I am writing this letter as a mother of a student in Israel. My daughter went to Jerusalem on Feb. 1 for a semester abroad. As a nursing student she was to study at the Hadassah Hospital in a program associated with Hebrew University. She went with such excitement and anticipation of all she would learn not only in a foreign hospital but with the people of Israel.
It was such an exciting time to touch the Jewish heritage of her father and her own strong Christian faith. Then came the bombings. Our first call was one of utter sadness for the victims killed in the Feb. 25 bombing and their families. There was no hint of coming home, just overwhelming sadness. We received letters about stepped-up security and the feeling of such safety in Israel except for these vicious random acts.
All seemed to calm down until the bombing this past Sunday. Nursing students were starting to leave. When our daughter called she was crying. We talked about her leaving, but she felt like she was abandoning the people of Israel. On Monday morning, our time, we got a call that she wanted to stay, then five minutes later Tel Aviv happened. She was coming home. The utter fear of a parent knowing she is so far away in such a tumultuous area and there was nothing you could do. I hate the fact that the terrorists have won and she has left. How dare a few people have such control! How about the Israelis and Palestinians who cannot leave and did not want this to happen; the children who have to grow up with such fear and hate? Why does it seem that human beings never change and we are terrorized by hatred instead of ruled by love? Why?
The homecoming will be mixed. I will be thrilled to see her safe, but to know the terrorists have won and the dreams of learning about another place and people have been thwarted will be very sad. Thank you, Hamas.
MARY ANN CROSS
* Everyone is crying for blood and retraction of the peace process with the latest bomb explosion in Israel. But the Israeli government should be careful because at the moment the Palestinian population is condemning the bombings; should the Israelis manage to alienate (as they always end up doing) the population, the situation will get worse.
It should also be noted that the Palestinians have learned the art of "terrorism" from the best teachers of the subject, i.e., the Israeli security apparatus. When the British were in Palestine, the Jewish settlers would do all the things the PLO and Hamas are doing.
Israeli government officials should understand that using force to deal with Hamas is going to be ineffective, and every time they burn a house and turn families out on the street a new bomber will be created. The answer is at the negotiating table, not the carving tables of interrogation rooms. If the peace process stops, then the world can forget about Middle East peace for another decade.