Thursday, August 18, 2005

International Conflict/Israel/Hishmeh, Dolly

To Translate this page, please copy the URL above and paste it at:

OC group finds hope in pullout/OCRegister/Orange Co./CA/USA/17-Aug-05/…O.C. group finds hope in pullout
Immigrants see it as a step toward peace and agree that more needs to be done.

The Orange County Register

IRVINE – Robby Gordon doesn't particularly care for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon or his decision to leave the Gaza Strip settlements.

Dolly Hishmeh doesn't have too much faith in leaders in the Arab world.

Gordon, an Israeli, and Hishmeh, a Palestinian, express views that might be considered surprising given their backgrounds.

And they agree on this: evacuation of the Gaza settlements is a small step, but a good one, in the right direction.

While agreements have been tough to reach in the Middle East, the two immigrants - he came here in 1973, she in 1956 - appear to have little trouble seeing eye to eye as co-chairpersons of the Cousins Club of Orange County.

The peace group, founded in 1988, has brought about 100 Jews and Palestinians together for a monthly dialogue and favors a two-state solution with security both for Palestine and Israel.

On Tuesday night, Gordon and Hishmeh sat next to each other as the impending evacuation of Jewish settlements in Gaza thrust itself to the top of their club's agenda.

The 20 or so in attendance included Israeli immigrants Adriana and Adam Bitterman of Irvine, who moved to the United States about three years ago because of business opportunities and a feeling of insecurity in Israel.

"I am glad that it's happening, not that I am happy that Israel is giving up the land, but I am definitely hoping that this is going to prove that we do want peace and that's the price that we have to pay and even more," said Adriana Bitterman. "I would like Palestinians to see this as an act for future peace together."

Gordon hopes that Palestinian groups like Hamas will refrain from terror attacks to nurture the Israeli move, even though he sees it as incomplete and wishes that Sharon had not acted unilaterally.

Born in Tel Aviv, he has always been active in peace movements. When his younger brother was killed in Israeli military exercises, his belief in working toward peace was reaffirmed.

"If it had been bilateral, it would have brought some kind of fruitful agreement for the future," he said. "All this energy put in from both sides would have been put into peace."

Hishmeh, born in Jerusalem, knows how it is to be a refugee and says she can relate to the thousands of Palestinians as such.

The Palestinian Quaker became a refugee when her family left Ramleh, near Tel Aviv in 1948, after the British withdrew.

"It's a first step," she said of the evacuations. "I don't think I myself would celebrate until all the areas before the 1967 war are given back to the Palestinians." ...


Post a Comment

<< Home