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U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a closed meeting of Arab and Israeli envoys in Annapolis this week that her childhood in the segregated U.S. south helped her to understand the plight of Palestinians and the fear felt by Israelis, the Dutch representative to the summit, Franz Timmermans, told the Washington Post on Thursday.

"I know what its like to hear that you can't use a certain road, or pass through a checkpoint because you are a Palestinian. I know what it is like to feel discriminated against and powerless," Rice was reported as saying.

Rice described her childhood in Birmingham, Alabama during the era of segregation and the killing of four young girls in the bombing of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963. Rice said the bombing, which killed one of her classmates, helps her understand the fear of terrorism felt by Israelis.

"Like Israelis, I understand what it's like to go to sleep not knowing if you will be hurt in an explosion, the feeling of terror walking around your own neighborhood, or walking to your house of prayer," Rice was quoted in the Washington Post as saying.

The Washington Post's article dealt with events that took place behind closed doors at the Annapolis summit on Tuesday.

According to the Post, Rice reportedly closed her statements by saying that both sides in the conflict had endured great pain and for far too long.