GAZA,(August 12, 2013) – Pal-Think for Strategic Studies organized a video conference meeting with 23 American students who were in a 1 week cultural visit to the occupied Palestinian Territories. The session was attended by members from the Directory Board, civil society representatives, and local youth activists.
Mr. Omar Shaban, Director of Pal-Think for Strategic Studies, opened the session by welcoming the participants, especially the visiting students, and started the discussion by thanking the visitors for showing their high interest in knowing about the current situations in Palestine in general and the Gaza Strip in particular. In the mean time, he also emphasized on the importance of such a meeting through which he saw a opportunity to spread and view the reality of the beautiful image of the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian people abroad. Moreover, Mr. Omar gave a summary that included the an image of the most prominent conditions that Palestinian citizens undergo in the Gaza Strip, especially with the youth. The issue of the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip and what it has resulted, whether form, isolation, negligence and suffering has also took a fair part of the summary. A quick view of the daily life of the Palestinians and a highlighting of the consequences of the Israeli blockade were examples that Mr. Shaban used to present the American student with a clear picture of the overall situation, and the obstacles that face the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and the future of the two-state solution.
From their side, the American students expressed their happiness for being part of such wonderful opportunity, where they have been able to dialogue with people from the Gaza Strip for the first time. This meeting was an excellent chance for them to learn about the conflict and address several fundamental issues by questioning the participants from Gaza. The students focused their questions on the situation in Gaza Strip before and after unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. They also were interested in knowing about position of Palestinian public opinion on the negotiations with Israel. Furthermore, the students also showed their concerns about the future of Gaza Strip in light of the continued Israeli blockade questioned the role of young people in these matters and in other activities in the Palestinian society.
On the other side, the participants praised the efforts of the visiting students and ensured the importance of using such opportunity in supporting the peace process in the Middle East by requiring the guests to spread the word among their friends and relatives on what has being discussed in the meeting and on what they have learned from this trip, upon their return to their home county. In addition, some of the participants also accentuated the importance of any efforts to putting pressure on all stakeholders, in order to end the occupation, and overcome the resulting problems that has been accumulating over the past years, including the deteriorating health and environmental issues, the noticeable increase in the level of intolerance and extremism among the youth in Palestine.
In his closing words, Mr. Shaban ensured the importance of holding such events as it is part of the continued initiatives that aims at supporting Palestinian institutions and strengthening their relations with international institutions, all for the purpose of finding solutions and ways to better the living situation for all Palestinians, and secure a bright future for them.