Editorial Note: The
following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also
include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology.
Comments are in parentheses.
'Birthright Palestine' aims
to bring Palestinians home
Date: 11 / 03 / 2008 Time: 12:06
Bethlehem – Ma'an –
A Palestinian teenager from Duheisha refugee
camp near Bethlehem has launched a new program calling itself
"Birthright Palestine," mimicking Israeli program of the same name.
Nineteen-year-old Ahmad Lahham, a business administration student at
Bethlehem University, launched a website for the program with the aim of
contacting first generation Palestinians born in the Diaspora and
encouraging them to visit their historic homeland.
The Israeli-government backed Taglit-Birthright Israel project, which
offers free trips to Israel for Jewish youths around the world, has been
one of the many tools Israel has used to promote its cause.
Birthright Palestine seeks to do the same for the Palestinian national
Israeli media, including the Jerusalem Post and the Hebrew-language
Maariv, have brought a surge in attention to the new project.
In the Palestinian version, Palestinians from the Diaspora would visit
Palestine and learn firsthand about the suffering of their compatriots
living under Israeli occupation. The idea is to organize trips not just
to the occupied territories but also historically Palestinian cities
within Israel's 1949 borders, such as Acre and Haifa.
Ahmad Lahham, said saw no difference between Duheisha camp and Haifa or
Acre, highlighting that the Israelis spend vast sums of money to bring
Jews to Palestine. He added that so far five people have registered to
visit Palestine, and that due to lack of experience the group plans to
host no more than 30 people at this initial stage.
Among other objectives, the project aims to strengthen Palestinian unity
and further the struggle for the right of Palestinian refugees to return
to their homes in the territories captured by the Zionist forces in
Maariv reported that the Israeli Brithright program has succeeded in
bringing 160,000 Jewish youths from all over the world to visit Israel
in the last ten years.
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