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Birzeit University Student Council has expressed solidarity and support for Palestinian students in Haifa University in light of the racist discrimination they face from their university administration. These racist practices are part of the Israeli policy to suppress any opposition to the state’s criminal practices and impose their one-sided point of view, with the ultimate aim of destroying Palestinian consciousness.
Haifa University has oppressed and discriminated against Palestinian students and all those who have expressed their opposition to the Israel’s barbaric attacks against our people in Gaza which resulted in 6,000 victims (both dead and injured). The university attacked those who were on a silent strike on campus on Tuesday 1st January 2009. The students were hit, detained and blackmailed with threats to their academic future. This is a continuation of other forms of discrimination to which Palestinian students are subjected to at the university, for example they are ‘watched’ daily and their group activities are under constant scrutiny and control.
In recent years the university has attempted to mislead international public opinion by marketing itself an Israeli academic seat of learning that comprises of Palestinian and Jewish students without discrimination based on race or religion, promoting itself as an ideal for coexistence. The university’s administration has been creative in how to discriminate against its Palestinian students; it reserves the best housing for those who have completed their military service (automatically excluding Palestinians as they do not serve in the army), placing obstacles such as age in certain fields of specialization, particularly in the sciences (again excluding Palestinians as they go to university at a younger age due to not serving the army), imposing semi-military control on courses related to Palestinian culture, and censoring articles in the student newsletters which challenge these policies or do not support the university’s school of thought.
Furthermore, the University has trespassed all boundaries by attempting to silence Palestinian students and deny them their freedom of expression on issues related to the Palestinian nation and humanity. They have used verbal threats, physical harassment and even restraining students on campus.
The Student Council at Birzeit University calls upon all legal institutions to protect Haifa University’s students and grant them the right to freedom of expression without persecution or oppression. Let us unite our voices with that of the Palestinian students in Haifa to show them we are behind them and to help defend their rights against such discriminatory practices.