Palestinian girl whom Merkel caused to cry wants to abolish Israel

Reem Sahwil made headlines earlier this month when German chancellor told her she couldn't remain a refugee in Germany during television appearance.

July 28, 2015 13:30
1 minute read.

Merkel comforts young Palestinian refugee

Merkel comforts young Palestinian refugee


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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.”

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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.

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