Palestinian memorial creates dialogue and spreads awareness

What was more surprising than the unannounced display of flags outside the Brown-Lupton University Union depicting a representation of the Palestinian villages that have been destroyed by Israeli forces was the overwhelming negative response it got.

Based on most opinions published in the Skiff, readers seemed to be appalled by the fact that Palestinian casualties were given such attention while those who have been killed or injured at the hand of Palestinian terrorism were not even mentioned. While this is certainly a reasonable point of grievance, there are other events to consider.

Many of the responses to the arrangement of flags included references to the attacks on Israel led by surrounding primarily Arab- and Muslim-populated nations. However, each of these previously published pieces fails to mention that the conflict began because of the displacement of so many Palestinians.

While it is reasonable to say that the Jewish people are some of the most oppressed historically, the United Nations treaty in the late 1940s essentially split the nation of Palestine in half, creating a home for many Jewish people who felt they were without one. Of course, this holy area, which contains Jerusalem and borders the Dead Sea, seemed like a reasonable place.

Unfortunately, over the course of time, Israeli military forces have essentially created walled complexes surrounding both the Gaza strip and the West Bank, which are supposed to be large community areas specifically for Palestinian settlers. Yet, Israeli settlements have continuously risen up within these territories, creating separations between the Palestinians who live within them.

In the U.S., this conflict is often overlooked because of American steadfast support of Israel, which provides an ally in a region with increasingly anti-American ideology. But perhaps this unyielding support is just another aspect contributing to this negative perception.

I agree that it is unfair to only promote one side of a story, but when most people have grown up in a country that is ceaselessly pro-Israel, it is important to present the minority view, just as the Peace Action group did.

In order to truly understand the issue, it is important to educate oneself about both sides of the conflict. Assigning blame only furthers an inability to compromise.

While the student group responsible for the planting of the flags may have drawn some negative responses, ultimately it created the opportunity for a dialogue between supporters of both sides, an opportunity for a positive resolution.

Matt Boaz is a senior political science major from Edmond, Okla.