Bethlehem Students Hopeful for Palestinian Statehood
A Palestinian child takes part in a candle light rally to show support for the Palestinian bid for full United Nations membership, outside the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on 15 Sept. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would ask the United Nations to recognize an independent Palestinian state when he addresses the U.N. General Assembly on 23 Sept. (photo: CNS/Ammar Awad, Reuters)
19 Sep 2011 By Judith Sudilovsky
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (CNS) — Palestinian
students at Bethlehem University spoke of how their lives
would change if the United Nations recognized Palestine
as an independent country.
They could receive a visa to travel abroad without
having to go to Jerusalem, since other countries would
have representatives in Palestine who could issue visas.
They could fly to other countries from their own airport
rather than having to travel by land to use the Jordanian
airport, since Palestinians are not allowed to use the Israeli
international airport because of security concerns.
“Maybe there will be corruption and maybe we
won’t have democracy as we would like it right away,”
said Nagib Kasbary, 20, a Catholic and a business
administration student at the university, which is run by
the Christian Brothers.
“Look at us now ... we have not had (presidential
elections) for five years. It will be the same or worse, but
it will become better with time,” he said. “That is normal
for any new country.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he
would ask the United Nations to recognize an independent
Palestinian state when he addresses the General Assembly
“We want a state and we want it now,” said
Kasbary, who acknowledged the bid is unlikely to pass a
U.N. Security Council vote because of the announced U.S.
For Lucy Al-Qassrawy, 20, who is studying
translation at Bethlehem University but whose heart is in
the fashion world, it would mean that her dream of
opening a boutique would not be so far-fetched.
Fashionably dressed with white slacks, a brightly striped
tunic and a bright green hijab trimmed with orange
covering her hair, she smiled as she fantasized about being
able to freely export her own designer clothes to the
outside world while also importing fashion from abroad
without having to first go through the Israelis for a permit.
Jacoub Sleibi, 23, a recent business administration
graduate, is in the midst of a job search, even though he
has been accepted to numerous prestigious graduate
“I couldn’t continue my studies because I couldn’t
find a scholarship. There were scholarships for different
countries. Maybe if there is recognition of my state I could
fulfill my desire to study for a higher degree,” said Sleibi,
a Catholic. “I would like to see a Palestinian state before I
die. I don’t want my children to have to suffer from water
shortages as we do. It would be a real shame if I leave this
situation the way it is for my children.”
Tags: Palestine Israel United Nations Bethlehem University