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Palestinian boycotts fair because Israel was invited

PA TV program Palestine This Morning about the Arab League’s Award for Outstanding Youth in the area of Culture and Communications. The program hosted Omar Abu Shawish, who won the award for his poetry.
PA TV host: “You participated in a book fair in the city of Turin, Italy, but quit the fair. What was the reason?”
Omar Abu Shawish: “The reason was that a state known as Israel had been invited as the conference’s guest of honor, to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of what is known as Israel. It was hard for us as young Palestinians attending [the fair] to accept the notion of Israel’s existence… we fight with the Zionists over Palestine, because Palestine exists and will remain. We left [the fair] because this is not the State of Israel, this is the State of Palestine, occupied Palestinian lands. Therefore we will not agree that someone who steals and occupies our land will be among us at the same place and on the same bench.”
PA TV host: “Your quitting was something wonderful, I believe. What was the response of people at the fair?”
Omar Abu Shawish: “Almost 70 states who were participating in the conference quit after us, after the State of Palestine announced it was quitting because the State of Israel had been invited to the conference. And I said in an announcement about our quitting that this conference calls for people to act humanely and calls for respect for the rights of others, so how could Israel be the guest of honor when it is the [state] that kills humaneness and steals the rights of others? So there was a contradiction in the conference’s message and we do not accept this contradiction.
I wrote humane songs that link the homeland to the person. In other words, we don’t die because we love the idea of death. We don’t die as Martyrs (Shahids) because we love the idea of death. No, we have land, a homeland and a life that have been stolen from us. Therefore, we protect our rights. Therefore, I linked humanity to national activity. Our message is essentially humane. Our concept of death is humane.”

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