Arab students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem this week rallied in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian security prisoners, brandishing photos of convicted terrorists, while calling for an “intifada” uprising against Israel and the expulsion of Zionists, Channel 2 reported on Thursday.
The display was defended by the university faculty, who said the demonstration was held in accordance with its internal regulations and did not breach Israeli law.
The rally, organized by the student branch of the communist Hadash party, saw students scream: “Intifada and victory! From Jerusalem to Ashkelon!” and “Let’s talk exile! We don’t want to see any Zionists.”
Some students carried a photo of Ihrima Majdi Al Rimawi, who was convicted in the 2001 assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in Jerusalem, the report said.
A security guard reportedly held back activists from the right-wing Im Tirzu group, who sought to stage a counter-demonstration, saying they had no permission from the university to hold a rally.
A statement from the university to Channel 2 backed the Hadash protesters and criticized the right-wing activists for engaging them.
“The student event in support of the hunger-striking prisoners was held in accordance with the regulations and there was nothing said that constitutes a violation of the law,” it said.
The statement accused the Im Tirzu activists of breaching university policy and praised the security personnel for restraining them.
The prison hunger strike, which began on April 17, is being led by prominent Fatah political figure and convicted terrorist Marwan Barghouti.
Barghouti is serving five life sentences for murders committed during the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising.
Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, many imprisoned on security offenses, have been refusing food over conditions for about 6,500 Palestinian inmates.
Among their demands are access to telephones, more family visits, improved medical care and an end to punitive solitary confinement.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and politicians lined up to slam the Hebrew University of Jerusalem over a report that said the national anthem would not be sung at a graduation ceremony so as not to offend Arab students.
Army Radio reported that it had obtained a recording of a student querying the decision to not sing Hatikva during the ceremony at the Mount Scopus campus, and being told by an employee of the Humanities Faculty that it was out of “consideration for the other side” — an apparent reference to Arab students.
The university said the graduation ceremony “has followed the same format for years,” and that there had been no new decision taken to “cancel” the anthem. It said the national anthem is always played at the state ceremonies that it holds, and that the university president had made this clear to the education minister.