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I’m Sticking to What I Said: I Return From Israel Believing Peace is Possible

Posted on August 23 2010 9:00 am
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I’m getting a bit of flack for my last Pajamas Media article where I retold some of my observations from my trip to Israel (thanks to Once in a Lifetime, click the link to see videos from the visit) that makes me more encouraged than ever that peace is possible. The conclusion of my article is that a combination of exposure to radical Islam and increased interaction with Israelis is sparking an unofficial peace process away from the official negotiating table. Don’t get me wrong—I know the current Palestinian leadership won’t permit peace, but I do think there is a more moderate trend coming from the bottom.

And an article in Ynet News today provides another example of how interaction between Israelis and Palestinians is helping this process along. It is about how Palestinian students are learning more and more about the Holocaust. Read the following excerpt after the jump to get an idea of how bad things are:

“Last year, in an incident that got international attention, a Palestinian youth orchestra performed a concert for Holocaust survivors in Israel and caused such uproar among Palestinians that it was shut down. Its conductor was banished and blocked from entering a West Bank refugee camp out of concern for her safety.”

How dare they entertain the frauds who claim they were persecuted during the so-called Holocaust! This is very disturbing, but don’t lose sight of the fact that the Palestinians youth did actually perform for the survivors, and I’m sure they were aware of the pressure not to.

The article then mentions a 21-year old Palestinian who admits he knew very little about the genocide until an Israeli friend (yes, it happens more than you think) brought him to Yad Vashem. Now, the Palestinian has organized a trip for 22 Palestinian students to the museum who were visibly disturbed at what they say. In another quote, a 15-year old Palestinian student in Jordan says that while he equates the Palestinian suffering with the Holocaust, he now understands “the Jews had nowhere to go.” Then the 15-year old student articulates a very advanced concept of why Holocaust denial is so common among Palestinians and Arabs. Again, this kid is 15-years old! Read this:

“If we say that the Holocaust happened, if we accept it, then we accept the Israelis are human just like us and I think that here is the twist—we do not want to consider Jews as humans because of all the suffering that we go through we cannot believe that human beings can do such a thing.”

One visit to Yad Vashem caused this teenage Palestinian student to say that. I know he didn’t say everything we want to hear. But I also know this is a sharp break from the narrative being force-fed to Arab and Palestinians from birth. The key to peace isn’t completely separating Israeli Jews from Palestinians and Arabs—it’s bringing them together. Despite the criticism, I still am optimistic that we are on the long road to peace.

Ryan Mauro is the founder of

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