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A Lonely Palestinian Moderate

As told to Machla Abramovitz

Dr. Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi started his adult life as a Fatah activist in Beirut. But after experiencing the generosity of his supposed Israeli “oppressors,” he began to question his assumptions. Now he’s trying to do what might seem impossible: reform Palestinian society from the inside.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Dr Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi, the Weston Fellow at the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, was once a Fatah activist in Beirut determined to destroy the Israeli enemy. These days, though, he speaks of peace. Dr. Dajani, a secular Muslim and founder of American graduate studies at Al-Quds University in east Jerusalem who now lives in Washington DC, made headlines last year when he took Palestinian graduate students on a study tour of Auschwitz. The idea was to expose Palestinian students to the attempted Nazi genocide of the Jewish People, something standard Palestinian education promotes as exaggerated at best, mythological fantasy at worst. But Dr. Dajani couldn’t have anticipated the outrage that followed. He lost his job at Al-Quds, and Palestinian critics torched his car and threatened his life. Despite these personal setbacks, he remains steadfast in his determination to establish a model for peace and reconciliation between Palestinians and Jews. “We, as a generation, have inherited this conflict, so it is important that we leave for our children a peace inheritance. We seek reconciliation in the midst of conflict,” he told Mishpacha. “The idea is that moderation leads to reconciliation; reconciliation paves the way for negotiations with good spirit and good will, which leads to conflict resolution, which will lead to democracy and prosperity.”

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