The Palestinian girl who made headlines after German Chancellor Angela Merkel made her cry, has said that she hopes that one day Israel is abolished.
Reem Sahwil told German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag, “My hope is that at some time [Israel] is no longer there, rather only Palestine … the land should no longer be called Israel, rather Palestine.”
The reporter said the interview became difficult and asked Reem, “ Do you know in Germany that Israel and Germany have a special history? That we stand up for the country, that we do not allow Jew-hatred?”
Reem answered, “Yes, there is freedom of speech. Here I am allowed to say that. I am prepared to discuss everything.“
In a July meeting at an event called “Living Well in Germany” in the northern city of Rostock with Merkel, Reem, a refugee seeking asylum status, broke out in tears after the Chancellor said “If we say, ‘You can all come’, and ‘You can all come from Africa’ . . . we just can’t manage that.” Merkel intervened at that point to stroke Reem’s hair and was ridiculed on social media for her blunt talk and posture toward Reem. The video exchange between Merkel and Reem went viral.
German media were divided in reaction to Merkel’s straightforward talk.
When asked if Germany is her home, Reem said “No. My home is Palestine…I will live there at some point.” Her grandparents live in a refugee camp in Lebanon, where Reem was born.
However, The New York Times reported she would like to “study and live permanently” in Germany. Global Post reported that Reem does not want to leave Germany. Reem has lived in Germany for five years and is a fluent German speaker. She wants to become a translator to help immigrants with language problems. The Times said Reem’s family came to Germany for economic reasons.
Family members of Reem live in the Wavel Camp in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.