A group of Arab Israeli students at Tel Aviv University protested against Israel and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Thursday, following the assassination of Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Bahaa Abu al-Ata by the IDF and the subsequent rocket attacks on Israel by Islamic Jihad.
Videos of the protest at the university’s Entin Square showed students chanting “Gaza is saying clearly: we don’t want to see Zionists”, vowing “not to surrender” and “not to give up” and calling for “freedom.” Protesters held a PLO flag and posters stating “The killing of the innocent is terrorism” and “Stop the war.”
Students reportedly also chanted “The blood of martyrs will flow. From Jaffa to Gaza, the ground will shake,” according to Zionist NGO Im Tirtzu. TPS could not independently verify the group’s claims.
In a press release, Im Tirtzu said it had staged a counter-protest, chanting pro-Israel slogans, waving Israeli flags, and accusing “the Arab students of being hypocrites and inciters.”
Shai Rosengarten, coordinator of Im Tirtzu’s Tel-Aviv University branch, said that the counter-protest was “supporting the residents of the south and our brave IDF soldiers who work night and day so these spoiled and hypocritical students can leisurely drink their espressos in Tel-Aviv University”.
Rosengarten added that “rather than strengthening Israel and its war on terror, these students are joining with the terrorists and are inciting violence. If it’s so bad for them here, they are welcome to go to Gaza.”
Tel Aviv University has frequently been the scene of protests by some of its Arab students. In March this year, a group of Arab students held a moment of silence for “the martyrs of the ‘Great March of Return’ and ‘Land Day’”, while in May a “Nakba Day” protest was held.
Nakba, catastrophe in Arabic, is the term Arabs use to describe Israel’s victory in the 1948 Independence War and the subsequent establishment of the State of Israel.
Demonstrations at Tel Aviv University have also seen calls for a “third intifada” on separate occasions.