Palestinians and Their Friends Unite to Show Solidarity

By Hanley, Delinda C. | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January/February 2013 | Go to article overview
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Palestinians and Their Friends Unite to Show Solidarity


Hanley, Delinda C., Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


Palestinians and their supporters attended a commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity With the Palestinian People on Nov. 16 hosted by Ambassador Maen Rashid Areikat and his wife, Jumana, at their Virginia residence. It was a somber gathering, which began with a moment of silence for all the innocent victims who had fallen since Israeli warplanes began pounding Gaza the previous day. Ambassador Areikat characterized this latest attack as another chapter in the story of Palestinian people who have suffered since Israel's creation in 1948, forcing many of his people into exile.

"We never give up. We are steadfast," he said, noting that on Nov. 29, the PLO leadership would seek non-member state status for Palestine in the United Nations. "We are willing to resume negotiations with Israel the next morning after the international community recognizes the Palestinian state within the 1967 borders," Ambassador Areikat said. "We'll sit across the table as equals, without Israel dictating the terms of peace."

He presented awards to Nablus-born Dr. Najat Arafat Khelil, who obtained her doctorate degree in nuclear physics from the State University of North Texas, where she became the first woman to earn such a degree. She went on to found or serve in every major Arab-American organization. Khelil, the youngest of 11 children, said her father had always told her she could achieve anything. "This award is so important to me because it's presented by my people." Saying her heart goes out to Gaza, she said she would not rest until Palestinians are living with dignity, independence and without fear.

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