I felt horrible for having publicly glorified one of the murderers.
The man who’d been murdered, Richard Lakin, was originally from New England, like me, and had taught English to Israeli and Palestinian children at a school in Jerusalem.
Writing about the attack with the detached analytical eye of a journalist, I was able to take the perspective that (I was fast learning) most news outlets wanted – that Israel was to blame for Palestinian violence.
But when I learned that my friend’s friend was one of the victims, it changed my way of thinking.
And not only that, the Palestinian territories were the only place in the Muslim world where a majority of citizens supported terrorism; everywhere else it was a minority ‒ from Lebanon and Egypt to Pakistan and Malaysia. I told them, also in Arabic, that I was an American journalist who “loved Palestine.” They calmed down after that, but the look in their eyes when they first saw me is something I’ll never forget.
Canadian Essayists - Israeli Palestinian Conflict Argumentative Essay
I didn’t let my roommate win the argument early morning hours. Less than a month later, in October 2015, a wave of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Jewish-Israelis began. Later, at a house party in Amman, I met a Palestinian guy who’d grown up in Silwan.In the interview, his family told me how he was a promising young entrepreneur who was pushed over the edge by the daily humiliations wrought by the occupation.I ended up writing a very sympathetic story about the killer for a Jordanian news site called Al Bawaba News.Then a friend of mine ‒ an older Jewish Israeli guy who’d hosted my wife and I for dinner at his apartment in the capital’s Talpiot neighborhood ‒ told us that his friend had been murdered by two Palestinians the month before on a city bus not far from his apartment.I knew the story well ‒ not just from the news, but because I’d interviewed the family of one of the Palestinian guys who’d carried out the attack.My friend probably suspected that things would look differently from the front-row seat, so to speak. Before I moved to Jerusalem, I was very pro-Palestinian. I grew up Protestant in a quaint, politically correct New England town; almost everyone around me was liberal.And being liberal in America comes with a pantheon of beliefs: You support pluralism, tolerance and diversity.More than a year later, you can still see their faces plastered around East Jerusalem on posters hailing them as martyrs.(One of the attackers, Baha Aliyan, 22, was killed at the scene; the second, Bilal Ranem, 23, was captured alive.) Being personally affected by the conflict caused me to question how forgiving I’d been of Palestinian violence previously.I didn’t announce my pro-Palestinian views to them ‒ I was too afraid.But they must have sensed my antipathy (I later learned this is a sixth sense Israelis have).