We're Not That Different

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'This wasn't my idea,' Tarif stated, tucking his hands under his arms and shooting Elihu a scowl.

'Look, I'm not happy about it either,' Elihu growled, glancing at Tarif, 'but we're here. We're going to be here for a while. We might as well give it a try.'

'Oh, of course,' Tarif whispered, trying to control his anger and the shaking that had started in his hands. 'Let's be optimistic about the situation. It's not like its that bad,' his voice quivered, 'at least not for you.'

'Hey! That's not true''

'Poor little Elihu. Of course, his life is so hard.' Tarif's voice turned from broken to taunting. 'I mean, 13 Israelis have died. It's awful (2)! All of those poor innocent people were killed. The Palestinians? Oh, they've only lost 1,010 people. That's nothing in comparison (1).'

'I know you think that my life is picture perfect,' Elihu murmured trying to restrain his sudden anger, 'but I have problems too.

'I have to join the army (9).' Elihu trailed off, his dark eyes growing hard.

'Well, with the help of the U.S.A, you have nothing to worry about,' Tarif replied, some of the venom leaving his voice. 'They give Israel 7 million dollars a day (4). We have nearly nothing but determination.'

'We're not so different, you know,' Elihu whispered. 'You know, we believe in the same God (3).'

A hiss escaped Tarif's cracked mouth, 'Don't ever say that!'

'I know you don't want to believe this, but I understand how you feel,' Elihu coaxed, his eyes pleading.

'UNDERSTAND ME! We have been forced into refugee camps! Our land is gone (6)! I have no home. You've taken everything. EVERYTHING!' Tarif's scream caused Elihu to jump and recoil. His eyes once again hardening.

'Is that why you elected Hamas? Is that enough of a reason to elect recognized terrorists into your government (5)? Is that your justification?' Elihu's harsh tone sent a chill through the room. 'I live in fear. I'm grateful to be alive. Do you know how many of my friends and relatives have died? How many never come home?'

'Hamas has helped us when no one else would.' Tarif's voice was firm, but his eyes were confused. 'Israel is smaller than the state of New Jersey (8) and 20 percent of the people there are Arabs that consider themselves Palestinians. There is not enough room for both of us.'

'Not if the discrimination continues between Israelis and Palestinians (10),' Elihu whispered, trying to mask the hope in his eyes. 'Like I said, we're not that different.' Elihu glanced at Tarif, daring him to protest.

Tarif looked away.

'It doesn't have to be like this.'

'But it is.' Tarif turned to face Elihu, his eyes burning. 'But it is.'





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