WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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As for the Palestinians, I reminded them of what happened to Germans who had been repatriated from the Eastern provinces. Answer – "Brandt is a traitor. He has no right to sign treaties in their name with Poland and the USSR. Like the Palestinians, the German refugees have a perfect right to their own homeland."

I answered: "You call yourselves Socialists, but in Germany you would be considered ultrareactionary."

On the Syrian Jewish community – "They are not in any way persecuted. Do you want to meet the richest man in Syria? He is a Jewish businessman." I declined. I had no wish to meet a token Jew who would reassure me, with no guarantee of reliability, about the condition of his co-religionists.

On Israelis – "Colonizers who behave like Nazis."

On my message – "You are very hard, you've been misinformed."

I had no trouble standing firm and answering all their questions, all the while knowing this discussion could lead nowhere. If I were an Israeli, I would mistrust the Syrians; the Syrians are firm in believing that the destruction of the State of Israel is normal and desirable.

The interview with M. Kabany, in which two top officials of the Ministry of Information also took part, followed the same lines as the above conversation. M. Kabany told me he was about to go to Washington in a few days as the personal representative of President Assad. The three gentlemen drove me around Damascus, showing me houses in the center of the city destroyed by Israeli air attacks. The visit lasted until 6 o'clock. Two hours later Colette Khoury came to call for me with the two Information officials. We went to dine at a hotel near the airport, where we continued to share our respective truths. At the end of the dinner, seeing that I still clung unmoved to my opinions, my interlocutors complained that I had only come to protest against them and took no account of their arguments.

Early Saturday morning when I went to pay my hotel bill before leaving for the airport, the clerk said: "You are the guest of the government. Foreign Affairs will take care of your bill."

The two officials accompanied me coldly to the airport. I departed, still minus luggage, with the satisfaction that I had spoken my true thoughts to the implacable adversaries of Israel. I was a surprise to the Syrians. They saw in me a resolute adversary; they
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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