Palestinian Girl Reduced to Tears by Merkel Speaks Out

The 14-year-old Palestinian girl with cerebral palsy who hit the headlines after Angela Merkel explained Germany’s tough asylum policy toward refugees in camps, reducing her to tears, said she hopes that Israel disappears and there will be only Palestine.

“My hope is that at some time, [Israel] is no longer there, but only Palestine,” Reem Sahwil told German Die Welt am Sonntag newspaper. “This country should no longer be called Israel, but Palestine.”

When asked if Germany is her home, Sahwil answered “No,” adding that her home is Palestine. “I will live there [Palestine] at some point,” she said.

The Die Welt reporter asked her if she was aware of the “special history” between Israel and Germany.

“Yes, there is freedom of speech,” Reem said, “Here I am allowed to say that. I am prepared to discuss everything.”

Sahwil made headlines earlier this month when she was reduced to tears by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She told the German leader that her family had been informed they would have to return to a camp in Lebanon. Sahwil, however, wanted to go to university in Germany.

READ MORE: ‘We can’t manage all you coming’: Merkel makes Palestinian girl cry, then pets her

The exchange took place during a televised discussion concerning German asylum policy in the northern city of Rostock.

“When you stand in front of me and you are a very nice person, but you know in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon there are thousands and thousands [of people] and if we say you can all come and you can all come from Africa… We can’t manage that,” Merkel replied to Sahwil.

Following Merkel’s answer, the girl started sobbing, catching the German Chancellor off guard. Merkel then awkwardly tried to comfort Reem, approaching her and stroking her back, as the girl continued to cry.

Sahwil, who is partially paralyzed due to cerebral palsy, was born in 2000 in a refugee camp in the town of Baalbek, Lebanon. Her family fled to Germany in 2011. The girl speaks fluent German and has a wish to become an interpreter for refugees.

In the meantime, Roland Methling, the mayor of Rostock, where Sahwil currently resides with her family, told Die Welt that the city authorities “will do everything to ensure that Reem can study in Germany.”


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