February 26th, 2017
Note: AJC Berlin Director Deidre Berger and Public Affairs Officer Fabian Weissbarth are accompanying a delegation of German Politicians and Journalists in Israel.
After another fabulous breakfast with views over Jerusalem, we set off to learn more about the Palestinian territories. We were fortunate to be accompanied by Israeli Radio journalist Gal Berger, who has reported for 13 years from the territories.
First, we were fortunate to meet with the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Rami Hamdallah. He gave us a brief and somewhat more optimistic assessment of the current political situation than we had expected. However, he acknowledged that Hamas remains a strong political force and the results of potential upcoming political elections are highly unclear. He thanked Germany in particular for its assistance to the Palestinians, both in terms of economic aid and political support.
Afterwards, we learned more about the mood on the Palestinian street with Dr. Khalil Shikaki, associate professor of political science and Director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. The professor explained in-depth the ambivalent thinking amongst Palestinian society in regards to Israel and the peace process, emphasizing they’re growing growing divided based on religious outlook.
However, Shikaki cautioned that the issues of Jerusalem and refugee return remain difficult to solve. A reason for great concern is the rising skepticism and radicalization amongst Palestinian youth who don’t believe in a two-state solution.
Following our meetings, we ate the best shawarma in Ramallah, and learned more about the work of Israeli journalists in the occupied territories. Our guide Gal shared with us the growing difficulties for Israelis to report from the West Bank, also because of a shrinking support from Palestinian colleagues.
Tomorrow promises to be another fascinating day including meetings at the Knesset (Parliament) and discussions and a site visit on integrating immigrants from around the world.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Project Interchange.