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Palestinian girl defends Merkel in wake of viral video controversy

A 14-year-old Palestinian refugee has defended the German chancellor's response to her deportation

Published: Updated:

A 14-year-old Palestinian refugee, who burst into tears during a conversation on immigration with Angela Merkel, has defended the German chancellor's response, the BBC reported on Friday.

"[Merkel] reacted like a politician. At least she gave an honest opinion" Reem Sahwil told the BBC, she added "in a way she was right. Migration is a difficult topic. She is not the person who can make that decision in front of all the cameras and the people.”

Sahwil’s comments come after a tearful encounter that took place with the German chancellor during a government-organized forum for young people, which was filmed and then broadcast.

In the video that went viral, Merkel was criticized for appearing to be unsympathetic. She had told Sahwil that Germany could not take in more refugees and some would have to be sent back to their home countries in response to the young girl’s statement regarding what her life was like under threat of deportation.

However, Sahwil has stated that she felt genuine empathy from the chancellor, saying "I just sensed even though she is a politician she has feelings and she showed them.”

Sahwil, who fled from Lebanon with her family four years ago, told Merkel that she and her family were due to be deported from Germany and described her dream of remaining in the country, speaking in perfect German, she said, "I also have dreams like anyone else. I want to study; it is an objective I want to accomplish.”

Merkel’s response was "Politics is hard," adding that Germany could not cope with the number of refugees wanting to come to the country, reducing Sahwil to tears.