Sunday, March 29, 2009

Unacceptable Display of Peace, Updated

File this one under "no good deed goes unpunished." Last week Strings of Freedom, a Palestinian orchestra made up of youth from a refugee camp in the West Bank, performed a concert for Holocaust survivors in Israel.

The Palestinian youths from a tough West Bank refugee camp stood facing the elderly Holocaust survivors on Wednesday, appearing somewhat defiant in a teenage sort of way. Then they began to sing.

The choir burst into songs for peace, bringing surprised smiles from the audience. But the event had another twist: Most of the Holocaust survivors did not know the youths were Palestinians from the West Bank, a rare sight in Israel these days. And the youths had no idea they were performing for people who lived through Nazi genocide - or even what the Holocaust was.
The conductor is Wafa Younis, an Israeli Arab, who wants to promote coexistence between two peoples who do not know or understand each other.
Younis, from the Arab village of Ara in Israel, then explained in fluent Hebrew that the youths would sing for peace, prompting the audience to burst into applause.

"Inshallah," said Sarah Glickman, 68, using the Arabic term for God willing.

The encounter began with an Arabic song, "We sing for peace," and was followed by two musical pieces with violins and Arabic drums, as well as an impromptu song in Hebrew by two in the audience.
Apparently, for some this sort of thing is completely unacceptable.
Palestinian authorities disbanded a youth orchestra from a West Bank refugee camp after it played for a group of Holocaust survivors in Israel, a local official said on Sunday.

Adnan Hindi of the Jenin camp called the Holocaust a political issue and accused conductor Wafa Younis of unknowingly dragging the children into a political dispute.

He added that Younis has been barred from the camp and the apartment where she taught the 13-member Strings of Freedom orchestra has been boarded up.

"She exploited the children," said Hindi, the head of the camp's popular committee, which takes on municipal duties. "She will be forbidden from doing any activities.... We have to protect our children and our community."
It speaks volumes.

UPDATE (predictably) - Now the organizer of the event has been expelled from the West Bank. This says it all:
"On the Internet there are pictures of the children under photos of the Israeli prisoners, and they performed for Holocaust survivors," one Fatah [Palestinian West Bank governmental] official said. "Hamas accused us of normalization activities, of identifying with the enemy, so we were forced to expel Younis. The subject is now closed."
In other words, Hamas terrorists accused Fatah of doing something "normal" people do (you know, being nice and acting like friends) so there was no choice but to punish the Arab woman for having something other than hatred in her heart. Priorities, I guess.

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