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German university apologises for instructing Palestinian students to register as ‘stateless’

May 1, 2024 at 5:33 pm

People gather to stage demonstration in Berlin, Germany to show support Palestinians and protest against arms shipment to Israel on April 20, 2024 [Cüneyt Karadağ/Anadolu Agency]

The Department of Student Affairs at the Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg has issued an apology after telling 14 Palestinian students that they would need to change their nationality entry to “stateless.”

The students were notified through email that they would need to change their nationality entry from “Palestinian Territories” to “stateless” due to a revision in the university statistics law (HStatG).

It was stated in the email: “Palästinensische Gebiete” (Palestinian Territories) may no longer be used as a nationality in the next official student registration, as this is not a clarified nationality. Instead, the information “staatenlos” (stateless) must be entered. We will make this change in our student administration system in the next few days. We kindly ask for your understanding.”

However, following further review of the legislative requirements after multiple inquiries by the students, it was determined that this change was unnecessary at the present time. As a result, the planned change will not be implemented.

Germany has thrown full support behind Israel during its ongoing war on Gaza. Berlin and other Western nations have faced street protests, various legal cases and accusations of hypocrisy from campaign groups who say Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, having killed over 34,000 Palestinians in six months, over 70 per cent of whom have been women and children, and displaced over 85 per cent of the population, all with the support and arms of its Western allies.

Pro-Palestinian protests, Palestinian flags, pro-Palestinian speech and the Palestinian keffiyeh headdress have been banned in Germany, with schools in Berlin given official permission to do so.

Berlin has been one of Israel’s staunchest allies since 7 October. It is one of its biggest arms suppliers, sending €326.5 million ($353.70 million) in military equipment and weapons in 2023, according to Economy Ministry data.

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