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Auschwitz Correspondance Letters ( Palestinian Student Aschwitz Trip):

Hello Dear Professor Dajani 

Wasatia ,

My name is Michael Ross, an Israeli student for International Relations and Education in Jerusalem. I just saw an article NY Times website about the experience you had during you visit in Auschwitz and felt very emotional about it. I can't find enough words to express how much me, and I guess that many more Israelis, support you.

Dealing with the Holocaust, and other nationals pains, such as the Nakba, as a key for understanding and communicating is something that I'm dealing with for a long time.

In October 2007 I started to attend the Center for Humanistic Education at the Ghetto Fighters' Museum, as part of a school program. The program includes a workshop of 10 meetings which were dealing about the Holocaust, in order to try and develop sensitivity and moral judgment in relation to the process of persecution of minorities and violation of human and civil rights. After that there was a 3 days multi-cultural seminar with Arab youth where we also discussed about the Nakba.

I had ultimately a very significant process in the Center for Humanistic Education. My opinions were very changed. Then I was selected to participate in a delegation to a Peace camp in the Peace School of Monte Sole, Italy. This program made a dialogue between teenagers from Israel (Jews and Arabs), Palestinians, Italians and Germans.

This integration of participation in the Center for Humanistic Education and especially the participation in the Italian peace camp changed my views, and I see this integration as one of the milestones in shaping the character of who I am today. Therefore I found it important to express in this e-mail my very great support!

Also, In by any chance you're planning any further activities, or in case that you are looking for any kind of cooperation, help, etc.. I would love to be your contact.

All the best,
Michael

---------------------


Jahan Choudhry

Hello,

I am writing on behalf of a student group at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA. We are intrigued by the recent piece on Prof. Dajani in the Washington Post. We are planning events focused on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and would like to know your organization's suggestions. We would also like to know if Prof. Dajani travels to speak in the US.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mohammed,

I saw the article in the Washington post.

Firstly, congratulations on making the trip to Poland. Important work.

Secondly, I really admire your courageous response.

All best wishes,

Stephen

USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director
UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education
Adjunct Professor of Religion

---------------------------------------------------------

Professor Dajani, I admire your wanting to teach understanding, empathy and bridges of friendship between Arab and Jewish youth. You are a good person. I am friends with Gaetano and Sinem who are also members of your group.

Jodie

----------------------------------------------------------

Dear Dr. Dajani,

 
My name is Benjamin Rogers.  I was a student of yours in your Palestinian Politics Class last March - May at Tel Aviv University.  Much of your class was comprised of students from the M.A. in Conflict Resolution and Mediation. 
 
As a class we were very upset about the attack on your character due to your decision to take 27 students to see Auschwitz and the condemnation which soon followed due to your personal choice to teach us, students of Tel Aviv University.
 
We wanted to thank you very much for all that you taught us during the course of that semester and I am attaching a letter which expresses our support for you as an academic and our outrage at the the recent events.    
 
It is our hope to submit this letter to an american news source, but of course would only due so with your permission.  We fully understand the difficult position you are currently in and if this is not possible, then please let this letter serve as evidence of our steadfast support for all that you have done for us. 
 
Thank you again.
 
Best,
 
Benjy Rogers and Students of the Conflict Resolution and Mediation program of 2012-2013.     

------------------------

 

Hello dear Wasatia people,

 

My name is Michael Ross, an Israeli student for

International Relations and Education

in Jerusalem. I just saw an article NY Times 

website about the experience you had during you

 visit in Auschwitz and felt very emotional about it. 

I can't find enough words to express how much me, 

and I guess that many more Israelis, support you.

 

Dealing with the Holocaust, and other nationals pains,

such as the Nakba, asa key for understanding and communicating is something that I'm dealing with for a long time. 

