Talking to Dani and Semma

We’ve just spoken to Semma in Ramallah in the West Bank and Dani in Jaffa in Israel. They’ll be posting here later with their thoughts on their conversation, and you’re welcome to post yours.

FROM SEMMA: First off, I would like to thank WHYS for giving me this opportunity. Moving on from there I hope that the portion of the show that I was included in helped listeners get a more whole understanding of the situation here (in Palestine and Israel). As you can see neither of us want the killings to continue, however; the situation in Gaza is not getting better. Life’s simple necessities are not available, electricity, food, health care…etc. Civilians from BOTH sides are suffering deaths; our one goal should be to end this desolation and get the needed help to Gaza!

FROM DANI: I was happy to have the opportunity to participate in the interview this evening with Semma. I felt the conversation was important not only for the two of us but for others around the world who could hear two young people from the region, an Israeli and Palestinian, who both agree that the killing has to end. We understand that this continuous cycle of violence is not getting us anywhere and both sides are suffering dearly. I also came away from the conversation more hopeful because I see that there are Palestinians who view the world as I do, who would rather see a peaceful resolution to this conflict than the means currently used by extremists. It is for this reason that the shooting of rockets from Gaza and terror attacks have to stop, which will allow Israel to stop the retaliations, and hopefully enable our leaders to finally get back to the negotiating table. The real energy needs to be put into finding a diplomatic solution so that we can both to live out our lives in peace.

18 Responses to “Talking to Dani and Semma”

  1. 1 shirley
    March 7, 2008 at 18:51

    The killing of several students of a fundamentalist seminary must be understood in the context of the occupation of Palestine by Israel and the attacks that Israel makes on a daily basis. One individual, without backing by the Palestinian state, killed Israelis on one particular day. At the same time, the state of Israel uses helicopter gunships and other attack aircraft, car bombs, and tanks and armed personnel to invade sovereign territory and attack and kill civilians every day without giving them the benefit of a fair trial. When one looks at the situation in the context of international law, the gravity of the breaches of international law and human rights by the state of Israel as compared to the Palestinian government is clear. Once we as a global community decide to reign in Israel and force it to comply with international law, we have a chance at peace in the Middle East.

  2. 2 steve
    March 7, 2008 at 19:24

    Shirley, that’s completely untrue. Hamas, the government of Gaza is the one launching the rockets at Israel. Israel then retaliates, and because Hamas launches from civilian areas, civilians get killed. Hamas could choose to launch from non civilian populated areas, but their goal is for civilians to get killed so they can point to civilian deaths and get international support.

    Hamas attacks Israel, Israel responds, people like you complain that Israel defends itself, then you ask us to understand why a Jihadi shoots up a classroom of 16 year old students.

  3. 3 George USA
    March 7, 2008 at 19:34


    Hamas rockets Israel each day.

    Stop the attacks.

    Help yourself: reject Hamas attacks.

    Every nation has the right to defend itself from attack.

    Israel can and must defend itself.

    Selling victimhood when Gaza and Hamas is the aggressor is selling propaganda.

  4. 4 Alec Paterson
    March 7, 2008 at 20:11

    To Shirley,

    You need to understand the history of the region to understand the problems of today. a) No Palestinian state has ever existed. Palestine was a mandated territory under the jurisdiction of the British following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Current day Jordan was part of that territory, but given to the Hashmites, following their defeat by the House of Saud in the province of Hijaz. Palestinians make up approx 65% of the Jordanian population. A Palestinian state has been on offer on numerous occasions, Following the 1948 war, which was initiated by the Arabs, Jordan and Egypt occupied the West Bank and Gaza, and any Jews residing in those areas were either killed or expelled. The 1967 border is not a recognised international border, as was that of 1948. It is a demarcation line following the end of hostilities. We hear so much about the Palestinian refugees, but what about the 850,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries. What about their rights? (Those Jewish populations had lived there for centuries, prior to the Islamic conquests.)
    There was no mention of a Palestinian state during the period of Jordanian and Egyptian control, which begs the question do they accept a two state solution, and not the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. Not one Arab country has agreed that Israel is a Jewish state, although there are a number of Islamic states or republics. You say Palestinian government, I would say what government, is it Hamas, which is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood or is it Abu Mazen’s corrupt and inept Fatah? Have you seen PA and Hamas TV programmes with their anti-Semitic tones similar to that of the Nazi period ( of course the Palestinian mufti of Jerusalem was a supporter of Hilter). Not exactly a omen for peace! Check your facts not spout your rhetoric.

