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On the 29th of November, about 20 Palestinian students from universities inside Israel visited Birzeit University for a day of exchange and discussion with Birzeit University students. The exchange was organised by the R2E Campaign and Baladna Association for Arab Youth, in order to create links between Palestinian students on both sides of the Green Line.
Dia Qundah, President of BZU Student Council welcomed everyone and gave a brief introduction to the University, followed by a presentation by BZU student Ashraf Abu Iram on student life and student societies. Sayed Rian a Mechanical Engineering student at the Technion University in Haifa then presented on Baladna Association for Arab Youth and its activities including the youth leadership programme it runs for Palestinian youth. Baladna has student representatives at each university inside 1948, and therefore has a strong network of young Palestinian activists. Sayed also spoke about the dangers of the Israeli government’s civil service programme and its attempt to attract Palestinian youth to joining it.
Yara Sa’adi, a student at Haifa University, then presented on Palestinian students at Israeli Universities. She spoke about the discrimination they face as a minority and spoke about the activism of Palestinian students who are citizens of Israel. Rawan Dagher, a student volunteer with the R2E Campaign at BZU then spoke about the right to education in Palestine, and methods used by the Israeli occupation to infringe upon this right.
The group of students went on a tour of the BZU campus and discussions were held on a number of issues, including the issue of identity, discrimination and education. Students from both groups agreed that more exchanges of this sort need to be organised, in order to counter the Israeli policy of isolating Palestinians from the West Bank from Palestinian citizens of Israel.