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Bangladeshi trekkers raise Palestinian flag in Himalayan pass

Bangladeshi trekkers raise Palestinian flag in Himalayan pass

'Luckily, we were able to raise the flag in front of a large Israeli group of trekkers,' says Bangladeshi trekker

By Faisal Mahmud

 

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AA) - A group of Bangladeshi trekkers hoisted the Palestinian flag high up in the Himalayas.

Members of Tour Group BD also chanted "Free Palestine" after climbing the Thorong-La pass in Nepal.

Among the world’s highest passes at 5,416 meters, it takes a grueling 10-day trek through treacherous mountain terrain to reach Thorong-La.

Md Soliman and Tamim Muntasir were the first to raise the Palestinian flag. They were later joined by the group leader, Rahi Rafsan.

Muntasir said they were carrying the Palestinian flag all along and had planned to raise it on the last day of their Annapurna Circuit Trek at the highest point of Thorong La pass.

“Luckily, we were able to raise the flag in front of a large Israeli group of trekkers who happened to be at the pass when we reached there,” said Muntasir. “That made our flag raising and slogans even more meaningful.”

Soliman mentioned the Israeli group seemed to be very angry and frustrated when they saw them raising the flag and chanting the slogans. “One of them even aggressively came towards us, but was stopped by other members of his group,” he told Anadolu.

The Annapurna Circuit is one of the most popular trekking routes in Nepal that attracts hikers from all over the world, including Israelis.

In fact, for many young Israelis completing their mandatory military service, a trek through the Himalayas followed by time in India and possibly Southeast Asia is a very common trend.

Israeli travelers and tourists however are increasingly facing awkward situations and sometimes hostilities amid Israel's persistent attacks on Gaza.

Steven Schochet, a trekker from Israel, admitted to facing such situations in some places in Nepal. He was found arguing with a fellow Israeli member about the “Israel-Hamas war” enroute to Thorong La pass.

Sochochet was vehemently saying that this cannot be called a “war” anymore as Israel was basically committing a genocide on Palestinian people in front of the whole world. His fellow trekker argued and said Israel had the right to defense and retaliate against Hamas’s attack.

Rafsan, the leader of Tour Group BD was trekking along with Sochochet and he was surprised to find out Sochochet’s stance on this.

“I couldn’t believe I was hearing this from an Israeli person,” said Rafsan, “Then I realize that any sane person would condemn the genocide conducted by Israel in Gaza and Israel obviously has sane people.”

“I don’t know whether expressing solidarity or shaming Israeli people will stop this genocide. But that’s the least we can do,” Rafsan told Anadolu.

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