In October 2007 I started to attend the Center for 

Humanistic Education at the Ghetto Fighters' Museum, 

as part of a school program. The program includes a workshop of 10 meetings which were dealing about the Holocaust,in order to try and develop sensitivity and moral judgmentin relation to the process of persecution of minorities and violation of human and civil rights. After that there was a 3 days multi-cultural seminar with Arab youth where we also discussed about the Nakba.

I had ultimately a very significant process in the Center for Humanistic Education. My opinions were very changed. Then I was selected to participate in a delegation to a Peace camp in the Peace School of Monte Sole, Italy. This program made a dialogue between teenagers from Israel (Jews and Arabs), Palestinians, Italians and Germans.

This integration of participation in the Center for Humanistic Education and especially the participation in the Italian peace camp changed my views, and I see this integration as one of the milestones in shaping the character of who I am today. Therefore I found it important to express in this e-mail my very great support!

 

Also, In by any chance you're planning any further activities, or in case that you are looking for any kind of cooperation, help, etc.. I would love to be your contact.

 

All the best,

Michael

 

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

 

To whom it may concern, My name is Tamim El Moatassem, a Palestinian student living in Doha, Qatar. I have been reading about your Wastia and I have become a fan of your policies and outlooks after reading about your trip where Professor Mohammed Dajani took a group of Palestinian students from Al-Quds University to Auschwitz. Our Model United Nations club is hosting our 3rd annual Leadership Conference, with over 500 attendees, and we would like to invite Professor Mohammed to come and give a speech at the conference as well as maybe even have a sit down with a select group of students and teachers. If he would be interested in attending please reply and let me know.

 

Regards Tamim El Moatassem

 


Asher Mandel

Dear Professor Dajani,

My name is Asher Mandel and I am a student at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. I have family in Israel and have visited many times. It is a very important place for me. I follow the Israel-Palestine news closely. About a week ago, I read the Washington Post article about your trip to Auschwitz. I was moved, to say the least. I felt an inspiring fire of emotion deep inside me. I felt motivated to support your efforts in any way I could.

As a society, we share the burden of solving this crisis. The tattered status of the Middle East is the manifestation of constructions (national, religious, etc.) that we created. This is our problem, as people. We need to solve it as people. The situation appears to me to have transcended the scope of dialogue. Dialogue between nations, groups, organizations - they all carry the constructions with them that caused the fracture in our society in the first place. They force you to speak in terms of sides, interests, and cons.

We need to get back to our roots, as humans. We need to show compassion. We need to see the world as a collection of people as it once was, without the lines and the colors and the hatred.

What you did, your commitment to truth and education, for me is worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize. What you did was courageous. What you did was genuine. What you did was right. And you know all of this. However, from the news about the reaction from others, it seems many do not feel the same way. They do not understand. They are still fighting for their colors and for their lines.

I write to you to extend my support. I have begun to involve myself with organizations on my college campus, such as SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine). They recently tried (unsuccessfully) to pass a resolution (BDS), demanding divestment from companies said to benefit from Palestine’s occupation. I would love to hear from you how I could help in any way possible. I am incredibly moved by your actions and efforts. I wish I could meet you in person to convey this sincerely, but for now I must rely on this method of correspondence.

Best Regards,

<hrdata-mce-alt="Report about the trip" class="system-pagebreak" title="Auschwitz Trip Correspondence " />

If Kerry fails, what then?
EXCLUSIVE 8 APRIL, by Sam Bahour and Tony Klug
Suppose the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, fails to cajole the Israeli and Palestinian leaders into finally ending their conflict. What would happen next?

A tsunami of pent-up animosities is likely to be unleashed, with each side holding the other responsible for the failure and calling for retribution. Attempts to indict and isolate each other would gather pace and violence might return with a vengeance. The toxins let loose will inevitably have global spillover.

