Visiting the Palestinian Mission in Washington, DC was one of the highlights of this training. As Palestinians, we were proud to see our national flag flying in the skies of the most powerful capital city of our time.
This flag has had a long and sometimes difficult story here in the United States, just like the Palestinian Mission, according to Ambassador Maen Rashid Ereikat, Representative of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to the United States.
Ambassador Ereikat was quite frank in listing the difficulties of working in such a vast country, trying to overcome the propaganda that stereotypes Palestinians and stigmatizes them in unfavorable ways.
Many of the difficulties faced by the PLO Mission are, in part, imported from back home. The split between Palestinian factions in Palestine, along with a lack of group unity, are among the largest obstacles in his work, said Ambassador Ereikat. He emphasized his need to use the methods of the “adversary” here on American soil. “We have to use American ways to achieve our goals, and be heard in this country…We have not been successful thus far, although the recipe is there, and we should be able to use it, just like others do.”
Palestinian Americans, as well as Arab and Muslim Americans should leverage their power through the election process. Electoral participation should be a major concern for Arab Americans, as it would help increase awareness and support for their causes, both in the United States and abroad.
Mr. Ereikat explained the importance of uniting Palestinian expatriates in a society where solidarity and mobilization are important tools for achieving political goals. Meetings and conferences in all parts of the United States are high on the mission’s agenda.
*How do you think Palestinian expatriates can increase their unity in the United States? How can they ensure that their voices are heard?