Palestinian students banned from remembering Nakba at Tel Aviv University

Palestinian students banned from remembering Nakba at Tel Aviv University
The Student Front at Tel Aviv University has slammed the lack of intervention following the police's refusal to issue a Nakba commemoration permit.
3 min read
10 May, 2024
Palestinian students at Tel Aviv University have been able to mark the Nakba for 11 consecutive years [Getty/file photo]

Palestinian students at Tel Aviv University have said that Israeli authorities refused to grant them a permit to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the Nakba later this month. 

Students at the university told The New Arab’s Arabic-language site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that their application for a license to hold the commemoration was denied by the police under "false pretexts," including the claim of an "inability to protect the ceremony from extremist demonstrations".

In a statement, the Student Front at Tel Aviv University accused the "Ben-Gvir police of continuing their fascist policy and clearly supporting extremists at the expense of human rights like freedom of expression and demonstration."

The Front also criticised the university administration for its silence "in the face of fascist intimidation".

"We have been commemorating the Nakba at Tel Aviv University with the student front and movements for 11 years, and it is important for us to commemorate these decrees to remind everyone of our lost Palestinian rights, and that the Nakba continues in our displaced villages and towns, and is now continuing in Gaza and the West Bank," student Yen Nassra said.

The student added that the police’s refusal to issue them a permit is "not surprising", as Israeli police frequently attempt to stifle Palestinian voices, especially "during periods of conflict".

"It is important for us to commemorate the Nakba more than ever before, so that we can remind ourselves of the Palestinian identity and affirm our right to express our political opinions. We will not be afraid and we will not be silent, despite all attempts at repression and restrictions," Nassra explained.

The Student Front stressed that "these arbitrary attempts will not prevent us from conveying the ongoing tragedy of the Palestinian Nakba, nor will they affect our positions rejecting the war and occupation".

The Nakba, or catastrophe, signifies the forced displacement and ethnic cleansing of thousands of Palestinians from their towns and villages, to make way for the creation of Israel in 1948.

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Over 750,000 Palestinians were victims of ethnic cleansing, mass dispossession, killings and forced displacement carried out  by Israeli Zionist paramilitaries and the army.

The traumatic events act as a foundational symbol of  Palestinian national identity and are marked annually on May 15 within by Palestinians in the occupied territories, those living within the 1948 borders, and those within the diaspora.

Since 7 October, the Israeli army has relentlessly bombed and shelled the Gaza Strip, resulting in the killing of at least 34,904 Palestinians, mostly women and children.

Israel’s military onslaught has targeted and destroyed residential buildings, schools, hospitals and places of worship, with Tel Aviv also blocking the entry of essential supplies such as food, water and fuel into the enclave, exacerbating the dire humanitarian situation.

Several UN agencies, NGOs and world leaders have accused Israel of committing genocide and war crimes against the population in Gaza.

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Additionally, Israel is soon expected to carry out an offensive in Rafah, where over 1.4 million Palestinians are seeking refuge due to displacement.

The international community has warned against such an attack, saying it will have catastrophic consequences.