Palestinians praise ‘uniquely courageous’ Hawking for stance against Israel

Palestinians praise ‘uniquely courageous’ Hawking for stance against Israel
In this July 21, 1999 file photo Professor Stephen Hawking smiles during a news conference at the University of Potsdam, near Berlin, Germany. (AP)
Updated 15 March 2018

Palestinians praise ‘uniquely courageous’ Hawking for stance against Israel

Palestinians praise ‘uniquely courageous’ Hawking for stance against Israel

AMMAN: Palestinians have praised the world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking as being “uniquely courageous” in his support for non-violent resistance against the Israeli occupation.
In a statement marking the scientist’s death, Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said that the Briton “will be missed.”
She added: “We join the rest of the world in celebrating his exceptional achievements and legacy, not just in science, but in his deep understanding of the human condition and spirit.”
Hawking visited Birzeit University, in the Occupied West Bank, where Ashrawi used to teach English, in 2006. He was known as a long-term advocate of the Palestinian cause.
When Israel launched a military offensive on Gaza in late 2008, Hawking condemned the attack. He said: “A people under occupation will continue to resist in any way it can. If Israel wants peace it will have to talk to Hamas like Britain did with the IRA.”
In 2013 he endorsed an academic boycott of Israel and withdrew from a major conference in Jerusalem, which was hosted by Israel’s then president, Shimon Peres.
Hawking was also a keen supporter of Nelson Mandela, the former South African president, who spent much of his life leading the struggle against apartheid.
On meeting Mandela in 2008, Hawking said: “I admire how you managed to find a peaceful solution to a situation that seemed doomed to disaster. It was one of the great achievements of the 20th century. If only the Israelis and the Palestinians could do the same.”