Fear

“The fear you have is our fear.” This statement stuck with me as Dr. Khammash continued to eloquently support my own feelings that people around the world are the same, while governments and extremists continue to accentuate differences. The residents of the city of Rammalah and the West Bank are weary of anti-American acts and rhetoric from other Arab countries because they make great news clips in the west and reflect poorly on the entire Arab world. As we do, they fear radical religion- violence within the Muslim world, between sects, is as common as violence from Muslims against Christians or Jews or other religions; extremists view moderate and progressive Muslim sects as threats just as they do western progressive attitudes. When the U.S. contributed to democratic elections in Gaza, Hamas was elected. This hard-line party has a reputation of being less critical of anti-Jewish acts and less willing to compromise on issues which may lead to a peaceful end to the conflict; much of the population in the West Bank recognizes this counter-productive stance. As Americans are tired of political party posturing and lack of cooperation in Washington, Palestinians in each major city of the West Bank have arranged 24hour peaceful protests urging unity and understanding between their parties. The U.S. involvement in Iraq is the closest comparison I can conjure to mention regarding an ongoing war with no end in sight. Parents with young men in our military fear for their children’s lives as Palestinians fear for their children’s lives should their fragile relations with the Israelis deteriorate and active war break out again.

 

I’ve looked through my notes on our meeting with Dr. Khammash, and nowhere is there a hint of animosity, only genuine concern for the people he treats; far beyond medicine, far beyond the West Bank, his sentiments are clear when he says- “We are people just like you.”

 

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