Teaching Auschwitz to the Palestinians

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As the road dips and rises through the Hebron hills, white etched with the glowing green of vineyards, the turn-off to Edna village is marked by the grey, concrete watchtower of an Israeli checkpoint. But it doesn't deter Israeli-Arab lawyer Khaled Kasab Mahameed from his quixotic mission: He has come to the West Bank to educate Palestinians about the Jewish Holocaust.

Many Palestinians have never heard that the Nazis killed 6 million Jews during Word War II — it doesn't rate a mention in their school history books. Others join with the likes of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in denying that the Holocaust ever happened. The Jews, according to this blinkered reasoning, are their enemies in the battle over the Holy Land, and they cannot afford to have sympathy for their enemy. Mahameed sees this view as tragically misguided. The key to the Palestinians achieving their own goals, he says, is to understand the Holocaust, and the place it holds in the Israeli psyche and its obsession with security.

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