such a person in an isolated island, I thought got away from dealing with politics. Omar was not hesitant about approaching me and seemed to me like an open minded person, even though he was born and raised in Palestine and I wondered why as I thought that the Palestinian hated Israel. We both talked to each other and shared some stories back home, but things were not that easy, since the situation was sensitive. We would talk to each other in class, but outside the class we would not see each other. the first semester we spent time together in class was a chance for both of us to get to know one another. We both avoided talking about politics because the sensitivity of the situation. During the second semester, Omar introduced me to his other Arab friends (Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar), omar was aware that his own friends would criticize him for introducing an Israeli guy who is seen by them as an enemy. He also realized that he would lose some friends because of me. I was trying the best I can to treat my “new Arab friends” with respect. Omar also managed to convince his friends that I was not an enemy but rather a normal human being who is here in Newfoundland for the same purpose as they are. Omar seemed to ignore politics and religion and focused on the friendship and to learn about Israel from an Israeli prospective.
A True Story By Faisal Al-kateep
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.