On both sides of the bloody conflict at home – friends here – NRK Westland

On both sides of the bloody conflict at home – friends here – NRK Westland

They sit and follow the play from the student dormitories at United World College, Fjallar.

Miriam is Israeli and Ishmael is Palestinian. Both neighbors are, in more ways than one, distraught at what is happening.

– I think this is a great tragedy. Miriam says no Israeli or Palestinian citizen should have to go through such a process.

18-year-old Ismail is Palestinian and lives in southern Lebanon, while 16-year-old Miriam is from Israel.

Photo: Oddmund Reisæter Haugen / NRK

It’s so horrible, no one in the whole world should have to experience something like this.

To his right sits a young Palestinian.

– I am saddened by what is happening now. Ismail says both sides feel sad about all the innocent civilians who have lost their lives and are losing their lives now.

Follows all news broadcasts

In quiet Fjaler, the two young men meet and talk about what is happening in their homeland. But war and fear for family and friends are never far away.

Ismail says he follows all the news broadcasts. This is the time he should spend on schoolwork.

– I call home every morning to make sure everyone is okay. I follow all news. It takes a lot of time and energy, but I have to make sure they are fine at home.


The conflict between Israel and Hamas continues to escalate. Israel yesterday asked 1.1 million Palestinians to leave northern Gaza and warned of missile attacks. The camp in the picture is at the southern end.


The 18-year-old is also deeply disillusioned with how the international community is handling the conflict.

– Instead of working towards a solution or a cease-fire, they are quick to pick sides and say who has the right to do what and who has the right to defend themselves.

Meanwhile, fighting continues, and 1.1 million people have been told to flee south to the Gaza Strip.

– Hope the war ends. People need to stop killing each other. I hope we can come to an agreement that everyone can accept, says Ismail.

Support each other

In Fjaler, the two, who stood on opposite sides in their homeland in a bloody conflict, now seek each other’s support.

– We ask each other every day if everything is going well. Here we have a chance to meet each other respectfully and peacefully. Something I really appreciate, says Miriam.

Both think a lot about how to talk about the war with each other and with their fellow students.

Fjaler at UWC, Flekke

Both young men study at UWC, an international school in Fjaler.

Photo: Lynn Hock Eade

– For example, Ismail says that when I talk to Miriam, it is important to remember that, as she herself says, she represents only herself, not the actions of the government and the army in her homeland.

– When I talk to other people, I worry that they should know that their political views really apply to my life and the lives of others, and that it is not just a story, says Miriam.

The 16-year-old says he feels surrounded by people who love and care for him. Both hope that the bloody conflict will end soon.

– I hope that both Palestinians and Jews in Palestine will have equal rights and learn to live together. Because I think that is the possible solution, says Ismail.

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Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

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