March 31, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 95  

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First-person account of tragedy

By Anton Vidgen
Gazette Staff

The horrors of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are sometimes lost on a television audience thousands of kilometres away, but speakers such as Gideon Black are determined to put a human face on the hostilities to truly expose the tragedy.

In a speech sponsored by the Israel Action Committee, Black spoke to a crowd of Western students yesterday about the violence he experienced while in the region.

On a trip to Israel in December 2001, Black said he and a friend were crossing a street in downtown Tel Aviv when simultaneous explosions from two Hamas suicide bombers nearly killed them both — the bombs did end the lives of many others in the area. “I will never forget how my one friend was hysterical when he realized his face was covered with someone else’s blood.”

When he returned to the city in 2002 for a family gathering, Black and his best friend Yoni Jesner were on a bus when suddenly there was a huge blast from yet another suicide bomber. “Yoni crouched on the flood with blood coming from a head wound,” Black recalled. “Those waiting in line [for the bus] were dead.”

Jesner was rushed to the hospital, but was pronounced dead the next morning, Black said. One of his organs was donated to an eight-year old Palestinian girl awaiting a kidney transplant, who survived and is now a pen pal of Jesner’s younger sister.

“I though it was very informative,” said Dan Weinerman, a fourth-year political science student. “He reached out to everybody on a personal level and human level.”



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