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September 2, 2010

Palestinians, when there's nothing left but hope

Prof. Dr. Mohamed Elmasry

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'We believe we are the last victims of Hitler,' a group of Palestinians told me, "Could you imagine, if we were battling an occupation force - other than a Jewish one - for the past 100 years, that the West would have kept silent for so long? Would it have allowed the Israeli army repeatedly to shell Palestinian civilians by land, air and sea, killing hundreds and wounding thousands more?"

Others said: “Could you imagine the reaction if American-supplied fighters, warships, helicopters and tanks were shelling refugee camps anywhere on Earth other than in Palestine?  If they were killing and wounding hundreds every month, demolishing the only shelters these refugees call home?  Would the U.S. still keep silent?  Wouldn’t the American media be calling for this barbarism to stop?”

And others: “The West is feeling guilty for what it did to Europe’s Jews.  Fine.  So now they let the Jews of Israel do what they see fit.  And who pays the heaviest price?  The Palestinians.  Even worse, many Jews feel the West – especially the U.S. – is doing them a favour by not insisting that Israeli aggression must stop.”

The above paragraphs are my gentle paraphrasing of angry, desperate words spoken by Palestinians who feel that the world – including Arab and Muslim nations – has abandoned them. 

They have little hope that next week’s direct negotiations can produce any positive results. 

But hope is all that Palestinians have left.

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