Clashes break out between Arab students and police in the Israeli universities

NAZARETH, January 8, 2009,  Remon Marjieh - Violent clashes broke out on Tuesday January 6 between Palestinian students on one side and the Israeli police and students on the other, in Haifa and Jerusalem universities. Palestinians students were protesting the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

The clashes began in Haifa University when police suppressed a demonstration by Arab students denouncing the massacres Israel is carrying out against Palestinians in Gaza.

The Regional Union of Arab Students in Israeli Universities had declared a general strike for students in Haifa University, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University.

The police and the anti-riot units attacked the demonstrators with sticks, and arrested 15 students in addition to the Secretary General of the National and Democratic Gathering, Awad Abdul Fattah.

The police claimed that their interference came after the administration of the University asked them to disperse the demonstration, which they said was illegal.

Later, the Magistrate Court in Haifa extended the arrest period of the students to another day, making their detention two days, on the accusation of ‘disorder.’

The Hebrew University also witnessed clashes between the students.

During a silent demonstration organized by the Arab University Students, the Jewish students attacked and cursed them. Security forces did not interfere.

Arresting an Arab lawyer facing the PM office

During the early afternoon hours, more than 100 Arab activists demonstrated in front of the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem objecting to the Israeli crimes against the unarmed civilian Palestinians in Gaza.

Despite the legal aspect of the demonstration, the Israeli police arrested one of the lawyers from Nazareth on the accusation of ‘disorder’ and took him to jail.

A few hours later, the lawyer was transported to a hospital for unknown reasons, where he is still under treatment. Doctors think he had a heart attack while in custody.

Arabs demand the release of detainees

In a related matter, rights organizations and political parties inside the green zone urged the release of detainees who were arrested in the demonstrations in the Galilee and in the Triangle cities, where most Palestinian citizens of Israel reside. 

The security forces arrested more than 500 Arabs, including teenagers, since the beginning of the Israeli offensive against Gaza began on December 27. One Israeli court extended the arrest of some protesters, setting a dangerous precedent as Israeli courts usually refuse to imprison youth.