You may recall reading or hearing about Reem Sahwil, a 14-yearl-old Palestinian girl living in Germany, who in a public forum on July 16 asked Angela Merkel a question and received from the German prime minister a reply that caused her to break into tears.
Sahwil and her family have been living in Germany for the past several years, but their permanent residency permit has never been approved, and they could be facing deportation in the near future. Reem speaks fluent German and in her tête-à-tête with Merkel expressed her desire to remain in the country–an understandable desire given that deportation most likely will result in the family’s ending up in a refugee camp in Lebanon.
Merkel’s response basically was “sorry, we can’t take in any more refugees,” prompting the aforementioned response from Reem, which in turn prompted a somewhat chagrined Merkel to go over and pet the girl on the shoulder (see video below).
The encounter prompted a great deal of publicity, particularly in the German media, and in an interview with Welt am Sonntag, a German newspaper, Reem is reported to have expressed her longing to live in her native homeland, Palestine. Plus, in the same interview, she is also said to have voiced the hope that at some point in time Israel would be “no longer there.”
Such sentiments apparently are not much to the liking of the Jerusalem Post, however, which has published a somewhat disgruntled article on the whole affair:
Palestinian Girl Whom Merkel Caused to Cry Wants to Abolish Israel
BERLIN – Reem Sahwil, the 14-year-old Palestinian girl living in north-east Germany, who garnered world media attention because Chancellor Angela Merkel made her cry, called for Israel’s abolishment this week.
In an interview with newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag, responding to the reporter’s question of “What is Palestine?” Sahwil said, “My hope is that at some time, [Israel] is no longer there, rather only Palestine.”
She added that “the land should no longer be called Israel, but Palestine.”
The reporter said the interview was becoming difficult and asked her, “Do you know… that Israel and Germany have a special history? That we stand up for the country, that we do not allow Jew-hatred?” Sahwil answered, “Yes, there is freedom of speech. Here I am allowed to say that. I am prepared to discuss everything.”
In a meeting with Merkel earlier this month at an event in the northern city of Rostock, Sahwil – a refugee seeking asylum status – broke down in tears after the chancellor said, “If we say [to refugees], ‘You can all come,’ and, ‘You can all come from Africa’… we just can’t manage that.”
Merkel – who intervened at that point to stroke the girl’s hair – was later ridiculed on social media for her blunt talk and her posture toward Sahwil. The video exchange between the two of them went viral.
When asked in this week’s interview if Germany was her home, Sahwil – who was born in a Lebanon refugee camp – replied, “No. My home is Palestine…. I will live there at some point.”
However, The New York Times quoted her as saying she would like to “study and live permanently” in Germany. The Global Post also reported that she did not want to leave Germany.
Sahwil has lived in Germany for five years and is a fluent German speaker. She wants to become a translator to help immigrants with language problems. The Times report said Sahwil’s family had come to Germany for economic reasons.
Other family members live in the Wavel Camp in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.
Should we find fault with Reem for expressing the desire that Israel will fade away?
Yesterday I reported that Israel launched a drone attack in Syria that claimed several lives, and that the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had also announced the construction of 300 new settler homes in the West Bank–all this taking place just in one day!
We have also heard numerous reports about Israel supporting terrorists in Syria, and now it seems that even diaspora Jews–by a majority of nearly 60 percent–no longer believe Israel is sincere about seeking peace with the Palestinians.
And with all of that going on, suddenly along comes this extraordinarily bright and talented girl expressing the view that the world would be a much better place if Israel were “no longer there.”
What can any rational person do but agree with her?
The state of Israel should be peacefully dismantled, the sooner the better.