[Tuesday, April 29, 2014] Israeli police officers attacked dozens of students protesting Israeli efforts to enlist Arabs in the Israeli military, detaining three before releasing them after denying them access to the Hebrew University Campus, in Jerusalem, for ten days.The Arabs48 news website has reported that the police detained Majd Hamdan, Khalil Gharra and Farah Bayadsa, and accused them of “organizing an illegal protest”, and of “obstructing police work”.
The detained students told lawyer Ala’ Mahajna that their arrest was politically motivated, and aims at scaring the Arab students into halting their protests against enlistment in the occupation army.
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“There is no need to arrest, detain and attack the students,” Mahajna said. “University Police, and state police, were the ones who instigated violence.”
He further stated that the police invaded the university campus, and that this act raises various legal questions, as it indicates the excessive level of violence used when dealing with Arab students.
“The students told me they were beaten by the police, and by university police,” Mahajna said. “There are many videos documenting this massive use of force against the protesters.”
Hundreds of students protested in various universities around the country, demanding Israel to stop its attempts to enlist Arab youths in its army.
The Arabs48 said that many right-wing Israeli webpages published videos of the police attacking the Arab students, and expressed support with the police targeting the Arab-Palestinian students at the Hebrew University.
On Monday, a group known as “I will Not Serve In Your Army” issued a statement calling for mass protests, stressing on the importance of countering all Israeli attempts to enlist Arabs in the army that occupies their land and their people.
Qusai Abufool, coordinator of the Students Movement at the National Democratic Alliance, stated that the students will protest again, on Wednesday, at the Tel Aviv University and the Technion College.
He added that protests were held, Tuesday, at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Ben Gurion University in the Negev, in protest of enlistment in the Israeli army.
“This attack is an attack against protesters practicing their legitimate right,” he said. “This is a racist attack against Arab-Palestinian students, university police and administration are responsible for this assault.”
Abufool further stated that the students will continue their protest, and called on all Arab students at the Tel Aviv University, and the Technion College to protest again on Wednesday.
Israel decided to call on Arab Christian young men to “voluntarily serve in the Israeli army”, while head of the coalition of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government said, a few weeks ago, that “Israel wants to create a new identity for Christians, similar to the Druze identity.”
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Last week, the Higher Follow-up Committee in historic Palestine issued a release affirming the rejection to any sort of enlistment in the Israeli army, as the army is an army of occupation and oppression against the Palestinians, regardless of their faith.
In August of last year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a meeting with Father Jubrael Naddaf, known for his stances encouraging enlistment in the Israeli military, despite massive objections from the Palestinian Christian community in the country.
Back then, the Palestinian Christian Initiative (Kairos Palestine) issued a statement strongly denouncing the Israel attempts to recruit Arab Palestinian Christians, in historic Palestine, to the Israeli military which occupies their people.
“Those who call for recruiting Christians to the occupation army do not represent us, do not represent our Churches, and do not represent the Christians,” Kairos said. “It seems that some of those who have been deceived chose a wrong path that does not serve our interests and faith as Arab Christians.”
It added that trying to recruit the Christians is immoral, and harms the Palestinian Christian identity in the Holy Land.
“We need to be united, we need to protect our national identity, only our Arab, Palestinian identity will be able to protect us, and protect our interests,” Kairos said. “Our choice will not be sectarian, but will only be national unity between all Palestinians regardless of their belief and faith.”