Holocaust Museum in Palestinian Nazareth Stirs Anger from Both Sides





In the Middle East, a recent series of diplomatic moves has raised faint hopes for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. But one maverick Palestinian believes the key to Middle East peace lies in greater Arab understanding of the Nazi Holocaust. He's set up what is believed to be the only museum in the Arab world on the Nazi slaughter of European Jews. But as NPR's Eric Westervelt reports, the display has attracted the ire of both Arabs and Jews.

ERIC WESTERVELT: The Arab Institute for Holocaust Research and Education sits on a hilltop in a residential neighborhood overlooking the Jezreel Valley in the predominantly Arab city of Nazareth. Attorney Khaled Mahamed used thousands of dollars of his own money to turn his law office into a kind of makeshift museum, with some 50 pictures of the Holocaust.

Mr. KHALED MAHAMED (Attorney): We see prisoners here.

WESTERVELT: Where is this?

Mr. MAHAMED: Mauthausen. Escorting an inmate to his death.

WESTERVELT: This 44-year-old Muslim says that if more Arabs studied and understood the devastation the Jews of Europe faced under the Nazis, it would help foster nonviolence and perhaps even peace between Arabs and Jews.

Mr. MAHAMED: I'm very sure if Palestinians would be exposed to pictures of the Holocaust, then they would come to the conclusion there's no benefit for the Palestinian national rights to use violence against the Israelis. And by this we have a circle here; when the Israelis see that the Palestinians are choosing nonviolent (unintelligible) methods, then they will act accordingly.


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