  5. 5 steve
    March 7, 2008 at 20:40

    PS Alec:

    The PLO/Fatah was founded in 1964, 3 years before there were any occupied territories, for the purpose of destroying Israel. The PLO may have changed its stated goal, but it was a secular movement, whereas fatah is islamists and will never accept a Jewish state, but have no change of defeating Isreal. Probablem is that Hamas is not rational.

    Also Shirley, the PA as Alec said releases antisemitic TV shows, teaching children to hate and want to kill Jews. Do you remember Farfur the Islamist Mickey Mouse? Israelis aren’t taught to hate Arabs. Israelis don’t celebrate after Palestinians get killed.

  6. 6 Fahad Khan
    March 7, 2008 at 21:34

    Just a note on your post, that whether a country named Palestine existed is not the point, there were people who were forced from their homes to make way for settlers who believed that anyone who was not of their faith could not live on that land. Whether you want to call them Palestinians, or call them whatever you want, there is no doubting the fact that people were forcibly removed in order for European, Russian and American Jews to move in.

    Also, the point you mentioned about the mufti of Jerusalem being a supporter of Hitler is misleading. There were many movements in the world that aligned with the Nazis, not because they were supporters of Nazi ideology, but because they were fighting British colonialism and the Nazis shared the common enemy. The formation of the Azad Hind forces with the help of the Nazis in India paved the way for the British to promise freedom to India if they sided with the British during World War II. Chandra Bose is a revered man in India and no one in India or Pakistan cares that he was supported by Nazi Germany. The oppressed people of India (or any British colony) could not care less what the Nazis were doing in Germany and were more worried about what the British had been doing to them, thus would ally with someone who would help them get rid of the British. Believe it or not, but there is a world outside of Europe and America.

  7. 7 Justin from Iowa
    March 7, 2008 at 22:39

    I admit that I know very little about the issues between Israelis and Palestinians. Every day, it seems, it is on the news here in the US, but I just don’t understand the motivation in how or why the atrocities there continue. And I missed today’s discussion between the two young people, which I was really looking forward too.
    I just don’t understand why groups of palestinians would intentionally fire bombs and missiles and explosives at civilians, and why others would protect them by letting them do so with impugnity. Everyone attacks israel for responding to these attacks, but at least they respond by going after military targets, even if civilians got caught in the crossfire. If the Israelis followed the Palestinian mindset, they could just lob missiles into Palestinian places of worship or schools or whatever… and where would be the difference? Any moral high ground palestinian fighters wish to claim is completely negated, in my eyes, by attacks specifically targeting civilians. NO group that is so morally corrupt as to choose that option deserves its own state, or to even remain living.

  8. 8 George USA
    March 8, 2008 at 02:42


    “whether a country named Palestine existed is not the point”

    It has been central to claims.

    Nice to see you concede the point.

    As to forcing them from the land:

    In 1948 there were 950,000 Arabs in what is now Israel, most fled and about 156,000 remained.

