I was invited for lunch one afternoon at the Islamic University of Gaza, an austere
complex of low-slung buildings in the heart of the Israeli-occupied
Gaza Strip, but the setting proved far more interesting than the meal.
The only decoration on the peeling walls of the university consisted
of a few framed Koranic verses, written in a flowing Arabesque script.
But in the student cafeteria, on the north wall, hung a huge photograph,
maybe fifteen feet long, of what appeared to be Waikiki Beach in Hawaii,
replete with palm trees, white sand, a clear blue sky, and a calm azure
is that doing here?" I asked my Palestinian hosts.
wanted to make some kind of compensation for students," explained
Dean of Students Atif Radwan. "They are surrounded by miserable
scenes all day long. It is important that when they eat they see something
"From Beirut to Jerusalem" Thomas L. Friedman