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Israel University cancels proceedings against Palestinian student who quoted Darwish

March 9, 2023 at 7:09 pm

Late Palestinian poet and journalist Mahmoud Darwish gestures during his show in the northern Israeli city of Haifa, 15 July 2007 [GIL COHEN MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images]

Ben-Gurion University cancelled, on Wednesday, the disciplinary proceedings against Watan Madi, a Palestinian student with Israeli citizenship, for quoting the Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, during a campus ceremony marking Nakba Day last May.

During the event, Madi quoted an article by Darwish that said, “We will not forget the martyrs who fulfilled the unity of the country, the people and history.”

After the event, the right-wing Zionist student organisation, Im Tirzu, which staged a counter- demonstration outside the event last May, filed an official complaint against Madi.

The University accepted Im Tirzu’s claim that the sentence Madi quoted was an expression of support and sympathy for martyrs and rejected Madi’s claim that she was not expressing support for terrorism, generally, but was referring to the 1948 Nakba.

Last December, the Ben-Gurion University’s disciplinary court commissioner advised to halt proceedings against Madi, a member of the Hadash party’s Ben-Gurion chapter, on the grounds that there were flaws in the conduct of the University throughout the legal process.

The University’s academic secretariat further explained that holding a new procedure would lead to “unreasonable delay of justice”, therefore the decision was taken to halt all further disciplinary acts.

Attorney Dan Yakir, who represented Madi on behalf of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, welcomed the University’s decision, but added that the very enactment of the procedure, in the first place, harmed Madi’s rights and good name.

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