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Jewish and Arab Groups Continue Discussions

By Nicole W. Green

In the wake of the ongoing violent conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, Jewish and Arab groups on campus agreed to meet next Sunday to discuss the current conflict.

In separate meetings last night, members of the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Arab Students and the Harvard Students for Israel committee of Hillel reemphasized their commitment to dialogues that began last winter after Israeli forces bombed military and civilian targets in southern Lebanon.

"Now, more than ever, it is important for Jews and Arabs on campus to resume the dialogue that began last year," said Yuval Segal '97, co-chair of Harvard Students for Israel.

Other members of Hillel declined to comment on last night's meeting.

Ramy M. Tadros '97, president of the Society of Arab Students, said he is in favor of continuing dialogues despite rising tensions in the Middle East.

Leila C. Kawar '98, who is a Crimson editor and a member of the group, agreed, calling last year's meeting "a good first step."

But Tadros said other members of the group questioned the productivity of continued dialogues and seemed frustrated by "superficial" discussions.

According to Kawar, some members say the effectiveness of the dialogues is limited when each side fears offending the other.

Both groups plan to meet soon to devise a format for Sunday's dialogue, Tadros said.

The dialogues will address the tensions that have arisen from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to open an archaeological tunnel for tourists that abuts a site considered sacred by Palestinians.

According to Tadros, the magnitude of the Palestinian response is the result of general frustrations with the Israeli stance toward the peace process since Netanyahu's election in May.

Kawar said Netanyahu's less conciliatory tone helped set off the violence.

"My feeling is that the peace process was really fragile from the beginning," she said.

Segal said he does not pin the blame on Netanyahu.

"While the timing of the opening of the tunnel, on Netanyahu's part, was not the wisest, that in no way excuses the violence initiated by the Palestinian rioters on Israelis," Segal said. "I was shocked that for the first time, Palestinian police fired on Israeli soldiers, but also I appreciate the Palestinian police's efforts yesterday of controlling rioters."

Tadros said the Israeli soldiers have wrongly fired on rock-throwing Palestinian youths, justifying the retaliatory fire of Palestinian police.

According to Kawar, this violence has affected members of the Society of Arab Students directly. At last night's meeting, she said, members expressed their condolences for a student whose cousin had been shot that day.

To raise awareness about the ongoing conflict, the society will hold a demonstration today at 4:30 p.m. at the Government Center subway station with similar groups from Boston University, MIT, Northeastern, Tufts and Wellesley

Tadros said the Israeli soldiers have wrongly fired on rock-throwing Palestinian youths, justifying the retaliatory fire of Palestinian police.

According to Kawar, this violence has affected members of the Society of Arab Students directly. At last night's meeting, she said, members expressed their condolences for a student whose cousin had been shot that day.

To raise awareness about the ongoing conflict, the society will hold a demonstration today at 4:30 p.m. at the Government Center subway station with similar groups from Boston University, MIT, Northeastern, Tufts and Wellesley

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