    Today in Israel-

    Arab citizens of Israel
    العرب الإسرائيليين (عرب إسرائيل)
    ערבים אזרחי ישראל
    Emilie Habibi Nazareth Salah Tarif
    Emile Habibi • Nazareth • Salah Tarif
    Total population

    1,144,000 plus
    270,000 in East Jerusalem
    and the Golan Heights (2006)
    19.7% of Israeli population[1]
    Regions with significant populations
    Flag of Israel Israel
    Arabic and Hebrew
    Islam 83% (mostly Sunni), Christianity 8.5% and Druzism 8.3%


  9. 9 John in Germany
    March 8, 2008 at 08:23

    Political power at all costs, masked men with rifles, hatred of everything that does not fit their way of thinking, willing to see children hunger, and use the situation for propaganda purposes. Knowingly staying in the family environment, which would be attacked if intelligence says they are there. All of these things equal cowardliness, not wanted by Islam.

    No self respecting man places hid wife or children in jeopardy, do they?. And does it matter what the supposed enemy has in the way of weapons, any one with any sense would sit down and negotiate.

    And to celebrate the death of youngsters in the way they did, deserves real punishment from the International community, not just words.

    God be with the parents of the dead, give them peace of mind, and the power to go on, We lost a son, he was 25. He is still with us in our souls, and we are happy.

    Have a peaceful weekend.

    John in Germany

  10. 10 Alec Paterson
    March 8, 2008 at 11:02


    What about the Jews who were removed from Arab countries, including Gaza and parts of the West Bank. Do they have rights? What about their property and land, which was confiscated by Arab governments? Did they receive any compensation? The answer is NO. Can you give your perspective on these questions?The Palestinian Arabs have been used as pawns by corrupt leaders and Arab governments for decades.
    The mufti not only supported Hitler, but met him, and discussed the setting up of death camps for Jews in the Middle East if Germany defeated the Allies in the North African campaign. He was a vicious anti-Semite. There was also a SS regiment in the Balkans comprising of Moslems from that area.
    The reality is that the Palestinians are not interested in a two state solution, but the demise of Israel.

  11. March 8, 2008 at 15:44


  12. 12 Xie_Ming
    March 9, 2008 at 19:24

    Shirley’s point is completely correct.

    The Orthodox fundamentalists, although a minority, control Israel’s policies.

    Those policies have been consistent for 60 years: to drive out or kill gentiles within “Greater Israel”. Only as “daily humiliated servants” may any be allowed to remain.

    Pretexts and provocations, including murders, have been invoked to justify military and suppressive actions when desired. If the feeble rockets stopped, there would immediately be other pretexts invoked to drive out the people from “Judea and Samaria”.

    Only if the moderates take over the government of Israel will there be any hope of peace.

    A short and imformed history of this process is offered by
    Edwin M. Wright on ziomania.com. A pre-1968 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica would also be informative.

  13. 13 Shirley 2
    March 10, 2008 at 03:35

    I dont understand why Palestinian or Iraqi children throw stones at a force that has guns and canons. Isnt that a loosing battle?

    I dont understand why Israel moves in immigrant Jews into what will eventually be Palestinian land and then ‘talks’ about desiring Road Maps to Peace. Doesnt this show a lack of genuine interest.

    If Hamas is considered a terrorist group then their violent acts should not slow the peace talks. Perhaps if the authority of Hamas that it was voted in, was accepted by Israel and the USA, then Hamas would behave as a political party.

    If a whole generation grows up in land terrorised by another nation, I salute those that still want reconciliation via peaceful methods. The occasional suicide bomber is one who succumbed to vengeance a natural instinct when one’s hands are tied.

    If only a country that hasnt taken sides would take interest in this matter, they would be trusted more than Condi Rice.representing the USA.

  14. 14 Alec Paterson
    March 10, 2008 at 09:34

    Xie Ming,

    As usual you invert the reality of the situation. No gentiles have been evicted or deported from Israel. Israel has a sizable minority popuation of Arab Muslims, Christians, Druze. Do you think that Jews would be allowed to reside in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen? Jews originally lived in those countries. They have been ethnically cleansed from most of the Arab world.
    Christians have been and are still under pressure from the Islamists in Gaza, West Bank, Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt etc. Thousands have departed their homes and country because of intimidation and violence.by Islamists. Ask the people of Darfur about ethnic cleansing!

