Tel Aviv attack shocks UCLA community
Students, profs worry that peace talks may suffer
By Phillip Carter
Daily Bruin Staff
The psychic shock wave of Wednesday’s car bomb attack in Tel
Aviv rolled through UCLA as students and professors spoke out on
the terrorist act that killed 22 people and injured 46.
"I think it was terrible Â they’re trying to get the whole
peace process together and then this happens," first-year student
Amy Leonard said. "I don’t think terrorism is the answer Â it
doesn’t solve problems."
The Palestinian group Hamas took responsibility for the bombing
shortly after the blast rocked central Tel Aviv.
"As human beings, we’re outraged at the manner in which Hamas
has decided to act," Iranian Student Group internal coordinator
Saeed Sadeshi said. "We hope that events like these don’t hold up
the Middle East peace process."
Fourth-year international relations student Todd Ruzylo echoed
concern for the peace process, arguing that it suffers from a
disparity between action and rhetoric.
"If (the parties) want peace, they have to act like they want
peace Â that’s the bottom line," Ruzylo said. "Every bad act
causes fragmentation, which is the antithesis of cohesion Â
and cohesion is what the leaders want."
But the bombing symbolizes the region’s complex politics, and
students acknowledged that the conflict behind the bombing exists
in shades of gray, not black and white.
"The action itself is an act of random violence against
civilians, and it has to be condemned," Muslim Student Association
spokesman Kamran Aghaie said. "(What) leads to these problems is
that the Palestinian population feels that it’s not really getting
a voice in the peace negotiations."
Hamas’ place in the peace process was questioned by Fernando
Vicente, a fourth-year political science student. He said that the
group denied itself a place in the negotiations with its violent
"I don’t know if they have a role in the international system,
but they’re trying to break apart the peace process," Vicente said.
"(Hamas) considers Arafat to be a sell-out to the Palestinians, and
as long as they’re violent they won’t be politically
Adding a historical perspective to the bombing, UCLA Professor
David Ellenson said that this type of event builds on centuries-old
hatreds among Middle East cultures.
"It simply reinforces the old enmities and stereotypes that both
sides hold against the other," said Ellenson, who teaches Near
Eastern studies. "It creates an atmosphere of distrust that renders
the peace process more difficult Â but hopefully not
To achieve regional trust and tranquility, UCLA’s Hillel
director Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller said that Middle East
peacemakers must go beyond speaking out and take action.
"It’s not enough for Arafat to merely condemn the terror, he has
to act against it," Seidler-Feller said.
He added that the peace process carries too much momentum and
importance to be stopped.
"The sentiment is that a cessation of the peace process would be
granting a victory to the terrorists," he said.