For over twenty years process has trumped outcome, but it is now in danger of being out-trumped itself by the total collapse of the only internationally recognized paradigm for a solution to the conflict. A new international strategy urgently needs to be devised and made ready as an alternative to the prospect of failed bilateral negotiations. Any such strategy should be rooted in a vision of the endgame, based on the principles of a rapid end to the Israeli occupation and equality between Palestinians and Israelis.

Our proposal takes as its starting point the need to resolve two crucial ambiguities regarding Israel’s control of the West Bank and Gaza, its rule over the Palestinians and the colonization of their land. Resolving these matters are essential to achieving a final resolution of the conflict.

First, is it, or is it not, an occupation? The entire world, including the US, thinks it is, and therefore considers the Fourth Geneva Convention and other relevant provisions of international law to apply. The Israeli government contests this on technical grounds, arguing that the Geneva Convention relates only to the sovereign territory of a High Contracting Party, and that Jordan and Egypt did not have legal sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza Strip (respectively) when they previously governed these territories.

On the basis of this reasoning, Israel has maintained that the Geneva Convention does not strictly apply, and therefore it is not legally forbidden from annexing, expropriating and permanently settling parts of the territory it captured during the 1967 Arab-Israel war.

But at other times, the Israeli authorities rely on the Geneva Convention to validate its policies, particularly with regard to treating Palestinians under Israel’s jurisdiction but outside its sovereign territory differently from Israeli citizens, citing the provisions that prohibit altering the legal status of an occupied territory’s inhabitants.

This ambiguity has served the occupying power well, enabling it to cherry-pick the articles of the Geneva Convention and have the best of both worlds, while the occupied people has the worst of them.

Second, at what point does an occupation cease to be an occupation and become a permanent or quasi-permanent state of affairs? Nearly half a century on, during which time significant alterations have been made to the infrastructure of the territory, is it realistic for the Israeli occupation still to be deemed simply an ‘occupation’, with its connotation of temporariness?

 

Our contention is that the occupying power should no longer be able to have it both ways. The laws of occupation either apply or do not apply. If it is an occupation, it is beyond time for Israel’s custodianship — supposedly provisional — to be brought to an end. If it is not an occupation, there is no justification for denying equal rights to everyone who is subject to Israeli rule, whether Israeli or Palestinian. Successive Israeli governments have got away with a colossal bluff for nearly 47 years. It is time to call that bluff and compel a decision.

The Israeli government should be put on notice that, by the 50th anniversary of the occupation, it must make up its mind definitively one way or the other. A half a century is surely enough time to decide. This would give it until June 2017 to make its choice between relinquishing the occupied territory — either directly to the Palestinians or possibly to a temporary international trusteeship in the first instance — or alternatively granting full and equal citizenship rights to everyone living under its jurisdiction.

Should Israel not choose the first option by the target date, it would be open to the international community to draw the conclusion that its government had plumped by default for the second option of civic equality. Other governments, individually or collectively, and international civil society, may then feel at liberty to hold the Israeli government accountable to that benchmark.

The three-year window would be likely to witness vigorous debate within Israel and induce new political currents that may be more conducive to a swift and authentic deal with the Palestinians over two states, probably within the framework of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative for which there is polling evidence of growing support among the Israeli population.

We need to break free of the divisive and increasingly stifling one-state-versus-two-states straightjacket that tends to polarize debate and in practice ends up perpetuating the status quo — which is a form of one state, albeit an inequitable one. The aim of our proposal is to bring matters to a head and to enable people to advocate equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis, in one form or another, free of the implication that this necessarily carries a threat to the existence of the state of Israel.

To be clear, this is not a call for a unitary state. How Israelis and Palestinians wish to live alongside each other is for them to decide and the indications still are that both peoples prefer to exercise their self-determination in their own independent states. Our proposal would not foreclose this option. It would remain open to the Palestinians to continue to agitate for sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza, for a future Israeli government to relinquish these territories and, in extremis, for the Security Council to enforce the creation of two states through the UN Charter’s Chapter VII mechanism. However, until this is finally determined, equal treatment should replace ethnic discrimination as the legitimate default position recognized by the international community.

