The 14-year-old Palestinian refugee who shamed German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her nation’s immigration policy on live television is back in the headlines again – for her deeply disturbing views on the future of Israel.
Featuring in a generously illustrated Die Welt newspaper piece at the weekend, tween political activist Reem Sahwil was given the opportunity to discuss her disability, her aspirations to study at university, and her views on the Middle East.
Despite having broken down in tears on German television when told by Merkel that she and her family couldn’t stay in Germany, Sahwil told the newspaper that she wanted to return to her “homeland” of Palestine, and said:
“My hope is that one day it [Israel] won’t be there any-more, but only Palestine… The country should no longer be called Israel, but Palestine”
Now a figurehead for Germany’s pro-mass immigration left, Sahwil told the paper she doesn’t consider Germany her home – and little wonder. The article reveals her parents hang a ‘historical’ map of Palestine on their sitting room wall – that being a polite way of saying a map of the Middle East with no Israel at all – she explains her parents have brought her up on a diet of anti-Israel rhetoric:
“Parents say, Israel has expelled us from Palestine, that’s true, is not it?”
When the paper asks the young girl whether she realises that Germany and Israel have a special relationship, and that it is not “permitted” to hate Jews, she simply replies that German law is no impediment to her desire to wipe Israel off the map: “Yes, but there is freedom of expression, here I must say that… I am willing to discuss everything”.
Strong views indeed, especially considering neither Reem or her parents have ever been to Palestine, they were all born in the Lebanon. That said, these are probably not unusual views among the Palestinian diaspora living in Germany, and what makes Sahwil extraordinary is the sudden platform she has been given to broadcast them from. First coming to public prominence two weeks ago after breaking down in tears on live television, Sahwil had gained her place on what had presumably been a carefully picked studio audience of ‘youth’ after applying to meet the Chancellor.
It is little wonder her appearance had been approved by television executives – in terms of shaming the Chancellor into taking a softer approach to immigration, Sahwil is the equivalent of a political nuclear bomb. Born prematurely and with cerebral palsy, Sahwil was involved in a bad car crash aged six and now travels with the aid of a wheelchair. Just before the programme was filmed her family had been told their visa had expired and they were going to be deported.
As the disabled 14-year-old broke down in tears and as Chancellor Merkel apologised about her impending deportation, and explained that there were a lot of people in Palestine who wanted to come to Germany, and that not everyone could come, German television controllers could be forgiven for congratulating themselves. It will probably transpire to be the propaganda coup of the year. Far from being the compassionate chancellor who smashed the anti-immigration campaign group PEGIDA and never missed an opportunity for a photo-shoot with ‘community leaders’, the media narrative now has her down as a deeply uncaring, cold woman happy to pack off a crying, disabled teenager off to the Middle East.
By remarkable coincidence, Sahwil’s family visa now seems to have been extended.