Holocaust museum opens in Palestinian village on frontline of anti-wall struggle

From Israel’s YNet, April 21:

A museum commemorating the Holocaust was inaugurated on Tuesday in the Palestinian village of Na’alin, which has become a symbol for the struggle against the separation fence.

At noon the residents, led by Mayor Ayman Nafaa, were scheduled to hold their own “march of the living” to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day and protest the fence.

“If leaders on both sides know and remember what Hitler did, maybe we’ll have peace,” Ibrahim Amira, a Na’alin resident and one of the leaders of the fight against the fence told Ynet.

Last year 11-year old Ahmed Moussa and Yousef Amira were killed by IDF gunfire during an anti-fence demonstration in the village. Lawyer Khaled Mehamid from Umm al-Fahm, who four years ago established a Holocaust museum in his hometown, came to console the families.

“I met the mayor, who is a Hamas member, and in the midst of all this great grief over the two deaths I told him about the Holocaust. I explained to him that the Jews have their own unique pain.

“He didn’t know how many people were murdered in the Holocaust and then the idea came up to open a museum there,” he related.

‘We don’t know about the Holocaust’
The museum was set up in an apartment located very close to where Amira had been killed. Mehamid approached the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, which provided the place with pictures and materials in Arabic, and directors plan to start holding education tours for students at the museum.

“The whole world knows what we don’t know because there’s no material in Arabic that explains about the Holocaust,” said Mehamid. “I believe that only by learning about the Holocaust and understanding the magnitude of the tragedy can there be peace and security.”

Mehamid added that it was hugely important that such a museum was erected in the village. “Israel doesn’t need to use bullets and tear gas in order to clarify to the Palestinians why the Jews are here. One picture from the Holocaust has a unique power that’s worth all of the IDF’s might,” added Mehamid, who sponsored the project out of his own pocket.

Tuesday’s march was supposed to include farmers from the village, the village’s mayor and members of the anti-fence committee. According to Amira, “If everyone goes against Hitler’s policy, you and we can leave in peace on our land.

“On Holocaust memorial day it is important for us to protest against the olive trees that are being uprooted and our sons who are being killed, and still remember the crimes that were committed against the Jewish people. If we understand this we’ll be able to live in peace.”

See our last posts on Israel/Palestine, the West Bank, Na’alin, and the politics of the Holocaust.

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