The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

Re: Regents urged to divest from Israel

Kathy Walsh, Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, November 11, 2005

In the Capital Times article on the divestment debate at UW you quote Professor Ken Goldstein:

    “When a Palestinian woman loves her child, and does not encourage 14-, 15-, and 16-year olds to strap bombs onto their body and blow up Israeli 3-, 4- and 5-, year olds at a pizzeria, then we’ll have a two-state solution.”

I was in Rafah (a city in the Gaza strip) when a 10-year-old girl was killed by Israeli sniper fire while standing in line outside her school. I saw the mother. She was beyond herself in grief. Her child may be considered a martyr, but her mother was NOT celebrating her martyrdom, but grieving it, as I know Jewish mothers and Christian mothers and even atheist mothers like myself would do. And I don’t think it was because her daughter was killed before she had a chance to be a bomb. The child’s name was Norhan, from “no’or” which means light in Arabic. She was a light extinguished for no reason.

I believe this mother loved her child as much as I love my daughter who was traveling with me, as much as Rae Vogeler loves her son, and presumably as much as Professor Goldstein loves his daughter. I know I would give my life to protect either of my daughters.

I want to ask who encouraged the soldier to pull the trigger and open fire on a schoolyard. I also must comment that many Israeli soldiers refuse to participate in such carnage and many Jews are horrified by such acts.

I want to encourage everyone to look up the statistics on who is killing whom. They can be found at Remember These Children, B’Tselem, or even the Israeli Defense Force websites. As of November 9, 2005 the totals for Israeli children killed by Palestinians since the outbreak of the Second Intifada in September 2000 is 123. In this same time period, Israelis have killed 704 Palestinian children.

Two children have been killed since November first, both Palestinians. They are Mohammad Hamdi Abu Salha, 15, of Nablus, and Ahmed Ismail Khatib, 12, of Jenin. Both were shot by Israeli soldiers. Ahmed’s father donated his organs to several Israeli children and one Israeli woman. That is just one example of the hatred that Palestinians teach their children. I want to ask Professor Goldstein how he teaches his daughter to love, or hate.

If we reversed the nationalities in Professor Goldstein’s statements, they would be seen for what they are, a veil of language, very racist language, used to obscure the truth. Yet in our society it is those who claim that Palestinians are full members of the human race, deserving of the same basic human rights as all other humans, who are usually labeled “racists.”

I do not hate the people that disagree with me. Yet since I have become involved in this issue I have had people spit in my face, call me hateful names, and drop me as friends. One of my friends in this struggle has received death threats, for herself and her child, whom she also loves more than life itself. Yet we are considered the “racists” and “hatemongers.” I do not hate those who disagree with me, but I am angry. And I want the people at my University, in my city, in my state, and in my world to see through the veil and view the anti-Palestinian rhetoric for what it is.