 

A similar principle should extend throughout the region. The stateless Palestinians — not just the four million living under Israeli military occupation but also the five million who have been living as refugees in the surrounding states for the past 66 years — suffer discrimination all over the Middle East. In almost every Arab state, their rights are severely curtailed and they are mostly denied citizenship, even where they, their parents or their grandparents were born in the country. Whatever may have been the original explanation, their continuing limbo status is shameful so many years on.

 

The bottom line is that until the Palestinians, like the Israelis, achieve their primary choice of self-determination in their own state (if ever they do), they should no longer, in the modern era, be denied equal rights in whatever lands they inhabit. In the case of Israel and its indefinite occupation, this means putting an end to the ambiguities that have lasted for far too long.

 

<hrdata-mce-alt="Auschwitz Trip" class="system-pagebreak" title="Letter to Prof. Dajani" />

 

Dear Professor Dajani,

My name is Ben Sharp and I am a high school student from the United States. I have recently read a great deal about your recent trip to Auschwitz that you led for Palestinian students. I can only begin to imagine how much courage this must have required. I sincerely admire your bravery and conviction.

This past summer I attended a program called Seeds of Peace International Camp ( www.seedsofpeace.org ) with teenagers from Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, the United States, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Besides practicing coexistence through playing sports and doing other activities together, we also engaged in 90 minutes of dialogue each day. I can truthfully say that this was the most difficult yet rewarding experience of my life. I left camp a completely changed person and made deep friendships with people from across the globe.

This experience inspired me to create, design, and teach a class at my high school focused on the Middle East. In collaboration with a teacher, we produced a class called "Empathy and Dialogue in the Middle East." The students in the class, most of whom are learning about the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict for the first time, get a first hand understanding through the eyes of fellow youth in the region via conversations on Skype. The first trimester that this elective ran was extremely successful and we are currently in the midst of the second run of the class with an entirely new group of students.

It would be an honor for our class to have you talk to us about your personal experiences regarding the conflict and your current efforts with peacemaking in the region. Perhaps one of your students would like to join the conversation as well? This would certainly be a very special and unique experience for us. Unfortunately, the class only meets on Wednesdays from 9:00-10:55 East Coast USA time, so the days that it would work are slightly limited. Please let me know if you are interested!

Warm Regards,
Ben Sharp

<hrdata-mce-alt="Ken Pope, Ph.D., ABPP" class="system-pagebreak" title="Letter of Encouragement " />

Ken Pope, Ph.D., ABPP

 

<hrdata-mce-alt="Eva Vandor" class="system-pagebreak" title="Eva Vandor" />

Dear Professor Dajani,

I am a Hungarian journalist in Budapest, at the news site called Origo. I would like to discuss the recent remarks of President Mahmoud Abbas on the Holocaust in an article, in which I would also like to write about your historic and seemingly controversial trip to Auschwitz with your students. To me this looked like one of the most important steps in a process of reconciliation between two nations. I put together some questions, and I would like to kindly ask you answer them.

What were you expecting from the trip and what were you getting from it in the end?

What was your personal motivation to make this trip? And what motivated the students?

What accusations did you have to face from the Palestinian media, and your Palestinian compatriots?

What was the Israeli reaction to it?

How do you think understanding the Holocaust can contribute to the understanding between the Palestinian and the Jewish people?

How do you interpret the remarks on the Holocaust by President Abbas?

On your Facebook page I read a post saying that Al-Quds University is the only Arab and Palestinian university that has MA programs devoted to the study of Israel and American Studies and teaches about the Holocaust. How you you think this could be changed? And why would it be important?

Do your students view the conflicts between the Jewish and Palestinian people differently just by studying the history of both nations and the global history is well?


I would very much appreciate if you could get back to me today, or tomorrow the latest. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,
Eva Vandor

Vándor Éva


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