  15. 15 Xie_Ming
    March 10, 2008 at 13:17

    Some 750,000 gentiles were driven out, deliberately, by the Israelis.

    This ethnic cleansing began as genocide, entire Arab villages being slaughtered, truck-loaded bombs being set off in Arab markets, etc. The Encyclopedia Britannica editions prior to 1968 covered it exactly. Edwin M. Wright’s article offers a calm examination of it. Should honest folk desire more references, I will supply them.

    Bald denial of such facts is shameful to those with a sense of truth, but common to Zionist propagandists.

    Pointing to real or alleged abuses elsewhere is irrelevant to the truth of the horrible actions of the Israelis.

  16. 16 George USA
    March 10, 2008 at 15:59


    The little boy who cried wolf over and over stopped being believed.

    When a real wolf came, he was killed.

    The haters of Israel using their own children for propaganda cry wolf every day.

  17. 17 shirley
    March 10, 2008 at 18:30

    Hamas fires its rockets in retaliation for Israeli action against Palestinians, whether that Israeli action occurred in the Gaza Strip or in the West Bank. I do not research every single rocket lunched from Gaza, but whenever I do read up on it, Hamas usually issues a statement denouncing some Israeli infraction against Palestine and associating the rocket launch with it. This is why I draw the comparison between the small-scale, low-impact attacks from Palestinians to the large-scare, massively fatal Israeli actions. Israel attacks Palestine in some way, shape, or form, on nearly a daily basis. The Israeli military kills at least some Palestinians every week. And every time that Israel carries out one of its major operations, hundreds of Palestinians are killed.

    This difference in the nature of these attacks is due to the fact that Israel is the occupying force. Palestine, being occupied, hardly has a chance to form an organised security force or amass any kind of weapons. Therefore, we see several different armed groups trying to take responsibility for defending their nation, rather than relying on a state-based armed defence force. In addition, we see a government that is faced with so many challenges and assaults that it barely has the ability to organise any kind of security force. Indeed, Palestine has been charged with policing its terrorists and forming a clear chain of command in its military and security forces. However, not only is the Palestinian government preoccupied with internal divisions and the humanitarian crisis that Palestine is suffering as a result of the occupation, it also has to deal with regular assaults on it security infrastructure. See, for example, the following examples.

    07 December 2001 attack on security compound
    11 February 2002 attack on security headquarters
    02 February 2007 security officials killed
    08 January 2008 constant disruption of security operations
    11 February 2008 security official detained

    If the world is not prepared to allow the government of Palestine to form properly and turn proper attention to its own organisation, how can anyone expect it to police terrorists and organise security forces? Furthermore, when attacks do happen from Palestinians, Israel’s reaction is so completely imbalanced that it lacks any kind of excuse. How does the death of 200 civilians avenge the killing of 16? We all know that two wrongs do not a right make. Add to that basic moral rule the fact that the one carrying out the slaughter of 20 did so with tremendous force: aircraft, military vehicles, organised troops, and heavy arms. Israel conducts itself as if engaged in an armed conflict short of war, a condition that was vehemently rejected by the Mitchell Recommendations, while its putative enemy has at its disposal guns and handmade rockets. The obvious disparity is characteristic of the assault upon an occupied nation by a powerful occupying force and can hardly be considered proper or just.

    With a military solution obviously lacking justification, the higher moral ground and more appropriate solution would be for Israel to engage Palestine diplomatically while at the same time coming into compliance with the dictates of international law. It is Israel’s willful and belligerent disregard of international law that causes such grave human rights violations and the resulting Palestinian frustration; and it is that very willfulness and belligerency that has caused a flight of international support from the region, as opposed to an influx of physical and logistical international support. Once Israel either reigns itself in or is forcefully reigned in, the situation has a much greater chance of being successfully contained and resolved.

  18. 18 Dennis Young, Jr.
    May 9, 2008 at 01:06

    Dani & Semma:

    the best to you both ladies……

    Dennis~Madrid, United States of America

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: