Kalidah is a convert to Islam, fourteen years old, and a high school student in Missouri. She participated in a unique online dialogue about life after the September 11th attacks called E.A.9.11. The following, reprinted here with her permission, was posted on April 4, 2002 in a thread about the Middle East:
I think we should stop looking at this as a matter of sides. Maybe it doesn't seem like that big a deal in a youth discussion forum, but this is exactly what's happening on a global level. Most of Asia supports Palestine. Most of the West supports Israel. We need to begin searching not for a way to satisfy our own agenda but to bring about peace.[back to home]
I sympathize with both sides. Muslims and Arabs need to come to terms with the existence of Israel, whether they agree with it or not. All the Jews are not going to pack up and go to Brooklyn. And the US needs to stop is unconditional monetary and military aid to Israel, as long as the Israeli army continues to commit brutal and oppressive acts throughout the West Bank and Gaza.
Israeli soldiers have recently invaded Bethlehem and Nablus, indiscriminately taking as many civilian lives as possible. They have even been firing on the ambulances ferrying Palestinians to safety. What's more, Palestinian suicide bombers have attacked where Jews are most vulnerable. Coming out of synagogue. At a Passover feast. For this I blame religious leaders, who instill this hatred in young men and women, and teach them that they will go to heaven for their crimes.
This is an outrage and no one will ever win. Keeping Arafat hostage with no connections and no power in Ramallah will only exacerbate the feelings of degradation and worthlessness in Palestine, and it is this humiliation that breeds bitterness and prejudice. In my opinion, Israel and Palestine should be separate states. However, Palestinians must be able to cross freely from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip; Jerusalem should be a separate city dedicated to the peaceful practice of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.