A Palestinian university with strong U.S. and E.U. ties held a militant parade graphically calling for the murder of Jews.
Birzeit University, just outside of Ramallah in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), held festivities to celebrate the 52nd anniversary of the Fatah movement on December 31, 2016. Fatah is the dominant movement in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and is led by the authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), an organization that translates Arab, Iranian, and Russian media, recently issued a report on the event.
MEMRI footage showed armed masked men in military fatigues conducting drills and chanting at Birzeit University’s campus. The men belong to Fatah’s Shabiba student movement. According to MEMRI, during the drill, the student movement members praised deceased Palestinian leader and Fatah head Yasser Arafat and shouted:
“Blow up the head of the settler!”
“We are the guardians of the borders!”
“Oh Shabiba, this is a call to arms!”
As CAMERA has noted, Palestinian officials often refer to all Israelis as “settlers,” regardless of where they live.
Birzeit University has frequently held events celebrating terrorism. In December 2015, students decorated a Christmas tree on the college’s campus with ornaments of prominent Palestinian terrorists and murderers. Fathi Shaqai, the founder of U.S.-designated terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad and a Birzeit alum himself, was one of those whose image was placed on the tree by university students. Abu Ali Mustafa, the secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), another U.S.-designated terrorist group, was similarly celebrated.
Perhaps referring to the Shabiba group, the website of the university’s advancement office proudly claims that Birzeit “has a long history of activism, with a dedicated student movement aimed at securing national liberation and promoting human rights in Palestine.” Yet, one of the terrorists that Birzeit has glorified is Muhannad Halabi. As CAMERA has highlighted, Halabi murdered 2 Israeli civilians, Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Bennet, before stabbing and wounding Bennet’s wife and their 2-year-old child in an October 3, 2015 terror attack in Jerusalem (“Palestinian Student Movement Uses Pictures of Murderers as Christmas Ornaments,” December 28, 2015).
Birzeit University has active student groups representing both Fatah and its rival Hamas, also a U.S.-designated terrorist group. The university has hosted anti-Israel guest speakers, including American linguist Noam Chomsky. The college also has notable U.S. and European links.
Birzeit University Fund, a self-described charitable organization based in Royal Oak, Michigan, raises money for the school. According to the school’s website, Birzeit has “joint ventures” with a number of European and Middle Eastern universities. Both faculty and students receive financial support from the European Union and the British Council. On January 18, 2017—less then a month after the Shabiba parade calling for people to “blow up” Israelis—the French consulate in Jerusalem announced additional financial support for Palestinian students, prompting Birzeit to highlight “France’s longstanding support” for the university.
Birzeit is far from the only Palestinian university to celebrate terrorism. As CAMERA has noted (“Palestinian University Honors Terrorist with ‘Cultural Event,’” February 16, 2016), Al-Quds University in Jerusalem has an Abu Jihad Museum that honors Khalil al-Wazir (also known as Abu Jihad). Al-Wazir was responsible for murdering 124 Israelis, including 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. A leader in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), he also took part in the 1978 Coastal Road massacre that killed 38 civilians, including 11 schoolchildren. Like Birzeit, Al-Quds receives grants from European governments. It currently has a partnership with Bard College, a New York-based liberal arts school.
Contributed by CAMERA